Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy

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Oxford University Press, 2003 - Political Science - 379 pages
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In his ground-breaking book, the leading political philosopher Russell Hardin develops a new theory of liberal constitutional democracy. Arguing against the standard consensus theories, the author shows how social co-ordination on limited, sociological mutual advantage lies at the heart ofliberal constitutionalism when it works to produce stable government.The book argues that liberalism, constitutionalism, and democracy are co-ordination theories. They work only in societies in which co-ordination of the important power groups for mutual advantage is feasible. It then goes on to examine and interpret the US constitution as motivated centrally by theconcern with creating a government to enable commerce. In addition, the book addresses the nature of the problems that the newly democratic, newly market-oriented states face. The analysis of constitutionalism is based on its workability, not on its intrinsic, normative, or universal appeals. Hardinargues, similarly, there are harsh limits on the possibilities of democracy. In general, democracy works only on the margins of great issues. Indeed, it is inherently a device for regulating marginal political conflicts.
 

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Contents

Mutual Advantage
1
Political and Economic
41
Contract or Coordination?
82
Agreement or Acquiescence?
141
Liberalization and its Discontents
184
Constitutional Economic Transition
228
Democracy on the Margin
276
Whether Agreed to or Not
311
Other Liberalisms
322
References
333
Index
349
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About the author (2003)

Russell Hardin is a Professor at the Department of Politics, New York University

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