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Constitution and Democracy

Constitution and Democracy

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Constitution and Democracy

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  1. Constitution and Democracy

  2. Democracy • What is Democracy? Government by the people: • Leaders selected by competitive elections with universal suffrage • Government limited by rule of law • Political rights protected • Speech, Assembly, Association, Religion

  3. Democracy:Direct vs Republican (representative) Direct Democracy • A form of democratic government where citizens vote directly on major issues and directly determine public policy -- • Examples: ancient Greek democracy, New England town meetings, and California propositions

  4. Democracy:Direct vs Republican (representative) Representative Democracy or A Republic • A form of democratic government where citizens elect representatives and delegate their authority to make decisions on public policy to those representatives • Examples: the US Government with Congress and the President, etc.

  5. Conditions for Democracy What social conditions enable democracy? • Education levels? • US fully literate • Bangledesh very limited literacy • Doesn’t matter

  6. Conditions for Democracy What social conditions enable democracy? • Wealth Levels? • Diversity: race, religion, language?

  7. Conditions for Democracy What social conditions enable democracy? • Wealth Levels? • Rich • Poor • Doesn’t matter

  8. Conditions for Democracy What social conditions enable democracy? • Capitalism vs Socialism? • Capitalism:Private Property with Market Incentives • Supply and Demand drive production/price • Socialism:Collective Property with Government Planning • Government Command drives production/price

  9. Democracy & Economic Systems Thesis: • Democracy needs capitalism to survive • Capitalism may exist without democracy Capitalism is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for democracy

  10. Scotia California:a company town • Pacific Lumber CompanyPALCO

  11. SCOTIA:CODE OF CONDUCT Forbidden behaviors: • Skateboarding, bicycling, obstructing traffic, etc • Sitting on floors, stairs, handrails, planters or trash receptacles • Physically or verbally threatening anyone…. • Engaging in non-commercial expressive activity without the proper written permission of the management of Scotia • …

  12. Does Economics Matter? Imagine we live in… Scotia

  13. Does Economics Matter? Now imagine we live in Porterville, Tulare County…

  14. Capitalism and Democracy The Private Property of capitalism enables democracy: • Divides power • Separates economic and political power • Requires citizen initiative in community – people have to do some things for themselves

  15. Capitalism and Democracy Democracy Requires: • Ability to dissent: not just for heroes and martyrs • Capitalism separates political and economic power, providing the possibility of meaningful dissent

  16. Capitalism and Democracy An Uneasy Marriage: • Capitalism threatens democracy: • Concentrates economic power • Economic power buys political power • Unequal economic power leads to unequal unequal access to political power • Democracy assumes, even needs, equality

  17. Capitalism and Democracy An Uneasy Marriage: • Democracy threatens capitalism • Majority may vote away property rights to achieve ‘equality’ • Majority may vote to kill the goose that laid the golden egg of democracy

  18. Capitalism and Democracy • Capitalism leaves Social Space where citizens fend for themselves • Citizens form voluntary associations to deal with problems that the government does not deal with • Examples: • Soccer Leagues, PTAs, Churches, Labor Unions, Trade Associations, Service Clubs, etc.

  19. Capitalism and Democracy Alexis de Toqueville Visited America 1831 Democracy in America Published book in 2 volumes 1835 and 1840

  20. Democracy in America: Thesis Success of American Democracy: • Fundamental Culture of Equality • Common culture of virtue: “America is great because America is good. Should she cease to be good, she would cease to be great.” • Spirit of Volunteerism

  21. Civil Society:Spirit of Volunteerism Civil Society: • Volunteer organizations or associations that citizens join to achieve goals independent of government. • Examples: PTA, Rotary Club, Job’s Daughters, Soccer League, Little League, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Churches, Neighborhood Watch, ETC…

  22. Capitalism and Democracy Capitalism creates need for Civil Society Healthy, robust Civil Society is absolutely necessary for democracy Economic systems without private property do not enable or create Civil Society

  23. Continued: Probably not in class from here on:Historical issues • Constitutional Background • Continental Congress • Articles of Confederation • Weaknesses • Shay’s rebellion, etc. • Constitutional Convention

  24. Constitutional Framing Compromises and ratification • Connecticut Compromise (Great Compromise) • Three-fifths Compromise • Slaves counted at 3/5 for census • Electoral College • Federalists / Anti-Federalists

  25. The Constitution:Core structures • Federalism • Separation of Powers • Executive • Legislative • Judicial

  26. Constitution:Processes for maintenance and adaptation • Judicial Review • Balance (Checks and Balances) • Amendments • Constitutional Interpretation (“Adaptability”)