Wenn Demokratie scheitert

Francis Fukuyama zu den Grenzen der Demokratie (ein etwas längeres Zitat).

while democracy does provide an important check on elite power, it frequently fails to perform as advertised. Elite insiders typically have superior access to resources and information, which they use to protect themselves. Ordinary voters will not get angry at them for stealing their money if they don’t know that this is happening in the first place. Cognitive rigidities may also prevent social groups from mobilizing in their own self-interest. In the United States, many working-class voters support candidates promising to lower taxes on the wealthy, despite the fact that this hurts their own economic situations. They do so in the belief that such policies will spur economic growth that will eventually trickle down to them, or else make government deficits self-financing. The theory has proved remarkably tenacious in the face of considerable evidence that it is not true. Furthermore, different groups have different abilities to organize to defend their interests. Sugar producers or corn growers are geographically concentrated and focused on the prices of their products, unlike ordinary consumers or taxpayers who are dispersed and for whom the prices of these commodities are only a small part of their budgets. This, combined with institutional rules that often favor such interests (like the fact that Florida and Iowa where sugar and corn are grown are electoral swing states in presidential elections), gives those groups an outsized influence over agricultural policy. To take another example, middle-class groups are usually much more willing and able to defend their interests, like preservation of the home mortgage deduction, than are the poor. This makes universal entitlements to social security or health insurance much easier to defend politically than programs targeting the poor only. Finally, liberal democracy is almost universally associated with a market economy, which tends to produce winners and losers and amplifies what James Madison termed the “different and unequal faculties of acquiring property.” This type of economic inequality is not in itself a bad thing, insofar as it stimulates innovation and growth, and when it occurs under conditions of equal access to the economic system. It becomes highly problematic politically, however, when economic winners seek to convert their wealth into unequal political influence. They can do this on a transactional basis by, for example, bribing a legislator or bureaucrat, or more damagingly by changing the institutional rules to favor themselves—by, say, closing off competition in markets they already dominate. Countries from Japan to Brazil to the United States have used environmental or safety concerns to in effect protect domestic producers. The level playing field becomes progressively tilted in their direction.

Francis Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay (Ebook Version), Seite 529

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