Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political- legislative and administrative- decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself, irrespective of what decisions it will produce under given historical conditions.” In saying so, Schumpeter argues that democracy isn’t an ideal but merely a process of achieving political equilibriums through peaceful competition, constrained only by the institutions and the context in which it functions. In his book, “Capitalism, Socialism & Democracy” (1947), Schumpeter dismisses the link between good governance and democracy, which is to say that democracy is compatible with good governance, however, it is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition. This paper seeks to justify Schumpeter’s conception of democracy as a “means”, and not an “end in itself”. In doing so, it will be analysing democracy as a value neutral process that produces outcomes through a competitive mechanism of choosing representatives. Furthermore, this paper attempts to analyse how the will of people translates into political action in a democratic society. Much like Schumpeter’s analysis, this paper rejects the utilitarian preconceptions of a unanimous “common good” and argues against the preoccupation that democracy automatically leads to a society that does not discriminate, and champions liberty. Simultaneously, the paper seeks to bring out the fallacies within the classical doctrine of democracy and posits an elite theory of democracy. It draws on examples from the contemporary world to validate them in the paradigm of Schumpeter’s idea of democracy.
Democracy, Liberty, Political competition, Political economy, Society, Schumpeter, Classical doctrine, Elitist theory of democracy