Recently I discussed the tyranny of democracy and cautioned those who are blindly enamoured with direct democracy (or its proxy: proportional representation).
Democracy has its inevitable tendencies: middle class welfare (median voter theorem), lack of fiscal discipline (always convenient to borrow for one's term of government and let the future generations pay), and never ending intervention by government into our affairs. Everyone wants the government to do this or do that. No one is happy to leave others alone.
Most noticeable across the world today is the tendency of democracies to accumulate MASSIVE AMOUNTS of debt. Buttonwood (in The Economist) has summarised this well. [Does anyone know who is Buttonwood?].
Buchanan thought a lot about these issues. Not many have spent similar time trying to resolve the fundamental problems of democracy. I don't expect Indians to provide such insights, since they are generally unthinking and jump to conclusions.
Extracts from The Economist
For a long time, democracy was a dirty word among political philosophers. One reason was the fear that democratic rule would lead to ruin.
- Plato warned that democratic leaders would “rob the rich, keep as much of the proceeds as they can for themselves and distribute the rest to the people”.
- James Madison feared that democracy would lead to “a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property and for any other improper or wicked projects”.
- John Adams worried that rule by the masses would lead to heavy taxes on the rich in the name of equality. As a consequence, “the idle, the vicious, the intemperate would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them.”
For a long time, there did not seem to be any limit to the amount democracies could borrow. Creditors have been more patient with democratic governments than with other regimes, probably because the risk of abrupt changes of policy are reduced. But this has postponed the crunch point, rather than eliminated it—and allowed stable democracies to accumulate higher debt, relative to their GDP, than many, more volatile countries ever achieved.
Democracies cannot make foreign lenders extend credit.
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