Dados n. 6 Rio de Janeiro 1969

Teoria Política e Prospectos Democráticos

Santos, Wanderley Guilherme dos


The author seeks to establish a general argument concerning certain "emerging circunstances" which threaten democracy as a means to attain justice and equality. Recalling the route followed by anti-democratic theories appears as pathological kind of thought. From this point on the author discusses the thesis acording to which political democracy is an unattainable ideial, since life in society implies the feudalization of power. Here, the argument of scarcity becomes very important: to the extent that a particular society produces only a limited amount of goods, an unspecified quantun of authoritarianism will be inevitable and political democracy is postponed until a future of affluence is reached. This argument, already present in Hobbes and very important in Marx's philosophy of history seems to imply that a certain degree of authoritarianism will be necessary for the initial economic take-off. According to the scarcity argument, the underdeveloped world would be only one where political democracy would face practical obstacles since an affluent society is potentially democratic. The argument is related to the theory of "possessive lndividualism", the premises of which coincide with those of the mercantile society. According to that theory, the transfomations of the mercantile society would in practice tend to negate the democratic ideal. The rise of a polltically articulate working-class is one of the main changes taking place in modern society. On the basis of the foregoing the author argues: 1. that an abStract and universal view of government is rational; 2. that such a view is related to the democratic institutions and the early stages of the mercantile society. He concludes that this abstract concept of government may require an authoritarian organization of political life.

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Teoria Política e Prospectos Democráticos