chapter  2
30 Pages

Party government and parliamentary democracy in the new Europe

Michael Saward’s and John May’s definition of democracy as a ‘necessary connection’ between preference and policy can be queried because elections provide only ambiguous indications of what the popular majority wants. Joseph Schumpeter considered this problem so serious that he called for ‘another theory of democracy’ (Schumpeter 1942 [1950]: Ch. 22):

our chief troubles about the classical theory centred in the proposition that ‘the people’ hold a definite and rational opinion and that they give effect to this opinion – in a

democracy – by choosing ‘representatives’. . . . [W]e now take the view that the role of the people is to produce a government

(Schumpeter 1942 [1950]: 269).