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Why Bother With Elections?

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Why bother with elections? 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 and wide-ranging 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. Even if their imperfections could be addressed, it would be naive to assume they could solve all society's ills. 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 relative liberty and peace. Whether they succeed in doing so in today's turbulent political climate remains to be seen.

Author: Przeworski Adam
Pages: 141
ISBN: 9781509526604
Cover: Paperback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2018




Part I How Elections Work

1 The Idea of Electing Governments

2 Protecting Property

3 Jockeying for Partisan Advantage

4 Conclusion: What Is Inherent in Elections?

Part II What Elections Achieve and What Not


5 Rationality

6 Representation, Accountability, and Control over Governments

7 Economic Performance

8 Economic and Social Equality

9 Civil Peace

10 Conclusions

Suggested Readings


Adam Przeworski is the Carroll and Milton Professor of Politics and Economics at New York University. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1991, he is the recipient of the 1985 Socialist Review Book Award, the 1998 Gregory M. Luebbert Article Award, the 2001 Woodrow Wilson Prize, the 2010 Lawrence Longley Article Award, the 2018 Sakip Sabanci International Award, and the 2018 Juan Linz Prize. In 2010, he received the Johan Skytte Prize. He recently published Why Bother with Elections? (2018).

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