What makes democracies endure przeworski PDF printers

In his book of the same name, the political scientist Adam Przeworski analyzes the "crises of democracy", using an empirical and comparative approach for past and present. In doing so, the author avoids flat generalizations and also admits limits to the possibilities of knowledge, but also encourages his readers to think for themselves and further.

Democracy is not only in crisis in Germany. But why is that, how far does it go and what does it look like elsewhere? Adam Przeworski, who works at the New York University teaches and is considered one of the most important political scientists.

There are some answers to this in his new book "Crises of Democracy", but only with a limited claim to validity. This is not due to his lack of analytical skills, but to his scientific honesty. This assessment must be formulated in order not to end the reading disappointed. The author avoids simple explanations. He clearly notes: "I don't see any overt answers to these questions, so there is little to convince my readers about. All I can do is ask questions, explore possibilities, and encourage readers to think together." (P. 8). Such confessions are seldom read today, but they stand for intellectual honesty.

Przeworski uses statistics and comparison. He looks at data on the development of democracy in many countries and then asks about the similarities and differences. The knowledge-related limits and the methodological problems are repeatedly acknowledged in all of this. It is precisely this attitude that shapes Przeworski's investigation, which looks at history as well as the present and the future. The author openly admits that the main motivation for this was Trump's election victory in 2016. Because then the institutions, norms and rules of the democratic constitutional state were in crisis. However, this is a development that can also be observed in other countries and which is not limited to the USA. In this respect, the book is generally about where the dangers for democracy lurk in the current cultural, political and economic situation. "Democracy" is defined as "electoralist", that is, in terms of the chances of a change of power through elections.

The analysis then focuses on two conditions in particular: "The first is the tension between political equality, which is seen as the foundation of democracy, and capitalism, which is a system of economic inequality. The second is the sheer pursuit of political power, whether or not it is driven by economic interests Not" (P. 28). A look at history deals with case studies, including Germany (1928–33) and Chile (1970–73) as failed democracies and France (1954–62, 1968) and the USA (1964–74) as saved democracies. The importance of the institutions, but also the role of the economy, is emphasized. Then the author looks at the present, reports the signs of a democratic crisis and asks about possible causes. Here, too, he goes into economic conditions and social divisions. Nonetheless, Przeworski cautiously formulates what also applies to chapter titles such as "What is possibly historically new?" is readable.

Nonetheless, the functionality of the institutions is repeatedly emphasized, especially with regard to their ability to resolve conflicts. It's about absorbing, regulating and structuring. For the present it says as a warning: "The danger is that democracy will gradually and unnoticed erode. ... With democratic elections, conflicts can only be resolved peacefully if the political parties manage to structure these conflicts and channel political measures into elections." (P. 235) What this means in view of the success of populist parties is always an important topic for Przeworski. The author provides more questions, but also gives answers to crisis factors. He emphasizes that we are not dealing with just any crisis in the present. These have deep social and economic roots. Przeworski's considerations can stimulate further reflections on this. For him, it is not about a completed interpretation, but about enlightening self-thinking.