During the 19th century monarchists fought a prolonged rearguard action against democratic forces.
In the first half of the 20th century nascent democracies collapsed in Germany, Spain and Italy.
Their placards called for closer relations with the European Union (EU), an end to Russian intervention in Ukraine’s politics and the establishment of a clean government to replace the kleptocracy of President Viktor Yanukovych. Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption.
But their fundamental demand is one that has motivated people over many decades to take a stand against corrupt, abusive and autocratic governments. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures.
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.
Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world.
In the second half of the 20th century, democracies had taken root in the most difficult circumstances possible—in Germany, which had been traumatised by Nazism, in India, which had the world’s largest population of poor people, and, in the 1990s, in South Africa, which had been disfigured by apartheid.
This paper examines James Buchanan’s earliest writings within the context of post-WWII public finance theory and his education at Chicago.
Public choice scholars have long recognized their ties to Chicago, but few have examined Chicago’s role in serving as the primordial soup for Buchanan’s later work in public choice.