Elitism, Populism, and European Politics

By Jack E. S. Hayward | Go to book overview

10
Public Demands and Economic Constraints: All Italians Now?

NICHOLAS BOSANQUET

In some terms the debate about democracy and stable public finance is an old one. Tocqueville and Dicey before 1914, Colin Clark, Schumpeter, and the Chicago School of Economics later, developed the theme of inconsistency. Tocqueville was eloquent on how political sentiments would lead to political centralization and growing public expenditure. 1 The practice of democracy could release forces which would waste enormous amounts of resources, retard economic growth, and poison the atmosphere in society. There would also be a new class of subsidy- chasers and rentiers. Jomini wrote of how false values might eclipse public esteem for more legitimate professions in favour of those who 'fatten on the public miseries by gambling on the vicissitudes of the national credit'. 2

There is also little new about vigorous rebuttals affirming the gains to society and the economy from growth in publicly financed programmes. Tawney's lectures on equality supplied one powerful defence of the growth of the social services: 3 but at this stage it was not only the left which supported the growth of social services. The national efficiency school provided strong support. Within the United Kingdom the editors of A Century of Municipal Progress 1835-1935 included the Conservative Sir Ivor Jennings as well as the archetypal socialist professor Harold Laski. 4 'If we compare the state of the English towns in 1835 with their state in 1935, we might well conclude that the creation of our modern system of local government is the greatest British achievement in the last hundred years. . . . Nothing surely that the British people have done in the world in these hundred years is more important than the revolution it has effected in its local government.' Two decades later Galbraith was to stress the contrast between private affluence and public squalor and the complementarity between public

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Elitism, Populism, and European Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS x
  • Introduction Mediocre Élites Elected by Mediocre Peoples 1
  • Note 9
  • 1: The Populist Challenge to Élitist Democracy in Europe 10
  • Notes 30
  • 2 - 'Losing Touch' in a Democracy: Demands Versus Needs 33
  • Notes 60
  • 3: Freedom from the Press 67
  • Notes 86
  • 4: From Representative to Responsive Government? 88
  • Notes 99
  • 5: The European Union, the Political Class, and the People 101
  • Notes 120
  • 6: Political Parties and the Public Accountability of Leaders 121
  • Notes 141
  • 7: Élite-Mass Linkages in Europe: Legitimacy Crisis or Party Crisis? 143
  • Notes 160
  • 8: Organized Interests as Intermediaries 164
  • Notes 186
  • 9: Mediating between the Powerless and the Powerful 190
  • Notes 202
  • 10: Public Demands and Economic Constraints: All Italians Now? 203
  • Notes 219
  • 11: The Fluctuating Rationale of Monetary Union 220
  • 4: Conclusion 235
  • Notes 237
  • 12: Has Government by Committee Lost the Public's Confidence? 238
  • Notes 249
  • Conclusion Has European Unification by Stealth a Future? 252
  • Notes 257
  • Index 259
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