Schumpeter and Representative Democracy ("Classical Doctrine of…
Schumpeter and Representative Democracy
"Classical Doctrine of Democracy"
"That institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions which realises the common good by making the people itself decide issues through the elections of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will"
Notion of the people's will
A will of the people (as a single collective entity) can't exist
Relies on the existence of a common good
Schumpeter: in practice, "common good" means different things to different people, these differences can't be resolved through logic/reason because ultimate values can't be defended by logic/reason
Schumpeter's main issue with classical doctrine: Idea that "the people" hold a definite and rational opinion about every individual question and that they give effect to this opinion by choosing "representatives" who will make sure that opinion is carried out
Manufactured will in democratic politics: "The will of the people is the product and not the motive power of the political process"
Schumpeter's Understanding of Democracy
"That institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a cooperative struggle for the people's vote"
Democracy is a political method, not an end in itself --> If we think democracy is a good thing, it's because we expect it to serve other political values (But: in practice, democracy requires freedom of speech)
Politicians in power have autonomy from the electorate in making decisions (only means of exercising control electorate has is refusing to elect representatives
Politicians as political actors with professional political (not ideological or economic interests shaped by a career + the particular conditions of the representative democracy
Personal success in politics always implies concentration of the professional kind
In modern democracies (except Swiss), politics will unavoidably be a career
"Politics is a profession which evolves interests of it's own"
For politicians: The decision of political issues isn't the end, but only the material of parliamentary activity
Professional politicians compete for power through political parties
Political parties understood in the professional interest of politicians instead of as vehicle for ideology
Main aim of every political power: Prevail over others in order to get into / stay in power
"A party is not, as classical doctrine would have us believe, a group of men who intend to promote public welfare "upon some principle on which they are all agreed [...] A party is a group whose members propose to act in concert in the competitive struggle for political power"
Parties are a means to a professional end for politicians