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Democracy and Disenchantment

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The victory of democracy in its ideological battle with communism has coincided with widespread voter disaffection in established democracies and with the rapid emergence of disillusion in recently 'democratised' societies. These developments raise at least two more general problems concerning the democratic dream of a self-governing community. First, there is the problem of democratic deficit: the fact that democratic arrangements are invariably constrained by arrangements of a non-democratic kind. Second, there is the problem of corruption. While such problems arise for any form of politics they have a particular significance for regimes which claim to be democratic. Following the recent victories of democracy in much of the world, it is now more difficult to appeal to the remedy of a more inclusive political system. Those of you who come in with me now will get big pieces of pie. Those who come in with me later will get smaller pieces of pie. Those who dont come in at all will get-Good Government.1 (attributed to Huey Long, Governor of Louisiana)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 1997

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