Liberalism Against Populism: A Confrontation Between the Theory of Democracy and the Theory of Social Choice

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  • Publish Date: 1988-07-28
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: William H. Riker

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The discoveries of social choice theory have undermined the simple and unrealistic 19th century notions of democracy, especially the expectation that electoral institutions smoothly translate popular will directly into public policy. One response to these discoveries is to reject democracy out of hand. Another, which is the program of this book, is to save democracy by formulating more realistic expectations. Hence, this book first summarizes social choice theory in order to explain the full force of its critique. Then it explains, in terms of social choice theory, how politics and public issues change and develop. Finally, it reconciles democratic ideals with this new understanding of politics.

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