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Democracy has always had its critics, but now old doubts are being treated with renewed respect as the weaknesses of democracy in its Western strongholds, and the fragility of its influence elsewhere, have become increasingly apparent. THE two main reasons are the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the rise of China.
The world applauds the collapse of the regime and offers to help build a democracy.
But turfing out an autocrat turns out to be much easier than setting up a viable democratic government.
Thus, we know very little about the subdiscipline of public finance at Chicago and its institutional and intellectual traditions in the immediate post-war period.
As the influence of Frank Knight, price theory, and catallactics on Buchanan have been well explored, the focus here is on Buchanan’s graduate training in public finance, the departmental emphasis on product differentiation of ideas, and the general acceptance in ‘Old Chicago School’ economics of the importance of institutions and institutional design.
Many nominal democracies have slid towards autocracy, maintaining the outward appearance of democracy through elections, but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system.
Faith in democracy flares up in moments of triumph, such as the overthrow of unpopular regimes in Cairo or Kiev, only to sputter out once again.The new regime stumbles, the economy flounders and the country finds itself in a state at least as bad as it was before.This is what happened in much of the Arab spring, and also in Ukraine’s Orange revolution a decade ago.In 2004 Mr Yanukovych was ousted from office by vast street protests, only to be re-elected to the presidency (with the help of huge amounts of Russian money) in 2010, after the opposition politicians who replaced him turned out to be just as hopeless. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes.Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife.By 2000 Freedom House, an American think-tank, classified 120 countries, or 63% of the world total, as democracies.Representatives of more than 100 countries gathered at the World Forum on Democracy in Warsaw that year to proclaim that “the will of the people” was “the basis of the authority of government”.After the fall of Athens, where it was first developed, the political model had lain dormant until the Enlightenment more than 2,000 years later.In the 18th century only the American revolution produced a sustainable democracy.I find that while he maintained a high degree of intellectual affinity with Chicago economics generally, Buchanan broke decisively with orthodox public finance (including that taught at Chicago) on several substantive issues early in his career, including the importance of expenditure theory and the relevance of the benefit principle and voluntary exchange.THE protesters who have overturned the politics of Ukraine have many aspirations for their country.