"LIFE & TIMES OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY, THE" (C. B. MACPHERSON).
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Reviews work on theories, models & evolution of liberal democracy.... More...
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Reviews work on theories, models & evolution of liberal democracy.
The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy by C. B. Macpherson is a brief but thorough discussion of the theoretical constructs associated with four models of liberal democracy. Macpherson used three successive models to explain his theories. The use of models as the framework within which he described and discussed liberal democracy is an effective methodology for this type of analysis. Using this method, the text can be organized chronologically as well as contextually. Theoretical models allow the use of a broader range of variables, such as historical events, societal developments, and human actions. Models also can explain the underlying reality of prevailing or past correlations between events and how history is influenced by people and events. Models allow theorists to project the probability of future changes.
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Macphersonused both meanings of liberal democracy in this work (1). Models also can explain the underlyingreality of prevailing or past correlations between events and how historyis influenced by people and events. Work CitedMacpherson, C. In Macpherson's opinion, the inadequacies of this model wereincreasing apparent. The theorists offered a description andjustification of equilibrium democracy as a competition between eliteswhich produced equilibrium with minimal popular participation. Macpherson described this model as onein which responsible government was needed for the protection of theindividual and the gross national product (43). Despite his personal preference,Macpherson did offer a balanced discussion of the problems and unresolvedquestions surrounding his model of participatory democracy. John Stuart Mill, described by Macpherson as an ethicalliberal, combined the theories of market freedom and the claim for equalindividual rights to self- development in various writings published in182 . Macpherson examinedliberal democracy in terms of the people who wanted liberal democracy: Didthey want more of it? Models allow theorists to project theprobability of future changes. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy. Liberal democracy began in capitalist market societies approximately15 years ago. Laws of change were originally formulated in the18th century. B. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy by C. However, in the 19th century, other theorists such as Auguste Comte,Karl Marx, and John Stuart Mill subscribed to a mainline theory which madefuture projections based on a society's past development. Macpherson was careful to note that a more participatory system wasnot the perfect model and would not remove all the inequities of society.His model 4 attempted to address the major issues revolving around thelarge number of people in society and the complexity of attempting tocommunicate with each one. By the time liberalism emerged as liberal democracy, liberalbecame a claim to treat all individuals equally and to free them to use anddevelop their full human capacities fully. Mill established the justification of liberal democracy largely bythe claim that individual fredom could exist in a capitalist marketsociety. Equilibriumwas the current Western model of democracy, according to Macpherson. Liberal always meantfreeing the individual from the outdated restraints of old establishedinstitutions. The conclusion that a more equitable and human societyrequired a more participatory political system was supported by this work.As described, Macpherson's model 4 would be in the best tradition ofliberal democracy. Macpherson suggested that liberal democracy as currently defineddepended on the lessening of marketplace influences and increasing thevalue of individual equal rights to self-development. The law of change established four stages of society:hunting, pastoral, agricultural and commercial. So far, they have failed, and the market view remaineddominant. Based on thesefuture projections, commercial may not be the final stage of societaldevelopment. In comparison,liberal democratic models are based on the concept of class as an integralpart of society. He did a veryeffective job of establishing a case for model 4, his participatory modelof democracy. Increased participation would not eliminate themarket system. The current view of class differential in politicalparticipation, and the inability of the lower strata to articulate theirwants or to make their demands known, described the highly unparticipatorynature of equilibrium democracy. Throughout the discussion of the models, Macpherson identified howthe theorists attempted to combine the two meanings. Throughout the book, Macpherson's sequential discussion of eachdemocratic model built on the information provided in the previous modeland substantiated the historical progression of events. B. The models were explained based on a number ofassumptions: how the entire society operates; how the democratic politicalsystem within the society exists; what is the essential nature of thepeople who make the system work; and how the model refers to all people,not to just the ruling class, leaders, or elites. Macpherson's model 4 addressed the need, in his view, toresolve the problems of low-level participation and social inequity, whichare inextricably intertwined. For example, Macphersonindicated that he borrowed the principle that all members of the societywere valuable and have a right to the full development and use of theircapabilities from model 2. The law of change assumedthat commercial was the final stage. However, indirect, representative, or face-to-face democracy could be accommodated in the participatory model ofdemocracy. Did people in the society want some variant of thepresent form of liberal democracy? In the first chapter, Macpherson explained how he planned to defineliberal democracy. Hedescribed this model as a society which was thought incapable of goingbeyond the driving forces of the economic market, the inequality ofclasses, and people's perception of themselves as essentially consumers(91). Based on Macpherson's previous analysis, thecurrent nonparticipatory political system, as described in model 3, did notfit. The inequitable groups of conflicting consumers, competing politicalelites, and nonparticipating voters would not appear to be able to hold thesociety together. Ethical liberals attempted to subordinate market freedom toindividual freedom. Macpherson projected his fourth model based on the premisethat model 3 would continue to be the most accurate descriptive model ofliberal democracy as long as Western societies continued to preferaffluence to community and to believe that the marketplace could produceand sustain the current levels of wealth indefinitely. Rather, market assumptions shifted away from consumerismand economic and social inequality and restored the central ethicalprinciples of model 2. If this was true, the emergence of a new model would beinevitable. Macpherson examined three successive models of liberal democracy andthen projected a fourth model, which he called participatory democracy.This approach enabled Macpherson to provide a logical progression for theconception of his fourth model. Using this method, the text can be organizedchronologically as well as contextually. Macpherson used three successive modelsto explain his theories. What did people believe liberaldemocracy was, might be, or should be? Thepolitical participation of the few versus participation of the many was atthe heart of this model. Macpherson is abrief but thorough discussion of the theoretical constructs associated withfour models of liberal democracy. The use of models as the framework within whichhe described and discussed liberal democracy is an effective methodologyfor this type of analysis. In his view, the latter wasincompatible with the former. Macpherson took theposition that liberal could mean freedom of the stronger to dominate theweaker by following market rules or that liberal could mean equal freedomfor all to use and develop their capacities. Macpherson quoted Mill: "The business of government isproperly the business of the rich, and that they will always obtain it,either by bad means or good" (42). Model 2 was based on a new moral imperative.Democracy was viewed primarily as a means of individual self-development. In the first chapter, Macpherson explainedthe methodology and identified the theoretical basis for the work. This shift was based on the fact that the actualoperation of democratic systems had shown the developmental model to beunrealistic and inaccurate. He included definitions ranging from liberal democracyas a capitalist market society, to a society striving to ensure that allits members are equally free to realize their capabilities. In this chapter, Macpherson discussed the developmentaldemocracy model (model 2). After that time, the two definitions of liberal democracy sharedan uneasily alliance. Model 3, equilibrium democracy, abandoned the moral claims ofprevious models. The fist model, described in chapter two, is protective democracy.Protective democracy makes a case for the democratic system of government.This model (model 1) is a divergence from what Macpherson described as thepre-liberal democracy (23). Oxford:Oxford U P, 1977. Inchapters two through four, he described the protective, developmental, andequilibrium democratic models. The viability of model 4 was enhanced by theinclusion of elements from previous models. Is the prerequisite forparticipatory democracy a change in the political system or a change in thesociety? Model 4 expanded and projected a future version of model 3. Pre-liberal models of democracy were based onthe assumption of the existence of a classless society. Models describing different types of democracy have been concernedwith the changing and unchanging characteristics of people and society inthe present and with the forces and variables which may be expected tooperate in the future. Macpherson looked at two past models as well as the current model ofdemocracy in his book. Theoretical models allow the useof a broader range of variables, such as historical events, societaldevelopments, and human actions. Macpherson was direct and honest about his preference for a moreparticipatory model of democracy. The discussionof model 4 focused primarily on the question of which change must occurfirst to create a more participatory democracy. As the probability of replacing the equilibrium modelbecomes imminent, Macpherson suggested a fourth model, participatorydemocracy.
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