Cover: Joseph Schumpeter’s Two Theories of Democracy, from Harvard University PressCover: Joseph Schumpeter’s Two Theories of Democracy in E-DITION

Joseph Schumpeter’s Two Theories of Democracy

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$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674186439

Publication Date: 07/30/2001

263 pages


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This is the first book-length study of Schumpeter’s influential theory of democracy. Contrary to received views, Medearis argues that Schumpeter held two views of democracy; the well-known account of democracy as a method of rule by elites who gain power through competitive elections, and a second, transformative vision of the democratization of all spheres of life, including the economy, by replacing hierarchical structures of authority with egalitarian and participatory structures… The book is important not only for students of Schumpeter’s thought but also for democratic theory generally as it defends a radical vision of democracy rooted in the democratic socialist projects of the late-19th and early 20th centuries… Recommended.—J. D. Moon, Choice

This is an outstanding piece of scholarship. It provides an original slant on the political economy and the democratic theory of Joseph Schumpeter. It completely redefines Schumpeter’s place within democratic theory. And, given his importance to the development of democratic theory, it significantly reshapes how we understand the debate between competitive models of democracy and participatory ones. Moreover, it untangles a number of asymmetries in Schumpeter’s most influential work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, that have dogged readers for decades. This book has made me understand Schumpeter’s account of the tendential movement of capitalism to socialism, his famous competitive elite theory of democracy, and his aristocratic conservatism in a completely new light.—Peter Breiner, Associate Professor of Political Science, State University of New York at Albany

Medearis’s thesis is both controversial and compellingly defended. This lucidly written book will be widely debated and will change the way in which Schumpeter’s theory of democracy is seen.—Ian Shapiro, author of Democratic Justice

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