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Life Cycle of Democracy





Dennise
I've been unable to find the originator of this (paraphrased) quote:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, followed by dictatorship.

Considering the lazy AND incentive driven components of human nature, is this truly inevitable? It would appear that 'soft landings' are possible as alternatives with some careful balance of socialism and capitalism. Such soft landings would be very dependent on demographics and changes in demographic rates however.
SonLight
According to Alexis de Tocqueville,
Quote:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.


reference: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/465.Alexis_de_Tocqueville

The longer version, next on that page, uses that wonderfully archaic word, "largesse" and gives 200 years as the average age of a democracy. I guesss we're about due for a change according to his timetable ...

I thought the idea originally came from the Greeks. If so, I didn't find it. Perhaps the Greeks are simply one of the best examples, along with the Romans.
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