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O P U S General Editors Keith Thomas Humanities J . S. Weiner Sciences

C. B. M A C P H E R S O N

he Lite and limes 01 Liberal Democracy^

Bogazici University Library

Oxford

New York

Toronto

Melbourne

O X F O R D U N I V E R S I T Y PRESS

Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford oxa


OXFORD TORONTO IBADAN LONDON GLASGOW NEW YORK CAPE TOWN MELBOURNE WELLINGTON LUSAKA TOKYO

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C . B. Macpherson 1977 First published 1977 as paperback and hardback simultaneously Paperback reprinted 1979

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Preface

Readers may wonder at the shortness of this book. 'The Life and Times', i n a title, usually signals a book ten times as long as this one. But no such length is required by m y design, w h i c h is to set out i n bold relief the essence of liberal democracy as i t now is conceived, and as i t has been and may be conceived. For this purpose brevity is better than exhaustive detail. I hope however that m y analysis is substantial enough both to estab lish the patterns I have found and to justify the criticism and praise from w h i c h I have seen no reason to abstain. Successive preliminary versions of this work have been pre sented for criticism i n several universities: the earliest, most tentative, version at the University of British Columbia, and subsequent versions, each profiting from earlier criticisms, at the Institute o f Advanced Studies of the Australian National University, the Institute o f Philosophy of Aarhus University, and the University of Toronto. Parts o f i t have also been pre sented and effectively criticized at several U n i t e d States uni versities and some other Canadian universities. Colleagues and students who took part i n the discussions i n all those countries w i l l recognize how m u c h I have benefited from their c r i t i cisms. Some w i l l wish I had benefited more. But I thank them ail.

University of Toronto 4 October igy6

CB.M.

BOGAZICt NiVERSITESi KTPHANESI

Contents
page i I 2 2 6 8 9 9 12 23 23 25 27 34 37 42

Models a n d Precursors T H E N A T U R E OF T H E I N Q U I R Y T H E USE OF M O D E L S (i) Why models ? (ii) (iii) Why historically successive models ? Why these models ?

PRECURSORS OF L I B E R A L D E M O C R A C Y (i) Democracy and class (ii) Pre-nineteenth-century theories as precursors II M o d e l i : Protective Democracy THE BREAK I N THE DEMOCRATIC TRADITION T H E U T I L I T A R I A N BASE B E N T H A M ' S ENDS OF L E G I S L A T I O N THE POLITICAL REQUIREMENT JAMES M I L L ' S SEESAW PROTECTIVE DEMOCRACY FOR MARKET MAN III

Model 2: Developmental Democracy 44 T H E E M E R G E N C E OF M O D E L 2 44 M O D E L 2 A : J . S. M I L L ' S D E V E L O P M E N T A L DEMOCRACY 50 T H E T A M I N G OF T H E D E M O C R A T I C FRANCHISE MODEL 2 B : TWENTIETH-CENTURY D E V E L O P M E N T A L DEMOCRACY 64 69

IV

Model 3 :

E q u i l i b r i u m Democracy

77
77 2

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MARKET ANALOGY T H E A D E Q U A C Y OF M O D E L 3

(i) Descriptive adequacy (ii) Explanatory adequacy (iii) Justificatory adequacy


THE FALTERING OF M O D E L 3

83 84 84
91

Model 4:

Participatory Democracy

93
93 94

T H E RISE OF T H E I D E A IS MORE P A R T I C I P A T I O N N O W POSSIBLE?

(i) The problem of size (ii) A vicious circle and possible loopholes
M O D E L S OF P A R T I C I P A T O R Y DEMOCRACY

94 98
I08

(i) Model 4A: an abstract first approximation (ii) Model 4B: a second approximation
P A R T I C I P A T O R Y D E M O C R A C Y AS L I B E R A L DEMOCRACY?

108 112
I I
4

Further Reading Index

116 118

Models and Precursors

THE

N A T U R E OF T H E I N Q U I R Y

I t is not usual to embark on a 'Life and Times' u n t i l th sub ject's life is over. Is liberal democracy, then, to be considered so nearly finished that one may presume now to sketch its life and times? T h e short answer, prejudging the case I shall be putting, is: 'Yes', i f liberal democracy is taken to mean, as i t still very generally is, the democracy of a capitalist market society (no matter how modified that society appears to be by the rise o f the welfare state) ; but ' N o t necessarily' i f liberal democracy Is taken to mean, as J o h n Stuart M i l l and the ethical liberal-democrats who followed h i m i n the late nine teenth and early twentieth centuries took i t to mean, a society striving to ensure t h a t all its members are equallyTree to realize their capabilities. Unfortunately, liberal democracy can mean either. For 'liberal' can mean freedom of the stronger to do down the weaker by following market rules; or i t can mean equal effective freedom of all to use and develop their capaci ties. T h e latter freedom is inconsistent w i t h the former. T h e difficulty is that liberal democracy during most of its life so far (a life w h i c h , I shall argue, began only about a hun dred and fifty years ago even as a concept, and later as an actual institution) has tried to combine the t w o meanings. Its life began i n capitalist market societies, and from the begin ning i t accepted their basic unconscious assumption, w h i c h might be paraphrased ' M a r k e t maketh m a n ' . Yet quite early on, as early as J o h n Stuart M i l l i n the mid-nineteenth cen tury, i t pressed the claim o f equal i n d i v i d u a l rights to selfdevlpmrit, and justified itselflargely by that claim. T h e two

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Democracy

ideas of liberal democracy have since then been held together uneasily, each w i t h its ups and downs. So far, the market view has prevailed: 'liberal' has con sciously or unconsciously been assumed to mean 'capitalist'. This is true even though ethical liberals, f r o m M i l l on, tried to combine market freedom w i t h self-developmental freedom, and tried to subordinate the former to the latter. They failed, for reasons explored i n Chapter I I I . Here I am simply suggesting that a liberal position need not be taken to depend forever on an acceptance of capitalist assumptions, although historically i t has been so taken. T h e fact that liberal values grew u p i n capitalist market societies is not i n itself a reason why the central ethical principle of liberalismthe freedom o f the i n d i v i d u a l to realize his or her h u m a n capacitiesneed always be confined to such societies. O n the contrary, i t may be argued that the ethical principle, or, i f you prefer, the appetite for i n d i v i d u a l freedom, has out g r o w n its capitalist market envelope and can now live as well or better w i t h o u t i t , just as man's productive powers, which grew so enormously w i t h competitive capitalism, are not lost when capitalism abandons free competition or is replaced by some form o f socialism. I shall suggest that the continuance of anything that can pro perly be called liberal democracy depends on a downgrading o f the market assumptions and an upgrading of the equal right to self-development. I think there is some prospect of this happening. But i t is far f r o m certain that i t w i l l happen. So I have felt justified i n keeping the sombre title 'Life and Times'. M y m a i n concern i n this short work is to examine the limits and possibilities of liberal democracy. Let me explain now w h y I have done this i n terms of models, and why I have chosen certain models as appropriate and, sufficient. This w i l l lead into a consideration o f certain earlier models which I have relegated to the position of precursors of liberal democracy.
T H E USE OF MODELS

(i) Why models ? I am using the t e r m 'model' i n a broad sense, to mean a

Models and Precursors

theoretical construction intended to exhibit and explain the real relations, underlying the appearances, between or w i t h i n the phenomena under study. I n the natural sciences, w h i c h are mostly concerned w i t h phenomena not variable by h u m a n w i l l or by social change, successive models (as those of Ptolemy, Copernicus, Newton, Einstein) are successively fuller and more sufficient explanations o f the real, invariant relations. I n the social sciences, concerned w i t h phenomena which, w i t h i n his torically shifting limits, are variable by human w i l l , models (or theories, as we may equally well call them) may have two additional dimensions. First, they may be concerned to explain not only the under lying reality of the prevailing or past relations between wilful and historically influenced h u m a n beings, b u t also the prob ability or possibility of future changes i n those relations. By sort i n g out m a i n lines of change, and apparently unchanging characteristics, of man and society up to the present, they may try to discern forces of change, and limits of change, which may be expected to operate i n the future. N o t all the theorists who have formulated laws of change have seen them as operating i n a straight l i n e : Machiavelli, for instance, thought i n terms of a cyclical movement as the historical pattern of social and political change which could be expected to prevail indefinitely into the future. But ever since the eighteenth-century En lightenment, w i t h its idea o f progress, i t has been more usual to thinlc i n terms of a straight line. O f the theorists who have seen a single m a i n line of past change, not all have projected i t far, i f at a l l , i n t o the future: for instance, such eighteenth-century writers as Montesquieu, T u r g o t , M i l l a r , Ferguson, and A d a m Smith, who glimpsed or formulated the law o f four stages o f societyhunting, pastoral, agricultural, commercialwere apt to assume that the commercial was the final stage. But i n the nineteenth century others, as different as Comte and M a r x and M i l l , have, w i t h greater or less stringency, projected a m a i n line of past development into the future. A n y o f these kinds o f theory do of course rely explicitly or i m p l i c i t l y on models. The second additional dimension o f models i n political theorizing is an ethical one, a concern for w h a t is desirable or

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good or right. The outstanding models i n political science, at least from Hobbes on, have been both explanatory and justi ficatory or advocatory. T h e y are, i n different proportions, statements about what a political system or a political society is, how i t does work or could work, and statements of why i t is a good thing, or why i t would be a good thing to have i t or to have more of i t . Some democratic theorists have seen clearly enough that their theories are such a mixture. Some have not, or have even denied i t . Those who start f r o m the tacit assump t i o n that whatever is, is right, are apt to deny that they are making any value judgement. Those who start f r o m the tacit assumption that whatever is, is wrong, give great weight to their ethical case (while t r y i n g to show that i t is practicable). A n d between the two extremes there is room for a considerable range of emphasis. I n any case, to show that a model of a political system or a society, whether the existing one or one not now existing but desired, is practicable, that is, that i t can be expected to work well over a fairly long r u n , one must make some assumptions about the human beings by w h o m and w i t h w h o m i t is going to r u n . W h a t k i n d of political behaviour are they capable of? This is obviously a crucial question. A political system that demanded, for instance, that the citizens have more rationality or more political zeal t h a n they now demonstrably have, and more than they could be expected to have in any attainable social circum stances:, w o u l d not be w o r t h much advocacy. The stipulation I have just emphasized is i m p o r t a n t . We are not necessarily l i m i t e d to the way people behave politically now. We are not l i m i t e d to that i f we can show reasons for expecting that that could change w i t h changes i n , for instance, the technological possibilities and the economic relations of their society. Most, though not all, political theorists of all persuasions conservative traditionalists,, liberal individualists, radical re formists, and revolutionarieshave understood very well that the workability of any political system depends largely o n how all the other institutions, social and economic, have shaped, or m i g h t shape, the people w i t h w h o m and by w h o m the political system must operate. O n this, writers as different as Burke and M i l l and M a r x are i n agreement, although most of the earlier

Models and Precursors

liberal theorists, from say Locke to Bentham, paid little atten t i o n to this. A n d i t has generally been seen, at least i n the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that the most important way i n which the whole bundle of social institutions and social relations shapes people as political actors is i n the way they shape people's consciousness of themselves. For instance, when, as i n the M i d d l e Ages a n d for some time after, the prevailing social arrangements have induced v i r t u a l l y everyone to accept an image o f the h u m a n being as h u m a n by virtue of his accept i n g the obligations of his rank or his 'station i n life', a traditional hierarchical political system w i l l work. W h e n a commercial and an industrial revolution have so altered things that that image is no longer accepted, a different image is required. I f i t is an image o f m a n as essentially a maximizing consumer and appropriator we get a new consciousness, w h i c h permits and requires a quite different political system. I f , later, i n revulsion against the results of this, people come to t h i n k of themselves i n some other way, some other political system becomes pos sible a n d even needed. So, i n looking at models of democracypast, present, and prospectivewe should keep a sharp look-out for t w o things: their assumptions about the whole society i n w h i c h the demo"cratic political system is to operate, and their assumptions about the essential nature of the people who are to make the system work (which of course, for a democratic system, means the people i n general, not just a r u l i n g or leading class). T o speak, as I have just done, o f 'the society i n which a democratic political system is to operate' may seem to suggest that only a political system is entitled to be called democratic, that democracy is merely a mechanism for choosing and authorizing governments or i n some other way getting laws and political decisions made. But we should bear i n m i n d that democracy more often has been, a n d is, thought of as m u c h more t h a n that. F r o m M i l l through L . T . Hobhouse, A . D . Lindsay, W o o d r o w Wilson, and J o h n Dewey, to the current proponents of participatory democracy, i t has been seen as a quality pervading the whole life and operation of a national or., smaller community, or i f you like as a kind o f society>, a whole set of reciprocal relations between the people who make u p the

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nation or other unit. Some theorists, mostly twentieth-century ones, insist on keeping the two senses separate. Some w o u l d even exclude the second sense altogether, by defining demo cracy as simply a system of government. But i n any realistic analysis the two senses merge into each other. For different models of democracy, i n the narrow sense, are congruent w i t h , and require, different kinds of society. Enough now has been said about models i n general to i n d i cate why an analysis of liberal democracy may conveniently be cast i n terms of models. T o examine models of liberal demo cracy is to examine what the people who want i t , or want more of i t , or want some variant of the present form of i t , believe i t is, and also what they believe i t m i g h t be or should be. This is more than one can do by simply analysing the operations and institutions of any existing liberal democratic states. A n d 'this extra knowledge is i m p o r t a n t . For people's beliefs about a political system are not something outside i t , they are part of i t . Those beliefs, however they are formed or determined, do ' determine the limits and possible development o f the system: they determine what people w i l l p u t up w i t h , and what they w i l l demand. I n short, to work i n terms of models makes i t easier to keep i n m i n d that liberal democracy {like any other political system) has two necessary ingredients that may not appear on the surface: (a) to be workable, i t must be not far out of line w i t h the wants and capabilities of the human beings who are to work i t ; hence, the model of democracy must con tain (or take for granted) a model of m a n ; and ( b ) , since i t needs general assent and support i n order to be workable, the model must contain, explicitly or i m p l i c i t l y , an ethically justificatory theory. (ii) Why historically successive models ? I f our object is to examine the limits and possibilities of con temporary liberal democracy, why should we indulge i n a 'Life and Times'? W h y not confine ourselves to a current analysis? W o u l d i t not be simpler to set up a single model of present liberal democracy, b y listing the observable characteristics of the practice a n d theory common to those twentieth-century states w h i c h everyone w o u l d agree to call liberal democracies,

Models and Precursors that is, the systems i n operation i n most of the English-speaking w o r l d and most of Western Europe? Such a model could easily be set u p . T h e m a i n stipulations are fairly obvious. Govern ments and legislatures are chosen directly or indirectly by periodic elections w i t h universal equal franchise, the voters' choice being normally a choice between political parties. There is a sufficient degree of civil liberties (freedom of speech, publication, and association, a n d freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment) to make the right to choose effective. There is formal equality before the law. There is some pro tection for minorities. A n d there is general acceptance of a principle o f m a x i m u m i n d i v i d u a l freedom consistent w i t h equal freedom for others. M a n y contemporary political writers do set up such a model. I t can serve as a framework for investigating and dis playing the actual, the necessary, and the possible workings of contemporary liberal democracy. I t can also be used to argue the ethical superiority of liberal democracy over other systems. W h y then should we not use a single model con structed from present practice and present theory? Why.look at successive models that have prevailed i n t u r n i n t h e century or so d o w n to our time ? T h e simplest reason is that using successive models reduces the risk of myopia i n l o o k i n g ahead. I t is all too easy, i n using a single model, to block off future paths; all too easy to fall into t h i n k i n g that liberal democracy, now that we have attained i t , by whatever stages, is fixed i n its present mould. Indeed, the use of a single contemporary model almost commits one to this position. For a single model of current liberal democracy, i f i t is to be realistic as an explanatory model, must stipulate cer t a i n present mechanisms, such as the competitive party system and wholly indirect (i.e. representative) government. B u t to doj this is to foreclose options that may be made possible by changed \ social and economic relations. There may be strong differences o f opinion about whether some conceivable future forms of democracy can properly be called liberal democracy, b u t this is something that needs to be argued, not p u t out of court by d e f i n i t i o n / O n e of the things that needs to be considered is whether liberal democracy i n a large nation-state is capable o f

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moving to a mixture of indirect and direct democracy: that is, is capable o f m o v i n g i n the direction o f a fuller participation, w h i c h may require mechanisms other than the standard party system. There is another reason for preferring successive models: their use is more likely to reveal the full content o f the con temporary model, the full nature of the present system. For the presently prevalent model is itself an amalgam, produced by p a r t i a l rejection and partial absorption of previous models. Each of the first three models I have chosen has been for a time the prevalent model, that is, has been the one generally ac cepted, by those who were at a l l favourable to democracy, as a statement of what democracy is, what i t is for, and what insti tutions i t needs. A n d each successive model, after the first, was formulated as an attack on one or more of the previous models. Each has been offered as a corrective to or replacement of its predecessor: the p o i n t of departure has always been an attack on at least some part o f a preceding model, even when, as has often been the case, the new model embodied substantial el ements of a n earlier one, sometimes w i t h o u t the formulators apparently being aware of this. Thus each of the models is to some extent an overlay on previous ones. So we are more likely to see the full nature of contemporary liberal democracy, and its possible future direction and limits, by looking at the suc cessive models, and at the reasons for their creation and for their failure. (iii) Why these models ? Even i f we are persuaded of the merits o f model-building, and of the value of analysing liberal democracy by examining successive prevalent models, the question, may be asked, w h y choose, as I have chosen, to.go back no farther than the: nine-, teenth century?, W h y not go back at least to Rousseau or Jefferson, or to the democratic ideas associated w i t h seven teenth-century Puritanism, as is more usually done by those who want to trace the roots o f modern liberal democracy? This question cannot, w i t h o u t circular reasoning, be settled simply by definition. One could easily p u t forward a definition of liberal democracy by w h i c h some pre-nineteenth-century

Models and Precursors

theories and visions of democracy w o u l d qualify for inclusion. Thus if, as seems not unreasonable, one reduced the essentials of liberal democracy to three or four stipulationssay, an ideal o f equal i n d i v i d u a l rights to self-development, equality before the law, basic civil liberties, and popular sovereignty w i t h an equal political voice for all citizensleaving out any stipulations about representation, party systems and so on, then some earlier ideas of democracy could be included as liberal democratic. Equally reasonably, by putting i n stipula tions about representation etc. one may exclude various earlier concepts. The definition of the model depends on value judge ments about what are the essentials, and those judgements can not be defended merely by i n v o k i n g a definition. Are we left, then, w i t h no basis for choosing between possible starting-points for liberal democracy? I think not. For i f our concern is w i t h the possible future of liberal democracy, we must pay attention to the relation between democratic institu tions and the underlying structure of society. A n d there is one such relation, largely neglected by current theorists of liberal democracy, w h i c h may be thought to be decisive. This is the relation between democracy and class. I want now to argue that the most serious, and least exam ined, problems of the present and future of liberal'democracy arise f r o m the fact that liberal democracy has typically been designed to f i t a scheme of democratic government onto a class-divided society; that this fit was not attempted, either i n theory or i n practice, u n t i l the nineteenth century; and that, therefore, earlier models and visions of democracy should not be counted as models of liberal democracy.
PRECURSORS OF L I B E R A L DEMOCRACY

(i) Democracy and class As soon as attention is focused on the relation between demo cracy and class, the historical record falls into a new pattern. I t is, of course, not new to notice that i n the m a i n Western t r a d i t i o n of political thought, from Plato a n d Aristotle down to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, democracy, when i t was thought of at a l l , was defined as rule by the poor, the

i o

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and Times of Liberal

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ignorant, and incompetent, at the expense of the leisured, civilized, propertied classes, Democracy, as seen from the upper layers o f class-divided societies, meant class rule, rule by the w r o n g class. I t was a class threat, as incompatible w i t h a liberal as w i t h a hierarchical society. The main Western tradi t i o n down to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that is to say, was undemocratic or anti-democratic. But there were, indeed, i n that whole stretch of over 2000 years, recurrent democratic visions, democratic advocates, and even some examples o f democracy i n practice (though these never embraced a whole political c o m m u n i t y ) . W h e n we look at these democratic visions and theories we shall find that they have one t h i n g i n common, w h i c h sets them sharply apart from the liberal democracy of the nineteenth and twentieth cen turies. This is, that they all depended on, or were made to fit, a non-class-divided society. I t is hardly too much to say t h a t for most of them democracy was a classless or a one-class society, not merely a political mechanism to fit such a society. These earlier models and visions of democracy were reactions against the class-divided societies of their times. As such they may properly be called U t o p i a n , an honourable name derived f r o m the title of Thomas More's astonishing sixteenth-century work Utopia, This puts them i n striking contrast to the liberal-democratic tradition f r o m the nineteenth century on, which accepted and acknowledged f r o m the beginningand more clearly at the beginning than l a t e r t h e class-divided society, and set out to fit a democratic structure onto i t . The concept o f a liberal democracy became possible only when theoristsfirst a few and then most liberal theorists found "reasons for believing t h a t 'one man, one vote' w o u l d not be dangerous to property, or to the continuance o f classdivided societies. T h e first systematic thinkers to find so were Bentham and James M i l l , i n the early nineteenth century. As we shall see ( i n Chapter I I ) they based that conclusion on a mixture of t w o things: first, deduction f r o m their model of m a n (which assimilated all m e n to a model of bourgeois m a x i m i zing m a n , from w h i c h i t followed t h a t all h a d an interest i n maintaining t h e sanctity of property); a n d second, their

Models and Precursors observation of the habitual deference of the lower to the higher classes. So I find the watershed between Utopian democracy and liberal democracy to come i n the early nineteenth century. T h a t is my reason for treating the pre-nineteenth-century theories as precursors of liberal democracy, rather than treat i n g any of them, say Rousseau or Jefferson or any of the seventeenth-century Puritan theorists, as part of the 'classical' liberal democratic tradition. This is not to say that the prenineteenth-century concepts have been neglected or dismissed b y the twentieth-century theorists. O n the contrary, the earlier concepts have not infrequently been d r a w n i n and appealed to, particularly by twentieth-century exponents of what I am calling M o d e l 2. But this has not been m u c h help to such exponents, for they have generally failed to notice that the class assumptions of the earlier theories were incongruous w i t h their own. I have said that those who presented favourable models or visions of democracy before the nineteenth century intended them to fit, or to be, either classless or predominantly one-class societies. Before looking at the pre-nineteenth-century record i t w i l l be well to state more specifically what is meant by class i n this context. Glass is understood here i n terms of property: a class is taken to consist of those who stand i n the same relations of ownership or non-ownership of productive land and/or capital. A some w h a t looser concept of class, defined at its simplest i n terms of rich and poor, or r i c h and middle and poor, has been p r o m i nent i n political theory as far back as one likes to go, though i n the earliest theories (such as Aristotle's) the criterion of class was only i m p l i c i t l y ownership of productive property. However, the view that class, defined at least i m p l i c i t l y i n terms of pro d u c t i v e property, was an i m p o r t a n t criterion of different forms of government, and even an i m p o r t a n t determinant of what forms of government could come into existence and could work, was a view held by Aristotle, by M a c h i a v e l l i , by the seventeenth-century English republicans, and by the American Federalists, long before M a r x found i n class conflict the motor of history.

12

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and Times of Liberal

Democracy

Some of the non-democratic theorists who gave class a central place i n their analyses (for instance, H a r r i n g t o n ) were much concerned w i t h distinctions between classes based not j u s t on property or no property, b u t on different kinds of property relations, such as feudal versus non-feudal. But the democratic theorists generally kept their eyes on a simpler distinction': that between societies w i t h two classes, societies w i t h only one class, and societies w i t h no classes. Thus, some of the earlier Utopians (like the present-day communists) have en visaged a society w i t h no i n d i v i d u a l ownership of productive land or capital, hence no property classes: this we may call a classless society. Different f r o m this is the idea of society where there is i n d i v i d u a l ownership of productive l a n d and capital and where everyone owns, or is i n a position to own, such property: this we may call a one-class society. Finally there is the society where there is i n d i v i d u a l ownership of productive land and capital and where not everyone, b u t only one set of people, owns such property: this is the class-divided society. T h e distinction here made between 'classless' and 'one-class' may seem somewhat a r b i t r a r y : the societies, or visions o f society, I am so describing m i g h t both of them be properly enough described by either term. But since the two societies are significantly different, two different terms are needed to describe them, and i t is more i n accord w i t h modern usage to keep the t e r m 'classless' for a society w i t h no private ownership of productive land or capital, and 'one-class' for a society where everyone does or may o w n such productive resources. (ii) Pre-nineteenth-century theories as precursors Let us now look at the record of democratic theory before the nineteenth century. I n the ancient w o r l d there were of course some outstanding actual functioning democracies, most notably the Athens celebrated by Pericles. But no record o f any substantial theory justifying or even analysing democracy has survived from that era. W e may surmise that any such Aristotle did briefly analyse various kinds of 'democracy', under which head he included systems with a moderate property qualification for voting. He was strongly opposed to full democracy: the only kind in which he found any merit was one in which 'husbandmen and those of moderate fortune' had supreme power (Politics, iv c. 6, 1392 b; cf. vi c. 4 , 13118 b).
1 1

Models and

Precursors

13

theory w o u l d have taken, as the required base for democracy, a citizen body made up mainly of persons not dependent on employment by others: that, at least, w o u l d correspond pretty well to the facts, as far as we know them, about the Athenian city-state i n its democratic period, which has been well de scribed as a property-owning democracy. We do not know i f such a requirement, w h i c h amounts'to "the requirement of a one-class citizen body, was built into a theoretical model, since no theoretical model has come down to us: there can be no more t h a n a reasonable supposition that i t was. I n the M i d d l e Ages one w o u l d not expect, nor does one find, any"theory of democracy, or any demand for a democratic franchise: such popular uprisings as flared u p from time to time were not concerned about an electoral franchise, for at that time power d i d not generally lie i n elected bodies. Where feudalism prevailed, power depended on rank, whether i n herited or acquired by force of arms. No popular movement, however enraged, w o u l d t h i n k that its aims could be achieved by its getting the vote. A n d i n the nations and independent city-states of the later M i d d l e Ages also, power was not to be sought i n that way. Where voices were raised and rebellions mounted against the late medieval social order, as i n the Jacquerie i n Paris (1358), the uprising of the Giompi i n Florence (1378), and the Peasants' Revolt i n England (1381), the demands were for levelling of ranks, and sometimes for levelling of property, rather than for a democratic political structure. T h e y wanted either a classless communistic society, " as indicated i n the sentiment attributed to J o h n Ball, of Peasants' Revolt fame: 'Things cannot go well i n England, nor ever w i l l , u n t i l all goods are held i n common, and u n t i l there w i l l be neither serfs nor gentlemen, and we shall all be equal', or a levelled society where all might have property. There is no record""of any o f these movements having produced any sys tematic theory, nor having sketched a democratic political structure. W h e n we move on to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries we do find some explicit democratic theories. T w o democratic currents appear then i n England. One of t h e m has a classless
2
2

Q u o t e d i n M . Beer: A History of British

Socialism, L o n d o n , 1929, i . 28.

14

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

base, the other a one-class base. T h e democratic Utopias o f those centuries, the best-known o f w h i c h are More's Utopia (1516) and Winstanley's The Law of Freedom '(1652), were classless societies. They were envisioned as replacing classdivided societies : their authors constructed them to denounce all class systems of power. F i n d i n g the basis of class oppression and exploitation.in the institution o f private property, they replaced i t by communal property and communal work. These early modern visions o f democracy were visions o f a funda mentally equal, unoppressive society, as well as prescriptions for a scheme of government. Such a society h a d to be classless, and to be classless i t had to be without private property. The other seventeenth-century democratic current, i n so far as i t flowed i n political and not simply religious channels, is no less related to class. English Puritanism, i n that century, was rife w i t h democratic ideas. A l t h o u g h these were generated by controversies about church government, and were actually p u t into effect only i n that sphere (and, very briefly, i n the a r m y ) , they d i d spill over into ideas about civil government, especially i n the period o f the C i v i l Wars and the Commonwealth. But, except for such extreme radical Utopians as Winstanley, the groups and movements whose political t h i n k i n g may be said to have emerged f r o m democratic Puritanism were not politi cally democratic. They d i d not go so far as to demand full popular sovereignty or a fully democratic franchise. The Presbyterians and the Independents insisted on a prop erty qualification for the franchise. About the position o f the other m a i n political movement, the Levellers, who were for a few years d u r i n g the C i v i l Wars very strong, there is some dispute. I have shown elsewhere that the Levellers, as an organized movement, speaking i n concerted manifestos, i n tended to exclude all wage-earners and alms-takers (more t h a n h a l f the adult males) from the franchise. But some historians
3 4

The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, Oxford, 1962, Democratic Theory, Essays in Retrieval, Oxford, 1973, Essay 12.
3

ch.

3;

and

Keith Thomas : 'The Levellers and the Franchise', in G. E. Aylmer (ed.): The Interregnum: the Quest for Settlement, 640-1660, London, 1972; and M . A. Barg, as cited in Christopher Hill: The World Turned Upside
Down, London, 1972, pp. 94, 97.

Models and Precursors

15

have argued, in. reply, that the Levellers, i n their i n d i v i d u a l writings and speeches, were not unanimous about this, and that some o f them were full democrats. I f this is allowed as a possible interpretation of the statements of some of the Level lers, we have to ask what class structure was thought, by any democratic Levellers, to be consistent w i t h or required by the democracy they wanted? T h e answer is clear. A l l the Levellers were strongly against the class differences they saw around them, w h i c h enabled a class of landlords and moneyed men to dominate and exploit the men of small property {and even to reduce the latter to men of no property). Some of the most vehement Leveller tracts saw a class conspiracy of the men of wealth and rank, a n d wanted to p u t i t down. T h e ideal of all the Levellers was a society where all men had enough property to work o n as independent producers, and where none had the k i n d or amount of property w h i c h w o u l d enable them to be an exploitive class. I n short, the Levellers, whether or not any of them embraced full democracy, all cherished, the ideal of a one-class society. T h e Levellers had the same historical view o f society as Rousseau was to have a century later. They found that the r o t had set i n w i t h exploitive private property. The small private property of the independent producer was a natural right. The large private property w h i c h enabled its owner to exploit the rest was a contradiction of natural right. W h e n we reach the eighteenth century we find some sub stantial theoriesnot m a n y w h i c h are usually, and quite properly, called democratic. W e may take, as the leadings eighteenth-century exponents of democracy, Rousseau and Jefferson: their democratic ideas have been more influential, more carried over i n t o our o w n time, than any others of that century. M u c h as Rousseau's and Jefferson's positions differed
5

5 e.g. those c i t e d i n The Political


I 5

Theory of Possessive Individualism,

pp.

e James M a d i s o n has n o d o u b t been a t least as i n f l u e n t i a l as Jefferson, i f n o t m o r e so* i n A m e r i c a n t h i n k i n g : R o b e r t D a h l for instance b u i l d s his twentieth-century model o f democracy largely on Madison. A n d M a d i s o n appears t o be a n e x c e p t i o n t o m y g e n e r a l i z a t i o n , for he d i d , i n the 1780s, recognize a class-divided society, a n d d i d t r y t o fit a system o f g o v e r n m e n t to i t B u t he is n o e x c e p t i o n , for t h e system he proposed c a n scarcely be

16

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

i n other respects, both o f them required a society where every one had, or could have, enough property to work on or work w i t h , a society of independent producers (peasants or farmers, and craftsmen), not a society divided i n t o dependent wageearners on the one hand, and, on the other, land and capital owners on w h o m they were dependent. Rousseau's position is clear. Private property is a sacred i n d i v i d u a l right.? But only the moderate property o f the small working proprietor is sacred. A n unlimited properly l i g h t , Rousseau argued forcefully i n his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (1755), was the source and the continuing means of exploitation and unfreedom: only a l i m i t e d right was morally justifiable. H e reasserted this position i n The Social Contract (1762). T h e first property, property I n the original means of producing the means o f life, was property i n a piece of land. The original r i g h t to land, the right of the first occupier, was l i m i t e d i n t w o ways: 'a man must occupy only the amount he needs for his subsistence; and . . . possession must be taken, not by any empty ceremony, b u t by labour a n d cultivation'. So Rousseau found a basis i n natural right for his insistence on l i m i t e d property. He needed such a limited property right for another reason, w h i c h he also made explicit: only such a l i m i t e d right was consistent w i t h the sovereignty o f the general w i l l . A t r u l y democratic society, a society that would be governed by the called democratic: one need only look at his anxiety to protect 'the minority of the opulent against the majority' (Max Farrand (Ed.): The Records of the Federal Convention 178-7, revised edn., New Haven and London, 937> i- 430; h.is provisions against the dominance of 'faction', which he defined as 'a number of citizens, whether a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion or of interest' {Federalist Papers, No. 1 0 ) ; and his insistence on a natural right to unequal property, which must be protected against democratic levelling propensities (ibid.). He cannot, therefore, be enlisted as a pre-nineteenthcentury liberal democrat. the right of property is the most sacred of all the rights of citizenship, and even more important in some respects than liberty itself. . . . property is the true foundation of civil society'. Discourse on Political Economy {1758) in The Social Contract and Discourses (trans. G. D. H. Cole), Everyman's Library, 1927, p. 3 7 1 . Bk. I, ch. 9, in ibid., p, 20,
r 8

Models

and Precursors

general w i l l , requires such an equality o f property that 'no citizen shall ever be wealthy enough to buy another, and none poor enough to be forced to sell himself'. The reference to buying and selling persons is apparently not a reference to slavery, for this principle is set out as a permanent rule for citizens, i.e. free m e n : presumably, then, i t is a p r o h i b i t i o n o f the purchase and sale of free wage labour. Again, 'laws are always o f use to those who possess and harmful to those who have n o t h i n g : from which i t follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all have something and none too m u c h ' . Rousseau's' reason for requiring such equality was clear enough. I t followed directly f r o m his insistence on the sover eignty of the general w i l l . For where differences o f property divide men into classes w i t h opposed interests, men w i l l be guided by class interests, which are, vis-a-vis the whole society, particular interests; so they w i l l be incapable of expressing a general w i l l for the common good. The emergence and steady operation o f the general w i l l required a one-class society of working proprietors. Such a society was to be achieved by government action: ' I t is therefore one of the most i m p o r t a n t functions o f government to prevent extreme inequality of for tunes; not by taking away wealth from its possessors, but by depriving all men of means to accumulate i t ; not by b u i l d i n g hospitals for the poor, but by securing the citizens from becoming p o o r . '
8 1 0 11

W h e n we t u r n to the theorist who is often accounted the first great American proponent of democracy we find a similar, though less systematic, argument. Thomas Jefferson treated the common people as trustworthy - to an extent unusual i n most subsequent Presidents of the U n i t e d States. I t w o u l d be unduly cynical to t h i n k that this was because he was w i t h out the temptations afforded by modern techniques o f presi dential public relations. I n any case, he made i t clear, both i n his public statements and his private letters, that his trust i n the people was trust i n the independent worker-proprietor, o Bk. I I , ch. 11, in ibid., p. 45. Bk. I , ch. 9, in ibid., p. 22, n. 1. Discourse on Political Economy, in ibid., p.
1 0
1 1

267.

18

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

w h o m he saw as the backbone, and hoped would remain the backbone, of American society. I n his most substantial published work, the Motes on Virginia (1791), he was clear that his favourable estimate of h u m a n nature was confined to those who had substantial economic independence: Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition . . . generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any State to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good enough barometer whereby to measure the degree of its corruption . . . The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body.
12

T h e same principle is expressed i n a letter to J o h n Adams i n 1813: Here everyone may have land to labor for himself, i f he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age. Every one, by his property or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the, support of law and order. And such men may safely and advantageously reserve to themselves a wholesome control over their public affairs, and a degree of freedom, which, in the hands of the canaille of the cities of Europe, would be instantly perverted to the demolition and destruction of everything public and private.
13

Democracy, for Jefferson, required a society i n which everyone was independent economically. Reasoning from the American situation, Jefferson d i d not require that everyone should be a worker-proprietor, b u t only that everyone could be one i f he wished. H e had no objection to wage-labour, but only because, w i t h free l a n d available, wage-earners were as independent as husbandmen. N o r d i d he object to some men, like himself, having substantial estates, provided that everyone else had, or could have, a small estate sufficient to make h i m independent. I n the circumstances w h i c h Jefferson saw prevailing i n A m e r i ca, and w h i c h he considered prerequisite for democracy anyNotes on Virginia, Q u e r y X I X , i n Saul K . Jefferson, N e w Y o r k , 1943, p p . 6 7 8 - 9 . I b i d . , pp. 285-6.
1 2 1 3

P a d o v e r : The

Complete

Models

and Precursors

19

where, there was, therefore, no fundamental class division. H e allowed the existence of a wage-relation only because i t d i d "riot, i n those circumstances, make a class-divided society. - Jefferson's prerequisite for a democracy was, like Rousseau's, a one-class society. I t may be objected that the k i n d of society envisaged by these pre-nineteenth-century democratic writers as a pre requisite of democracy was not after all a one-class society, i n that i t w o u l d still leave women as a subordinate class, unable to o w n productive property i n their own right. Moreover, as we have seen, the point emphasized by the democratic oppo nents of class-divided society was that any class w i t h o u t pro ductive property was dependent on and exploited by the class w i t h such property. I t may well be argued that women were i n just that position, and certainly the early democratic writers were not conspicuous for taking any stand against i t : Rousseau indeed thought that women ought to be kept dependent. Were not these writers, then, assuming what must be called a classd i v i d e d society? I think not. For d o w n to the nineteenth century women were commonly considered not full members of society.. They were i n , b u t not of, civil society. I t w o u l d scarcely occur to a theorist, i n describing or prescribing the class character of a society, to treat them as a class. A n eighteenth-century demo crat could think of a one-class society excluding women as easily as an ancient A t h e n i a n democrat could think of a oneclass society excluding slaves. N o r can women be said to have been a class i n any full sense. T r u e , i n so far as women could not own property they meet our m i n i m u m definition o f a class. A n d i n so far as they were kept dependent and exploited they fit the underlying concept of class as a n exploited/exploiter relation. But there is a very great difference between the way they were exploited and the way the propertyless w o r k i n g class (who were also considered i n the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to be not full members of civil society ) were exploited. T h e difference is I . t h i n k so great as to make i t inappropriate to describe women as a class.
14

1* Of. The Political

Theory of Possessive Individualism,

pp. 221-9.

20

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

For from t h * seventeenth century on, as the capitalist market relation replaced feudal or other status relations as the means by which owners benefited from the work of non-owners, i t was understood that the only permissible arrangement for such benefit was the relation between free wage-earners hd''whers of the capital w h i c h employed them. /The wage relation, a strictly market , relation, became the-criterion of class. A n d i n the eighteenth century, when Rousseau and Jefferson were stipulating a one-class society, and for some time after that, women were not a class by that criterion. They were indeed exploited by the male-dominated society; which'made most o f them perform the function of reproducing the labour force for no more reward than their subsistence. But they were made to do this by legal arrangements akin to a feudal (or even slave) relation, rather than by a market relation. I n so far as class was, and was seen to be, determined by the capitalist market relation, women as such were not, and w o u l d not be thought to be, a class. T h a t being so, writers who inveighed against class-divided society while not treating women as a class, were genuinely stipulating a one-class society. We are therefore, I think, still entitled to refer to the pre-nineteenthcentury democratic theorists as advocates of a one-class (or classless) society. This brief survey of models of democracy earlier than the nineteenth century is, I hope, sufficient to sustain my general ization that all of them wfere fitted either to a classless or to a one-class society. A n d that is' why I t h i n k that all o f the pre- ' nineteenth-century democratic theories are better treated as being outside the liberal-democratic tradition. T o be counted i n that tradition a theory should surely be both democratic and liberal. But w h a t is usually, and I think rightly, considered to be the liberal t r a d i t i o n , stretching from Locke and the Encyclopdistes down to the. present, has from the beginning included an acceptance o f the market freedoms of a capitalist society. T h e pattern is clear enough. T h e seventeenth- and eighteenthcentury liberals, who were not at all democratic (from, say, Locke to Burke) fully accepted capitalist market relations. So d i d the early nineteenth-century liberal-democrats, how

Models and Precursors

21

strongly i n the cases of Bentham and James M i l l we shall see i n Chapter I I . T h e n from about the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, as we shall see i n Chapter I I I , the liberal-democratic thinkers tried to combine an acceptance of the capitalist market society w i t h a humanist ethical position. This produced a model of democracy notably different from Bentham's, b u t still i n c l u d i n g acceptance of the market society. Since the liberal component of liberal demo cracy has pretty constantly included acceptance o f capitalist relations and hence o f class-divided society, i t seems appro priate that the pre-nineteenth-century democratic theories, all of which rejected the class-divided society, should be placed outside the liberal-democratic category. They were, so to speak, handicraft models o f democracy, and as such are best considered as precursors of liberal democracy. I f this is thought to be still a somewhat arbitrary division, I shall not insist. The i m p o r t a n t t h i n g is not the classification, but the recognition o f how deeply the market assumptions about the nature of m a n and society have penetrated liberaldemocratic theory. The reader may wonder whether the grounds offered for this classification do not commit the author to the proposition that liberal democracy must always embrace the capitalist market society w i t h its class-division. I f l i b e r a l ' has always meant that, or at least has always included that, should i t con tinue to be used only w i t h that meaning? Is i t not then incon sistent to go on to inquire, as I do i n Chapter V , into the prospects of a democratic theory which downgrades or aban dons the market assumptions, and to treat this as an i n q u i r y into a possible future model of liberal democracy? I do not t h i n k any of these questions ar.e to be answered i n the affirmative. I w o u l d argue that the reason l i b e r a l ' d i d mean acceptance of the capitalist market society, d u r i n g the formative century of liberal democracy, does not apply any longer. Liberalism had always meant freeing the i n d i v i d u a l from the outdated restraints of old established institutions. By "the time liberalism emerged as liberal democracy this became a claim to free all individuals equally, and to free them to use and develop their h u m a n capacities fully. But so long as there

22

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

was an economy of scarcity, i t still seemed to the liberal demo crat that the only way to that goal was through the productivity of free-enterprise capitalism. Whether this was i n fact the only way as late as the early twentieth century may be doubted, but there is no doubt that the leading liberal democrats thought i t to be so; and as long as they d i d , they had to accept the linkage of market society w i t h liberal-democratic ends.. But this linkage.is.no longer necessary. I t is no longer necessary, ' that is to say, i f we assume that we have now reached a techno logical level o f productivity w h i c h makes possible .a good life for everybody w i t h o u t depending on capitalist incentives. T h a t assumption may of course be challenged. But i f i t is denied, then there seems no possibility of any new model of democratic society, and no point i n discussing such a model under any designation, liberal or otherwise. I f the assumption is granted, the previously necessary linkage is no longer neces sary, and a new model not based on the capitalist market may properly be considered under the heading 'liberal-democratic'. I n the following chapters I shall examine three successive models of liberal democracy that may be said to have prevailed i n t u r n from the early nineteenth century to the present, and shall go on to consider the prospects o f a fourth. T h e first model I call Protective Democracy: its case for the democratic system of government was that nothing less could i n principle protect the governed from oppression by the government. T h e second is called Developmental Democracy: i t brought i n a new moral dimension, seeing democracy p r i m a r i l y as a means of i n d i v i d u a l self-development. T h e t h i r d , Equilibrium Democracy, abandoned the moral claim, on the ground that experience of the actual operation o f democratic systems had shown that the developmental model was quite unrealistic: the equilibriumtheorists offered instead, a description (and justification) of democracy as a competition between elites w h i c h produces e q u i l i b r i u m w i t h o u t much popular participation. This is the presently prevalent model. Its inadequacy is becoming increas ingly apparent, and the possibility o f replacing i t w i t h some t h i n g more participatory has become a lively and serious issue. So this study goes o n to consider the prospects and problems of a fourth model, Participatory Democracy.

II
Model i : Protective Democracy

THE BREAK I N THE DEMOCRATIC T R A D I T I O N

Whatever may be thought of Tennyson's lines about freedom slowly broadening d o w n from precedent to precedent, i t is clear that this is not the way we reached our present liberal democracies. I t is true that i n the present liberal democracies the universal franchise d i d generally come by stages, start i n g f r o m a restrictive property qualification, moving at dif ferent speeds i n different countries to manhood suffrage, and finally i n c l u d i n g women suffrage. But before this expan sion o f the franchise had begun at a l l , the institutions and ideology , of liberal individualism were firmly established. T h e only apparent exceptions to this rule were no exceptions. Some European countries, notably France, d i d have manhood franchise before the liberal market society had fully established itself there. But since the assemblies elected by that franchise did not have the power to make or unmake governments, the arrangements cannot be deemed democratic: the extent o f the franchise is a measure of democratic government only i n so far as the exercise o f the franchise can make and unmake govern ments. So we may say that by the time the movement for a fully democratic franchise h a d gathered m o m e n t u m anywhere, the concept o f democracy w h i c h that franchise was to embody was very different from any of the earlier visions of democracy. Thus there is a sharp break i n the p a t h from pre-liberal to liberal democracy. A fresh start was made i n the nineteenth century, from a vry different base. The earlier concepts of democracy, as we have seen, had rejected class division, believ i n g or hoping that i t could be transcended, or even assuming

24

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

that i n some placesRousseau's Geneva or Jefferson's America i t had been transcended. L i b e r a l democracy, on the con trary, accepted class division, and built on i t . T h e first formulators of liberal democracy came to its advocacy through a chain o f reasoning which started from the assumptions of a capitalist market society and the laws of classical political economy. These gave them a model o f m a n (as maximizer of "utilities) and a model of society (as a collection of individuals w i t h conflicting interests). F r o m those models, and one ethical principle, they deduced the need for government, the desirable functions of government, and hence the desirable system o f choosing and authorizing governments. T o see how deeply their models of m a n and society got into their general theory, and hence into their model of liberal democracy as the best f o r m of government, we shall do well to look more closely than is usually done at the theories of the two earliest systematic exponents of liberal democracy, Jeremy Bentham and James Mill.i We may start w i t h Bentham, the original systematizer of the theory that came to be known as Utilitarianism, and b r i n g i n James M i l l when, as sometimes happened, he stated the U t i l i t a r i a n case more clearly than Bentham, or when his reser vations and ambiguities were different from Bentham's. James M i l l was a thorough disciple o f Bentham, and a m u c h more disciplined writer, so he often put the Benthamite case more strikingly than the master himself. A n d by the time Bentham
James M i l l ' s m o d e l can be d a t e d precisely a t 1820, i n his famous a r t i c l e o n Government. B e n t h a m ' s m a y be d a t e d 1820 (see p . 35, n . 22) or 1818, w h e n he p r o d u c e d the t w e n t y - s i x Resolutions on Parliamentary Reform, w h i c h w o u l d a d m i t t o the franchise ' a l l such persons as, b e i n g o f the m a l e sex, o f m a t u r e age, a n d o f s o u n d m i n d , shall . . . have been resident either as householders or inmates, w i t h i n the d i s t r i c t o r place i n w h i c h t h e y are called u p o n t o vote'. (Works, ed. B o w r i n g , E d i n b u r g h a n d L o n d o n , 1843, x . 497.)
1

O t h e r s , indeed, h a d advocated e q u a l m a n h o o d suffrage s o m e w h a t earlier, n o t a b l y M a j o r J o h n C a r t w r i g h t , as e a r l y as 1776, i n his Take Your Choice!, a n d C o b b e t t i n his Political Register. B u t n e i t h e r o f t h e m can be said to have set u p a f u l l y reasoned m o d e l , a n d such t h e o r e t i c a l grounds as t h e y d i d offer were b a c k w a r d - l o o k i n g : t h e i r appeal was t o the n a t u r a l r i g h t s o f f r e e b o r n E n g l i s h m e n (before the restrictions o f the franchise b y 8 H e n r y V I , c. 7 ) ; a n d there was n o awareness o f the changed class s t r u c t u r e or o f the significance o f the n e w i n d u s t r i a l w o r k i n g class.

Model

i:

Protective Democracy

25

p u t his m i n d to the question o f the best form o f government, their minds r a n i n parallel, and they were i n close touch w i t h each other. So i t w i l l do no injustice to either to treat them almost as a unit. I t must be said that w i t h Bentham and James M i l l liberal democracy got off to a poor start. I t is not that they were i n competent theorists. O n the contrary, Bentham became de servedly famous as a thinker, and the most influential doctrine of the English nineteenth century was named after h i m . A n d James M i l l , though not of the very first rank, was a clear and forceful writer. A n d the general theory o f Utilitarianism, from w h i c h they both deduced the need for a democratic franchise, seemed both fundamentally egalitarian and thoroughly busi nesslike. I t was both, and that was the trouble. I shall suggest that i t was the combination of an ethical principle of equality w i t h a competitive market model o f man and society that logically required both thinkers to conclude i n favour o f a democratic franchise, b u t made them do so either ambiguously or w i t h reservations.
T H E U T I L I T A R I A N BASE

The general theory was clear enough. T h e only rationally defensible criterion of social good was the greatest happiness of the greatest number, happiness being defined as the amount of i n d i v i d u a l pleasure minus pain. I n calculating the aggregate net happiness of a whole society, each i n d i v i d u a l was to count as one. W h a t could be more egalitarian than that as a funda mental ethical principle? B u t to i t were added certain factual postulates. Every i n d i v i dual by his very nature seeks to maximize his own pleasure w i t h o u t l i m i t . A n d although Bentham set o u t a long list o f kinds o f pleasure, including many non-material ones, he was clear that the possession o f material goods was so basic to the attainment of all other satisfactions that i t alone could be taken as the measure o f them all. 'Each portion o f wealth has a corresponding p o r t i o n o f happiness.' A n d again: ' M o n e y is
2

Principles Legislation,
2

of the Civil Code, Part I , ch. 6, in Bentham: The Theory of ed, G. K. Ogden, London, 1931, p. 103. (I have preferred this

Boqazict Umversitesi Kutuphanest

26

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

the instrument of measuring'the quantity o f pain or pleasure. Those who are not satisfied w i t h the accuracy of this instru ment must find out some other that shall be more accurate, or b i d adieu to politics and morals,' So each seeks to maximize his own wealth w i t h o u t l i m i t . One way of doing this is to get power over others. 'Between wealth and power, the connexion is most close and i n t i m a t e ; so i n t i mate, indeed, that the disentanglement of them, even i n the imagination, is a matter of no small difficulty. T h e y are each of them respectively an instrument of production w i t h relation to the other.' A n d again, ' h u m a n beings are the most powerful instruments o f production, and therefore everyone becomes anxious to employ the services of his fellows i n m u l t i p l y i n g his o w n comforts. Hence the intense and universal thirst for power; the equally prevalent hatred of subjection.' . James M i l l was even more forthright. I n his 1820 article Government, he wrote:
3 4 5

That one human being will desire to render the person and prop erty of another subservient to his pleasures, notwithstanding the pain or loss of pleasure which i t may occasion to that other indivi dual, is the foundation of government. The desire of the object implies the desire of the power necessary to accomplish the object. The desire, therefore, of that power which is necessary to render the persons and properties of human beings subservient to our pleasures is a grand governing law of human nature . . . The grand instru ment for attaining what a man likes is the actions of other men. Power . . . therefore, means security for the conformity between the will of one man and the acts of other men. This, we presume, is not a proposition which will be disputed.
6

W i t h this grand governing law of h u m a n nature, societyjs a collection of individuals incessantly seeking power over and at the expense of each other. T o keep such a society from flying apart, a structure of law both civil and c r i m i n a l was seen to be edition to the version printed in the Bentham Works edited by Bowring, vol. i.) On the abstraction from reality required to assert this proposition, see below, p. 30, at n. 1 a. W. Stark (ed.): Jeremy Bentham's Economic Writings, i. 117. Constitutional Code, Bk. 1, ch. 9, in Works, ed. Bowring, ix. 48. Stark (ed.): iii. 430. Section I V (p. 17 of the Barker edition, Cambridge, 1937).
3
1

Model

i:

Protective Democracy

27

needed. Various structures of law might be capable of provid i n g the necessary order, but, o f course, according to the U t i l i t a r i a n ethical principle, the best set of laws, the best dis t r i b u t i o n of rights and obligations, was that w h i c h w o u l d pro duce the greatest happiness o f the greatest number. This most general end o f the laws could, Bentham said, be divided into four subordinate ends: 'to provide subsistence; to produce abundance; to favour equality; to m a i n t a i n security.'
7

B E N T H A M ' S ENDS OF

LEGISLATION

Bentham's arguments as to how each of these ends could be achieved (and how not) are revealing. Together they amount to a case for a system o f u n l i m i t e d private property and capitalist enterprise, and this apparently deduced f r o m the factual postulates about h u m a n nature and a few others. Let us look i n t u r n at his arguments under each head. JJirst, subsistence. T h e law need do nothing to ensure that enough w i l l be produced to provide subsistence for everyone. What can the law do for subsistence? Nothing directly. A l l i t can do is to create motives, that is, punishments or rewards, by the force of which men may be led to provide subsistence for themselves. But nature herself has created these motives, and has given them a sufficient energy. Before the ide of laws existed, needs and enjoyments had done in that respect all that the best concerted laws could do. Need, armed with pains of all kinds, even death itself, commanded labour, excited courage, inspired foresight, developed all the facul ties of man. Enjoyment, the inseparable companion of every need satisfied, formed an inexhaustible fund of rewards for those who surmounted obstacles and fulfilled the end of nature. The force of the physical sanction being sufficient, the employment of the politi cal sanction would be superfluous.
8

W h a t the laws can do is to 'provide for subsistence indirectly, by protecting men while they labour, and by making them sure of the fruits o f their labour. Security for the labourer, security for the fruits of labour; such is the benefit of laws; and i t is an inestimable benefit.'
9

Part I , ch. 2 ; Ogden (ed.): op. est., p. Ibid., Part I , ch. 4 ; Ogden, p. too. < Ibid. >
1 Principles of the Civil Code,
8

96.

28

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

The curious point here is that Bentham, i n invoking fear of starvation as a natural incentive to the productive labour w h i c h w o u l d provide subsistence for everybody, has slipped from t h i n k i n g of a p r i m i t i v e society ('before the idea of laws existed'), where fear of starvation w o u l d have that effect on everybody, to an advanced nineteenth-century industrial society, where that does not apply w i t h o u t an additional pro viso. I n a p r i m i t i v e society w i t h such a low level of productive technique that the incessant labour of all was needed (and was seen by all to be needed) to avoid general starvation, the fear of starvation w o u l d be a sufficient incentive to the productive labour that would produce subsistence for all. But i n a society whose productive techniques are sufficient to provide subsist ence for everyone w i t h o u t such incessant labour by everyone, like England i n Bentharn's time, fear of starvation is not i n itself a sufficient incentive. I n such a society, fear of starvation w i l l be an incentive to incessant labour only where the institu tions of property have created a class who have no property i n land or working capital, and no claims on society for their support, and hence must sell their labour or starve. So keen a thinker as Bentham could scarcely have failed to see this, had he not been taking for granted the existence of such a class as inevitable i n any economically advanced society. A n d we know the he d i d assume this: T n the highest state of social prosperity, the great mass of citizens w i l l have no re source except their daily industry; and consequently w i l l be always near indigence.' Already we can see the teachings of classical political economy subverting the egalitarian principle. A similar shift takes place i n his argument about ' a b u n - . dance'. Here he seems to slip from t h i n k i n g of a society of independent producers to thinking of his own advanced society, applying to the latter a generalization about incentives appar ently d r a w n from the former. No legislation, he says, is needed to encourage individuals to produce abundance of material goods. N a t u r a l incentives are enough, because everyone's desire is infinite. Each want satisfied produces a new want. So there is a strong and permanent incentive to produce more.
10 1 0

Ibid., Part I , ch. 14; Ogden, p. 127.

Model

1:

Protective

Democracy

29

Bentham does not notice that this incentive, which may prop'erly enough be postulated of the capitalist entrepreneur and "possibly of the self-employed independent producer, cannot very well apply to the wage-earners, who are 'always near indigence'. Hedoesnotsee this, because he has created his model of m a n i n the image of the entrepreneur or the independent producer. He could do that because he had no historical sense. I t is only when we come to his argument under the heads of equality and security that we can see the f u l l extent to which his acceptance of capitalism undermined his egalitarian ethical principle. The case for 'equality', that is, for everyone having the same amount of wealth or income, is set out clearly. I t rests on what came to be k n o w n as the law of diminishing u t i l i t y , w h i c h point's out that successive increments of wealth (or of any material goods) b r i n g successively less satisfaction to their holder, or, that %person w i t h ten or a hundred times the wealth of another has m u c h less than ten or a hundred times as much pleasure. Given that all individuals have the same capacity for pleasure, and that 'each portion o f wealth has a corresponding portion of happiness', i t follows that 'he who has the most wealth has the most happiness', b u t also that 'the excess i n happiness of the richer w i l l not be so great as the excess of his w e a l t h ' . F r o m this i t follows that aggregate happiness w i l l be greater the more nearly the distribution o f wealth approaches equality: m a x i m u m aggregate happiness requires that all individuals have equal wealth.
11

This case for equality requires, as we have noticed, an assumption of equal capacities for pleasure. For i f some were assumed to have a greater capacity for pleasure, i.e. a greater sensitivity or sensibility, i t could be argued that aggregate happiness w o u l d be maximized by their having more wealth t h a n the others. Bentham was not very consistent about this. H e prefaced the 'diminishing returns' argument for equality by setting aside 'the particular sensibility of individuals, and . . . the exterior circumstances i n which they may be placed'. These must be set aside, he said, because 'they are never the same for two individuals', so that, w i t h o u t setting those differ ences aside, ' i t w i l l be impossible to announce any general n Ibid., Part I , ch. 6; Ogdcn, p. 103.

30

The Life
12

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

p r o p o s i t i o n ' . Yet elsewhere'he pointed out that, besides par ticular i n d i v i d u a l differences i n sensibility, there were differ-? ences between whole categories of individuals. There was a difference i n sensibility as between the sexes: ' I n point o f quantity, the sensibility of the female sex appears i n general to be greater than that of the m a l e . ' A n d , of more direct importance i n an argument that depends on a relation be tween pleasure and wealth, Bentham saw a difference i n sensibility between those of different 'station, or rank i n life': 'Caeteris paribus, the q u a n t u m of sensibility appears to be greater i n the higher ranks o f men than i n the l o w e r . ' I f Bentham had acknowledged such a property-class differential when making his case for equality of wealth, his case w o u l d have been destroyed: he w o u l d have been endorsing the position of E d m u n d Burke. Perhaps he was. Perhaps he saw no need to mention that differential when stating his case for equality because he had already decided that the claims of equality were entirely subordinate to the claims o f security.
13 14

I n any case, having said this m u c h under the head o f 'equality', Bentham turned to 'security', that is,- security-of property and o f expectation o f return f r o m the use of one's labour and property. W i t h o u t security of property i n the fruits o f one's labour, Bentham says, civilization is impossible. N o one w o u l d form any plan of life or undertake any labour the product of w h i c h he could not immediately take and use. N o t even simple cultivation o f the land w o u l d be undertaken i f one could not be sure that the harvest w o u l d be one's own. The laws, therefore, must secure i n d i v i d u a l property. A n d since men differ i n ability and energy, some w i l l get more property than others. A n y attempt by the law to reduce them to equality w o u l d destroy the incentive to productivity. Hence, as between equality and security, the law must have no hesita t i o n : 'Equality must y i e l d . '
15

The argument is persuasive, though i n v a l i d . T r u e , i f one " Ibid.


Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Works, London, 1970, p. 64,
1 3

ch. 6, in

Collected

" Ibid., p. 65.


1 5

Principles of the Civil Code,

Part I , ch.

11;

Ogden, p.

120.

Modeli:

Protective

Democracy

3i

accepts Bentham's premiss that every i n d i v i d u a l by his very nature seeks to maximize his pleasure, and hence his material goods, w i t h o u t l i m i t , and at the expense of others, i t does follow that security for the fruits of one's labour is needed to convert the search for gain into an incentive to produce. But i t does not follow, as Bentham argued, that n o society above savagery is possible, w i t h o u t t h a t security, ..unless security for the fruits o f one's labour is stretched to include the security of subsistence enjoyed by the slaves i n ancient high civilizations. Forced labour, whether i n the form of slavery or i n any other form, is quite capable of sustaining a high level of civilization; and on Bentham's o w n premiss that everyone seeks power over others because ' h u m a n beings are the most powerful instru ments of production , he could scarcely rule this out as u n natural. I n fact, as we shall see i n a moment, rather t h a n r u l i n g i t out he endorses i t . However, i f he had been content to l i m i t his case for security of property to the case for security for the fruits o f one's labour, he w o u l d have had a fairly effective case. But he was not con tent w i t h that. H e made another o f his unconscious shifts. H e went on to' a very different proposition: that security of any existing k i n d o f established property, i n c l u d i n g that w h i c h could not possibly be the fruits of one's o w n labour, must be guaranteed.
5

I n consulting the grand principle of security what ought the legislator to decree respecting the mass of property already existing? He ought to maintain the distribution as i t is actually established, i . . . There is nothing more different than the state of property i n America, in England, in Hungary, and in Russia. Generally, in the first of these countries, the cultivator is a proprietor; i n the second, a tenant; in the third, attached to the glebe; i n the fourth, a slave. However, the supreme principle of security commands the preser vation of all these distributions, though their nature is so different, and though they do not produce the same sum of happiness.
16

Bentham's supporting argument demonstrates again his lack of historical sense. His contention is, t h a t to overturn any exist i n g system o f property is to make impossible any other system w Ibid., Part I , ch. 11; Ogden, p. 119.

32

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

of property. I t does not need a profound knowledge of history to see that this is not so. For instance, the destruction o f the feudal system o f property led to the establishment of an equally firm capitalist system of property; and the same might be said of many previous overthrows of an existing system. I f Bentham's unhistorical postulate had been true, he would have been logically entitled to .conclude that every established system must be maintained, even where i t d i d not 'produce the same sum of happiness'; for the overturning of any system w o u l d then be worse, by the greatest happiness criterion, than any possible benefit from another system. But the postulate is not valid. So -his 'demonstration' that security has absolute p r i o r i t y over equality is not valid. I t m i g h t be thought that Bentham could have established his case of the security of any established system of property, including those w h i c h maintained an extremely unequal distribution of wealth, w i t h o u t relying on his unhistorical pos tulate but simply by invoking another principle w h i c h he an nounced i n the chapter on equality. This is the principle that men i n general appear to be more sensitive to pain than to pleasure, even when the cause is equal. To such a degree, indeed, does this extend, that a loss which diminishes a man's fortune by one-fourth, will take away more happiness than he could gain by doubling his property.
17

But Bentham saw that this alone d i d not justify the mainten ance of great inequality. A l l he concluded f r o m this was that, as between two persons of equal wealth, a redistribution would mean a net loss of happiness. He could have shown further, that as between two persons one of w h o m started w i t h four times the wealth o f another, a redistribution of a quarter of A's wealth to B, which would double B's wealth, would still mean some net loss of happiness. But i f A started w i t h say,-twelve, times the wealth of B, a redistribution of a quarter of A's wealth would quadruple B's wealth, w h i c h presumably would mean a net gain i n happiness. Bentham recognized this. His way o f p u t t i n g i t was to say that i n such a case 'the evil done by an attack on security w i l l be compensated i n part by a good w h i c h Ibid., Part I , ch. 6 ; Ogden, p. 108.
17

Model

Protective Democracy

33
18

w i l l be great i n proportion to the progress towards equality'. So he needed an independent argument to make his case for the absolute p r i o r i t y of security over equality. A n d the inde pendent argument was, as we have seen, based on the i n v a l i d historical postulate. F r o m Bentham's whole treatment of the four subordinate ends of legislation, and from his preceding factual postulates, i t is clear, then, how deeply his general theory was penetrated by bourgeois assumptions. First we have the general postulates: that every person always acts to secure his o w n interest, to maximize his o w n pleasure or u t i l i t y , w i t h o u t l i m i t ; and that this conflicts w i t h everyone else's interest. T h e n the search for the m a x i m u m pleasure is reduced to the search for m a x i m u m material goods and/or power over others. T h e n , postulates d r a w n from his contemporary capitalist society are presented as universally v a l i d : that the great mass of men w i l l never rise above a bare subsistence level; that for them fear of starvation rather than hope of gain is the operative incentive to labour; that, for the more fortunate, hope o f gain is a sufficient incen tive to m a x i m u m p r o d u c t i v i t y ; that, for this hope to operate as an incentive, there must be absolute security of property. Fin ally, we have security o f property elevated to a 'supreme principle' absolutely overriding the principle of equality. The ultimate reason Bentham saw no contradiction here, the reason underlying his unhistorical postulate, is, I suggest, that he was really concerned only w i t h the rationale o f the capitalist market society. I n that society indeed, at least accord i n g to his version of classical political economy, there appeared to be no such contradiction: security of u n l i m i t e d i n d i v i d u a l "appropriation was the very thing which, along w i t h unlimited desire, w o u l d induce the m a x i m u m productivity of the whole system. But to say that security of property, while perpetuating inequality, maximizes productivity, is not to say that i t maxi mizes aggregate pleasure or utility. Bentham has again shifted his ground, how; from aggregate u t i l i t y to aggregate wealth. But these are different. The shift is illegitimate because, by his o w n principle of diminishing u t i l i t y , a smaller national wealth, equally distributed, could yield a larger aggregate u t i l i t y than is Ibid.

34

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

a larger national wealth unequally distributed. B u t Bentham was so imbued w i t h the ethos of capitalism, w h i c h is for maxi mization of w e a l t h and sees i t as equivalent to m a x i m i z a t i o n of u t i l i t y , that he d i d not a d m i t their difference.
THE POLITICAL REQUIREMENT

For this k i n d of society, what k i n d of state was needed? T h e political problem was to find a system of choosing arid author izing governments, t h a t is, sets of law-makers and law-enforcers, who w o u l d make and enforce the k i n d of laws needed by such a society. I t was a double p r o b l e m : the political system should b o t h produce governments w h i c h w o u l d establish and nurture a free market society and protect the citizens from rapacious governments (for by the grand governing principle o f h u m a n nature every government w o u l d be rapacious unless i t were made i n its o w n interest not to be so, or impossible for i t to be so). T h e crucial point i n the solution of this double problem turned out to be the extent of the franchise, along w i t h certain devices such as the secret ballot, frequent elections, and free d o m of the press, w h i c h w o u l d make the vote a free and effective expression of the voter's wishes. The extent and genu ineness of the franchise became the central question because, by the early nineteenth century i n England, theorists were able to take for granted the rest o f the framework of representative . government: the constitutional provisions whereby legislatures and executives were periodically chosen, a n d therefore periodically replaceable, by the voters at general elections, and whereby the c i v i l service (and the military) were subordinate to a government thus responsible to the electorate. So the model w h i c h the nineteenth-century thinkers started from was" a system o f representative and responsible government o f this " k i n d . T h e question t h a t was left for them was, what provisions for the extent and genuineness of the franchise w o u l d b o t h produce governments w h i c h w o u l d promote a free market society and protect the citizens from the government. I f only the first of these requirements had been seen as a problem, something far short of a democratic franchise w o u l d

Model

i:

Protective Democracy

35

have been sufficient. Indeed, something far short of that satis fied Bentham for two decades after he began to t h i n k about political systems. I n a w o r k w r i t t e n between 1791 and 1802 he was for a l i m i t e d franchise, excluding the poor, the unedu cated, the dependent, and w o m e n . I n 1809 he was advocat i n g a householder franchise, one l i m i t e d to those paying direct taxes o n p r o p e r t y . By 1817 he was talking about a 'virtually universal' franchise, excluding only those under age and those unable to read, and possibly excluding women (to give a decided opinion on that 'would be altogether premature i n this place'); b u t i n that same work he said that while he had become convinced of the safeness o f the principle of universal suffrage, he was also convinced 'of the ease and consistency w i t h w h i c h , for the sake o f union and concord, many exclusions might be made, at any rate for a t i m e and for the sake o f quiet and gradual experience.' By 1820 he was for manhood fran chise; b u t even then he said that he w o u l d gladly support the more l i m i t e d householder franchise except that he could not see "that this could .satisfy those excluded, who ' w o u l d perhaps constitute a majority o f male a d u l t s ' . So Bentham was not enthusiastic about a democratic franchise: he was pushed to i t , p a r t l y by his appraisal of what the people by then w o u l d demand, a n d partly by the sheer requirements of logic as soon as he turned his m i n d to the constitutional question.
19 20 21 22

'Every body of men [including whatever body has the power to legislate a n d to govern] is governed altogether by its con ception of what is its interest, i n the narrowest and most selfish --sense o f the w o r d interest: never by any regard for the interest of others.' T h e only way to pre vent'the'government despoilj i n g all the rest o f the people is to make the governors frequently ! removable by the majority o f all the people. T h e powers of government i n the hands of any set of people other than those chosen and removable by the votes of the greatest number
: 23

Principles of Legislation, ch. 13, sect. 9 ; Legislation, p. 8 1 . Plan of Parliamentary Reform, 1818 edn.,
1 9 i0

in Ogden (ed.):
pp. 40 n. and

The Theory of 137.

21

Ibid., pp. 35-7 and 4 1 n.


Radicalism Not Dangerous, in Works, ed. Bowring, iii. 599. Constitutional Code, in Works, ed. Bowring, be. 102.

8 3

2 3

36

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

' w o u l d be necessarily directed to the giving every possible increase to their o w n happiness, whatever became of the happi ness of others. A n d i n proportion as their happiness received increase w o u l d the aggregate happiness o f a l l the governed be d i m i n i s h e d . ' Happiness is a zero-sum game: the more the governors have,' the less the governed have. T h e case for a democratic system is purely the protective case: ' w i t h the single exception of an aptly organized demo cracy, the r u l i n g and influential few are enemies of the subject m a n y : , . . and by the very nature of m a n . . . perpetual a n d unchangeable enemies.'
24 25

A democracy, then, has for its characteristic object and effect, the securing its members against oppression and depredation at the hands of those functionaries which i t employs for its defence . . . Every other species of government has necessarily, for its charac teristic and primary object and effect, the keeping the people or non-functionaries i n a perfectly defenceless state, against the func tionaries their rulers; who being, i n respect of their power and the use they are disposed and enabled to make of it, the natural ad versaries of the people, have for their object the giving facility, cer tainty, unbounded extent and impunity, to the depredation and oppression exercised on the governed by their governors.
26

But while logical deduction from the nature o f h u m a n beings gave an irrefutable case for a democratic constitution, Bentham was ready to compromise i t on grounds of expediency. His final position on female suffrage is a clear example. T h e case for universal franchise required that women, equally w i t h men, should have the vote. Indeed, Bentham argued that, to com pensate for their natural handicaps, women were i f any thingentitled to more votes than men. Nevertheless, he held that there is now such a general presupposition against female suffrage that he could not recommend i t : 'the contest a n d con fusion produced by the proposal of this improvement w o u l d entirely engross the public m i n d , a n d throw improvement, i n all other shapes, to a distance.'
27

" Ibid., p. 95. Ibid., p. 143. 26 Ibid., p. 47. " Ibid., p. 109.
3 5

Model

i:

Protective Democracy

37

So we have Bentham's whole position on the democratic franchise. H e w o u l d be happy w i t h a limited franchise b u t was w i l l i n g to concede manhood franchise. I n principle he even made a case for universal franchise, b u t held that the time was not ripe for i t : to advocate votes for women now w o u l d en danger the chances of any parliamentary reform. A n d we should notice t h a t he moved to the principle of the democratic franchise only when he had become persuaded that the poor w o u l d not use their votes to level or destroy property. The poor, he argued, have more to gain by m a i n t a i n i n g the institu tion of property than by destroying i t , and as evidence he pointed to the fact that i n the U n i t e d States those ' w i t h o u t property sufficient for their maintenance had, for upwards of " fifty years, 'had the property of the wealthy w i t h i n the compass of their legal power' and had never infringed p r o p e r t y .
5 28

JAMES

MILL'S

SEESAW

I t was James M i l l who, i n 1820, made the most powerful case for universal franchise, a n d even that was so guarded and p u t i n such hypothetical terms that i t can be read, and often has been read, 9.S 9. C3.SC for a m u c h less t h a n universal franchise. But though he hedged his conclusions, his argument leads irresistibly to universal franchise. T h e m a i n argument is bolder than Bentham's b u t essentially similar. I t starts w i t h the assertion of what is surely the most extreme postulate about self-interest ever made, before or sincethat grand governing law of h u m a n nature t h a t we have already seen. F r o m this i t followed that those who had no political power w o u l d be oppressed by those who d i d have i t . T h e vote was political power, or at least the lack of the vote was lack o f political ! power. Therefore everyone needed the vote, for self-protection.| N o t h i n g short of 'one person, one vote' could i n principle/j protect all the citizens from the government.
29 s

I b i d . , p . 143. T h e various readings are discussed b y Joseph H a m b u r g e r : 'James M i l l o n U n i v e r s a l Suffrage a n d the M i d d l e Glass', Journal of Politics (196a), v o l . 24, p p . 1 6 7 - 9 0 ; a n d i n H a m b u r g e r : Intellectuals in Politics, John Stuart Mill and the Philosophic Radicals, N e w H a v e n a n d L o n d o n , 1965, p p . 4 8 - 5 3 .
2 2 9

38

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

But i t cannot be said that James M i l l was enthusiastic about democracy, any more than was Bentham. For i n the same article o n Government i n w h i c h he made the case for a universal franchise, James M i l l used considerable ingenuity i n enquiring whether any narrower franchise could give the same security to every citizen's interest as w o u l d universal franchise, and he argued that i t w o u l d be safe to exclude all women, all men under the age of 40, and the poorest one-third of the males over 40. The argument is almost unbelievably crude. His general principle was that ' a l l those individuals whose interests are indisputably included i n those of other individuals may be struck off w i t h o u t inconvenience'. T h a t seems fair enough, but his applications of the principle were brusque and over bearing. I n the first place, M i l l held, this took care of women, 'the interest o f almost all of w h o m is involved either i n that of their fathers or i n that o f their husbands'. I t also permitted the exclusion of all males under some assigned age, about which age 'considerable latitude may be taken w i t h o u t incon venience. Suppose the age of forty were prescribed . . . scarcely any laws could be made for the benefit of all the men o f forty w h i c h w o u l d not be laws for the benefit o f all the rest of the community.' A n d 'the great majority of old men have sons, whose interest they regard as part of their own. This is a law of h u m a n nature. There is, therefore, no great danger that, i n such an arrangement as this, the interests of the young w o u l d be greatly sacrificed to those of the o l d . ' ( M i l l was 47 i n 1820.)
30 31 3 2

W h e n i t came to the question of an allowable property or income qualification, M i l l d i d not even t r y to apply his princi ple of included interests. T h e question M i l l posed was whether, somewhere between a qualification so low as to be of no use and one so h i g h as to constitute an undesirable aristocracy o f wealth, there is one 'which w o u l d remove the right o f Suffrage from the people o f small, or o f no property, and yet constitute an elective body, the interest o f w h i c h w o u l d be identical w i t h
3 0

An Essay on Government,

Ibid., p. 45. Ibid., pp. 46-7.


3 3

ed., B. Barker, Cambridge,

1937,

p.

45.

Model

1:
33

Protective Democracy

39

that o f the c o m m u n i t y ? ' A l t h o u g h this is posed as a question of identity of interests, the answer is i n terms of a calculation of opposed interests. M i l l ' s answer is that a property qualification high enough to exclude u p to one-third of the people (presum ably one-third of the males over 40) w o u l d be safe, because each o f the top two-thirds, who w o u l d have the vote, and who would of course have an interest i n oppressing the excluded one-third, ' w o u l d have only one-half the benefit of oppressing a single m a n . I n that case, the benefits of good Government, accruing to a l l , m i g h t be expected to overbalance to the several members of such an elective body the benefits o f misrule peculiar to themselves. Good Government w o u l d , therefore, have a tolerable security.' By the same token, a property qualification w h i c h excluded more than h a l f of the people was undesirable, for i t w o u l d mean that each voter ' w o u l d have a benefit equal to that derived from the oppression of more than one m a n ' : this benefit w o u l d be irresistible, so t h a t bad government w o u l d be ensured.
34 3 5

We can scarcely avoid asking why James M i l l , after making his strong positive case for universal suffrage, should have raised the question of exclusions at all, let alone p i l i n g up allowable exclusions to such an extraordinary height as he d i d : o f the adult population, some ten-twelfths were exclud able (one-half by sex; at least half the rest by age; o f the remaining quarter, one-third by property). T o say the least, this does give grounds for considering M i l l less than a whole hearted democrat. W h y d i d he do i t , and especially why d i d he a d m i t a property qualification? A n d why, having done this, d i d he conclude his argument by reverting to his case for universal franchise, and say that i t w o u l d not be dangerous because the vast majority o f the lower class w o u l d always be guided by the middle class? M i l l ' s allowing such exclusions may be due to the fact that he, like Bentham, was p r i m a r i l y interested i n an electoral re f o r m w h i c h w o u l d undermine the dominant sinister interest of the narrow landed and moneyed class w h i c h was i n full control
33 i b i d . , p . 49. ' * I b i d . , p . 50. I b i d . , p . 50.
3 5

40

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

before the 1832 Reform B i l l . A b o u t this he was m u c h more of an activist than Bentham: he was not above trying, w i t h some success, to frighten the oligarchy into granting the 1832 Reform (which was far short of manhood suffrage), by holding out the likelihood of a popular revolution i f such reform were not granted, though i t is doubtful i f he himself believed i n the likelihood of such revolutionary a c t i o n . But he was very m u c h aware o f the importance o f getting both working-class and middle-class support for such reform: he was convinced of the importance of public opinion, including the opinion of both those classes. I n pressing for reform, therefore, he must avoid offending either class.
36

N o w M i l l w o u l d not offend either class by p e r m i t t i n g the exclusion of w o m e n : as Bentham at least believed, probably quite correctly, public opinion was far from ready to admit women to the franchise. The notion of excluding all men under the age of 40 was so palpably absurd that i t would not offend anybody. One might indeed argue that such an exclusion would reduce the number of working-class voters more than i n proportion to the well-to-do, i n view of the smaller proportion of the poor who reached the age o f 40, but this point does not seem to have been taken u p by M i l l ' s critics: Macaulay, m u c h his most exhaustive critic, d i d draw attention to the incompetence of M i l l ' s case for excluding w o m e n , but made no reference, to the case for excluding the under-forties: presumably he thought i t be neath notice.
37

The only difficult decision for M i l l was what to say about a property qualification. T o advocate full manhood suffrage w i t h no property qualification would frighten m u c h middleclass o p i n i o n ; to advocate a property qualification w h i c h would exclude a substantial part of the working class w o u l d be to lose their support. So M i l l found himself i n a position which is, oddly enough, parallel to that which he attributed to the
Gf. J o s e p h H a m b u r g e r : James Mill and the Art of Revolution, N e w H a v e n , 1963, especially c h . 3. M a c a u l a y : ' M i l l ' s Essay o n G o v e r n m e n t ' , Edinburgh Review, M a r c h 1829, r e p r i n t e d i n The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, L o n d o n , L o n g m a n s , G r e e n , 1889 ( P o p u l a r E d i t i o n ) , p . 174.
3 6 3 7

Model

1:

Protective

Democracy

41

spokesmen of what he called the opposition party of the r u l i n g class, and he took the same way out. I n an article i n the first number of the radical Westminster Review (January 1824) on'Periodical Literature', M i l l launched an abrasive attack on the Edinburgh Review, w h i c h he said spoke for the anti-Ministerial w i n g of the ruling class. The dilemma of that party, he said, was that, i n order to discredit the M i n i s t r y so as to get themselves i n , they needed to enlist non-ruling-class opinion, since that opinion d i d operate upon the r u l i n g class 'partly by contagion, partly by conviction, p a r t l y by i n t i m i d a t i o n ' ; yet they could not take a position against the present privileges of the r u l i n g class, support from as m a n y as possible of w h o m they p r i m a r i l y needed to get - themselves i n , and of w h i c h they were of course themselves a part. ' I n their speeches and writing's, therefore, we commonly find t h e m playing at seesaw.' N o w they recommend the interests of the r u l i n g class, now the interests of the people. ' H a v i n g w r i t t e n a few pages on one side, they must write as many o n the other. I t matters not how m u c h the one set of principles are really at variance w i t h the other, provided the discordance is not very visible, or not likely to be clearly seen by the party o n w h o m i t is wished that the delusion should pass.'
38

M i l l ' s seesaw i n the article Government is quite parallel: the discordance between his two sets o f principles, the one requir ing universal franchise, the other p e r m i t t i n g enormous exclu sions, is kept 'not very visible' by his recommending a restricted franchise only hypothetically. He later denied that he was advocating the exclusion of women, any more than that of men under the age of forty; his son reports h i m as having said that he was only asking what was the utmost allowable l i m i t o f restriction assuming that the franchise was to be restricted; but the w o r d i n g of the article suggests not that he regarded the restrictions as unfortunately necessary concessions to political realism, but rather that he regarded them as useful i n securing that the electors w o u l d make a good choice.
39 40

as Westminster Review, i . a 18.

39

J. s. M i l l : Autobiography,

ed. Laski, Oxford World's Classics,

1924,

pp.

87-8.

e.g. his statement that 'a very low [property] qualification is of no

42

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

The seesaw i n the article Government is completed by M i l l ' s assurance to his readers, at the very end o f the article, that no danger was to be anticipated f r o m any enfranchisement o f the lower class because the great majority of that class would always be guided by the middle class. Such reassurance to his middle-class readers M i l l m i g h t have thought advisable, since even the-exclusion o f the poorest one-third of the males m i g h t be calculated to leave the working class i n the majority. T e n years after the article Government, and six years after his analysis of the seesaw, he felt able to make his position some what clearer. I n an article devoted to advocating the secret ballot, he wrote: ' O u r opinion, therefore, is that the business of government is properly the business of the rich, and that they w i l l always obtain i t , either by bad means, or good. U p o n this every t h i n g depends. I f they obtain i t by bad means, the government is bad. I f they obtain i t by good means, the government is sure to be good. The only good means of obtain ing i t are, the free suffrage of the p e o p l e . ' This catches nicely the best spirit o f M o d e l i , the high point o f its o p t i m i s m : the democratic franchise w o u l d not only protect the citizens, but would even improve the performance of the r i c h as governors. I t is scarcely a spirit o f equality.
: 11

P R O T E C T I V E D E M O C R A C Y FOR

MARKET

MAN

This was the genesis of the first modern model of democracy. I t is neither inspiring nor inspired. The democratic franchise provisions were p u t i n the model only belatedly. I t is hard to say what had the greater effect i n moving the founders of this model to make their franchise democratic i n principle: whether i t was their realization that nothing less than 'one man, one vote' would placate a working class w h i c h was showing signs of becoming seriously politically articulate (as is suggested by Bentham's remark i n 1820 that he supposed they w o u l d n ' t be satisfied w i t h less), or whether i t was the sheer logic o f their o w n case for reform, resting as i t d i d o n the assumption o f
use, as a f f o r d i n g no security for a g o o d choice b e y o n d t h a t w h i c h w o u l d exist i f n o p e c u n i a r y q u a l i f i c a t i o n was r e q u i r e d ' {Barker ed., p . 4 9 ) . ' O n the B a l l o t ' , Westminster Review, J u l y 830.
4 1

Model

1:

Protective Democracy

43

conflicting self-interested maximizing individuals. Either way, i t is clear that they allowed themselves a democratic conclu sion only because they had convinced themselves that a vast majority of the working-class would be sure to follow the ad vice and example of 'that intelligent, that virtuous rank', the middle class. I t is on that note that James M i l l closed his somewhat ambiguous case for a democratic franchise. I n this founding model of democracy for a modern indus t r i a l society, then, there is no enthusiasm for democracy, no idea that i t could be a morally transformative force; is nothing but a logical requirement for the governance of i n herently self-interested conflicting individuals who are assumed to be infinite desirers of their own private benefits. Its advocacy is based on the assumption that m a n is an infinite consumer, that his overriding motivation is to maximize the flow of satis factions, or utilities, to himself from society, and that a national society is simply a collection of such individuals. Responsible government, even to the extent of responsibility to a democratic electorate, was needed for the protection of individuals and the p r o m o t i o n of the Gross National Product, and for nothing more. I have d r a w n a harsh, but I think fair, portrait of the found ing model of modern Western democracy. I t has nothing i n common w i t h any... of-the earlier, pre-industrial visions of a democratic society. The earlier 'visions had asked for a new k i n d o f m a n . The f o u n d i n g model'of l i b e r a l democracy took m a n as he was, m a n as he had been shaped by market society, and assumed that he was unalterable. I t was on this point chiefly that J o h n Stuart M i l l and his humanist liberal followers i n the twentieth century attacked the Benthamist model. But as we shall see, i n the next chapter, they were not able to get entirely away from i t . For that model d i d fit, remarkably well, the competitive capitalist market society and the individuals w h o had been shaped by i t . A n d that society and those individuals were still well entrenched, i n spite of the humanist revulsion against them, later i n the nineteenth century and i n the twentieth. The revulsion was w h a t sparked the formula t i o n of M o d e l 2, first by J o h n Stuart M i l l ; but the entrench ment of the market society and market m a n sapped the strength of M o d e l 2 f r o m the beginning.

Ill
Model 2: Developmental Democracy

T H E E M E R G E N C E OF M O D E L

We have seen that Bentham and James M i l l had no vision of a new kind o f society or a new k i n d of m a n . They d i d not need such a vision, because they d i d not question that their model of societythe hard-driving competitive market society w i t h all its class-division-was justified by its high level o f material productivity, and that the inequality was inevitable. I n any case, i t was a law of h u m a n nature that every i n d i v i d u a l w o u l d always be t r y i n g to exploit everyone else, so nothing could be done about society. A l l that could be done was to prevent governments oppressing the governed, and for this a mechani cal protective democratic franchise was sufficient. But by about the middle o f the nineteenth century two changes i n that society were thrusting themselves on the atten t i o n o f liberal thinkers, changes w h i c h required a quite differ ent model o f democracy. One change was that the working class (which Bentham'and James M i l l had thought not dan gerous) was beginning to seem dangerous to property. The other was that the condition of the working class was becoming so blatantly i n h u m a n that sensitive liberals could not accept i t as either morally justifiable or economically inevitable. Both these changes raised new difficulties for liberal-democratic theorydifficulties which, as we shall see, were never fully overcome. But those changes d i d make i t clear that a new model of democracy was needed. I t was first provided by J o h n Stuart M i l l . T h a t the younger M i l l d i d arrive at his M o d e l 2 because o f the two actual changes is evident f r o m his o w n writings. He

Model

2:

Developmental Democracy

45

was very m u c h aware of the growing militancy of the working class: the revolutions of 1848 i n Europe, and the phenomenon of the Chartist movement i n England, made a strong impres sion on h i m . So d i d the increasing literacy of the w o r k i n g class, the spread of working-class newspapers, and the increase i n working-class organizing ability shown i n the growth of trade unions and m u t u a l benefit societies. M i l l was convinced t h a t ' t h e poor' could not be shut out or held down much longer. Thus i n the Political Economy he wrote, i n 1848: O f the working men, at least in the more advanced countries of Europe, it may be pronounced certain, that the patriarchal or paternal system of government is one to which they will not again be subject. That question was decided, when they were taught to read, and allowed access to newspapers and political tracts; when dissenting preachers were suffered to go among them, and appeal to their faculties and feelings in opposition to the creeds professed and countenanced by their superiors; when they were brought to gether i n numbers, to work socially under the same roof; when rail ways enabled them to shift from place to place, and change their patrons and employers as easily as their coats; when they were encouraged to seek a share in the government, by means of the electoral franchise. The working classes have taken their interests into their own hands, and are perpetually showing that they think the interests of their employers not identical with their own, but opposite to them. Some among the higher classes flatter themselves that these tendencies may be counteracted by moral and religious education: but they have let the time go by for giving an education which can serve their purpose. The principles of the Reformation have reached as low down in society as reading and writing, and the poor will not much longer accept morals and religion ot other people's prescribing. . . . The poor have come out of leadingstrings and cannot any longer be governed or treated ike children. . Whatever advice, exhortation or guidance is held out to the labouring classes, must henceforth be tendered to them as equals, and accepted by them with their eyes open. The prospect oi the future depends on the degree in which they can be made rational beings.
1

T h e conclusion that something must be done had been made explicit i n 1845 i n the lesson he drew from the Chartist move ment. 1 Principles ofPolitical Economy> Bk IV, ch. 7, sects. 1 and a; in Collected
Works, ed. j . M . Robson, Toronto and London, 1965, iii. 761-3.

46

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

The democratic movement among the operative classes, com monly known as Chartism, was the first open separation of interest, feeling, and opinion, between the labouring portion of the common wealth and all above them. I t was the revolt of nearly all the active talent, and a great part of the physical force, of the working classes, against their whole relation to society. Conscientious and sympath izing minds among the ruling classes, could not but be strongly impressed by such a protest. They could not but ask themselves, with misgiving, what there was to say in reply to i t ; how the existing social arrangements' could best be justified to those who deemed themselves aggrieved by them. I t seemed highly desirable that the benefits derived from those arrangements by the poor should be made less questionableshould be such as could not easily be over looked. I f the poor had reason for their complaints, the higher classes had not fulfilled their duties as governors; i f they had no reason, neither had those classes fulfilled their duties in allowing them to grow up so ignorant and uncultivated as to be open to these mischievous delusions. While one sort of minds among the more fortunate classes were thus influenced by the political claims put forth by the operatives, there was another description upon whom that phenomenon acted in a different manner, leading, however, to the same result. While some, by the physical and moral circum stances which they saw around them, were made to feel that the condition of the labouring classes ought to be attended to, others were made to see that it would be attended to, whether they wished to be blind to it or not. The victory of 1832, due to the manifesta tion, though without the actual employment, of physical force, had taught a lesson to those who, from the nature of the case, have always the physical force on their side; and who only wanted the organization, which they were rapidly acquiring, to convert their physical power into a moral and social one. I t was no longer dis putable that something must be done to render the multitude more content with the existing state of things.
2

One of the things that had to be done 'to render the m u l t i tude more content w i t h , the existing state of things' was to abandon or transform the Benthamite models o f m a n a n d society. A l t h o u g h J o h n Stuart M i l l hoped that the w o r k i n g , class m i g h t i n the future become rational enough to accept the laws o f political economy (as he understood them), he could not expect that they w o u l d accept Bentham's view that the working class was inevitably doomed to near-indigence. N o r
8

(1867),

'The Claims of Labour' ii. 1 8 8 - 9 0 ; Collected

(1845), reprinted in Dissertations and Discussions Works, ed, Robson, 1967, iv. 3 6 9 - 7 0 .

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

47

d i d he want t h e m to accept that view, w h i c h he believed to be false. He thought they could p u l l themselves up out of their miserable condition. A n d he was anxious that they should do so, for he was morally revolted by the life they were compelled to lead. The extent of M i l l ' s abandonment or transformation of the Benthamite models of man, of society, and of democracy, w i l l appear as we look closely (in the next section) at M i l l ' s theory, b u t some of the essential differences can be sketched now. The striking difference i n the models of democracy is i n the purpose which a democratic political system was supposed to have. M i l l d i d not overlook the sheerly protective function of a democratic franchisethe function of w h i c h James M i l l and Behtham had made so much. The people needed to be pro tected against the government f ' h u m a n beings are only secure f r o m evil at the hands of others, i n proportion as they have the power of being, and are, s e l f - j i > r o ^ ^ . ' But he saw some t h i n g even more i m p o r t a n t to be protected, namely, the chances of the improvement of m a n k i n d . So his emphasis was not o n the mere holding operation, b u t on what democracy could contribute to h u m a n development. M i l l ' s model of 'democracy is a moral model. W h a t distinguishes i t most sliarp3

ly from M o d e l 1 is that i t has a moral vision of the possibility of the improvement of m a n k i n d , and of a free and equal society not yet achieved. A democratic political system is valued as a means to that i m p r o v e m e n t a necessary though not a sufficient means; and a democratic society is seen as both a result of t h a t improvement and a means to further improve ment. The improvement that is expected is an increase i n the amount of personal self-development of all the members of the society, or, i n J o h n Stuart M i l l ' s phrase, the 'advancement of community . . . i n intellect, i n virtue, and i n practical activity and efficiency'. The case for a democratic political system is that i t promotes this advancement better t h a n any other political system as well as m a k i n g the best use of the amount o f ' m o r a l , intellectual and active w o r t h already existing, so as to operate w i t h the greatest effect on public affairs'. The w o r t h of an
4
3

Considerations on Representative Government, ch. 3, i n Collected

Works,

ed.

J . M . R o b s o n , v o l . x i x , . T o r o n t o a n d L o n d o n , 1977, p . 404.
4

Ibid., ch. 1, p. 392.

48

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

individual is judged by the extent to which he develops his h u m a n capacities: 'the end of man . . . is the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and con sistent w h o l e . ' This takes us to the root o f M i l l ' s model of democracy. T h e root is a model o f man very different f r o m that on w h i c h M o d e l 1 was based. M a n is a being capable o f developing his powers or capacities. T h e h u m a n essence is to exert and develop them. M a n is essentially not a consumer and appro p r i a t e ^ (as he was i n M o d e l 1) but an exerter and developer and enjoyer of his capacities. T h e good..society...is one w h i c h permits and encourages everyone to act as exerter, developer, and enjoyer of the exertion and development, of his or her o w n capacities. So M i l l ' s model o f the desirable society was very different f r o m the model of society to which M o d e l 1 o f demo cracy was fitted.
5

I n offering this model of m a n and of the desirable society M i l l set the tone which came to prevail i n liberal-democratic theory, and w h i c h dominated at least the Anglo-American concept of democracy u n t i l about the middle of the twentieth century. T h e narrowing stipulation J o h n Stuart M i l l p u t i n his model was dropped by later advocates o f developmental democracy, but the central vision and the argument for i t stayed much the same. This is the democracy o f L . T . H o b house and A . D . Lindsay and Ernest Barker, o f W o o d r o w Wilson and J o h n Dewey and R. M . M a c l v e r : i t is the demo cracy that W o r l d W a r I was to make the w o r l d safe for. I t still touches a chord, especially when liberal societies are con fronted by totalitarian ones, although as we shall see i t has now been pretty well rejected i n favour of what is said to be a more realistic model, the M o d e l 3 that we shall be examining I n the next chapter. But Model, 2 is w o r t h considerable attention, i f only because efforts now being made to go beyond M o d e l 3, to re-moralize democracy under the banner of participatory democracy (our M o d e l 4), encounter some of the same difficulties as d i d M o d e l 2, and w i l l need to learn f r o m its failure.
s

The difficulties encountered by M o d e l 2 i n its first formulation On Liberty, ch. 3; in Collected Works, xviii. 2 6 1 , quoting Humboldt.

Model

2;

Developmental

Democracy

49

were somewhat different from those that beset the later version. So i t w i l l be useful to look at the two versions i n t u r n , as^ Models a A and 2 B , One, difference between them may be stated'Briefly i n advance. M i l l had been deeply troubled by the i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y he saw between the claims of equal h u m a n development and the existing class inequalities of power and wealth. Although he d i d not identify the problem accurately, and so was unable to resolve i t even i n theory, he d i d see that there was a problem and d i d try to deal w i t h i t , at least to the extent o f concerning himself w i t h the necessary social and economic prerequisites of democracy. His twentieth-century followers scarcely saw this as a problem, at least not as the central p r o b l e m : when they d i d not let i t drop virtually out of sight, they treated i t as something which w o u l d or could be overcome i n one way or anotherfor instance, by a revival of idealist morality, or a new level of social knowledge and com munication. Indeed one can see a cumulative decline i n realism from M o d e l 1 through Models 2 A and 2 B . Bentham and James M i l l , i n formulating M o d e l 1, had recognized that capitalism entailed great class inequalities of power and wealth: they were realistic about the necessary structure of capitalist society, though untroubled by i t since i t d i d not conflict w i t h their merely protective democracy. J o h n Stuart M i l l , i n his M o d e l 2 A , was less realistic about the necessary structure of capitalist society : he saw the existing class inequality, and saw ~fhat.it was incompatible w i t h his developmental democracy, Tbut' thought i t accidental and remediable. The twentiethcentury exponents of developmental democracy (our M o d e l 2 B ) were even less realistic than M i l l on this score: they generally wrote as i f class issues had given way, or were giving way, to pluralistic differences w h i c h were not only more manageable b u t also positively beneficial. A n d o n top of this there was a new unrealism i n M o d e l 2 B , a descrip tive unrealism. There had been no question of the two earlier models (1 and 2 A ) being realistic as descriptions of an existing democratic system, for i n no country i n the nineteenth century were governments chosen by manhood suffrage, let alone universal

50
8

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

suffrage. T h e two earlier models were statements of what w o u l d be necessary to achieve at least protection and at best self-development for a l l . But by the first h a l f o f the twentieth century, w i t h at least full manhood suffrage the general rule i n advanced Western countries, a model could reasonably be expected also to'be realistic as a descriptive statement. M o d e l 2 B d i d offer itself as a statement of what the existing system essentially was (which often meant, rather, what the present imperfect system was capable o f becoming), as well as a statement of its desirability. But as a statement o f how the democratic system actually worked M o d e l 2 B was seriously inaccurate, as was demonstrated by the exponents of M o d e l 3. M o d e l 2 B may thus be said to have been doubly unrealistic: i t failed both to grasp the necessary implications o f capitalist society and to describe the actual twentieth-century liberaldemocratic system. T o anticipate our argument one further stage, i t may now be said that the currently prevalent M o d e l 3, w h i c h boasts its realism both as a descriptive and explanatory model and as a demonstration o f the necessary limits o f the democratic princi ple o f effective citizen participation, w i l l be found to fall short o n b o t h counts.
M O D E L 2 A : J . S. M I L L ' S D E V E L O P M E N T A L DEMOCRACY

I have emphasized how different J . S. M i l l ' s model of a desir able society was f r o m Bentham's and James M i l l ' s . T h e differ ence can be made more precise. Bentham and James M i l l accepted existing capitalist society w i t h o u t reservation; J o h n Stuart M i l l d i d not. T h e difference is clearly expressed i n the Although most states in the. United States had manhood white franchise by about the middle of the nineteenth century, manhood franchise can scarcely be said to have been effectively in existence in the United States until the twentieth century. A few European countries in the nineteenth century (France 1848, Germany 1871} had manhood franchise for the national assembly, but the assembly did not choose or control the government. In the United Kingdom, as late as i g u only 5g per cent of adult males had the franchise, that is, had their names on the parliamentary electoral roll. See Neal Blewett: 'The Franchise in the United Kingdom
1885-1918', Past and Present, no. 32 (Dec. 965).
6

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

51

younger M i l l ' s position o n the desirability of 'the stationary state' w h i c h he, like they, thought w o u l d be the culmination of capitalism: they regarded i t w i t h dismay, he welcomed i t . As he p u t i t i n 1848: I confess I am not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the norma! state of human beings is that of strug gling to get on; that the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and tread ing on each other's heels, which form the existing type of social life, are the most desirable lot of human kind, or anything but the dis agreeable symptoms of one of the phases of industrial progress. I t may be a necessary stage in the progress of civilization . . . But i t is not a kind of social perfection which philanthropists to come w i l l feel any very eager desire to assist in realizing . . . I n the meantime, those who do not accept the present very early stage of human improvement as its ultimate type, may be excused for being com paratively indifferent to the kind of economic progress which excites the congratulations of ordinary politicians; the mere increase of production and accumulation.
7

Society, i n the vision of M o d e l 2, need not be, should not be, what M o d e l 1 had assumed i t was and always w o u l d be. I t need not be and should not be a collection of competing, conflicting, self-interested consumers and appropriators. I t could and should be a c o m m u n i t y of exerters and developers of their human capacities. But i t was not that now. The prob lem was to get i t to advance to that. The case for democracy was t h a t i t gave all the citizens a direct interest i n the actions of the government, and an incentive to participate actively, at least to the extent of voting for or against the government, and, i t was hoped, also of i n f o r m i n g themselves and forming their views i n discussions w i t h others. Compared w i t h any oligarchic system, however benevolent, democracy drew the people into the operations of government by giving them all a practical interest, an interest which could be effective because their votes could b r i n g d o w n a government. Democracy w o u l d thus make people more active, more energetic; i t w o u l d advance them ' i n intellect, i n virtue, and i n practical activity and efficiency'.
' Principles of Political Hi. 7 5 4 - 5 . Economy,

Bk. I V , ch.

6,

sect. 2 ; in

Collected

Works,

52

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

This is a rather large claim to make for a system of repre sentative government i n which the ordinary person's political activity is confined to voting every few years for a member o f Parliament, perhaps a little oftener for local councillors, and perhaps actually holding some elective local office. Even so, the claim might be allowed by contrast w i t h any oligarchic system, which positively discourages general interest and i n volvement. By that contrast, democracy might seem to lead to self-sustaining, even self-increasing, advancement of the citi zens i n moral, intellectual, and active worth, every b i t of participation giving an ability and an appetite for more. But here M i l l came up against a difficulty which turned out to be insuperable. T o see what i t was we must look at another basic difference between J o h n Stuart M i l l and Bentham. U n d e r l y i n g the difference i n their moral evaluations of existing society was a difference i n their definitions o f happiness or pleasure, the thing they both held should be maximized. Bentham h a d held that i n calculating the greatest happiness one need take into account only the amounts of undifferenti ated pleasure (and pain) actually felt by the individuals. There were no qualitative differences between pleasures: pushpin was as good as poetry. A n d since, as we have seen, he measured pleasure or u t i l i t y i n terms of material wealth, the aggregate greatest happiness of the whole society was to be attained by maximizing productivity (though even that conclusion was fallacious, as we have noticed). J . S. M i l l insisted, on the contrary, that there were qualita tive differences i n pleasures, and he refused to equate the greatest aggregate happiness w i t h m a x i m u m productivity. T h e greatest aggregate happiness was to be got by permitting and encouraging individuals to develop themselves. T h a t would make them capable o f higher pleasures, and so would increase the aggregate pleasure measured i n both quantity and quality. But at the same t i m e a n d this was the fundamental diffi culty"Mill recognized that the existing distribution of wealth and of economic power made i t impossible for most members of the w o r k i n g class to develop themselves at a l l , or even to live humanly. H e denounced as utterly unjust

Model

2:

Developmental Democracy

53

that the produce of labour should be apportioned as we now see i t , almost i n an inverse ratio to the labourthe largest portions to those who have never worked at all, the next largest to those whose work is almost nominal, and so in a descending scale, the remunera tion dwindling as the work grows harder and more disagreeable, until the most fatiguing and exhausting bodily labour cannot count with certainty on being able to earn even the necessaries of life . . ,
8

This, he said, was the very opposite of the only 'equitable principle' o f property, the principle of 'proportion between remuneration and exertion'. T h a t was the equitable principle because the only justification of the institution of private prop erty was that i t guaranteed to individuals 'the fruits of their own labour and abstinence', not 'the fruits of the labour ond abstinence of others'. A few pages later M i l l gave an extended definition o f prop erty :
9

The institution of property, when limited to its essential elements, consists in the recognition, in each person, of a right to the exclusive disposal of what he or she have produced by their own exertions, or received either by gift or by fair agreement, without force or fraud, from those who produced i t . The foundation of the whole is, the right o f producers to what they themselves have produced.
10

This seems a reasonable extension of the principle first an nounced, at least as far as 'fair agreement' is concerned, though 'gift' raises a problem. W i t h o u t a property right i n what one has exchanged by agreement for the fruits of one's labour, not even the simplest exchange economy w o u l d be possible. But M i l l is talking about a capitalist exchange economy, where the produce is the result of the combination of current labour w i t h capital provided by someone else, and where the labourer gets as his share only a wage, and the capitalist gets the rest, both shares being determined by market competition. M i l l held that this relation was justified also. Speaking of the capitalist's acquisition from the wage contract, he w r o t e : The right of property includes, then, the freedom of acquiring by contract. The right of each to what he has produced, implies a right Ibid-, Bk. I I , ch. J , sect. 3, p..207. Ibid., p. 208. Ibid., Bk. I I , ch. 2, sect. 1, p. 215.
a 1 0

54

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

to what has been produced by'Others, i f obtained by their free con sent; since the producers must either have given i t from good will, or exchanged i t for what they esteemed an equivalent, and to pre vent them from doing so would be to infringe their right of property in the product of their own industry.
11

The owner of the capital, M i l l saw, must have a share of the product, and he held that this was consistent w i t h the equitable principle because capital is simply the product o f previous labour a n d abstinence. This justified the distribution o f the product between wage-labourers and owners o f capital: given competition between capitalists for labourers, and between labourers for employment, there was a fair division between those w h o contributed current labour and those w h o contri buted the fruits o f past labour and abstinence. M i l l acknow ledged that the capital was not usually created by the labour and abstinence o f the present possessor, b u t thought he h a d made a sufficient case for the labour/capital distribution by saying that the present possessor o f capital 'much more prob ably' got i t by gift or voluntary contract than by wrongful dispossession o f those who had created i t by their past labour.
12

The fact that the present possessors may have got some o f their capital by gift, i.e. by inheritance, gave M i l l some u n easiness: i t seemed clearly inconsistent w i t h his equitable principle o f property. B u t he held that the right to dispose o f one's property by bequest was an essential part o f the right o f property. T h e farthest he was w i l l i n g to go was to recommend a l i m i t on the amount any one person could inherit, b u t he set the l i m i t so higheach could inherit enough 'to afford the means o f comfortable independence' that this d i d nothing to resolve the inconsistency. M i l l fell back on the argument that 'while i t is true that the labourers are at a disadvantage compared w i t h those whose predecessors had saved, i t is also true that the labourers are far better off than i f those pre decessors had not saved.'
13 14 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4

Ibid., p. 217. Ibid., pp. 215-16. Ibid., Bfc. I I , ch. 2, sect. 4, p. 225. Ibid., Bk. I I , ch. 2, sect. 1, p. as6.

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

55

Thus M i l l was satisfied that there was no inconsistency be tween his equitable principle of p r o p e r t y r e w a r d i n propor tion to exertionand the principle of reward i n p r o p o r t i o n to the market value of both the capital and the current labour required for capitalist production. Yet, as we have seen, he found the actual prevailing distri bution of the produce o f labour wholly unjust. He found the explanation o f that unjust distribution i n an historical acci dent, not i n the capitalist principle itself. The principle of private property has never yet had a fair trial in any country; and less so, perhaps, i n this country than i n some others. The social arrangements of modern Europe commenced from a distribution of property which was the result, not of just partition, or acquisition by industry, but of conquest and violence: and notwithstanding what industry has been doing for many cen turies to modify the work of force, the system still retains many and large traces of its origin.
15

I t was this original violent distribution o f property, not any t h i n g i n the principle of private property and capitalist enter prise as such, that had led to the present miserable position o f the b u l k of the w o r k i n g class, about the injustice of which M i l l was so outspoken: 'The generality of labourers i n this and most other countries, have as little choice of occupation or freedom of locomotion, are practically as dependent on fixed rules and on the w i l l of others, as they could be o n any system short o f actual slavery.' I n thus p u t t i n g the blame o n the original feudal forcible distribution of property, and the failure o f subsequent prop erty law to rectify i t , M i l l was able to t h i n k that the capitalist principle was not i n any way responsible for the existing i n equitable distributions of wealth, income, and power, and even to t h i n k that i t was gradually reducing them. W h a t he failed to see was that the capitalist market relation enhances or replaces any original inequitable distribution, i n that i t gives to capital part o f the value added by current labour, thus steadily i n creasing the mass of capital. H a d M i l l seen this he could not
16 1 5 16

Ibid., Bk. I I , ch. 1, sect. 3, p. 207. Ibid., p. 209.

56

The Life

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have judged the capitalist principle consistent w i t h his equit able principle. Failing to see this, he found no fundamental inconsistency, and was not troubled by i t . However, the present debased position of the bulk of the working class d i d present an immediate and serious problem to M i l l , and he met i t forthrightly. T h e difficulty was that i n their present condition they were incapable of using political power wisely. M i l l believed indeed that people were capable of becom ing something other than self-interested acquirers of benefit for themselves, b u t he thought that most of them had not yet got much beyond that. I t w o u l d be foolish, he said, to expect the average m a n , i f given the power to vote, to use i t w i t h 'dis interested regard for others, and especially for what comes after them, for the idea of posterity, of their country, or of mankind'. Governments must be made for human beings as they are, or as they are capable of speedily becoming: and in any state of cultiva tion which mankind, or any class among them, have yet attained, or are likely soon to attain, the interests by which they will be led, when they are thinking only of self-interest, will be almost exclu sively those which are obvious at first sight, and which operate on their present condition.
17

This being so, what w o u l d happen i f everyone had a vote? Presumably the selfish society w o u l d continue. But there was worse to be feared than that. For M i l l recog nized that modern societies were divided into two classes w i t h interests w h i c h they believed to be opposed, and w h i c h i n i m p o r t a n t respects M i l l granted were opposed. T h e classes were, roughly, the w o r k i n g class ( i n which he included petty tradesmen) and the employing class, including those who lived on unearned income and those 'whose education and way of life assimilate them w i t h the r i c h ' . T h e ' w o r k i n g class was of course the more numerous/'Onj^jerOTn^jsn^ there fore mean class legislatioh^nThe supposed immediate interest of one class, who must be expected 'to follow their own selfish inclinations and short-sighted notions o f their o w n good, i n
18
1 7

Representative Governments ch. 6 ; in Collected Works, xix,

445,

1 8

Ibid., p. 447.

Model
19

2:

Developmental

Democracy

57

opposition to justice, at the expense of all other classes and of posterity'. Something must therefore be done to prevent the more numerous class f r o m being able to 'direct the course of legislation and administration by its exclusive class interest' (even though this w o u l d be less of an evil than the present class rule by a small class based merely on established w e a l t h ) . M i l l ' s dilemma was a real one, for his m a i n case for a u n i versal franchise was that i t was essential as a means of getting people to develop themselves by participation. M i l l ' s way out was to recommend a system of p l u r a l voting for members of the smaller class, such that neither of the two classes should outweigh the other, and neither therefore w o u l d be able to impose 'class legislation'. Everyone should have a vote, but some should have several votes. O r rather, everyone w i t h certain exceptions should have a vote, and some should have several votes. I n his Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform, published i n 1859, M i l l held that a perfect electoral system required both that every person should have one vote and that some should have more t h a n one vote, and said that neither of these provisions was admissible w i t h o u t the other. But i n Representative Government (1861) he argued for p l u r a l votes for some along w i t h the exclusion of others from any vote at all. The exclusions reflect M i l l ' s acceptance o f the standards o f the market society. Those i n receipt of poor relief were to be excluded: .they had failed i n the market. So were undischarged bankrupts. So were all who d i d not pay direct taxes. M i l l knew that the poor p a i d indirect taxes, but, he said, they d i d n ' t feel them, and therefore w o u l d be reckless i n using their votes to demand government largess. The direct tax requirement was not intended to deprive the poor of a vote: the way out was to replace some of the indirect taxes by a direct head tax which even the poorest w o u l d pay. Again, those who could fflot read, w r i t e , and reckon, were to be ex cluded. This also was not intended as a back-handed way o f excluding a large number of the poor, for M i l l held that society had a duty to p u t elementary schooling w i t h i n reach o f
80 21 1 9 2

Ibid., p. 446. Ibid., ch. 8, p. 467. 21 Ibid., ch. 8, p. 476.

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The Life

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all who wanted i t . But i t would effectively have excluded the poor, for he held that when society had failed to perform this duty (as i t clearly had i n M i l l ' s t i m e ) , the exclusion from the franchise of those who suffered from that failure was 'a hard ship that ought to be b o r n e ' . Whether or not any of these provisions w o u l d have excluded a significant number of the w o r k i n g class, p l u r a l voting was still needed, and was recommended on an additional ground. The system of plural voting would not only prevent class legis lation : i t w o u l d be positively beneficial by giving more votes to 'those whose opinion is entitled to a greater w e i g h t ' by virtue o f their superior intelligence, or the superior develop ment of their intellectual or practical abilities. The rough test of this was the nature of a person's occupation: employers, men of business, and professional people are by the nature of their work generally more intelligent or more knowledgeable t h a n ordinary wage-earners, so they should have more votes. Foremen, as more intelligent than ordinary labourers, and skilled labourers as more intelligent than unskilled, might also be allowed more than one vote each. T o meet M i l l ' s stipula t i o n that the working class as a whole should not have more votes than the employing and propertied class, members of the latter w o u l d have to be given considerably more t h a n two votes each, b u t M i l l excused himself from w o r k i n g out the details. The closest he came to doing so was his suggestion i n Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform that, i f the unskilled labourer had one vote, a skilled labourer should have t w o ; a foreman perhaps three; a farmer, manufacturer, or trader, three or four; a professional or literary m a n , an artist, a public func tionary, a university graduate, and an elected member o f a learned society, five or s i x . M i l l ' s gradations are revealing: the entrepreneur ('farmer, manufacturer, or trader'), w i t h three or four votes, is not m u c h preferred to the foreman, while the intellectuals, artists, and professional people, w i t h five or six votes, are the strongly preferred rank. I t is curious,
22 33 24

2 2 2 3

Ibid., ch. 8, p. 470. Ibid., ch. 8, p. 474.


Collected Works, xix. 324-5.

2 4

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

59

incidentally, i n view of M i l l ' s concern for the rights of women, that he d i d not suggest how the entitlement of those women who were neither employed nor employers, nor professional or propertied persons, to p l u r a l votes was to be determined. The i m p o r t a n t point of principle i n all this is that M i l l argued explicitly that p l u r a l voting on grounds of superior attainments' was positively desirable, not merely negatively desirable as a way of preventing class legislation: I do not propose the plurality as a thing i n itself undesirable, which, like the exclusion of part of the community from the suffrage, may be temporarily tolerated while necessary to prevent greater evils. I do not look upon equal voting as among the things which are good in themselves, provided they can be guarded against inconveniences. I look upon it as only relatively good; less objec tionable than inequality of privilege grounded on irrelevant or adventitious circumstances, but in principle wrong, because recog nizing a wrong standard, and exercising a bad influence on the voter's mind. I t is not useful, but hurtful, that the constitution of the country should declare ignorance to be entitled to as much political power as knowledge.
25

So J o h n Stuart M i l l cannot be ranked as a full egalitarian. Some individuals were not only better than others, b u t better i n ways directly relevant to the political process, better i n ways that entitled t h e m to more political weight. T r u e , part of the reason why they were to be given greater weight was that this w o u l d make for a better society, at least negatively: i t w o u l d reduce the likelihood of short-run narrowly selfish interests being predominant i n legislation and government^ which w o u l d be the outcome of equal weighting. Unequal weighting w o u l d be more likely to lead to a society democratic i n the best sense, a society where everyone could develop his or her h u m a n capacities to the fullest. Nevertheless, unequal political weights for citizens were b u i l t into M i l l ' s model o n a ground w h i c h seems more permanent: as long as people were unequal i n knowledge (and when w o u l d they not be?) equal weighting was wrong i n principle. The weighting M i l l gave to knowledge and skill led h i m also to recommend that Parliament should not itself initiate any
as Representative Government, ch. 8, p. 478 (my italics).

6o

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

legislation but should be confined to approving or rejecting, or sending back for reconsideration b u t not itself amending, legislative proposals all of w h i c h w o u l d be sent up to i t by an expert non-elected Commission. M i l l ' s impatience w i t h exist i n g parliamentary and cabinet procedure is understandable, but his remedy w o u l d reduce the power of the elected legis lature, and so w o u l d contribute to the' disincentive of demo cratic voters t o participate i n the electoral process. I f he realized this, he d i d n ' t m i n d i t , such was the p r e m i u m he placed on expertise. So M i l l ' s model, the original version of M o d e l 2, is a r i t h metically a step backward from M o d e l 1, which had stipulated, i n principle at least, 'one person, one vote'. But i n its moral dimension M o d e l 2 is more democratic than M o d e l 1. M o d e l 2 is not satisfied w i t h individuals as they are, w i t h man as infinite consumer and appropriator. I t wants to move towards a society of individuals more humanly developed and more equally so. I t wants not to impose a U t o p i a on the people but to have the people reach the goal themselves, i m p r o v i n g them selves by participating actively i n the political process, every instalment of participation leading to an improvement i n their political capacity, as well as their all-round development, and making them capable o f more participation and more selfdevelopment. I t is easy now to point to defects and contradictions i n M i l l ' s model. A n obvious one is i n the matter of participation and self-development. Participation i n the political process was necessary to improve people's quality and w o u l d improve i t . But participation w i t h equal weight now w o u l d reinforce low quality. Therefore those who had already attained superior quality, as j u d g e d by their education or station i n life, must not be made to yield t h e i r power to the rest. I n the name of equal self-development, a veto is given to those who are already more developed. But the less developed individuals w i t h i n M i l l ' s model, i f they stayed w i t h i n i t (that is, i f they accepted the inferior electoral weight M i l l gave them), w o u l d know that their wills could not prevail, so w o u l d not have m u c h incentive to participate, so w o u l d not become more developed. A deeper difficulty, which is at the root o f that one, is i n

Model

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61

M i l l ' s model o f m a n and of society. M e n as shaped by the existing competitive market society were not good enough to make themselves better. M i l l deplored the effects o f the exist ing market society on the human character, w h i c h made everybody an aggressive scrambler for his o w n material bene fit. H e deplored most strongly the existing relation between capital and labour, w h i c h debased b o t h capitalist and labourer. H e believed there could not be a decently h u m a n society u n t i l that relation was transformed. He p u t his hopes on an enor mous spreading of producers' co-operatives, whereby work men w o u l d become their o w n capitalists and work for themselves j o i n t l y . He allowed himself to hope that producers' co-ops w o u l d call forth such better workmanship, and thus be so m u c h more efficient units of production, that they w o u l d displace the capitalist organization of production. Yet he accepted and supported the received capitalist prop erty institutions, at least u n t i l such time as they had been modified or transformed by his producer's co-ops; and even then the competitive market system w o u l d still operate, for the separate co-operative enterprises were expected to compete i n the market, and w o u l d be driven b y the incentive of desire for i n d i v i d u a l gain. I n other words, M i l l accepted and supported a system w h i c h required individuals to act as maximizing con sumers and appropriators, seeking to accumulate the means to ensure their future flow of consumer satisfactions, w h i c h meant seeking to acquire property. A system which requires m e n to see themselves, and to act, as consumers and appro priators, gives little scope for most of them to see themselves and act as exerters and developers of their capacities. M i l l d i d indeed h o l d out the prospect that the spread of co-operatives w o u l d b r i n g a 'moral revolution to society': the healing of the standing feud between capital and labour; the transformation of human life, from a conflict of classes struggling for opposite interests, to a friendly rivalry in the pursuit of a good common to a l l ; the elevation of the dignity of labour; a new sense of security and independence i n the labouring class; and the con version of each human being's daily occupation into a school of the social sympathies and the practical intelligence.
26

26

Political Economy,

Bk. IV, ch.

7,

sect.

6;

in Collected

Works,

tit.

79a.

This

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These high hopes remained unfulfilled. Class opposition con tinued, and so long as i t was not offset i n other ways i t w o u l d still require M i l l ' s watering down of democracy. For the rational behaviour of each of those classes is to try to overbear the opposed class, hence the danger M i l l saw of class govern ment, hence the need to deny as much political weight to each member of the more numerous class as to each member of the less numerous class, hence the vicious circle of unequal partici pation justifying continued unequal participation. The failure of the co-operative solution thus left unresolved the contradiction M i l l saw between a universal equal franchise and the greatest happiness of society. There was no way out, given his assumption that the working class would use an equal franchise to enact class legislation not consistent w i t h the longr u n , qualitative, greatest happiness of the whole society. A n d underlying that contradiction was the other one, the contradiction between capitalist relations of production as such and the democratic ideal of equal possibility of i n d i v i d u a l self-development. This contradiction M i l l never fully saw. He came close to seeing i t i n his strictures on the existing l a b o u r capital relation (especially when he was contrasting i t morally w i t h the co-operative relation) ; but, as we have noticed, i n his analysis of capitalist market relations as such, he justified private property i n capital, and the wage-contract, as being consistent i n principle w i t h an equitable system. One might think that the existence of two such serious short comings i n M i l l ' s liberal-democratic theory w o u l d have been enough to prevent i t maintaining, i n the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the position i t had w o n i n mid-nineteenth century as the model of liberal democracy. But this is not quite what happened. A n d i t is easy to see why. I n the first place, the underlying contradiction could be expected to lead to the abandonment of the theory only i f M i l l ' s followers had seen i t as a flaw i n the theory. But i n fact,
contrasts o d d l y w i t h M i l l ' s statement i n 1838: ' T h e n u m e r i c a l m a j o r i t y o f a n y society whatever, m u s t consist o f persons a l l s t a n d i n g i n the same social position, a n d h a v i n g i n the m a i n , the same pursuits, n a m e l y , u n s k i l l e d m a n u a l labourers . . . " ( B e n t h a m ' , i n Essays on Ethics, Religion and Society, Collected Works, x, t o y ) .

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

63

as we shall see i n the last section of this chapter, the later liberal-democratic theorists showed even less recognition t h a n M i l l of any fundamental incompatibility between capitalist market relations and the equal possibility o f i n d i v i d u a l selfdevelopment. So they could, and d i d , still hold to M i l l ' s case for developmental democracy. I n the second place, the incompatibility M i l l had seen be tween a universal equal franchise and the existing opposition of class interests seemed, by the beginning of the twentieth century, to have disappeared. M i l l ' s fear of class government i f there were a universal equal franchise had turned out to be unfounded, at least for the time being. Bentham and James M i l l had been r i g h t about the working class following the lead of the middle class, although as I shall suggest they were right for the wrong reasons. I n any case, when the first large instal ment of manhood equal suffrage was introduced i n England i n 1884, eleven years after M i l l ' s death, and further instalments later, they d i d not b r i n g class rule by 'the w o r k i n g class. So M i l l ' s followers could, and d i d , cheerfully abandon the i n egalitarian provisions of his modelthe p l u r a l voting and the downgrading of the elected legislature i n favour of an expert legislative commissionwhile holding to his main develop mental W e should not, therefore, speak of M o d e l 2 A as a failure. Its m a i n lines continued to be generally accepted by liberaldemocrats, the more easily because its inegalitarian stipula tions could be dropped. They were dropped, partly because they came to appear unnecessary, and partly because i t be came clear that anything of that sort w o u l d be unacceptable to forbiddingly strong popular movements. But this enabled the rest of M o d e l 2 A to live on, as 2 B , well i n t o the twentieth century. The consistent success of the reigning politicians i n the nineteenth century, and of the system itself i n the twentieth
27

T h e s t r e n g t h o f such movements was e v i d e n t i n the a g i t a t i o n for the 1867 R e f o r m B i l l , o f w h i c h M i l l was a close a n d concerned observer, H e w i t h d r e w his u n d e r t a k i n g to endorse the r a d i c a l R e f o r m L e a g u e w h e n he f o u n d t h a t i t was a p p e a l i n g t o p h y s i c a l force to a t t a i n its u n c o m p r o m i s i n g franchise demands. ( M i l l to W . R . C r e m e t , 1 M a r c h m-j, Later Letters; i n Collected Works, x v i . 1247-8.) See also R o y d e n H a r r i s o n : Before the Socialists, Studies in Labour and Politics i86r-r88r, L o n d o n a n d T o r o n t o , 1965, c h . 3.
3 7

64

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

century, i n deflecting the menacing implications o f the demo cratic franchise, delayed the failure o f M o d e l 2 until the mid-twentieth century. A n d i t failed then not because its mid-twentieth-century critics, the exponents of M o d e l 3, had realized or exposed the internal contradictions i n M o d e l 2 , for they d i d not. I t failed for different reasons, which we must now explore.
THE T A M I N G OF T H E D E M O C R A T I C FRANCHISE

Before we look at the fortunes o f the later developmental model, we must examine the reason why the equal manhood franchise d i d not b r i n g about the class government that M i l l had feared, so that the way was left open for the later liberaldemocrats to redeploy M i l l ' s general case. This w i l l help us to understand both the sway o f the later developmental model down to about the middle of the twentieth century, and its ultimate failure. W h a t happened was something w h i c h M i l l d i d not foresee, perhaps could scarcely have foreseen. But the interesting t h i n g is that the later developmental theorists, those who promoted M o d e l 2 B , d i d not seem to see i t or understand i t , though they should have been able to see i t by then. A n d I shall suggest that their failure to see i t was w h a t led to the failure of 2 B and its supersession by M o d e l 3. The reason that the equal manhood franchise d i d not b r i n g about the class government M i l l had feared was the extra ordinary success w i t h w h i c h the party system was able to tame the democracy. This is i m p o r t a n t because, although i t gave M o d e l 2 a new lease on life, i t was i n the end M o d e l 2's u n doing. For i t left the actual democratic political process largely unable to provide the effective degree. o f participation its advocates claimed or hoped for i t , and unable to promote t h a t personal development and moral community which was the m a i n rationale offered for liberal democracy. I t is this w h i c h so undermined M o d e l 2 that i t could be swept aside i n m i d twentieth century b y the apparently more realistic M o d e l 3 examined i n the next chapter. H o w d i d the party system rescue the developmental model

Model

2:

Developmental Democracy

65

and enable i t to hold the field, i n its revised equal-franchise form, for another h a l f century or more? H o w was the party system able to prevent the class take-over that M i l l had feared, and so allow the developmental image of democracy to be maintained b y liberal advocates after the equal franchise had been introduced? A universal equal franchise w o u l d obviously give the preponderant voice to the wage-earning w o r k i n g class i n the more industrialized countries, and to the farmers and other small independent operators (or a mixture o f them and wage-earners) i n the less industrialized ones, and i n both cases a conflict o f interests w i t h established capitalist property was to be expected. H o w could a thing as mechanical and neutral as a system of competing parties prevent the take-over of power by the subordinate b u t more numerous class or classes? W o u l d not a party system, i n so far as i t efficiently represented the numerical weight of the different interests, actually bring about the take-over rather than prevent it? Yet the take-over has been prevented, a n d through the instrumentality o f the party system, i n all the Western democracies. T h e way this has happened has been somewhat different i n different countries, depending partly o n the class composition of the country, p a r t l y on whether there was a responsible nondemocratic party system i n operation before the arrival o f the democratic franchise, artS partly on other differences of national traditions. I cannot attempt here an analysis of all the complex differences between the ways the party systems performed the same basic function i n countries as different as England, the U n i t e d States, Canada, and the various Western European nations. Yet i t is not difficult to see, i f one shifts the focus slightly from that of the usual descriptions of the function of the party system, that its m a i n function is not merely to produce a stable political e q u i l i b r i u m b u t to produce a particular k i n d of equilibrium. I t h i n k i t is not overstating the case to say that the chief function the party system has actually performed i n Western democracies since the inception of a democratic franchise has been to blunt the edge o f apprehended or probable class con flict, or, i f you like, to moderate and smooth over a conflict o f class interests so as to save the existing property institutions and

66

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

the market system from effective attack. This is less evident i n America than i n Europe, where the relation between party and class is generally more obvious. A n d i t is less evident than i t might be to twentieth-century observers anywhere, because of the very success of the party system i n thrusting out of sight class issues which i n the nineteenth century had bulked m u c h larger. T h e function of b l u r r i n g class lines and so mediating between conflicting class interests can be seen to be equally well, per formed by any of three varieties of party system: ( i ) a twoparty (or two dominant parties) system, even where the parties were intended to represent two opposed class interests, as i n England w i t h the Labour and Conservative parties; (2) a twoparty (or two dominant parties) system where each main party is a loose organization of many regional and sectional interests, as i n the U n i t e d States and Canada; or (3) a multi-party sys tem w i t h so many parties that the government generally has to be a coalition, as i n most Western European countries. I n the first case, each party tends to move towards a middle posi t i o n , which requires that i t avoid an apparently class position. I t must do this i n order to be able to project an image of itself as a national party standing for the common good, w i t h out w h i c h image i t fears i t w i l l not stand m u c h chance of longr u n majority support. I n the second case each of the m a i n parties is compelled to act i n a similar way, only more so: each must offer a platform w h i c h is all things to all men and w h i c h is therefore very indefinite. T r u e , i n such a system, a t h i r d or fourth party may start w i t h a position w h i c h has a specific class content, but i f such a party grows to a size that puts i t w i t h i n reach of being the second or first party,, i t has to do the same. I n the t h i r d case, a really multi-party system, where no one party can usually expect a majority, no party can give an unequivocal undertaking to the electorate because b o t h the party and the electorate .know that the party w i l l have to compromise continually i n the coalition government. N o w i t is true that none o f these three b l u r r i n g systems could have operated as they have done i f a bi-polar class-division i n the country as a whole had overridden both the sense of national identity and all sectional, religious, ethnic, and other cross-currents. None o f the three systems could operate as they

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

67

do i f the numerically largest economic class were a singleminded class, whose members were not pulled i n other direc tions by such cross-currents or by traditional attachments. But as i t happened, i n all these countries, at the same time the democratic franchise was becoming operative, there were factors w h i c h weakened the expected bi-polar division between those who supported and those who seemed likely to reject the existing system of property and of market competition. I n nineteenth-century N o r t h America, continental expansion and free land made the largest class, independent farmers and other small working proprietors, the epitome of the petty-bourgeoisie : they wanted private capitalism and the market economy, pro vided only i t was not rigged i n favour of the capitalists of the commercial metropolises. I n the same period, the late nine teenth and early twentieth centuries, the imperial expansion i n which England and most o f the Western European countries were i n d u l g i n g allowed their governments to afford handouts to their electorates w h i c h reduced the working-class pressures for fundamental reforms. H a d i t not been for these factors, the apparently neutral party system could not have done the j o b . But given these factors, w i t h o u t the party system i t is unlikely that the j o b could have been done. T h e party system, i n whichever of its variants, was the means by which the j o b of b l u r r i n g the still underlying class differences was done. T h e party system had a built-in ability to do this because of another feature. W i t h every extension of the franchise, a party system becomes necessarily less responsible to the electorate. Take the classic case o f the English party system. I t had been the effective means of making and u n m a k i n g governments for half a century or more before there was anything like a demo cratic franchise. As long as the franchise was confined to the propertied class, the relatively small number of electors i n each constituency made i t possible for the electors to exert con siderable influence, even control, over their elected member. A n d because the M.P.s could thus be held responsible, to their constituents, or at least to the active party people i n the con stituency,-i.e. to the constituency party, however loosely organized i t m i g h t be, they could not be dominated by the cabinet, i.e. the leading men i n the parliamentary party.

68

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

A l l this changed w i t h the democratization of the franchise. Appeal to a mass electorate required the formation of wellorganized national parties outside the parliamentary parties. Effective organization required centrally controlled party machines. Endorsement by the party machine became vir tually the only way of getting elected to Parliament. The cen t r a l party leadership was therefore able to control its M.P.s. T h e m a i n power fell to the party leaders i n Parliament, for they, i.e. the Prime Minister and his leading cabinet ministers, commanded the threat of expulsion f r o m th party and the threat of dissolving Parliament prematurely, thus compelling new elections. T h e cabinet was thus enabled to dominate Parliament to a h i g h degree. I t still does so. N o t only is i t able to do so: i t is now required to do so. For the universal franchise brought a change i n the basic j o b the political system had to do, a change w h i c h necessitated government control, rather than constituency or outside party control, of the parliamentary party. Before the franchise be came democratic, the function of the system was to respond to the needs of shifting combinations of various elements of the propertied class, w h i c h could best be done by governments w h i c h were responsible, t h r o u g h the M.P.s, to the leadingconstituents. But w i t h the democratic franchise, the system has h a d to mediate between the demands o f two classes, those w i t h and those w i t h o u t substantial property. This has meant that the system has continually to be arranging compromises, or at least apparent compromises. Continual compromise re quires room for manoeuvre. I t is the government that must have this room. I n a m u l t i - p a r t y system, where every govern ment is a coalition, this is understood. I t is not always u n derstood that r o o m for manuvre is just as necessary i n a two-party (or two major parties) system, where the government is normally all from one party. But room for manoeuvre is equally necessary there, for what requires continual compromise is the opposition of interests in the country, whether or not that opposi t i o n is represented w i t h i n the government. A government, especially a majority government, cannot have this room for manuvre i f i t is held closely responsible even to the parlia mentary party, let alone to the outside party as a whole

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

69

through an annual party convention, or to the constituency parties. Every attempt, by democratic reform parties and movements i n parliamentary countries, to make the govern ment and the members of parliament strictly responsible to the popular organization outside has failed. A sufficient reason for the failure is t h a t such strict responsibility does not allow the r o o m for manoeuvre and compromise w h i c h a government made up entirely from one party must have i n order to carry out its function of mediating between opposed class interests i n the whole society. T h e general conclusion from this glance at the party system is that the party system has been the means of reconciling universal equal franchise w i t h the maintenance o f an unequal society. I t has done so by b l u r r i n g the issues and by diminish i n g government's responsibility to electorates. I t has had to do both these things i n order to perform the functions required of i t i n a n unequal society. I t has thus necessarily failed to induce the widespread popular participation i n the political process w h i c h M o d e l 2 required, and hence has failed to develop the active i n d i v i d u a l as citizen, and to promote moral community, as M o d e l 2 expected.
MODEL 2B:

TWENTIETH-CENTURY

DEVELOPMENTAL

DEMOCRACY

While all this was happening, the rationale p u t forward by liberal democrats remained the developmental casesubstan tially M i l l ' s case minus the p l u r a l voting proposal. I shall not take time to examine the democratic theories of the early twentieth-century writers i n detail. But i t may ^con fidently be said that the tone, the ideal, and the basic justifica t i o n are m u c h the same as M i l l ' s i n all the leading English and American theorists o f the first h a l f of the twentieth century, whether i n the philosophic idealist tradition (Barker, Lindsay, M a c l v e r ) , or the pragmatist (Dewey), or the modified u t i l i tarian (Hobhouse). T h e only exceptions were the few theorists who explicitly tried to combine liberal values w i t h some kind o f socialism (Cole, Laski), but they d i d .not significantly deflect the liberal t r a d i t i o n . A n d i n the m a i n liberal tradition of that

70

The Life and Times of Liberal

Democracy

period there was, by comparison even w i t h M i l l , a steady decline i n the realism o f the analyses o f liberal democracy. M i l l had seen the contradiction between his developmental ideal and the class-divided and exploitive society o f his o w n time. Fie failed to resolve i t , even i n theory, because he had not identified i t accurately; he d i d not see that i t was a contradic tion between capitalist relations of production as such and the developmental ideal. But at least he d i d not assume that the democratic political process could itself overcome the class division and exploitation. H e p u t his hopes i n other things as wellproducers' co-operatives, working-class education, etc. These hopes were not fulfilled, b u t at least he d i d not p u t all the burden on the democratic process itself. The theorists o f the first half o f the twentieth century i n creasingly lost sight o f class and exploitation. They generally wrote as i f democracy itself, at least a democracy that em braced the regulatory and welfare state, could do most of what could be done, and most of what needed to be done, to b r i n g a good society. They were, indeed, not insensitive to problems o f the concentration o f private economic power; and they were not friendly towards the individualist ideology, w h i c h they saw underlying the existing order. Lindsay, for instance, was strongly against 'the atomic individualism which has dogged modern democratic theory from the beginning', w h i c h , oddly, he identified not only w i t h Bentham b u t also w i t h M a r x . A n d he d i d not completely accept the existing control of production by capital : 'the application to the government of industry o f . . . democratic principles' w o u l d be 'the fulfilment' o f demo cracy. But what he thought sufficient for the democratic con t r o l of business was some control of monopolistic business. T h e consumers' sovereignty o f a fully competitive market economy was perfectly acceptable,. There was nothing wrong w i t h capi talist relations o f production as such. I n the end, his hope for democracy came down to a more lively flourishing of pluralistic non-political democratic associations 'like churches and universities'.
28

This neo-idealist pluralism was a strong current i n early


2 8

A. D. Lindsay: The Essentials of Democracy, and edn., London, 1935,


G

PP-

, 5> 6 4

A"., 7 3 - 4 .

Model

2:

Developmental Democracy

71

twentieth-century liberal-democratic theory. A n d there was some excuse, or at least some reason, for those theorists' neglect of class division. The democratic party system had apparently solved the p r o b l e m : i t had overcome the danger of class government. But they d i d not see how i t had done this, that is, by reducing the democratic responsiveness of governments to electorates, and so preventing class division from operating politically i n any effective way. So they could, and d i d , write as i f the democratic process were an arrangement whereby rational, well-intentioned citizens, who had of course a whole variety of different interests, could adequately adjust their differences i n the peaceful, rational, give-and-take o f parties and pressure groups and the free press. T h e y allowed them selves to hope that the class issue w o u l d go away: either that i t was already being replaced by pluralistic social groups, or that i t w o u l d be so reduced by the welfare and regulatory state that a democratic society w o u l d be consistent w i t h a capitalist market society. Thus Barker, while seeing an amount of 'class-debate' that required giving some attention to 'reckoning gain and loss between different classes and sections', and while recognizing that some redistribution of rights between classes might be necessary i f ' t h e greatest number are to enjoy the greatest pos sible development of the capacities of personality', considered such redistribution to be 'a matter for constant adjustment and readjustment, as social thought about justice grows and as the interpretation of the principles of liberty and equality broadens w i t h its g r o w t h ' . A n d he thought that the adjustments now required 'may w e l l begin, and may even sometimes remain, at the level of voluntary agreement between voluntary asso ciations (those o f the workers a n d those of the employers), a n agreement based on voluntary consultation and issuing m voluntary co-operation.' W h e n i n this way something had been worked out that was 'so obviously best' as to deserve to be made a general rule, state action w o u l d be appropriate. T n that case the State, w h i c h is not the enemy of Society, b u t rather stands to i t i n something of the relation i n w h i c h a so Ernest Barker: Principles of Social & Political Theory, Oxford, 1951, pp.
39

271-2.

72

The Life and Times of Liberal

Democracy
30

solicitor may stand to a family, w i l l register and endorse this best as a rule for general application and enforcement.' The notion that class differences could be adjusted 'as social thought about justice grows', and that this could be done by voluntary class co-operation aided by a family-solicitor state, is something of a retreat from M i l l ' s appreciation of the class problem. I t also makes M i l l ' s u t i l i t a r i a n analysis appear h a r d headed and realistic i n comparison w i t h the later idealists' reliance on goodwill. I n a similar vein, M a c l v e r defined democratic states as those ' i n w h i c h the general w i l l is inclusive o f the community as a whole or o f at least the greater portion of the community, and is the conscious, direct, and active support of the form of government.'si H e specifically distinguished democratic states from class-controlled states, and found that i n modern civiliza tions classes shaded into one another and had 'no determinate solidarity o f interest'.^ H e drew attention to the enormous range of interest groups and associations, making up a social universe where there is 'ceaseless motion and commotion, struggle and a c c o r d ' . A n d he saw the party system as the effective way o f reducing 'the multitudinous differences of opinion to relatively simple alternatives'. ^ The task o f the democratic state, a task w h i c h i t d i d perform, however roughly, was to express and enforce the general w i l l by representing men as citizens rather than as holders of particular interests.
33 3

The danger is not that particular interests will not be focused and asserted but rather that the general interest may suffer domination through their urgency. Against this danger the chief bulwark is the state, because its organization presupposes and in some degree realizes the activity of the general will. Besides, we must assume that through the rough method of political representation the 'pluses and minuses' of particularist and opposing aims will, as Rousseau said, in a measu're cancel out.
3 0

Ibid., pp. 275-6.

3 1 3 2 3 3

R. M . Maclver 1 The Ibid., p, 403. Maclver: The Web of

Modern State, Government,

Oxford,

1926, 1947,

p.

342. 435;

New York,

p.

cf.

Modern

State, p. 4 6 1 .
3 4

Web of Government, p. 214,

Model

2:

Developmental Democracy

73

. . . Men are not content to be represented simply as farmers or as engineers or as Anglicans or as lovers of music or any other art or recreation: they want also to be represented as citizens. Otherwise the unity of their individual lives is unexpressed, no less than the unity of society. This representation is achieved, no matter how roughly, through the development of the party system. We have seen that though parties are dominated by strong particular inter ests they are i n idea and i n principle the formulations of the broader attitudes of citizenship. Unless they were, the state would fall to pieces.
35

Thus M a c l v e r offered his vision of the essential function o f ' t h e state' as a description of the function actually performed, though imperfectly, by liberal-democratic states through their party systems. '' W h e n we t u r n from the neo-idealist view to J o h n Dewey's pragmatist view of liberal democracies, we find i t less i n d u l gent about their actual operation. Yet he held out as a possi bility and a hope what the idealist pluralists treated as an achievement. H e had few illusions about the actual democratic system, or about the democratic quality of a society dominated by motives o f i n d i v i d u a l and corporate gain. T h e root diffi culty lay not i n any defects i n the machinery of government b u t i n the fact that the democratic public was 'still largely inchoate and unorganized', and unable to see what forces of economic and technological organization i t was up against. There was no use tinkering w i t h the political machinery: the prior p r o b l e m was 'that o f discovering the means by w h i c h a scattered", mobile and manifold public may so recognize itself as to define a n d express its interests'. T h e public's present incompetence to do this was traced to its failure to understand the technological and scientific forces w h i c h had made i t so help less. T h e remedy was to be sought i n more, a n d more widespread, social knowledge: 'democracy is a name for a life o f free and enriching communion. I t had its seer i n W a l t W h i t m a n . I t w i l l have its consummation when free social enquiry is indissolubly wedded to the art of full and m o v i n g c o m m u n i c a t i o n , '
36 37 38

35 Modern State, p p . 4 6 5 - 6 . 3 J o h n D e w e y : The Public and Its Problems (1927), D e n v e r , 1954, p . 109. 3 ' I b i d . , p . 146. 38 I b i d . , p . 184.

74

The Life and Times of Liberal

Democracy

What was needed was not just more educationa remedy to which many earlier liberals had had recoursebut an i m provement i n the social sciences by applying the experimental method and 'the method of co-operative intelligence'. 'The essential need . . . is the improvement of the methods and conditions of debate, discussion and persuasion. T h a t is the problem of the public. . . . this improvement depends essen tially upon freeing and perfecting the processes of i n q u i r y and of dissemination of their conclusions. Also needed was a large measure of social control of economic forces. W r i t i n g under the impact of the great depression, Dewey argued for 'a planned co-ordination of industrial development', preferably by voluntary agreement, perhaps by way of a 'co-ordinating and directive council i n w h i c h captains of industry and finance w o u l d meet w i t h representatives of labor and public officials to plan the regulation o f industrial activity . . .'; i n any case, 'the i n t r o d u c t i o n of social respon sibility into our business system to such an extent that the doom of an exclusively pecuniary-profit industry w o u l d fol l o w . ' A few years later, denouncing 'control by the few o f access to means of productive labor on the part of many', and noting 'the existence of class conflicts, amounting at times to veiled civil war', he argued that liberalism should go beyond the provision of social services 'and socialize the forces of pro duction, now at hand, so that the liberty of individuals w i l l be supported by the very structure of economic o r g a n i z a t i o n ' . But 'the forces of production' w h i c h were to be socialized were science and technology, w h i c h were now perverted from their proper end. This could not be done either by patchwork or by socialist revolution, b u t only by 'the method of cooperative intelligence'. A l t h o u g h he referred more than once to the desirability o f 'a socialized e c o n o m y ' , i t is not at all clear what he had i n m i n d . H e was not interested i n any analysis o f
39 40 41 42 43 44

Liberalism and Social Action (1935), New York, 1963, p. 8 i ; cf. Public and Its Problems, p. 202. Public and Its Problems, p. 208. Individualism Old and New (1929), New York, 1962, pp. 117-18. Liberalism and Social Action, pp. 38, 8 0 , 8 8 .
3 9 4 0 4 1 4 3

4 3 4 4

Ibid., p. 81 Ibid., pp. 90, 9 1 .

Model

2:

Developmental

Democracy

75

capitalism. H e was entirely taken u p w i t h the prospects of a democratic liberalism. Acknowledging 'that our institutions, democratic i n form, tend to favor i n substance a privileged plutocracy', he went on to say: Nevertheless it is sheer defeatism to assume in advance of actual trial that democratic political institutions are incapable either of further development or of constructive social application. Even as they now exist, the forms of representative government are potentially capable of expressing the public will when that assumes anything like unification.
45

W h a t above all was needed was for liberals to apply to 'social relations and social direction' the method of'experimental and cooperative intelligence' that had already accomplished so m u c h ' i n subduing to potential h u m a n use the energies of physical n a t u r e ' . Dewey, then, while far from relying on the existing demo cratic political machinery to b r i n g about the desired trans formation of society, appealed f r o m democratic machinery to democratic humanism. Democracy 'is a way of life': i t 'cannot now depend u p o n or be expressed i n political institutions alone'. The humanistic view which he saw as the essential of democracy must be infused into 'every phase o f our c u l t u r e science, art, education, morals and religion, as well as politics and economics'. This was to be done p r i m a r i l y through the spread of a scientific outlook: 'the future of democracy is allied w i t h the spread of the scientific attitude.' A n d i t must all be done by 'plural, p a r t i a l and experimental methods'.
46 47 48 49

The distance between Dewey's pragmatism, w i t h its strong early twentieth-century influence i n the U n i t e d States, and the pluralist idealism which was so prevalent i n English liberaldemocratic t h i n k i n g i n the same period, is not great. Both saw a need for ' p l u r a l , partial and experimental methods'. The English theorists were more inclined to revert to the values of
4 5 4 0

Ibid., pp. 85-6. Ibid., p. 92.


and Culture, New York, Ibid., p. 125. Ibid., pp. 148, 176. 1939,

'"Freedom
4 8 4 9

pp.

130,

125.

76

The Life

and Times of Liberal

Democracy

ancient Athens, the Americans to the taming of technology; b u t both were f i r m believers i n the efficacy of pluralism. I t is perhaps not unfair to say that all o f them had uncon sciously accepted the image of the democratic political process as a market, a free market i n w h i c h everything w o u l d work out to the best advantage of everybody (or to the least disadvan tage of anybody). T h e y d i d . n o t make the market analogy explicitly, because i t was too crass, too materialistic: they still held to the democratic ideal of i n d i v i d u a l self-development, whereas the market analogy i m p l i e d narrow seeking of i m mediate self-interest. They d i d not wish to impute to the citizen the narrow rationality of market man. But they could and d i d impute a citizen rationality capable of overcoming the imper fections of the actual democratic system. They were encour aged to do this because the actual system had survived: M a c l v e r , for instance, could cite the fact of its survival as evidence that citizens had, i n addition to their particular w i l l , a rational general w i l l as citizens, and that the system d i d allow that w i l l to be expressed. W h a t the twentieth-century developmental theorists d i d not see, as we have noticed, was the extent to which the system had survived by reducing the responsiveness of governments to electorates. I t was the developmental theorists' failure to see this that enabled them to postulate an overriding citizen rationality and b u i l d i t i n t o their descriptive model. A n d i t was their p u t t i n g this i n their descriptive model that left them wide open to the shattering attack of the mid-twentieth-century empirical political scien tists. I n the end, i t was the failure of the developmental theorists to see the difference between the actual democratic system w h i c h was very.much like a market (although far f r o m a fully competitive market), and their idealistic developmental hopes, t h a t led to the f a i l u r e of M o d e l 2 B and its supersession by M o d e l 3, w h i c h was,an entirely tough, and seemingly realistic, market model.
30

5 As quoted above, at n. 35,

IV
Model 3: Equilibrium Democracy

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL

MARKET

ANALOGY

M o d e l 3, the model w h i c h came to prevail i n the Western w o r l d i n the m i d d l e decades o f the twentieth century, was offered as a replacement for the failed M o d e l 2. I t is, to an extent not always realized, a reversion to and elaboration of M o d e l 1. T h a t is the measure at once of its congruence w i t h market society a n d bourgeois m a n , and of its increasingly apparent inadequacy. I have called M o d e l 3 the equilibrium model. I t may equally well be called, as i t sometimes is, the pluralist elitist model. Perhaps the only adequately descriptive name w o u l d be one w h i c h combined all three terms, 'the pluralist elitist e q u i l i b r i u m model', for these three characteristics are equally central to i t . I t is pluralist i n that i t starts f r o m the assumption that the society w h i c h a modern democratic political system must fit is a p l u r a l society, that is, a society consisting of i n d i v i duals each o f w h o m is pulled i n many directions by his many interests, now i n company w i t h one group of his fellows, now w i t h another. I t is elitist i n that i t assigns the m a i n role i n the political process to self-chosen groups of leaders. I t is an equi l i b r i u m model i n that i t presents the democratic process as a system w h i c h maintains an e q u i l i b r i u m between the demand and supply of political goods. M o d e l 3 was first systematically, though briefly, formulated i n 1942, by Joseph Schumpeter, i n a few chapters o f his i n fluential book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, Since then i t has been b u i l t u p and made apparently solid by the work of many political scientists who have amplified a n d supported i t

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by a substantial amount of empirical investigation of how voters i n Western democracies actually behave and how exist ing Western political systems actually respond to their be haviour. The m a i n stipulations of this model are, first, that democracy is simply a mechanism for choosing and authorizing govern ments, not a k i n d o f society nor a set of moral ends; and second, that the mechanism consists o f a competition between two or more self-chosen sets of politicians (elites), arrayed i n political parties, for the votes w h i c h w i l l entitle them to rule until the next election. The voters' role is not to decide political issues and then choose representatives who w i l l carry out those decisions: i t is rather to choose the men who w i l l do the decid ing. Thus Schumpeter: 'the role of the people is to produce a government . . . the democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions i n w h i c h i n d i v i duals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote.' The individuals who so com pete are, of course, the politicians. The citizens' role is simply to choose between sets of politicians periodically at election time. The citizens' ability thus to replace one government by another protects them f r o m tyranny. A n d , to the extent that there is any difference i n the platforms of the parties, or i n the general lines of policy to be expected of each party as a government (on the basis o f its record), the voters i n choosing between parties register their desire for one batch of political goods rather than another. T h e purveyors o f the batch w h i c h gets the most votes become the authorized rulers u n t i l the next election: they cannot tyrannize because there w i l l be a next election.
1 2

M o d e l 3 deliberately empties out the moral content w h i c h M o d e l 2 had p u t into the idea of democracy. There is no n o n sense about democracy as a vehicle for the improvement o f Leading works are: Bernard R. Berelson, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and William N. McPhee: Voting, Chicago, 1954; Robert A. Dahl: A Preface to Democratic Theory, Chicago, 1956; Dahl: Who Governs?, New Haven, 1961; Dahl: Modem Political Analysis, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1963; Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba: The Civic Culture, Princeton, 1963. Joseph Schumpeter: Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, and edn., New York and London, 1947, p. 269.
1 a

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Democracy

79

m a n k i n d . Participation is not a value i n itself, nor even an instrumental value for the achievement of a higher, more socially conscious set of h u m a n beings. T h e purpose of demo cracy is to register the desires of people as they are, not to con tribute to what they m i g h t be or m i g h t wish to be. Democracy is simply a market mechanism: the voters are the consumers; the politicians are the entrepreneurs. I t is not surprising that the m a n who first proposed this model was an economist who had worked all his professional life w i t h market models. N o r is i t surprising that the political theorists (and then the publicists and the public) took up this model as a realistic one, for they also have lived and worked i n a society permeated by market behaviour. N o t only d i d the market model seem to correspond to, and hence to explain, the actual political behaviour of the m a i n component parts of the political systemthe voters and the parties; i t also seemed to justify that behaviour, and hence the whole system. For i n the mid-twentieth century, when i t still d i d not seem too naive to talk about consumers' sovereignty i n the economic market, i t was easy to see a parallel i n the political market: the political consumers were sovereign because they had a choice between the purveyors of packages of political goods. I t was easy for the political theorists to make the same assumptions as the economic theorists. I n the economic model, entrepreneurs and consumers were assumed to be rational maximizers of their o w n good, and to be operating i n conditions of free com petition i n which all energies and resources were brought to the market, w i t h the result that the market produced the o p t i m u m distribution o f labour and capital and consumer goods. So i n the political model, politicians and voters were assumed to be rational maximizers, and to be operating i n conditions of free political competition, w i t h the result that the market-like political system produced the o p t i m u m distribu t i o n of political energies and political goods. T h e democratic political market produced an o p t i m u m e q u i l i b r i u m of inputs and o u t p u t s o f the energies and resources people w o u l d put into i t and the rewards they w o u l d get out of it.. I have pointed out elsewhere that by the time the political scientists had
3

Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval,

Oxford,

1973,

Essay X.

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taken over this economic model i t was already being discarded or m u c h modified by economists i n favour of an oligopolistic power-bloc model of the economy. But the notion of con sumers' sovereignty is still accepted i n the pluralist political model, and serves as an i m p l i c i t justification of i t . This model makes another market assumption. Not only does i t assume that political man, like economic man, is essen tially a consumer and an appropriator: i t assumes also that the things different people want out o f the governmentthe demands for political goodsare so diverse and shifting that the only way o f making them effective, the only way o f getting the government's decisions to meet them, the only way of eliciting the required supply of political goods and getting i t distributed i n proportion to the myriad demands, is an entre preneurial system like that w h i c h operates i n the standard model o f the competitive market economy. Given that the political demands are so diverse that no natural or spontaneous grouping o f them could be expected to produce a clear majority position, and given that i n a democracy the govern ment should express the w i l l of the majority, i t follows that a device is needed w h i c h w i l l produce a majority w i l l out o f those diverse demands, or w i l l produce the set o f decisions most agreeable to, or least disagreeable to, the whole lot of diverse i n d i v i d u a l demands. A system of entrepreneurial politi cal parties offering differently proportioned packages of politi cal goods, of w h i c h the voters by majority vote choose one, is offered as the best, or the only, device for doing this: i t produces a stable government which equilibrates demand and supply. This pluralism of M o d e l 3 evidently has something i n com mon w i t h the pluralism we have seen i n M o d e l 2 B . But there is a considerable qualitative difference. The pluralism of M o d e l 3 leaves out the ethical component that was so prominent i n M o d e l 2 B . I t treats citizens as simply political consumers, and political society as simply a market-like relation between them and the suppliers of political commodities. F r o m this summary account of M o d e l 3 and the assumptions o n w h i c h i t is based, we can see that i t offers itself as a state ment of what the prevailing system actually is and as an ex planation, i n terms o f market principles, o f why i t works as

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81

well as i t does. We have noticed also that the explanation easily merges into justification. Before we look more closely at the adequacy of M o d e l 3, as description, explanation, and justification, we should notice that there are differences of emphasis, i f not of substance, between some of its leading exponents. T h e differences are not so much i n the descriptions they give as i n the extent of the claims made for the system. They a l l see the citizens as political consumers, w i t h very diverse wants and demands. They all see competition between politicians for the citizens' votes as the motor o f the system. T h e y all find that this mechanism does produce a stable e q u i l i b r i u m . T h e y differ somewhat i n their views of the extent to w h i c h i t also provides some measure of political consumers' sovereignty. Schumpeter gives the system a rather low rating on this. H e finds that the voters have most of their choices made for t h e m , and that the pressures they can bring to bear on the government between election times are not very effective.
4

Other analysts are more optimistic about the effectiveness of consumers' preferences. D a h l finds 'somewhat defective' i n Schumpeter's 'otherwise excellent analysis' the view 'that elec tions and interelection activity are of t r i v i a l importance i n determining policy'. But the most D a h l claims for these activi ties is that 'they are crucial processes for insuring that political leaders w i l l be somewhat responsive to the preferences of some ordinary citizens'; or that ' W i t h a l l its defects, [the A m e r i c a n political system] does nonetheless provide a h i g h probability that any active a n d legitimate group w i l l make itself heard effectively at some stage i n the process of decision . . . i t appears to be a relatively efficient system for reinforcing agreement, encouraging moderation, and maintaining social peace i n a restless a n d immoderate people operating a gigantic, powerful, diversified, and incredibly complex society.' I n a later work D a h l rates the responsiveness o f the system a little higher: 'most citizens . . . possess a moderate degree o f indirect influ ence, for elected officials keep the real or imagined preferences
5 6 4

See below, at nn. 23 and 24,


Preface to Democratic Theory, p. 131.

Ibid., pp. 150-1.

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of constituents constantly i n m i n d i n deciding what policies to adopt or reject.' Still higher claims are sometimes made. For instance, the influential study Voting, by Berelson, Lazarsfeld, and McPhee, after demonstrating that i n the American political system the citizens are not at all like the rational citizens of M o d e l 2, and pointing out that nevertheless the system does work (that is, has not disintegrated into either dictatorship or civil w a r ) , and 'often works w i t h distinction', concluded that i t must have hidden merit. Something like the invisible hand celebrated by A d a m S m i t h must be at work.
7 8

I f the democratic system depended solely on the qualifications of the individual voter, then it seems remarkable that democracy has survived through the centuries. After examining the detailed data on how individuals misperceive political reality, or respond to irrelevant social influences, one wonders how a democracy ever solves its political problems. But when one considers the data i n a broader perspectivehow huge sections of the society adapt to political conditions affecting them or how the political system adjusts itself to changing conditions over long periods of timehe cannot fail to be impressed with the total results. Where the rational citizen seems to abdicate, nevertheless angels seem to tread.
9

This echo of A d a m S m i t h is not surprising, for Berelson et al do tend to attribute the success of M o d e l 3 to its market-like nature: n o t h i n g less than the magic of the market can explain the success o f the system, and nothing more is needed to justify i t .
THE ADEQUACY OF M O D E L 3

W e have noticed that M o d e l 3 presents itself as description, as explanation, and sometimes as justification, of the actual political system i n Western democracies. I n asking now how adequate the model is on each count we must acknowledge that there is some difficulty i n treating the three counts separ ately, since they often merge into each other. Things may be left out o f the descriptions because an explanatory framework
' Who Governs?, p.
8 9

164. Voting,

Berelson, Lazarsfeld, and McPhee: Ibid., p. 3 1 1 .

p.

312.

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83

already adopted treats them as of little or no importance. O r empirical descriptive findings about, for instance, citizens' apathy or voters' misinformation, may require the theorists to cast about for a principle of explanation to account for the fact that the system works at all. A n d principles of explanation, as we have seen, easily shade into justifications. One may still usefully separate the descriptive f r o m the justificatory aspect, w i t h o u t hoping to treat the explanatory aspect entirely separ ately. (i) Descriptive adequacy As description of the actual system now prevailing i n Western liberal-democratic nations, M o d e l 3 must be ad judged substantially accurate, I t is clearly a m u c h more realis tic statement than any provided by M o d e l 2. I t has been built up by careful and extensive empirical investigations by highly competent scholars. There is no reason to doubt their findings, which depart so drastically from M o d e l 2. T h e y may have left some things out of account, for instance the ability of the elites to decide what issues may be p u t to the voters at all and what are non-issues, b u t such omissions may be thought to affect the model's explanatory or justificatory adequacy more than its descriptive adequacy.
10

Some adjustment may be needed to make their findings, w h i c h are pre-eminently based on researches into the system i n the U n i t e d States, applicable to Western Europe: the cur rent strength o f the Communist Party i n France and I t a l y , for instance, suggests that i n those countries party divisions are more polarized along class lines than the American pluralistic model allows for. But that can probably be accommodated w i t h o u t m u c h difficulty. T h e substantial accuracy of M o d e l 3 as description may be attributed to the substantial accuracy of its assumptions about current Western m a n and society: as long as we have market m a n and market society, they can be expec ted to operate as described i n M o d e l 3.
1 0

As argued by Peter Bachrach and Morion S. Baratz: 'Two Faces of

PowerAmerican Political Science Review, L V I , 4 (December 1962); reprinted in Charles A. McCoy and John Piayford (eds.): Apolitical Politics, a Critique of Behauioralism, New York, 1967.

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(ii) Explanatory adequacy Explanatory principles, intended to show why the system works at all or works as well as i t does, grow out of (and grow into) the descriptive findings. But they also merge so generally into justifications o f the system that i t w i l l be convenient to consider explanatory and justificatory adequacy together. I n deed, most of the recent w r i t i n g criticizing M o d e l 3 seems to have begun from dissatisfaction w i t h its justificatory claims and gone on to challenge its explanatory or even its descriptive adequacy. I shall not attempt to summarize all the critical analyses of M o d e l 3 that have been made i n the last decade or so by political scientists of what may be called a radical liberal-democratic persuasion, but simply cite their work as evidence of increasing dissatisfaction w i t h the model among the political science community. I shall then go on to inquire, i n the light of the analysis already made of the failure o f Models 1 and 2, why M o d e l 3 has begun to appear so unsatis factory.
11

(iii) Justificatory adequacy I t may be w e l l to begin by considering the claim generally made or i m p l i e d by exponents of M o d e l 3 that their model is not justificatory at a l l , but only descriptive and explanatory. This claim really cannot be accepted, although Schumpeter, who scarcely bothered to make such a claim, m i g h t be justified i n making i t . But the later and more substantial exponents of M o d e l 3 all i m p l y , or even state, a justification at one or both of two levels. They are saying, at the least, that the system is, w i t h all its admitted imperfections, the only one that can do the j o b , or the one that can do i t best. They are the realists. T h a t is what people ar like, so this is the best they are capable of. Generally, even more is c l a i m e d t h a t the system produces o p t i m u m e q u i l i b r i u m and some measure of citizen consumers' sovereignty. These are taken to be self-evidently good, so the e.g. Peter Bachrach: The Theory of Democratic Elitism, a Critique, Boston and Toronto, 1967; McCoy and Playford, op. cit.; William Connolly (ed.): The Bias of Pluralism, New York, 1969; Henry Kariel (ed.): Frontiers of Democratic Theory, New York, 1970; Carole Pateman: Participation and Democratic Theory, Cambridge, 1970.
11

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85

system w h i c h provides them is taken to be justified by the very demonstration that i t does provide them. Both of the realists' claims are thus, at least i m p l i c i t l y , justificatory. H o w adequate are they? The first claim amounts to saying that M o d e l 3 is best be cause anything loftier is unworkable. The advocates of M o d e l 3 contrast i t w i t h what they usually call the 'classical' model of democracy, w h i c h generally turns out to be a confused mix ture o f a pre-industrial model (Rousseau's or Jefferson's), and our Models 1 and 2. I t w o u l d take too long a digression to t r y to sort out those confusions, especially as different pro ponents o f M o d e l 3 set u p their 'classical' straw men rather differently. Schumpeter, for instance, makes his m a i n target the over-rationalistic assumptions he finds i n Rousseau and i n Bentham's M o d e l 1: average men, he holds, are not capable o f forming the rational judgements he thinks required by those models; therefore those models are hopeless. Others have been more concerned to deflate the m o r a l pretensions of M o d e l 2, while accepting the M o d e l 1 view of man as essen tially a rational maximizing calculator: i t is because men are on the whole such maximizing calculators that most o f them may well decide not to spend m u c h time or energy i n political participation, thus invalidating M o d e l 2 .
12 13 14

The extent of the confusion has been pointedly remarked by Carole Pateman: 'the notion of a "classical theory of democracy" is a myth'
(Participation
1 3

1 3

and Democratic Theory, p.

17).

A similar although less extravagant position is taken by Berelson (Berelson, Lazarsfeld, and McPhee: Voting, p. 322). 1* Cf. Robert Dahl's argument (After the Revolution ? Authority in a Good Society, New Haven and London, 1970, pp. 4 0 - 5 6 ) that 'a reasonable man will' and 'in actual practice everyone does' apply, to any system of authority, the 'Criterion of Economy', which is to balance the cost of political participation against the expected benefit, the cost being the forgone uses of his time and energy. This notion of participation .as nothing but a 'cost' (which it is, if everyone is seen as merely a maximizing consumer) overlooks the possible value of participation in enhancing the participant's understanding of his own position and in giving him a greater sense of purpose and greater awareness of community. Cf. Bachrach: 'Interest, Participation, and Democratic Theory', in J. R. Pennock and J. W. Chapman (eds.): Participation in Politics (Nomos X V I ) , New York, 1973,
pp. 49-52.

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Both these views as to why M o d e l 3 is more realistic, more workable, and so 'better', than any previous model, rest u l t i mately o n an unverifiable assumption that the political capa bilities of the average person i n a modern market society are a fixed d a t u m , or at least are unlikely to change i n our time. One might argue, against the validity o f that assumption, that i t depends o n a model o f man w h i c h came to prevail only w i t h the emergence or predominance of the capitalist market society. But even i f i t is granted that that model of m a n is so time-bound and culture-bound, we do not know whether or when i t may be superseded. So, although the assumption can not be verified, neither can i t be absolutely falsified. Hence the justificatory adequacy of the first claim must be left undecided : we can only return the Scottish verdict ' N o t Proven'.
15

W h a t of the second claim : that, on the analogy of the market i n the economic system, the competitive lite party system brings about an o p t i m u m e q u i l i b r i u m o f the supply and de m a n d for political goods, and provides some measure of citizen consumer sovereignty? Prima facie, o p t i m u m equilibrium and citizen consumer sovereignty are good i n themselves. T o most people who live i n advanced and relatively stable societies, ' e q u i l i b r i u m ' sounds better t h a n 'disequilibrium' ; and ' o p t i m u m ' is by definition best; so what could be better than ' o p t i m u m e q u i l i b r i u m ' ? A n d 'citizen consumer sovereignty' is a phrase loaded w i t h good words. So i f M o d e l 3 does provide these, surely we might conclude that i t is a pretty good k i n d o f democracy. But this does not follow. A l l that follows is that i t is a pretty good k i n d of a market. But a market is not neces sarily democratic. I want now to show that the M o d e l 3 political market sys tem is not nearly as democratic as i t is made out to be : that the e q u i l i b r i u m i t produces is an e q u i l i b r i u m i n inequality ; that the consumer sovereignty i t claims to provide is to a large extent an illusion; and that, to the extent that the consumer sovereignty is real, i t is a contradiction of the central demo cratic tenet of equality o f i n d i v i d u a l entitlement to the use and enjoyment of one's capacities. The claims for o p t i m u m equi ps Cf. Karl Polanyi: The Great Transformation, New York, 1944, and my Democratic Theory, Essay I .

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H b r i u m and consumer sovereignty are virtually the same c l a i m t w o sides o f the same c o i n a n d so may be treated together as a single claim. The c l a i m fails on two counts. First, i n so far as the political market system, on the analogy of the economic market, is competitive enough to produce the o p t i m u m supply and distribution o f political goods, o p t i m u m i n relation to the de mands, what i t does is to register and respond to what econo mists call the effective demand, that is, the demands that have purchasing power to back them. I n the economic market this means simply money, no matter whether the money has been acquired by an o u t p u t of its possessors" energy or i n some other way. I n the political market the purchasing power is to a large extent, b u t not entirely, moneythe money needed to support a party or a candidate i n an election campaign, to organize a pressure group, or to buy space or time i n the mass media (or to o w n some o f the mass media). But political purchasing power includes also direct expenditure of energy i n campaign ing, organizing, and participating i n other ways i n the political process. I n so far as the political purchasing power is money, we can scarcely say that the equilibrating process is democratic i n any society, like ours, i n which there is substantial inequality of wealth and of chances of acquiring wealth. W e may still call i t consumer sovereignty i f we wish. But the sovereignty of an aggregate o f such unequal consumers is not evidently demo cratic. I n so far as the political purchasing power is direct expendi ture of energy the case seems better. W h a t could be fairer than a r e t u r n proportional to the i n p u t of political energy? Citizens who are apathetic should surely not expect as m u c h r e t u r n as those who are more active. This w o u l d be a fair principle, con sistent w i t h democratic equality, i f the apathy were an i n dependent d a t u m , that is, i f the apathy were i n each case the outcome of a maximizing decision by the individual, balancing the most profitable uses o f his time and energy as between political participation and other things, and if'every i n d i v i d u a l could expect that each hour he gave to politics w o u l d have the same value, the same purchasing power i n the political market,

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as any other person's. But this is just what i t cannot have. Those whose education and occupation make i t more difficult for them t h a n for the others to acquire and marshal and weigh the information needed for effective participation are clearly at a disadvantage: an hour of tljeir time devoted to political participation w i l l not have as m u c h effect as an hour of one of the others. T h e y know this, hence they are apathetic. Social inequality thus creates political apathy. Apathy is not an independent d a t u m . Over and above this, the political system of M o d e l 3 contri butes directly to apathy. As we saw i n the preceding chapter, the functions w h i c h a party system i n an u n e q u a l society w i t h mass franchise must perform require a b l u r r i n g of issues and a d i m i n u t i o n of the responsibility of governments to electorates, both of w h i c h reduce the incentive of the voters to exert them selves i n making a choice. A frequent reason for non-voting is the feeling that there is no real choice. Proponents of M o d e l 3 have made m u c h of the phenomenon of voter apathy, though they have not usually traced i t to the causes I have just mentioned. They do, however, often p o i n t out that successful operation of M o d e l 3 requires something like the present levels o f apathy: greater participation w o u l d en danger the stability o f the system. The accuracy o f this general proposition is never demonstrated, but the fact that i t Is asserted at all is revealing: i n the realism of M o d e l 3, some good is to be found even i n something as unpromising as widespread apathy. W e may prefer to t h i n k t h a t a political system w h i c h requires and encourages apathy is not doing a very brisk j o b of o p t i m i z i n g , especially i n view o f the class differential i n a p a t h y .
16 17

T o sum up, then, o n the first count, we find that i n so far as e.g. Berelson et al.: Voting, ch. 14; W. H . Morris-Jones: 'In Defence of Apathy', Political Studies I I {1954), pp. 2 5 - 3 7 ; Seymour Martin Lipset: Political Man, New York, i 9 6 0 , pp. 1 4 - 1 6 ; Lester W. Milbrath: Political
1 6

Participation,
1 7

Chicago, 1965, ch. 6.

That there is a class differential in political participation is the unanimous conclusion of voting studies. For a thorough exploration of this and other dimensions of apathy, see Sidney Verba and Norman H . Nie: Participation in America, Political Democracy and Social Equality, New York,
1972.

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the political market system is competitive enough to do the j o b o f equilibrating the supply of and demand for political goods i n so far, that is, as i t does actually respond to consumer de m a n d s i t measures and responds to demands which are very unequally effective. Some demands are more effective than others because, where the demand is expressed i n human energy i n p u t , one person's energy i n p u t cannot get the same return per unit as another person's. A n d the class o f political demands that have the most money to back them is largely the same as the class of those that have the larger pay-off per unit of h u m a n energy input. I n both cases i t is the demands of the higher socio-economic classes w h i c h are the most effective. So the lower classes are apathetic. I n short, the e q u i l i b r i u m and the consumer sovereignty, i n so far as M o d e l 3 does provide them, are far from democratic.
18

T h e second count o n w h i c h the claim to provide a demo cratic consumer sovereignty fails is simply that M o d e l 3 does not provide a significant amount of consumer sovereignty. The M o d e l 3 political market is far f r o m fully competitive. For i t is, to use an economists' term, oligopolistic. T h a t is, there are only a few sellers, a few suppliers of political goods, i n other words only a few political parties: i n the most favoured variant of M o d e l 3 there are only two effective parties, w i t h a possibility of one or two more. Where there are so few sellers, they need not and do not respond to the buyers' demands as they must do i n a fully competitive system. T h e y can set prices and set the range of goods that w i l l be offered. M o r e than that, they can, to a con siderable extent, create the demand. I n an oligopolistic market, the demand is not autonomous, not an independent d a t u m . This effect o f oligopoly, w h i c h is a commonplace of econo mic theory, has been surprisingly little noticed by the political theorists o f M o d e l 3. Even Schumpeter, who of all the formulators o f M o d e l 3 has economic parallels most i n m i n d , and who makes quite a point of the way that oligopoly and imper fect competition require a substantial revision of the classical Dahl, who has explored the implications of Model 3 more fully than most of its exponents, particularly in his After the Revolution (1970), is there explicit about the distorting effect of class inequality and sees its reduction as a prerequisite of genuine democracy.
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can provide affluence indefinitely), and as long as we continue to accept the cold-war view that the only alternative to M o d e l 3 is a wholly non-liberal totalitarian state. Putting this i n a slightly different way, we m i g h t say that a system of competing lites w i t h a low level of citizen participation is required in an unequal society, most of whose members t h i n k of themselves as maximizing consumers. This requirement took on a new urgency w i t h the cata strophic economic depression of the early 1930s i n all the Western nations. T h e need for the state to intervene i n the economy along Keynesian lines, i n order to sustain the capital ist order, meant an increased need to remove political decisions from any democratic responsiveness: only the experts, whose reasoning was assumed to be beyond the comprehension of the voters, could save the system. T h e experts' advice was followed, and i t d i d save the system for the next three or four decades. M o d e l 3 was, therefore, from its very beginnings i n the 1940s, understandably aligned against democratic participation. B u t w i t h increasing disillusionment w i t h the results of this stateregulated capitalism i n the 1960s and 70s, the adequacy of M o d e l 3 is increasingly questioned. T h e fact that doubts are increasingly being raised about the adequacy of this system cannot, unfortunately, be taken as evidence that we have moved far enough away from i n equality, and from the consciousness of ourselves as essentially consumers, to make a new political model possible. T h e most we can do is to look at the problems of m o v i n g to a new model, and examine possible solutions.

V
Model 4: Participatory Democracy

T H E RISE OF T H E I D E A

T o call participatory democracy a model at all, let alone a model o f liberal democracy, is perhaps to yield too m u c h to a l i k i n g for symmetry. Participatory democracy is certainly not a model as solid or specific as those we have been examining. I t began as a slogan o f the N e w Left student movements o f the 1960s. I t spread into the working class i n the 1960s and '70s, no doubt as an offshoot o f the growing job-dissatisfaction among both blue- and white-collar workers and the more widespread feeling of alienation, w h i c h then became such fashionable sub jects for sociologists, management experts, government com missions of i n q u i r y , and popular journalists. One manifestation of this new spirit was the rise of movements for workers' control i n industry. I n the same decades, the idea that there should be substantial citizen participation i n government decision-making spread so widely that national governments began enrolling themselves, at least verbally, under the participatory banner, and some even initiated programmes embodying extensive citizen participation. I t appears that the hope of a more par ticipatory society and system of government has come to stay..
1

W e need not attempt to review the voluminous recent litera ture o n participation i n various spheres of society. O u r concern e.g. the Community Action Programs inaugurated by the United States federal government in 1964, which called for 'maximum feasible participation of residents of the areas and members of the groups served'. For a critical account of this, see 'Citizen Participation in Emerging Social Institutions' by Howard I . Kalodner, in Participation in Politics, as cited in n. 3, below.
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here is only w i t h the prospects of a more participatory system of government for Western liberal-democratic nations. Can liberal-democratic government be made more participatory, and i f so, how? This question has not yet had as m u c h attention as i t deserves. The debate among political theorists had to be at the beginning' m a i n l y concerned w i t h the prior question : is more citizen participation desirable? T h e exponents of M o d e l 3, as we have seen, said no. T h a t debate is not yet ended. For our purposes, however, that debate may be foreclosed. I t is sufficient to say that i n view of the unquestioned class differential i n political participation i n the present system, and assuming that that differential is b o t h the effect and the con tinuing cause of the i n a b i l i t y of those i n the lower strata either to articulate their wants or to make their demands effective, then nothing as unparticipatory as the apathetic e q u i l i b r i u m of M o d e l 3 measures u p to the ethical requirements of demo cracy. This is not to say that a more participatory system w o u l d of itself remove all the inequities of our society. I t is only to say that low participation and social inequity are so bound up w i t h each other that a more equitable and humane society requires a more participatory political system.
2 3

T h e difficult question, whether either a change i n the politi cal system or a change i n the society is a prerequisite of the other, w i l l occupy us largely i n the next section o f this chapter. I n the meantime I shall assume that something more partici patory t h a n our present system is desirable. T h e remaining question is whether i t is possible.
IS M O R E P A R T I C I P A T I O N NOW POSSIBLE?

(i) The problem of size I t is not m u c h use simply celebrating the democratic quality This has been the main concern of the radical liberal critics of Model 3 (as cited in ch. IV, p. 84, n. 11, and in n. 3, below. 3 Set Participation in Politics (NomosXVI) (eds. J. R. Pennock and J. W. Chapman), New York, 1975. Most of the contributors to this volume, which is based on papers given at the 1971 annual meeting of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, are in favour of more participation, but there is a spirited defence, by M . B. E. Smith, of the opposite position.
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oflife and of decision-making (that is, of government) t h a t can be had i n contemporary communes or New England townmeetings or that was had i n ancient city-states. There may be a lot to learn about the quality of democracy by examining these face-to-face societies, b u t that w i l l not show us how a partici patory democracy could operate i n a modern nation o f twenty m i l l i o n or two hundred m i l l i o n people. I t seems clear that, at the national level, there w i l l have to be some kind of repre sentative system, not completely direct democracy". T h e idea t h a t recent and expected advances i n computer technology and telecommunications w i l l make i t possible to achieve direct democracy at the required million-fold level is attractive not only to technologists but also to social theorists and political philosophers. But i t does not pay enough atten tion to an inescapable requirement of any decision-making process: somebody must formulate the questions. N o doubt something "could be done w i t h two-way television to draw more people into more active political discussion. A n d no doubt i t is technically feasible to p u t i n every l i v i n g - r o o m or, to cover the whole population, beside every beda com puter console w i t h Yes/No buttons, or buttons for Agree/ Disagree/Don't K n o w , or for Strongly A p p r o v e / M i l d l y A p prove/Don't Care/Mildly Disapprove/Strongly Disapprove, or for preferential multiple choices. But i t seems inevitable that some government body w o u l d have to decide what questions would be asked: this could scarcely be left to private bodies.
4

There m i g h t indeed be a provision that some stated number of citizens have the right to propose questions w h i c h must then be p u t electronically to the whole electorate. But even w i t h such a provision, most o f the questions that w o u l d need to be asked i n our present complex societies could scarcely be formu lated by citizen groups specifically enough for the answers to give a government a clear directive. Nor- can the ordinary citizen be expected to respond to the sort of questions that w o u l d be required to give a clear directive. The questions would have to be as intricate as, for instance, 'what per cent pp. See Michael Rossman: On Learning and Social 2 5 7 - 8 ; and Robert Paul Wolff: In Defense 1 9 7 , PP- 34-74

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unemployment rate w o u l d you accept i n order to reduce the rate of inflation by x per cent?', or 'what increase i n the rate of (a) income tax, (b) sales and excise taxes, (c) other taxes (specify which)-, would you accept i n order to increase by blank per cent (fill i n [punch i n ] the blank), the level of (1) old-age pensions, (2) health services, (3) other social services (specify w h i c h ) , (4) any other benefits (specify which)?' Thus even i f there were provision for such a scheme o f popular initiative, governments w o u l d still have to make a lot of the real decisions. Moreover, unless there were, somewhere i n the system, a body whose d u t y was to reconcile inconsistent demands pre sented by the buttons, the system w o u l d soon break down. I f such a system were to be attempted i n anything like our pres ent society there w o u l d almost certainly be inconsistent de mands. Peoplethe same peoplewould, for instance, very likely demand a reduction o f unemployment at the same time as they were demanding a reduction of inflation, or an increase i n government expenditures along w i t h a decrease i n taxes. A n d of course different peoplepeople w i t h opposed interests, such as the presently privileged and the u n p r i v i l e g e d w o u l d also present incompatible demands. The computer could easily deal w i t h the latter incompatibilities by ascertaining the majority position, b u t i t could not sort out the former. T o avoid the need for a body to adjust such incompatible demands to each other the questions w o u l d have to be framed i n a way that w o u l d require o f each voter a degree of sophistication impossible to expect. > N o r w o u l d the situation be any better i n any foreseeable future society. I t is true that the sort of questions just men tioned, w h i c h are about the distribution of economic costs and economic benefits among different sections of the population, may be expected to become less acute i n the measure that material scarcity becomes less pressing. But even i f they were to disappear as internal problems i n the economically most advanced societies, they w o u l d reappear there as external problems: for instance, how m u c h and what k i n d of aid should the advanced countries afford to the underdeveloped ones? Moreover, another range of questions w o u l d arise internally,

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having to do not w i t h distribution b u t w i t h production i n the broadest sense, that is, w i t h the uses to be made of the society's whole stock of energy and resources, and the encouragement or discouragement o f further economic g r o w t h and population growth. A n d beyond that there would be such questions as the extent to w h i c h the society should promote or should keep its hands off the cultural and educational pursuits of the people. Such questions, even i n the most favourable circumstances imaginable, w i l l require repeated reformulation. A n d ques tions o f this sort do not readily lend themselves to formulation by popular initiative,. T h e i r formulation would have to be entrusted to a governmental body. I t might still be argued that even i f i t is impossible to leave the formulation of a l l policy questions to popular initiative, at least the very broadest sort o f policy could be left to i t . Granted that the many hundreds o f policy decisions that are now made every year by governments and legislatures would still have to be made by them, i t m i g h t be urged that those decisions should be required to conform to the results o f referenda on the very broadest questions. But i t is difficult to see how most of the broadest questions could be left to formulation by popular initiative. Popular initiative could certainly formulate clear questions on certain single issues, for instance, capital punish ment or legalization of marijuana or of abortion on d e m a s i d issues on w h i c h the response required is simply yes or no. But for the reasons given above, popular initiative could not formu late adequate questions o n the great interrelated issues of over all social arid economic policy. T h a t would have to be left to some organ of government. A n d unless that organ were either an elected body or responsible to an elected body, and thus at some remove responsible to the electorate, such a system of continual referenda w o u l d not really be democratic: worse, by giving the appearance of being democratic, the system would conceal the real location o f power and would thus enable 'democratic' governments to be more autocratic than they are now. W e cannot do w i t h o u t elected politicians. We must rely, though we need not rely exclusively, on indirect democracy. T h e problem is to make the elected politicians responsible. The

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electronic console beside every bed cannot do that. Electronic technology, then, cannot give us direct democracy. So the problem of participatory democracy on a mass scale seems intractable. I t is intractable i f we simply t r y . to draw mechanical blue-prints of the proposed political system w i t h out paying attention to the changes i n society, and i n people's consciousness o f themselves, w h i c h a little thought w i l l show must precede or accompany the attainment of anything like participatory democracy. I want to suggest now that the cen t r a l problem is not how a participatory democracy w o u l d operate b u t how we could move towards i t . (ii) A vicious circle and possible loopholes I begin w i t h a general proposition: Jthe_m^in_.pxQ,hLejri about participatory democracy is not how to r u n i t but how to reach ... i t . For i t seems likely t h a t i f we can reach i t , or reach any sub stantial instalment of i t , our way along the road to reaching i t w i l l have made us capable of r u n n i n g i t , or at least less incap able than we now are. H a v i n g announced this proposition, I must immediately qualify i t . The failures so far to reach really participatory democracy i n countries where that has been a conscious goal, for instance Czechoslovakia i n the years up to 1968 and many of the T h i r d W o r l d countries, demand some reservations about such a proposition. For i n both those cases, a good deal o f the road had already been travelled: I mean the road away from capitalist class-division and bourgeois ideology towards, i n the one case, a M a r x i s t humanism and, i n the other, a Rousseauan concept of a society embodying a general w i l l , and i n both cases towards a stronger sense o f community t h a n we have. A n d , o f course, the whole of the road had there been travelled away from that mirror-image of the oligopolistic capitalist market system: I mean, the oligopolistic competition o f politi cal parties which prevails w i t h us, w h i c h is not only not very participatory, b u t is recommended, by most current liberaldemocratic theorists, as quintessentially non-participatory. So there still are difficulties i n reaching participatory demo cracy, even when much of the road has been travelled, i.e. when some o f the obvious prerequisite changes i n society and

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ideology have taken place. However, the roads they have travelled i n such countries as I have just mentioned are signifi cantly different from the road we w o u l d have to travel to come near to participatory democracy. For I assume that our road i n the Western liberal democracies is not likely to be via com munist revolution; nor, obviously, w i l l i t be via revolutions of national independence beset by all the problems o f under development and low productivity that have faced the T h i r d W o r l d countries. I t therefore seems w o r t h i n q u i r i n g w h a t road i t may be possible for any of the Western liberal democracies to travel, and whether, or to what extent, moving along that road could make us capable of operating a system substantially more participatory than our present one. This becomes the question : what roadblocks have to be removed, i.e. what changes i n our present society and the now prevailing ideology are pre requisite or co-requisite conditions for reaching a participatory democracy? I f my earlier analysis is at all valid, the present nonparticipatory or scarcely participatory political system of M o d e l 3 does fit a n unequal society of conflicting consumers and appropriators: indeed, nothing b u t that system, w i t h its competing political lites and voter apathy, seems competent to h o l d such a society together. I f that is so, two pre requisites for the emergence of a M o d e l 4 are fairly clearly indicated. One is a change i n people's consciousness (or unconscious ness), from seeing themselves and acting as essentially con sumers to seeing themselves and acting as exerters and eiyovers of the exertion and development of their own. capacities. This is requisite not only to the emergence b u t also to the operation of a participatory democracy. For the latter self-image brings w i t h i t a sense of community w h i c h the former does not. One can acquire and consume by oneself, for one's own satisfaction or to show one's superiority to others: this does not require or foster a sense of c o m m u n i t y ; whereas the enjoyment and development of one's capacities is to be done for the most part i n conjunction w i t h others, i n some relation of community. A n d i t w^ll not be doubted that the operation of a participatory

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democracy would require a stronger sense of c o m m u n i t y than now prevails. The other .prerequisite is a great reduction of the present social and economic inequality, since that inequality, as have argued, requires a non-participatory party system to hold the society together^ A n d as long as inequality is accepted, the nonparticipatory political system is likely also to be accepted by all those i n all classes who prefer stability to the prospect of com plete social breakdown. N o w i f these two changes i n societythe replacement of the image of m a n as consumer, and a great reduction of social and economic inequalityare prerequisites of participatory demo cracy, we seem to be caught i n a vicious circle. For i t is un likely that either of these prerequisite changes could be effected without a great deal more democratic participation t h a n there is now. The reduction o f social and economic inequality is unlikely w i t h o u t strong democratic action. A n d i t w o u l d seem, whether we follow M i l l or M a r x , that only through actual involvement i n j o i n t political action can people transcend their consciousness o f themselves as consumers and appropria ted. Hence the vicious circle: we cannot achieve more demo cratic participation w i t h o u t a p r i o r change i n social inequality and i n consciousness, b u t we cannot achieve the changes i n social inequality and consciousness w i t h o u t a prior increase i n democratic participation. Is there any way out? I t h i n k there may be, though i n our affluent capitalist societies i t is unlikely to follow the pattern proposed or expected i n the nineteenth century either by M a r x or by M i l l . M a r x expected the development of capitalism to lead to a sharpening of class consciousness, which w o u l d lead to various kinds of working-class political action, w h i c h w o u l d further increase the class consciousness of the w o r k i n g class and t u r n i t into revolutionary consciousness and revolutionary organization. This w o u l d be followed by a revolutionary take over o f power by the w o r k i n g class, w h i c h power w o u l d be consolidated by a period of 'dictatorship o f the proletariat', w h i c h w o u l d break down the social and economic inequality and replace m a n as maximizing consumer by m a n as exerter and developer o f his h u m a n capacities. Whatever we may

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t h i n k o f the probability o f this sequence once i t had started, i t does require increasing class consciousness to start i t , and there is little evidence o f this i n prosperous Western societies today, where i t has generally declined since Marx's d a y . J o h n Stuart M i l l ' s way out does not seem very hopeful either. H e counted on two things. First, the broadening o f the franchise would lead to more widespread political participation w h i c h would i n t u r n make people capable of still more political participation a n d would contribute to a change i n conscious ness. Secondly, the owner/worker relation would change w i t h the spread o f producers' co-ops: to the extent that they re placed the standard capitalist relation, both consciousness and inequality would be changed. But the broadening o f the fran chise d i d not have the result M i l l hoped for, nor has the capitalist relation between owner and worker changed i n the way required. So neither M a r x ' s nor M i l l ' s way seems a way out o f our vicious circle. But there is one insight common to b o t h of them that we m i g h t well follow. Both assumed that changes i n the two factors w h i c h abstractly seem to be prerequisites o f each o t h e r t h e amount o f political participation on the one hand, and the prevailing inequality and the image o f man as infinite consumer and appropriator o n the o t h e r w o u l d come stage by stage and reciprocally, an incomplete change i n one leading to some change i n the other, leading to more change i n the first, and so o n . Even M a r x ' s scenario, including as i t d i d revolutionary change at one point, called for this reciprocal incremental change both before a n d after the revolution. We also m a y surely assume, i n looking at our vicious circle, that we needn't expect one of the changes to be complete before the other can begin. So we may look for loopholes anywhere i n the circle, that is, for changes already visible or i n prospect either i n the amount of democratic participation or i n social inequality or consumer consciousness. I f we find changes w h i c h are not only already perceptible b u t which are attributable to forces or circum stances which are likely to go on operating w i t h cumulative There are some signs thai class consciousness is re-emerging (see below, p. 106), but not that it is becoming a revolutionary consciousness.
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effect, then we can have some hope of a break-through. A n d i f the changes are of a sort that encourages reciprocal changes i n the other factors, so m u c h the better. Are there any loopholes w h i c h come u p to these specifica tions? L e t us start f r o m the assumption least favourable to our search, the assumption that most of us are, willy-nilly, maxi mizing calculators of our own benefit, making a cost/benefit . analysis o f everything, however vaguely we make i t ; and that most o f us consciously or unconsciously see ourselves as essen tially infinite consumers. F r o m these assumptions the vicious circle appears to follow directly: most people w i l l support, or not do m u c h to change, a system w h i c h produces affluence, w h i c h continually increases the Gross National Product, and w h i c h also produces political apathy. This makes a pretty strong vicious circle. But there are now some visible loopholes. I shall draw attention to three o f them. ( i ) M o r e and more people, i n the capacity we have a t t r i buted to them all, namely as cost/benefit calculators, are recon sidering the cost/benefit ratio of our society's worship o f expansion of the G N P . They still see the benefits of economic growth, b u t they are now beginning to see some costs they hadn't counted before. T h e most obvious of these are the costs o f air, water, and earth pollution. These are costs largely i n terms of the q u a l i t y o f life. Is i t too much to suggest that this awareness of quality is a first step away from being satisfied w i t h quantity, and so a first step away from seeing ourselves as ' infinite consumers, towards valuing our ability to exert our energies and capacities i n a decent environment? Perhaps i t is too much. But at any rate the growing consciousness of these costs weakens the u n t h i n k i n g acceptance of the G N P as the criterion of social good. Other costs of economic growth, notably the extravagant depletion of natural resources and the likelihood of irreversible ecological damage, are also increasingly being noticed. Aware ness of the costs of economic growth takes people beyond sheer consumer consciousness. I t can be expected to set u p some consciousness of a public interest that is not looked after either by the private interest o f each consumer or by the competition of political elites.

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(2) There is an increasing awareness of the costs of political apathy, and, closely related to this, a growing awareness, w i t h i n the industrial w o r k i n g class, of the inadequacy of traditional and routine forms o f industrial action. I t is coming to be seen that citizens' and workers' non-participation, or low partici pation, or participation only i n routine channels, allows the concentration of corporate power to dominate our neighbour hoods, our jobs, our security, and the quality of life at work and at home. T w o examples of this new awareness may be given. (a) T h e one that is most evident, at least i n N o r t h American cities, w h i c h have hitherto been notoriously careless of h u m a n values, is the rise of neighbourhood and community move ments and associations formed to exert pressure to preserve or enhance those values against the operations of what may be called the u r b a n commercial-political complex. Such move ments have sprung up, w i t h substantial effect, against express ways, against property developers, against inner-city decay, for better schools and day-care centres i n the inner city, and so on. I t is true that they have generally begun as, and some times remained, single-issue affairs. A n d they do not usually seek to replace, but only to put new pressures on, the formal municipal political structure. M o s t of them do not, therefore, by themselves constitute a significant breakaway from the system of competing elites. But they do attract to active political participation many, especially of the lower socio economic strata, who had previously been most politically apathetic.
6

(b) Less noticeable, b u t probably i n the long r u n more i m p o r t a n t , are the movements for democratic participation i n decision-making at the workplace.These movements have not yet made decisive strides i n any of the capitalist democracies, but pressure for some degrees of workers' control at the shopfloor level and even at the level of the firm is increasing, and Sometimes they do seek to revise the formal structure, as in the demands for community control of schools or police and for greater community participation in city planning and intelligence operations, as mentioned by John Ladd: 'The Ethics of Participation', in J. R. Pennock and J. W. Chapman, op. ctt., pp. 99, 102.
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examples of i t actually i n operation are promising. The i m portance o f this, whether the decisions are only about working conditions and planning the way the work is to be arranged at the shop-floor level, or whether i t goes as far as participation i n policy decisions at the level o f the firm, is twofold. I n the first place, those who are involved i n i t are getting experience of participation i n decision-making i n that side of their livestheir lives at workwhere their concern is greater, or at least more immediately and directly felt, t h a n i n any other. They can see at first hand just how far their participa tion is effective. The forces which make for the apathy of the ordinary person i n the formal political process of a whole nation are absent. Unconcern about the outcome of apparently far-off political issues; distance from the results, i f any, o f p a r t i c i p a t i o n ; uncertainty about or disbelief i n the effective ness of their participation; lack of confidence i n their o w n ability to participatenone o f these apply to participation i n decisions at the workplace. A n d an appetite for participation, based on the very experience of i t , may well carry over from the workplace to wider political areas. Those who have proved their competence i n the one k i n d of participation, and gained confidence there that they can be effective, w i l l be less put off by the forces w h i c h have kept them politically apathetic, more able to reason at a greater political distance f r o m results, and more able to see the importance of decisions at several removes f r o m their most immediate concerns. I n the second place, those involved i n workers' control are participating as producers, not as consumers or appropriators. An effective analysis of these is given by Carole Pateman : Participation Theory, Cambridge, 1970, chs. 3 and 4. Other analysts, writing as political activists who want workers' control as a path to a fully socialist society, find the present achievement of the workers' control movements less encouraging, e.g. Gerry Hunnius, G. D. Garson, and John Case (eds.) : Workers' Control, a Reader on Labor and Social Change, New York, 1973; and Ken Coates and Tony Topham (eds.) : Workers' Control, a book of readings and witnesses for workers' control, London, 1970. The pressure for workers' control is likely to increase since it flows from the increasing, degradation of work which seems inherent in capitalist production: cf. Harry Braverman: Labour and Monopoly Capital: the Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, New York and London, 1974.
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T h e y are i n i t not to get a higher wage or a greater share of the product, b u t to make their productive work more meaningful to them. I f workers' control were merely another move i n the scramble for more pay to take home, or i n the continuing effort to m a i n t a i n real wages by getting increased money wages and fringe benefits, which is what m u c h trade union activity is about, i t w o u l d do nothing, just as established trade u n i o n practice does nothing, to move men away from their image of themselves as consumers and appropriators. But workers' control is not p r i m a r i l y about distribution of income: i t is about the conditions o f production, and as such i t can be expected to have a considerable breakaway effect. (3) There is a growing doubt about the ability o f corporate capitalism, however m u c h aided and managed by the liberal state, to meet consumer expectations i n the old way, i.e. w i t h the present degree o f inequality. There is a real basis for this doubt: the basis is the existence o f a contradiction w i t h i n capitalism, the results of w h i c h cannot be indefinitely avoided. Capitalism reproduces inequality and consumer conscious ness, and must do so to go on operating. But its increasing a b i l i t y to produce goods and leisure has as its obverse its i n creasing need to spread t h e m more widely. I f people can't buy the goods, no profit can be made by producing them. This dilemma can be staved off for quite a time by keeping u p cold war and colonial wars: as long as the public w i l l support these, then the public is, as consumers, buying by proxy all that can be profitably produced, and is wasting i t satisfactorily. This has been going on for a long time now, b u t there is at least a prospect that i t w i l l not be indefinitely supported as normal. I f i t is not supported, then the system w i l l either have to spread real goods more widely, w h i c h w i l l reduce social inequality; or i t w i l l break down, and so be unable to continue to repro duce inequality and consumer consciousness. This dilemma o f capitalism is m u c h more intense now than i t was i n the nineteenth century, when capitalism had the big safety-valves o f continental and colonial expansion. The dilemma, i n conjunction w i t h the changing public awareness of the cost/benefit ratio o f the system, puts capitalism i n a

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rather different position from the one i t enjoyed i n M i l l ' s and Marx's day. Capitalism i n each o f the Western nations i n the 1970s is experiencing economic difficulties of near-crisis proportions. O f these no end is i n sight. Keynesian remedies, successful for three decades from the 1930s, have now evidently failed to cope w i t h the underlying contradiction.' T h e most obvious symptom of this failure is the prevalence, simultaneously, of high rates both of inflation and o f u n e m p l o y m e n t t w o things w h i c h used to be thought alternatives. For wage-earners, the erosion of the value o f money earnings along w i t h insecurity of employment is a serious matter. I t has already led to increased working-class militancy i n various forms : i n some countries, increased political activity and strength o f communist and socialist parties; i n others, increased participation i n trade union and industrial activity. T h e trade unions w i l l be increas ingly impelled not just to concern themselves w i t h labour's share of the national income b u t to recognize the structural incompetence of managed capitalism. I t cannot be said that trade union leaders generally have yet seen this, b u t they are being increasingly hard-pressed by shop steward activity and unofficial strike action. I t is to be expected that working-class participation i n political and industrial action w i l l increase, and w i l l be increasingly class-conscious. T h e probability is that industrial action, of w h i c h there is a lot already, w i l l be seen to be fundamentally political, and so, whether i t takes the form of participation i n the formal political process or not, w i l l amount to increased political participation. So we have three weak points i n the vicious circlethe i n creasing awareness of the costs of economic growth, the increas ing awareness o f the costs o f political apathy, the increasing doubts about the ability of corporate capitalism to meet con sumer expectations while reproducing inequality. A n d each o f these may be said to be contributing, i n ways we have seen, to the possible attainment o f the prerequisite conditions for participatory democracy: together, they conduce to a decline i n consumer consciousness, a reduction o f class inequality, and an increase i n present political participation. The prospects for a more democratic society are thus not entirely bleak. The

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move towards i t w i l l both require and encourage an increasing measure of participation. A n d this now seems to be w i t h i n the realm of the possible. Before leaving this discussion of the possibility of moving to a participatory democracy, I must emphasize that I have been looking only for possible, even barely possible, ways ahead. I have not attempted to assess whether the chances of w i n n i n g through are better or worse than 50/50. A n d when one thinks of the forces opposed to such a change, one m i g h t hesitate to put the chances as h i g h as 50/50. One need only t h i n k of the power of multi-national corporations; of the p r o b a b i l i t y of the increasing penetration into home affairs of secret intelligence agencies such as the American G.I.A., w h i c h have been al lowed or required by their governments to include i n 'intel ligence' such activities as organizing invasions of some smaller countries and assisting i n the overthrow of disliked govern ments of others; and of the increasing use of political terrorism by outraged minorities o f right a n d left, w i t h the excuse they give governments of moving into the practices of the police state, and even getting a large measure of popular support for the police state. Against such forces can only be p u t the fact that liberal-democratic governments are reluctant to use open force on a large scale, except for very short periods, against any widely supported popular movements at home: under standably so, for by the time a government feels the need to do this i t may well be unable to count on the army and the police. A t a less immediately alarming level there are other factors w h i c h may prevent the requisite reduction of class inequality. T h e advanced Western economies may slow down to a sta tionary condition (where there is no economic growth because no incentive to new capital formation) before popular pres sures have done m u c h to get the present class inequalities reduced: this w o u l d make further reduction more difficult. A n d the maintenance of even the present Western levels of affluence w o u l d be impossible i f some of the underdeveloped nations were able, by nuclear blackmail or otherwise, to i m pose a redistribution of income between the rich and poor nations. Such a global redistribution w o u l d make still more

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difficult any significant reduction of class inequality w i t h i n the affluent nations. I do not know of enough empirical evidence to enable one to judge the relative strength of the forces i n our present society making for, and those making against, a move to a more participatory democracy. So m y exploration o f possible forces making for i t is not to be taken, as a prophecy, but only as a glimpse of possibilities.
MODELS OF P A R T I C I P A T O R Y DEMOCRACY

Let me t u r n finally to the question of how a participatory democracy m i g h t be r u n i f we d i d achieve the prerequisites. H o w participatory could i t be, given that at any level beyond the neighbourhood i t w o u l d have to be an indirect or representative system rather than face-to-face direct demo cracy? (i) Model 4A: an abstract first approximation I f one looks at the question first i n general terms, setting aside for the present both the weight of tradition and the actual circumstances that might prevail i n any country when the pre requisites had been sufficiently met, the simplest model that could properly be called a participatory democracy w o u l d be a pyramidal system w i t h direct democracy at the base and dele gate democracy at every level above that. Thus one w o u l d start w i t h direct democracy at the neighbourhood or factory levelactual face-to-face discussion and decision by consensus or majority, and election of delegates who w o u l d make up a council at the next more inclusive level, say a city borough or w a r d or a township. The delegates w o u l d have to be sufficient ly instructed by and accountable to those who elected them to make decisions at the council level reasonably democratic. So i t w o u l d go on u p to the top level, which w o u l d be a national council for matters of national concern, and local and regional Cf. Robert L. Heilbroner: An Inquiry into the Human Prospect, 2 n d edn., New York, 1975, especially ch. 3, where it is argued that, for reasons such as these, the Western nations are unlikely to be able to keep up even their present degree of liberal democracy.
8

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councils for matters of less t h a n national concern. A t whatever level beyond the smallest p r i m a r y one the final decisions on different matters were made, the issues w o u l d certainly have to be formulated by a committee of the council. Thus at whatever level the reference up stopped, i t w o u l d stop i n effect w i t h a small committee of that level's council. This may seem a far cry f r o m democratic control. But I t h i n k i t is the best we can do. W h a t is needed, at every stage, to make the system demo cratic, is that the decision-makers and issue-formulators elected f r o m below be held responsible to those below by being subject to re-election or even recall. N o w such a system, no matter how clearly responsibilities are set out o n paper, even i f the paper is a formal national constitution, is no guarantee of effective democratic participa tion or control: the Soviet Union's 'democratic centralism', w h i c h was just such a scheme, cannot be said to have provided the democratic control that had been intended. T h e question is whether such failure is inherent i n the nature of a p y r a m i d a l councils system. I t h i n k i t is not. I suggest that we can identify the sets of circumstances i n w h i c h the system won't work as intended, that is, w o n ' t provide adequate responsibility to those below, w o n ' t be actively democratic. Three such sets of circumstances are evident. (1) A p y r a m i d a l system w i l l not provide real responsibility of the government to all the levels below i n an immediately post-revolutionary situation; at least i t w i l l not do so i f the threat of counter-revolution, w i t h or w i t h o u t foreign interven t i o n , is present. For i n that case, democratic control, w i t h all its delays, has to give way to central authority. T h a t was the lesson of the immediate aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. A further lesson, to be d r a w n from the subsequent Soviet experience, is that, i f a revolution bites off more than i t can chew democratically, i t w i l l chew i t undemocratically. N o w since we do not seem likely, i n the Western liberal democracies, to t r y to move to f u l l democracy by way of a Bolshevik revolution, this does not appear to be a difficulty for us. But we must notice that the threat o f counter-revolution is present not only after a Bolshevik revolution but also after a

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parliamentary revolution, i.e.'a constitutional, electoral, take over of power by a party or popular front pledged to a radical reform leading to the replacement of capitalism. T h a t this threat may be real, and be fatal to a constitutional revolu tionary regime w h i c h tries to proceed democratically, is evident i n the example of the counter-revolutionary overthrow of the Allende regime i n Chile i n 1973, after three years i n office. W e have to ask, therefore, whether the Chilean sequence could be repeated i n any o f the more advanced Western liberaldemocracies. Could i t happen i n , say, Italy or France? I f i t could, the chances of participatory democracy i n any such country w o u l d be slim. There is no certainty that i t could not happen there. W e cannot rely o n there being a longer habit o f constitutionalism i n Western Europe t h a n i n L a t i n America: indeed, i n those European liberal democracies w h i c h are most likely to be i n this situation i n the forseeable future (e.g. I t a l y and France), the t r a d i t i o n of constitutionalism cannot be said to be much older or firmer than i n Chile. We should, however, notice that Allende's popular front coalition was i n control o f only a part of the executive power (the presidency, b u t not the contraloria, which had power to rule o n the legality of any executive action), and was i n control of none of the legislative (including taxing) power. I f a similar government elsewhere came into office w i t h a stronger base i t could proceed democratically w i t h o u t the same risk o f being overthrown by counter revolution. (2) Another circumstance i n w h i c h a responsible p y r a m i d a l councils system w o u l d not work w o u l d be a reappearance of an underlying class division and opposition. For, as we have seen, such division requires that the political system, i n order to h o l d the society together, be able to perform the function of con tinual compromise between class interests, and that function makes i t impossible to have clear and strong lines o f responsi b i l i t y f r o m the upper elected levels downwards. But this also is not as great a problem for us as i t might seem. For i f m y earlier analysis is right, we shall not have reached the possibility of installing such a responsible system u n t i l we have greatly reduced the present social and economic inequalities.

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I t is true that this w i l l be possible only i n the measure that the capital/labour relation that prevails i n our society has been fundamentally changed, for capitalist relations produce and reproduce opposed classes. No amount of welfare-state redis t r i b u t i o n of income w i l l by itself change that relation. N o r w i l l any amount of workers' participation or workers' control at the shop-floor level or the plant level: that is a promising breakthrough point, but i t w i l l not do the whole j o b . A fully democratic society requires democratic political control over the uses to w h i c h the amassed capital and the remaining natural resources of the society are put. I t probably does not matter whether this takes the form of social ownership of all capital, or a social control of i t so thorough as to be v i r t u a l l y the same as ownership. But more welfare-state redistribution of the national income is not enough: no matter how much i t m i g h t reduce class inequalities of income i t would not touch class inequalities of power. (3) A t h i r d circumstance i n w h i c h the pyramidal council system would not work is, of course, i f the people at the base were apathetic. Such a system could not have been reached except by a people who had t h r o w n off their political apathy. But might not apathy grow again? There can be no guarantee that i t would not. But at least the m a i n factor which I have argued creates and sustains apathy i n our present system w o u l d by hypothesis be absent or at least greatly m o d i f i e d I mean the class structure w h i c h discourages the participation of those i n the lower strata by rendering i t relatively ineffective, and w h i c h more generally discourages participation by requir ing such a b l u r r i n g of issues that governments cannot be held seriously responsible to the electorate. T o sum u p the discussion so far of the prospects of a pyra m i d a l councils system as a model of participatory democracy, we may say that i n the measure that the prerequisite condi tions for transition to a participatory system had been achieved i n any Western country, the most obvious impediments to a p y r a m i d a l councils scheme being genuinely democratic would not be present. A pyramidal system might work. O r other impediments might emerge to prevent i t being fully demo cratic. I t is not w o r t h pursuing these, for this simple model is:

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too unrealistic. I t can be nothing but a first approximation to a workable model, for i t was reached by deliberately setting aside what must now be brought back into considerationthe weight of t r a d i t i o n and the actual circumstances that are likely to prevail i n any Western nation at the time when the transi tion became possible. The most i m p o r t a n t factor here is the existence of political parties. The simple model has no place for them. I t envisages a no-party or one-party system. This was appropriate enough when such a model was p u t forward i n the revolutionary cir cumstances o f mid-seventeenth-century England and early twentieth-century Russia. But i t is not appropriate for late twentieth-century Western nations, for i t seems unlikely that any of them w i l l move to the threshold of participatory demo cracy by way of a one-party revolutionary take-over. I t is m u c h more likely that any such move w i l l be made under the leadership of a popular front or a coalition of social-democratic and socialist parties. Those parties w i l l not wither away, at least not for some years. Unless all of them but one are p u t down by force, several w i l l still be around. The real question then is, whether there is some way o f combining a pyramidal council structure w i t h a competitive party system. (ii) Model 4B: a second approximation The combination of a pyramidal direct/indirect democratic machinery w i t h a continuing party system seems essential. N o t h i n g b u t a p y r a m i d a l system w i l l incorporate any direct democracy i n t o a nation-wide structure of government, and some significant amount of direct democracy is required for anything that can be called participatory democracy. A t the same time, competitive political parties must be assumed to be i n existence, parties whose claims cannot, consistently w i t h anything that could be called a liberal democracy, be over ridden. N o t only is the combination of p y r a m i d and parties prob ably unavoidable: i t may be positively desirable. For even i n a non-class-divided society there w o u l d still be issues around w h i c h parties m i g h t form, or even might be needed to allow issues to be effectively proposed and debated: issues such as the

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over-all allocation of resources, environmental and u r b a n planning, population and i m m i g r a t i o n policies, foreign policy, m i l i t a r y policy. N o w supposing that a competitive party sys tem were either unavoidable, or actually desirable, i n a nonexploitive, non-class-divided society, could i t be combined w i t h any k i n d of p y r a m i d a l direct/indirect democracy? I t h i n k i t could. For the m a i n functions w h i c h the competi tive party system has had to perform,, and has performed, i n class-divided societies u p ' to now, i.e. the b l u r r i n g of class opposition and the continual arranging of compromises or apparent compromises between the demands of opposed classes, w o u l d no longer be required. A n d those are the features of the competitive party system w h i c h have made i t up to now incompatible w i t h any effective participatory democracy. W i t h that function no longer required, the incompatibility disappears.
9

There are, i n abstract theory, two possibilities of combining a p y r a m i d a l organization w i t h competing parties. One, much the more difficult, and so unlikely as to deserve no attention here, w o u l d be to replace the existing Western parliamentary or congressional/presidential structure o f government by a soviet-type structure, (which is conceivable even w i t h two or more parties). The other, much less difficult, w o u l d be to keep the existing structure o f government, and rely on the parties themselves to operate by p y r a m i d a l participation. I t is true, as I said earlier, that all the many attempts made by democratic reform movements and parties to make their leaders, when they became the government, responsible to the rank-and-file, It is worth noticing that in Czechoslovakia, in the spring and summer of 1968 just before the overthrow of the reformist Communist Dubcek regime by the military intervention of the U.S.S.R., one of the widely canvassed proposals for enhancing the democratic quality of the political system was the introduction of a competitive party system, and that this had substantial public support and even some support within the ruling Communist Party. In a July public opinion poll 25 per cent of the CP. members polled, and 58 per cent of non-party persons polled, wanted one or more new parties; in an August poll, in which the question was put ambiguously, the figures were i 6 per cent and 35 per cent. (H. Gordon s Skilling: Czechoslovakia's Interrupted Revolution, Princeton University Press,
I976 PP3

550-^,

356-72-)

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have failed. But the reason for those failures w o u l d no longer exist i n the circumstances we are considering, or at least w o u l d not exist to anything like the same degree. The reason for those failures was that strict responsibility of the party leadership to the membership does not allow the room for manuvre and compromise which a government i n a class-divided society must have i n order to carry out its necessary function of media t i n g between opposed class interests i n the whole society. N o doubt, even i n a non-class-divided society, there w o u l d still have to be some r o o m for compromise. But the amount of room needed for compromise on the sort of issues that m i g h t then divide parties w o u l d not be of the same order o f magni tude as the amount now required, and the element of decep t i o n or concealment required to carry on the continual b l u r r i n g of class lines would not be present. I t thus appears that there is a real possibility of genuinely participatory parties, and that they could operate through a parliamentary or congressional structure to provide a substan tial measure of participatory democracy. This I t h i n k is as far as i t is now feasible to go by way o f a blueprint.
PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY L I B E R A L DEMOCRACY? AS

One question remains ; can this model of participatory demo cracy be called a model of liberal democracy? I think i t can. I t is clearly not dictatorial or totalitarian. The guarantee of this is not the existence o f alternative parties, for i t is conceivable that after some decades they m i g h t wither away, i n conditions of greater plenty and widespread opportunity for citizen parti cipation other t h a n through political parties. I n that case we should have moved to M o d e l 4 A . The guarantee is rather i n the presumption that no version o f M o d e l 4 could come into existence or remain i n existence w i t h o u t a strong and wide spread sense o f the value o f that liberal-democratic ethical principle w h i c h was the heart of M o d e l 2the equal r i g h t o f every m a n and w o m a n to the full development and use of his or her capabilities. A n d of course the very possibility of M o d e l 4 requires also, as argued i n the second section o f this chapter.

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a downgrading or abandonment o f market assumptions about the nature of m a n and society, a departure f r o m the image o f m a n as maximizing consumer, and a great reduction of the present economic and social inequality. Those changes w o u l d make possible a restoration, even a realization, of the central ethical principle of M o d e l 2 ; and they w o u l d not, for the reason given earlier, logically deny to a M o d e l 4 the descrip t i o n 'liberal'. As long as there remained a strong sense of the h i g h value o f the equal r i g h t of self-development, M o d e l 4 w o u l d be i n the best tradition of liberal democracy.
10

At the end of ch. I , pp.

21-2.

Further Reading

Those who want to get further into a subject like this, which is both analytical and historical, w i l l generally find i t more rewarding to go first to some of the works o f the leading original writers rather than relying on even the best secondary accounts o f them, especially when, as is sometimes the case, the former are shorter than the latter. T o appreciate the enormously confident style of the early nineteenth-century theorists o f liberal democracy one could not do better t h a n to look at James M i l l ' s famous article 'Government' (written first for a supplement to the fifth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica i n 1820 and reprinted many times, usually as An Essay on Government), or a few pages of Benthameither the brief chapters of his Principles of the Civil Code cited above i n ch. I I , n n , 2, 7 - 1 2 , and 15-18, or the first few chapters of his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. The classic statement o f M o d e l 2 A is J o h n Stuart M i l l s ' Considerations on Representative Government. The most elegant short presentation o f M o d e l 2 B is A . D . Lindsay's The Essentials of Democracy. There is a useful account o f some further 2 B theorists i n ch. 1 o f Dennis F. Thompson's The Democratic Citizen, L o n d o n , Cambridge University Press, 1970. The'leading expositions o f M o d e l 3 are the works listed i n nn. 1 and 2 o f ch. I V : the best are still Schumpeter's ch. 22 and Dahl's short Preface to -Democratic Theory. The leading critiques o f M o d e l 3 are the works listed i n n . 11 o f ch. I V : each o f the three collections o f essays cited there affords an excellent statement of the case against M o d e l 3. M y short The Real World of Democracy, and Essay 10 i n m y Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval, p u t M o d e l 3 i n an unflattering global perspective.

Further Reading

117

Realistic works on participatory democracy are scarce. Its advocates incline simply to celebrate direct democracy, often as a way towards an ideal anarchistic society (for example i n many o f the essays i n C. George Benello and Dimitrios Roussopoulos (eds.) : The Case for Participatory Democracy: Some Prospects for a Radical Society, New York, Grossman, 1971) But there are useful treatments i n Carole Pateman's Participation and Democratic Theory and i n the Nomos volume Participation in Politics cited i n n . 3 to ch. V . A n earlier volume, also entitled Partici pation in Politics, edited by Geraint Parry (Manchester University Press, 1972), has interesting essays on the possibility and desirability o f more participation, on the place o f partici pation i n M a r x i a n theory, and on the record i n some Western and Communist and T h i r d W o r l d countries.

Index

Abundance, Bentham on, 28-9 Allende, Salvador, 110 A l m o n d , Gabriel A., 78 n. 1 American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, 94 n . 3 Angels, 8a Apathy, 88-9, 91, 94, 99, 102, 103, 106, m Aristotle, 9, 11, 2 n. 1 Aylmer, G. E., 14 n . 4 Bachrach, Peter, 83 n. 3, 84 n . 11, 85 n . 14 Ball, J o h n , 13 Bar&tz, M o r t o n S., 83 n . 3 Barg, M . A . , 14 n . 4 Barker, Ernest, 48, 69, 75-2 Beer, M . , 13 n. 2 Beneilo, C. George, 117 Bentham, Jeremy, 10, 21, 39, 40, 4a, 44, 47, 50, 116; his bourgeois assumptions, 33-4; his case for democracy, 34-7; his case for i n equality, 30; his general theory, 24-34, 5 > Ms understanding of capitalism, 49; on abundance, 28-9; on class differentials, 30; on franchise, 34-7; on security of prop erty, 3 0 - 3 ; on subsistence, 2 7 - 8 ; on the poor, 28; on women, 35-6 ; on working class, 37, 42-3, 63 Berelson, Bernard R., 78 n . 1, 8a, 85 n . 53, 88 n . 16 Blewett, Neal, 50 n . 6 Bourgeois assumptions: i n Bentham, 3 3 - 4 ; i n J . S. M i l l , 53-6; see also M a r k e t assumptions Braverman, H a r r y , 1 0 4 , 7 Burke, E d m u n d , 4, 20
a

Capitalism:

changed

condition of,

105-6; contradiction i n , 05-6; inconsistent w i t h equal self-develop ment, 55-6, 62-3, 70; understand ing of : by Bentham and Jas. M i l l , 49; by J - S. M i l l , 53-6, 61-2; by later theorists, 49-50 Cartwright, Major John, 24 n , Case, John, 104 n. 7 Central Intelligence Agency, 107 Chapman, J . W . , 85 n . 54, 94 n. 3, 03 n . 6 Chartism, 45-6 Chile, iso Ciompi, 13 Glass: defined, 11; as criterion of types of society, n - ~ i a ; Bentham's differential i n "sensibility, 30; differ ential i n political participation, 88, 94 ; recognition of: by Bentham and Jas. M i l l , 49; by J . S. M i l l , 49, 56 7; by later theorists, 49, 70-2; see also W o r k i n g class Class assumptions : of anti-democrats, 9-10; of igth-century liberal demo crats, 10ii, 28, 56-8; o f 20thcentury liberal democrats, 7 1 ; of Utopian democrats, 10 Class conflict: blurred by party sys tem, 6 5 - 9 ; effects of possible reemergence, I I O - I I Class differentials: Bentham on, 30; i n current participation, 88 n . 2 Class government: avoided, 6 4 ; J . S. M i l l ' s fear of, 56-8 Coates, K e n , 104 n. 7 Cobbett, W i l l i a m , 24 n . 1 Cole, G. D . H . , 15 n . 7, 69 Committees, 109 C o m m u n i t y : movements, 93 n. I , 103; sense of, 98, g g - i o o Comte, Auguste, 3 Connolly, W i l l i a m , 84 n. 11

Index
Consumer sovereignty, 7 9 - 8 1 , 84, 86-9! Copernicus, 3 Cost/benefit analysis, 102, 105-6 Czechoslovakia, 98, 113 n . 9 Daht, Robert A . , 15 n. 6, 78 n . 1, 8 1 , 85 n . 14, 89 n . 18, 116 Democracy, liberal : see L i b e r a l demo cracy Democracy,, pre-liberal: see Preliberal democracy 'Democratic centralism', 109 Dewey, J o h n , 5, 48, 69, 73-5 Diminishing utility, law of, 29; Bentham's neglect of, 33 Economic g r o w t h : costs of, 102, 106; debatable, 97
Edinburgh Review, 41

"9
Jacquerie, 13 Jefferson, Thomas, 8, 11, 15, 17-19, ao, 24 Kaiodner, H o w a r d I . , 93 n. 1 K a r i e l , H e n r y , 84 n . 11 Keynes, J . M . , 9a, 106 L a d d , J o h n , 103 n. 6 Laski, H . J . , 69 Lazarsfeld, Paul F., 78 n . 1, 82, 85 n. 13, 88 n . 16 Levellers, 14-15 Liberal democracy; market assump tions i n , 1-2, 20-1 ; possible models of, 8-9, 114-55; two concepts of, 1-a Liberal democratic theory, declining realism of, 49-50 Liberalism, linked to capitalism by assumption of scarcity, 22 Lindsay, A . D., 5, 48, 6g, 70, 116 Lipset, Seymour M a r t i n , 88 n . 16 Locke, J o h n , 5, 20 Macaulay, T . B., 40 Machiavelli, N . , 3, 11 M a c l v e r , R . M , , 48, 69, 72-3, 76 Madison, James, 5 n. 6 M a n , images (models) of, 5; equi l i b r i u m theorists' model, 79, 85-6, 92; J . S. M i l l ' s model, 47, 48, 51, 60, 6 i ; participatory theory's re quired model, 99, 115 M a r k e t assumptions, 1-2, 2 0 - 1 , 76, 77-80, 82, 83, 8 7 - 9 1 , 115 M a r x , K a r l , 3, 4, 11, 98, 100-1, 106 McCoy, Charles A . , 83 n. 3, 84 n . 11 McPh.ee, W i l l i a m N . , 78 n. 1, 82, 85 n . 13, 88 n . (6 M i l b r a t h , Lester W . , 88 n . 16 M i l l , James, 10, 21, 24-5, 44, 47, 50, 116; his understanding of capital ism, 49 ; on franchise, 37-42 ; on the r i c h , 42; on working class, 37, 42-3, M i l l , J o h n Stuart, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 41 n- 39> 43 49. 5 . 64-5= 69, 70, 72, 100-,. 106, 116; his acceptance of capitalism, '53-6, 61-2; his ambiguous definition of property, 53; his case for democracy, 51-2; ids model of m a n , 47-8, 51, 60-1 ; his neglect of women i n p l u r a l voting, 59; bis recognition of class, 5 6 - 7 ; o n class government, 5 6 - 8 ; on franchise, 57-60; o n participa tion, 60,62 ; o n p l u r a l voting, 57-9 ;

Einstein, Albert, 3 Electronic direct democracy, 95-8 lites, role of, 77-8, 9 0 - 1 , 99 Encyclopdistes, ao Equality: Bentham's case for, 29, 32; against, 30 Farrand, M a x , 15 n . 6 Ferguson, A d a m , 3 Four stages, l a w of, 3 France, 23, 110 Franchise : as criterion of democracy, 23> 4 9 - 5 0 ; changes i n , 23, 49-50, 63; demand for reform of, 45-6, 63 n . 27; positions o n : Bentham, 3 4 - 7 ; Jas. M i l l , 37-42; J . S. M i l l , 57-60 Garson, G. D., 104 n . 7 Gross N a t i o n a l Product, 43, 102 Hamburger, Joseph, 37 n. 29, 40 n . 36 H a r r i n g t o n , James, H a Harrison, Royden, 63 n. 27 Heilbroner, Robert L , , 108 n . 8 H i l l , Christopher, 14 n . 4 Hobbes, Thomas, 4 Hobhouse, L . T . , 5, 48, 69 H u m b o l d t , W i l h e l m von, 48 n. 5 Hunnius, Gerry, 104 n. 7 I n e q u a l i t y : Bentham's case for, 30; possible reduction of, !07~8; reduc t i o n of as prerequisite of participa tory democracy, 100, 106, n o - i s Incremental change, 101 Invisible hand, 82 I t a l y , 110