POLI 100C POLITICAL PARTIES
2 February 2006
. Downs uses
strong form of Rational Choice (p.6).
- What is a Political Party?
- Practically Every Nation State has organizations which
as Political Parties.
- We are only interested in Political Parites in
free societies! The keys:
- Freedom of Association
- Freedom of Speech
- The Chicken-Egg Question -- Political Parties/Free Society
- Does a democratic free society allow the development of political parties?
- Do political parties allow the development of a free society?
- Answer: You have to have an institutional structure in place that allows Freedom of Expression
and Freedom of Association (Political Culture). This allows both to Evolve.
- The Uniqueness of the United States
- In the United States Representative Government (basic freedoms
established from the beginning by force of circumstances!) and Private Property
Rights (Capitalism) cohabitated from the beginning.
- The basic
freedoms are a NECESSARY CONDITION for REAL (see below) Political Parties
Capitalism is not [China has a form of Capitalism without freedom].
- BIG QUESTION can you have true entrepreneurial capitalism
- 2nd BIG QUESTION Given the close relationship between Science
capitalism (why is this so?), can you have either without
Democracy (in the long run)?
- How are Economic Growth and Democracy Related?
- A real Political Party Must Have a
Realistic Chance to Take Power!
- Definition (E. E. Schatschneider): A Political Party is an
Organized Realistic Attempt
to Get Power
- Anthony Downs: A team of individuals seeking to gain control of the governing apparatus
through gaining office in an election.
- How do you decide what a Real Political Party is?
According to Schattschneider (Party Government) there are two tests:
- Does the Political Party now Control the Government?
- If not, has it been able to Create the General Belief
that it will take control of the Government in the Reasonably Near Future?
- How Many Real Political Parties have there been in American History?
- Drawing the Line Between an Interest Group and a Political Party (Freedom of Association and
Freedom of Speech allow both to flourish!)
- Definition of an Interest Group: An Interest Group is a Voluntary Association of
Individuals with a Shared Concern (economic or idealistic) that Tries to Influence Decisions
of the Political System.
- The Two Types of Interest Groups -- Economic and Idealistic
- Are Political Parties Simply Coalitions (Confederations) of Interest Groups?
- Lead in to Downs: The Party Method for Taking Power
- More than 1 party
- Periodic Elections
- Universal Adult Suffrage
- Party in Power Cannot Restrict Political Activity
- Parties do not try to take power by force
- Anthony Downs' An Economic Theory of Democracy
- The Rational Choice Paradigm -- Individuals are seen as
maximizing their preferences in light of their beliefs
Preferences Over Actions.
- Methodological Individualism
- Purposive Action
- A Logical Framework
- States of Nature
- Preferences -- In this framework what Action we choose depends on
our Preferences Over the Outcomes
Downs Makes Very Strong Assumptions about Rationality:
- Preferences are Complete
- Preferences are Transitive
- Preferences are Stable across Choice Situations