This is a study of the choices faced by socialist movements as they developed within capitalist societies. Professor Przeworski examines the three principal choices confronted by socialism: whether to work through elections; whether to rely exclusively on the working class; and whether to try to reform or abolish capitalism. He brings to his analysis a number of abstract models of political and economic structure, and illustrates the issues in the context of historical events, tracing the development of socialist strategies since the mid-nineteenth century. Several of the conclusions are novel and provocative. Professor Przeworski argues that economic issues cannot justify a socialist programme, and that the workers had good reasons to struggle for the improvement of capitalism. Therefore, the project of a socialist transformation, and the fight for economic advancement, were separate historical phenomena.
Sustainable Democracy is a joint report of twenty-one social scientists, from eleven countries and four academic disciplines, who collaborated over the period of two years under the name of the Group on East-South Systems Transformations (ESST). Their report identifies the principal political and economic choices confronting new democracies in Southern and Eastern Europe and South America, while evaluating their merits and feasibility in the light of current social science knowledge. The scientists explore the social, political and economic conditions under which democracy is likely to generate desirable and politically desired objectives, as well as, whether it is likely to last. It is argued that the state has an essential role in promoting universal citizenship and in creating conditions for a sustained economic growth. Special emphasis is placed on the interdependence between political and economic reforms.
The quest for freedom from hunger and repression has triggered in recent years a worldwide movement toward political democracy and economic rationality. Never have so many people experimented with democratic institutions. At the same time, traditional strategies of economic development have collapsed in Eastern Europe and Latin America and entire economic systems are being transformed on both continents. What should we expect in the countries that venture on the paths to democracy and markets? Will these transitions result in democracies or in new dictatorships? What economic system, new or old, will emerge? This major book analyzes recent events in Eastern Europe and Latin America, focusing on transitions to democracy and market-oriented economic reforms. The author underscores the interdependence of political and economic transformations and draws on extensive local data as part of his analysis. A distinctive feature of the book is that it employs models derived from politics, economics, and game theory. This book will be of particular interest to scholars and graduate students in political science and sociology.
With the collapse of traditional parties around the world and with many pundits predicting a "crisis of democracy", the value of elections as a method for selecting by whom and how we are governed is being questioned. What are the virtues and weaknesses of elections? Are there limitations to what they can realistically achieve? In this deeply informed book world-renowned democratic theorist Adam Przeworski offers a warts-and-all analysis of elections and the ways in which they affect our lives. Elections, he argues, are inherently imperfect but they remain the least bad way of choosing our rulers. According to Przeworski, the greatest value of elections, by itself sufficient to cherish them, is that they process whatever conflicts may arise in society in a way that maintains relative liberty and peace. Whether they succeed in doing so in today's turbulent political climate remains to be seen.