Democracy and capitalist revolution
AbstractDemocracy became the preferred and consolidated form of government only in the twentieth century. It is not sufficient to explain this change solely by reference to rational motives, nor by detecting processes and leadership. A historical approach is required. The new historical fact that led to the change of preference from aristocratic rule to democracy is the capitalist revolution, which changed the manner of appropriating the economic surplus from violence to the market. This is the first necessary condition for democracy. The disappearance of the fear of expropriation, the rise of middle classes and the pressures of the poor or of the workers are the second, third and fourth new historical facts that opened the way for the transition from the liberal to the liberal-democratic regime. After these four conditions were fulfilled, the elites ceased to fear that they would be expropriated if universal suffrage was granted. Eventually, after the transition, the democratic regime became the rational choice for all classes. The theory presented here does not predict transitions, since countries often turn democratic without fully realized historical conditions, but it predicts democratic consolidation, since no country that has completed its capitalist revolution falls back into authoritarianism.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 277.
Date of creation: 16 May 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Rua Itapeva, 474, 13o andar, CEP 01332-000, São Paulo - SP
Phone: 55 (011) 3799-3350
Fax: 55 (011) 3799-3357
Web page: http://eesp.fgv.br
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-06-04 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2011-06-04 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2011-06-04 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Núcleo de Computação da EPGE).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.