By Geoffrey Brennan
Much of the most interesting and controversial work in analyzing democratic institutions over the recent past has its intellectual origins in public choice economics. The analytical apparatus derived for the study of human behavior in markets is applied to a political setting. The electoral process is viewed as a kind of market in which the currency is votes and party competition is the primary mechanism by which the policies that citizens want are ensured. This book explores the advantages and problems with democratic institutions in a series of essays representing a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The public choice analysis provides a basis for deep-seated political skepticism with which widespread unquestioning enthusiasm for democracy must be confronted. Whether this is a challenge that proponents of democracy can meet is itself an interesting matter. No less interesting and important is the understanding of democracy and the refinement of political theorizing to which the challenge gives rise.