Democracy - Democracy in practice - Elitest view

4 important questions on Democracy - Democracy in practice - Elitest view

How did elitism develop?

As a critique of egalitarian ideas such as democracy and socialism.
Classical elitists believed that political power is always exercised by a privileged minority: the elite. Believed that democracy was always a myth.

How have modern elitist theorists tended to highlight how far particular political systems fall short of the democratic ideal?

Mill: Elite comprised of US military and political cliques surrounding the President.
Drawing on a combination of economic power, bureaucratic control and access to the highest level of the executive branch of government, the power elite is able to shape key 'history-making' decisions. Liberal democracy in USA is largely a scam.

Elite as cohesive body (common interests).

What is competitive elitism (democratic elitism)?

Some elitists argue that a measure of democratic accountability is consistent with elite rule.
Competitive elitism highlights the significance of elite rivalry. The elite, consisting of the leading figures from a number of competing groups and interests, is fractured.
The electorate can decide which elite rules, but cannot change the fact that power is always exercised by an elite.
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What is the economic theory of democracy?

Comes from competitive elitism.
Downs: electoral competition creates a political market in which politicians act as entrepreneurs bent upon achieving government power, and individual voters act like consumers, voting for the party with the policies that reflect most closely their own preferences.
A system of open and competitive elections guarantees democratic rule because it places government in the hands of the party whose philosophy, values,  and policies correspond most closely to the preferences of the largest group of voters.

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