Please note: you will be unable to purchase articles on Cambridge Core between 8.00am and 11.00am (BST) on Tuesday 11 May. If you have any urgent queries, please visit the help pages to contact our customer service team.
Skip to main content
Accessibility help
We use cookies to distinguish you from other users and to provide you with a better experience on our websites. Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings.
Only search content I have access to
>American Political Science Review
>Volume 53 Issue 1
>Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development...
Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy1
Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2012
Seymour Martin Lipset
Article contents
Get access
Rights & Permissions
The conditions associated with the existence and stability of democratic society have been a leading concern of political philosophy. In this paper the problem is attacked from a sociological and behavioral standpoint, by presenting a number of hypotheses concerning some social requisites for democracy, and by discussing some of the data available to test these hypotheses. In its concern with conditions—values, social institutions, historical events—external to the political system itself which sustain different general types of political systems, the paper moves outside the generally recognized province of political sociology. This growing field has dealt largely with the internal analysis of organizations with political goals, or with the determinants of action within various political institutions, such as parties, government agencies, or the electoral process. It has in the main left to the political philosopher the larger concern with the relations of the total political system to society as a whole.
Research Article
American Political Science Review , Volume 53 , Issue 1 , March 1959 , pp. 69 - 105
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1959
Access options
Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.
Buy article
Check access
Institutional login
Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials
Log in
Personal login
Log in with your Cambridge Core account or society details.
Log in
If you should have access and can't see this content please contact technical support.
This paper was written as one aspect of a comparative analysis of political behavior in western democracies which is supported by grants from the Behavioral Sciences Division of the Ford Foundation and the Committee on Comparative Politics of the Social Science Research Council. Assistance from Robert Alford and Amitai Etzioni is gratefully acknowledged. It was originally presented at the September 1958 meetings of the American Political Science Association in St. Louis, Missouri.
2See my “Political Sociology, 1945–1955”, in Zetterberg, Hans L., ed., Sociology in the USA (Paris: UNESCO, 1956), pp. 45–55Google Scholar, for a summary of the various areas covered by political sociology. For a discussion of intellectual trends in political sociology and the rationale underlying a focus on the problem of democracy, see my “Political Sociology”, in Merton, R. K., et al. , eds., Sociology Today (New York: Basic Books, 1959)Google Scholar, ch. 3.
Griffith, Ernest S., Plamenatz, John, and Pennock, J. Roland, “Cultural Prerequisites to a Successfully Functioning Democracy: A Symposium”, this REVIEW, Vol. 50 (1956), pp. 101–137Google Scholar.
4A detailed example of how a deviant case and analysis advances theory may be found in Lipset, S. M., Trow, M., and Coleman, J., Union Democracy, (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1956)Google Scholar. This book is a study of the political process inside the International Typographical Union, which has a long-term two-party system with free elections and frequent turn-over in office, and is thus the clearest exception to Robert Michels' “iron law of oligarchy.” The research, however, was not intended as a report on this union, but rather as the best means available to test and amplify Michels' “law.” The study could only have been made through a systematic effort to establish a basic theory and derive hypotheses. The best way to add to knowledge about the internal government of voluntary associations seemed to be to study the most deviant case. In the process of examining the particular historical and structural conditions sustaining the two-party system in the ITU, the general theory was clarified.
Schumpeter, Joseph, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, (New York: Harper and Bros., 1947), pp. 232–302Google Scholar, esp. 269; Weber, Max, Essays in Sociology, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 2261Google Scholar.
Weber, Max, The Methodology of the Social Sciences, (Glencoe: The Free Press, pp. 182–185Google Scholar; see also Lipset, S. M., “A Sociologist Looks at History”, Pacific Sociological Review, Vol. 1 (Spring 1958), pp. 13–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
7See Janowitz, Morris and Marvick, Dwaine, Competitive Pressure and Democratic Consent, Michigan Governmental Studies, no. 32 (Bureau of Government, Institute of Public Administration, University of Michigan, 1956)Google Scholar, and Dahl, Robert A., A Preface to Democratic Theory, (University of Chicago, 1956), esp. pp. 90–123Google Scholar, for recent systematic efforts to specify some of the internal mechanisms of democracy. See Easton, David, “An Approach to the Analysis of Political Systems”, World Politics, Vol. 9 (1957), pp. 383​–​400​CrossRef​Google Scholar, for discussion of problems of internal analysis of political systems.
8See Weber, Max, “Zur Lage der burgerlichen Demokratie in Russland”, Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, Vol. 22 (1906), pp. 346 ff.Google Scholar
9The latter requirement means that no totalitarian movement, either Fascist or Communist, received 20 per cent of the vote during this time. Actually all the European nations falling on the democratic side of the continuum had totalitarian movements which secured less than seven per cent of the vote.
10The historian Arthur P. Whitaker, for example, has summarized the judgments of experts on Latin America to be that “the countries which have approximated most closely to the democratic ideal have been … Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Uruguay.” See The Pathology of Democracy in Latin America: A Historian's Point of View”, this REVIEW, Vol. 44 (1950), pp. 101–118Google Scholar. To this group I have added Mexico. Mexico has allowed freedom of the press, of assembly and of organization, to opposition parties, although there is good evidence that it does not allow them the opportunity to win elections, since ballots are counted by the incumbents. The existence of opposition groups, contested elections, and adjustments among the various factions of the governing Partido Revolucionario Institutional does introduce a considerable element of popular influence in the system. The interesting effort of Russell Fitzgibbon to secure a “statistical evaluation of Latin American democracy” based on the opinion of various experts is not useful for the purposes of this paper. The judges were asked not only to rank countries as democratic on the basis of purely political criteria, but also to consider the “standard of living” and “educational level.” These latter factors may be conditions for democracy, but they are not an aspect of democracy as such. See Fitzgibbon, Russell H., “A Statistical Evaluation of Latin American Democracy”, Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 9 (1956), pp. 607​–​619​CrossRef​Google Scholar.
11Lyle W. Shannon has correlated indices of economic development with whether a country is self-governing or not, and his conclusions are substantially the same. Since Shannon does not give details on the countries categorized as self-governing and non-self-governing, there is no direct measure of the relation between “democratic” and “self-governing” countries. All the countries examined in this paper, however, were chosen on the assumption that a characterization as “democratic” is meaningless for a non-self-governing country, and therefore, presumably, all of them, whether democratic or dictatorial, would fall within Shannon's “self-governing” category. Shannon shows that underdevelopment is related to lack of self-government; my data indicate that once self-government is attained, development is still related to the character of the political system. See Shannon, (ed.), Underdeveloped Areas (New York: Harper, 1957)Google Scholar, and also his article, Is Level of Government Related to Capacity for Self-Government?” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 17 (1958) pp. 367​–​382​CrossRef​Google Scholar. In the latter paper, Shannon constructs a composite index of development, using some of the same indices, such as inhabitants per physician, and derived from the same United Nations sources, as appear in the tables to follow. Shannon's work did not come to my attention until after this paper was prepared, so that the two papers can be considered as separate tests of comparable hypotheses.
12It must be remembered that these figures are means, compiled from census figures for the various countries. The data vary widely in accuracy, and there is no way of measuring the validity of compound calculated figures such as those presented here. The consistent direction of all these differences, and their large magnitude, is the main indication of validity.
13Urbanization has often been linked to democracy by political theorists. Harold J. Laski asserted that “organized democracy is the product of urban life,” and that it was natural therefore that it should have “made its first effective appearance” in the Greek city states, limited as was their definition of “citizen.” See his article “Democracy” in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: Macmillan, 1937), Vol. V, pp. 76–85Google Scholar. Max Weber held that the city, as a certain type of political community, is a peculiarly Western phenomenon, and traced the emergence of the notion of “citizenship” from social developments closely related to urbanization. For a partial statement of his point of view, see the chapter on “Citizenship”, in General Economic History (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1950), pp. 315–338Google ScholarPubMed. It is significant to note that before 1933 the Nazi electoral strength was greatest in small communities and rural areas. Berlin, the only German city of over two million, never gave the Nazis over 25 per cent of the vote in a free election. The modal Nazi, like the modal French Poujadist or Italian neo-Fascist today, was a self-employed resident of a small town or rural district. Though the communists, as a workers' party, are strongest in the working-class neighborhoods of large cities within countries, they have great electoral strength only in the less urbanized European nations, e.g., Greece, Finland, France, Italy.
14The pattern indicated by a comparison of the averages for each group of countries is sustained by the ranges (the high and low extremes) for each index. Most of the ranges overlap, that is, some countries which are in the low category with regard to politics are higher on any given index than some which are high on the scale of democracy. It is note worthy that in both Europe and Latin America, the nations which are lowest on any of the indices presented in the table are also in the “less democratic” category. Conversely, almost all countries which rank at the top of any of the Indices are in the “more democratic” class.
15See Dewey, John, Democracy and Education (New York, 1916)Google Scholar.
16Quoted in Arthur P. Whitaker, op. cit., p. 112; see also Mannheim, Karl, Freedom, Power and Democratic Planning (New York, 1950)Google Scholar.
17See Smith, C. H., “Liberalism and Level of Information”, Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 39 (1948), pp. 65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Trow, Martin A., Right Wing Radicalism and Political Intolerance, Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1957, p. 17Google Scholar; Stouffer, Samuel, Communism, Conformity and Civil Liberties (New York, 1955), pp. 138–9Google Scholar; Kido, K. and Suyi, M., “Report on Social Stratification and Mobility in Tokyo, … Mobility in Tokyo, III: The Structure of Social Consciousness”, Japanese Sociological Review (January 1954), pp. 74–100Google Scholar.
18Dewey has suggested that the character of the educational system will influence its effect on democracy, and this may shed some light on the sources of instability in Germany. The purpose of German education, according to Dewey, writing in 1916, was “disciplinary training rather than … personal development.” The main aim was to produce “absorption of the aims and meaning of existing institutions,” and “thoroughgoing subordination” to them. This point raises issues which cannot be entered into here, but indicates the complex character of the relationship between democracy and closely related factors, such as education. See Dewey, Democracy and Education, op. cit., pp. 108–110. It suggests caution, too, in drawing optimistic inferences about the prospects of democratic developments in Russia, based on the great expansion of education now taking place there.
19Ceylon, which shares with the Philippines and Japan the distinction of being the only democratic countries in South and Far Asia in which the Communists are unimportant electorally, also shares with them the distinction of being the only countries in this area in which a majority of the population is literate. It should be noted, however, that Ceylon does have a fairly large Trotskyist party, now the official opposition; and while its educational level is high for Asia, it is much lower than either Japan or the Philippines.
20A factor analysis carried out by Leo Schnore, based on data from 75 countries, demonstrates this. (To be published).
21This statement is a “statistical” statement, which necessarily means that there will be many exceptions to the correlation. Thus we know that poorer people are more likely to vote for the Democratic or Labor parties in the U. S. and England. The fact that a large minority of the lower strata vote for the more conservative party in these countries does not challenge the proposition that stratification position is the main determinant of party choice, given the multivariate causal process involved in the behavior of people or nations. Clearly social science will never be able to account for (predict) all behavior.
22The study is reported in Lerner, Daniel, The Passing of Traditional Society, (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1958)Google Scholar. These correlations are derived from census data; the main sections of the survey dealt with reactions to and opinions about the mass media, with inferences as to the personality types appropriate to modern and to traditional society.
23Ibid., p. 63. The index of political participation was the per cent voting in the last five elections. These results cannot be considered as independent verification of the relationships presented in this paper, since the data and variables are basically the same (as they are also in the work by Lyle Shannon, op. cit.), but the identical results using three entirely different methods, the phi coefficient, multiple correlations, and means and ranges, show decisively that the relationships cannot be attributed to artifacts of the computations. It should also be noted that the three analyses were made without knowledge of each other.
24Ibid., pp. 84–85.
25Ibid., pp. 87–89. Other theories of underdeveloped areas have also stressed the circular character of the forces sustaining a given level of economic and social development; and in a sense this paper may be regarded as an effort to extend the analysis of the complex of institutions constituting a “modernized” society to the political sphere. Leo Schnore's unpublished monograph, Economic Development and Urbanization, An Ecological Approach, relates technological, demographic and organizational (including literacy and per capita income) variables as an interdependent complex. Leibenstein's, Harvey recent volume, Economic Backwardness and Economic Growth (New York, 1957)Google Scholar, views “undevelopment” within the framework of a “quasi-equilibrium” economic theory, as a complex of associated and mutually supportive aspects of a society, and includes cultural and political characteristics—illiteracy, the lack of a middle class, a crude communications system—as part of the complex. (See pp. 39–41).
26Ibid., p. 60. Lerner also focuses upon certain personality requirements of a “modern” society which may also be related to the personality requirements of democracy. According to him, the physical and social mobility of modern society requires a mobile personality, capable of adaptation to rapid change. Development of a “mobile sensibility so adaptive to change that rearrangement of the self-system is its distinctive mode” has been the work of the 20th century. Its main feature is empathy, denoting the “general capacity to see oneself in the other fellow's situation, whether favorably or unfavorably.” (p. 49 ff.) Whether this psychological characteristic results in a predisposition toward democracy (implying a willingness to accept the viewpoint of others) or is rather associated with the anti-democratic tendencies of a “mass society” type of personality (implying the lack of any solid personal values rooted in rewarding participation) is an open question. Possibly empathy, a more or less “cosmopolitan” outlook, is a general personality characteristic of modern societies, with other special conditions determining whether or not it has the social consequence of tolerance and democratic attitudes, or rootlessness and anomie.
27See Lipset, S. M., “Socialism—East and West—Left and Right”, Confluence, Vol. 7 (Summer 1958), pp. 173–192Google Scholar.
Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America, Vol. I (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Vintage edition, 1945), p. 258Google Scholar.
29For a discussion of this problem in a new state, see Apter, David, The Gold Coast in Transition (Princeton University Press, 1955)Google Scholar, esp. chapters 9 and 13. Apter shows the importance of efficient bureaucracy, and the acceptance of bureaucratic values and behavior patterns, for the existence of a democratic political order.
30See Lederer, Emil, The State of the Masses (New York, 1940)Google Scholar; Arendt, Hannah, Origins of Totalitarianism (New York, 1950)Google Scholar; Horkheimer, Max, Eclipse of Reason (New York, 1947)Google Scholar; Mannheim, Karl, Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction (New York, 1940)Google Scholar; Selznick, Philip, The Organizational Weapon (New York, 1952)Google Scholar; Gasset, José Ortega y, The Revolt of the Masses (New York, 1932)Google Scholar.
31See Banfield, Edward, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1958)Google Scholar, for an excellent description of the way in which abysmal poverty serves to reduce community organization in southern Italy. The data which do exist from polling surveys conducted in the United States, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Sweden show that somewhere between 40 and 50 per cent of the adults in these countries belong to voluntary associations, without lower rates of membership for the less stable democracies, France and Germany, than among the more stable ones, the United States, Great Britain, and Sweden. These results seemingly challenge the general proposition, although no definite conclusion can be made, since most of the studies employed non-comparable categories. This point bears further research in many countries. For the data on these countries see the following studies: for France Rose, Arnold, Theory and Method in the Social Sciences (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1954), p. 74Google Scholar; and Gallagher, O. R., “Voluntary Associations in France”, Social Forces, Vol. 36 (Dec. 1957), pp. 154​–​156​CrossRef​Google Scholar; for Germany, Reigrotski, Erich, Soziale Verflechtungen in der Bundesrepublik (Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1956), p. 164Google Scholar; for the U. S., Wright, Charles R. and Hyman, Herbert H., “Voluntary Association Memberships of American Adults: Evidence from National Sample Surveys”, American Sociological Review, Vol. 23 (June 1958), p. 287CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and J. C. Scott, Jr., “Membership and Participation in Voluntary Associations,” id., Vol. 22 (1957), pp. 315–326; Herbert Maccoby, “The Differential Political Activity of Participants in a Voluntary Association,” id., Vol. 23 (1958), pp. 524–533; for Great Britain see Mass Observation, Puzzled People (London: Victor Gollanz, 1947), p. 119Google Scholar; and Bottomore, Thomas, “Social Stratification in Voluntary Organizations”, in Glass, David, ed., Social Mobility in Britain (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1954), p. 354Google Scholar; for Sweden see Heckscher, Gunnar, “Pluralist Democracy: The Swedish Experience”, Social Research, Vol. 15 (December 1948), pp. 417–461Google Scholar.
32In introducing historical events as part of the analysis of factors external to the political system, which are part of the causal nexus in which democracy is involved, I am following in good sociological and even functionalist tradition. As Radcliffe-Brown has well put it, “… one ‘explanation’ of a social system will be its history, where we know it—the detailed account of how it came to be, what it is and where it is. Another ‘explanation’ of the same system is obtained by showing … tha t it is a special exemplification of laws of social psychology or social functioning. The two kinds of explanation do not conflict but supplement one another.” Radcliffe-Brown, A. R., “On the Concept of Function in Social Science”, American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 37 (1935), p. 401CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Weber, Max, The Methodology of the Social Sciences (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1949), pp. 164–188Google Scholar, for a detailed discussion of the role of historical analysis in sociological research.
33Op. cit., pp. 251–252.
34Walter Lippmann, referring to the seemingly greater capacity of the constitutional monarchies than the republics of Europe to “preserve order with freedom,” suggests that this may be because “in a republic the governing power, being wholly secularized, loses much of its prestige; it is stripped, if one prefers, of all the illusions of intrinsic majesty.” See his The Public Philosophy (New York: Mentor Books, 1956), p. 50Google ScholarPubMed.
35See Almond, Gabriel, “Comparative Political Systems”, Journal of Politics, Vol. 18 (1956), pp. 391​–​409​CrossRef​Google Scholar.
Luethy, Herbert, The State of France (London: Seeker and Warburg, 1955), p. 29Google Scholar.
37The race problem in the American South does constitute one basic challenge to the legitimacy of the system, and at one time did cause a breakdown of the national order. The conflict reduces the commitment of many white Southerners to the democratic rules down to the present. Great Britain had a comparable problem as long as Catholic Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom. Effective government could not satisfy Ireland. Political practices by both sides in Northern Ireland, Ulster, also illustrate the problem of a regime which is not legitimate to a large segment of its population.
38For an excellent analysis of the permanent crisis of the Austrian republic which flowed from the fact that it was viewed as an illegitimate regime by the Catholics and conservatives, see Gulick, Charles, Austria From Hapsburg to Hitler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948)Google Scholar.
39The French legitimacy problem is well described by Katherine Munro: “The Right wing parties never quite forgot the possibility of a counter revolution while the Left wing parties revived the Revolution militant in their Marxism or Communism; each side suspected the other of using the Republic to achieve its own ends and of being loyal only so far as it suited it. This suspicion threatened time and time again to make the Republic unworkable, since it led to obstruction in both the political and the economic sphere, and difficulties of government in turn undermined confidence in the regime and its rulers.” Quoted in Micaud, Charles A., “French Political Parties: Ideological Myths and Social Realities”, in Neumann, Sigmund, ed., Modern Political Parties (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), p. 108Google Scholar.
40The linkage between democratic instability and Catholicism may also be accounted for by elements inherent in Catholicism as a religious system. Democracy requires a universalistic political belief system in the sense that it legitimates different ideologies. And it might be assumed that religious value systems which are more universalistic in the sense of placing less stress on being the only true church will be more compatible with democracy than those which assume that they have the only truth. The latter belief, held much more strongly by the Catholic than by most other Christian churches, makes it difficult for the religious value system to help legitimate a political system which requires, as part of its basic value system, the belief that “good” is served best through conflict among opposing beliefs. Kingsley Davis has argaed that a Catholic state church tends to be irreconcilable with democracy since “Catholicism attempts to control so many aspects of life, to encourage so much fixity of status and submission to authority, and to remain so independent of secular authority that it invariably clashes with the liberalism, individualism, freedom, mobility and sovereignty of the democratic nation.” See his Political Ambivalence in Latin America”, Journal of Legal and Political Sociology, Vol. 1 (1943)Google Scholar, reprinted in Christensen, , The Evolution of Latin American Government (New York, 1951), p. 240Google Scholar.
41See Neumann, Sigmund, Die Deutschen Parteien: Wesen und Wandel nach dem Kriege (2nd ed., Berlin, 1932)Google Scholar, for exposition of the distinction between parties of integration and parties of representation. Neumann has further distinguished between parties of “democratic integration” (the Catholic, and Social Democratic parties) and those of “total integration” (Fascists and Communist parties) in his more recent chapter, “Toward a Comparative Study of Political Parties,” in the volume which he edited: Modern Political Parties (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), pp. 403–405Google Scholar.
42See Charles Gulick, op. cit. For their post-World War II formula for compromising this antagonism, see Secher, Herbert P., “Coalition Government: The Case of the Second Austrian Republic”, this REVIEW, Vol. 52 (Sept. 1958), p. 791Google Scholar.
43This tendency obviously varies with relation to urban communities, type of rural stratification, and so forth. For a discussion of the role of vocational homogeneity and political communication among farmers, see Lipset, S. M., Agrarian Socialism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950)Google Scholar, chapter 10, “Social Structure and Political Activity.” For evidence on the undemocratic propensities of rural populations see Samuel A. Stouffer, op. cit., pp. 138–9. National Public Opinion Institute of Japan, Report No. 26, A Survey Concerning the Protection of Civil Liberties (Tokyo, 1951)Google Scholar reports that the farmers were by far the occupational group least concerned with civil liberties. Carl Friedrich in accounting for the strength of nationalism and Nazism among German farmers suggests similar factors: that “the rural population is more homogeneous, that it contains a smaller number of outsiders and foreigners, that it has much less contact with foreign countries and peoples, and finally that its mobility is much more limited.” The Agricultural Basis of Emotional Nationalism”, Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 1 (1937), pp. 50–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
44Perhaps the first general statement of the consequences of “cross-pressures” on individual and group behavior may be found in Simmel, Georg, Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1956), pp. 126–195Google Scholar. It is an interesting example of discontinuity in social research that the concept of cross-pressures was used by Simmel, but had to be independently rediscovered in voting research. For a detailed application of the effect of multiple-group affiliations on the political process in general, see Truman, David, The Governmental Process (New York, 1951)Google Scholar.
45See Linz, Juan, The Social Basis of German Politics, Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University, 1958Google Scholar.
46See Berelson, B., Lazarsfeld, P. F., and McPhee, W., Voting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954)Google Scholar, for an exposition of the usefulness of cross-pressure as an explanatory concept. Also, see Lipset, S. M., Linz, J., Lazarsfeld, P. F., and Barton, A., “Psychology of Voting,” in Handbook of Social Psychology, Vol. 2 (Cambridge: Addison-Wesley, 1954)Google Scholar, for an attempt to specify the consequences of different group memberships for voting behavior, and a review of the literature.
47As Dahl puts it, “if most individuals in the society identify with more than one group, then there is some positive probability that any majority contains individuals who identify for certain purposes with the threatened minority. Members of the threatened minority who strongly prefer their alternative will make their feelings known to those members of the tentative majority who also, at some psychological level, identify with the minority. Some of these sympathizers will shift their support away from the majority alternative and the majority will crumble.” See Dahl, Robert A., A Preface to Democratic Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), pp. 104–5Google Scholar. Parsons suggests that “pushing the implications of political difference too far activates the solidarities between adherents of the two parties which exist on other, nonpolitical bases so that majorities come to defend minorities of their own kind who differ from them politically.” See Parsons' essay “Voting and the Equilibrium of the American Political System,” in the volume edited by Burdick, E. and Brodbeck, A., American Voting Behavior (Glencoe: The Free Press, forthcoming)​CrossRef​Google Scholar.
Clark, Colin, The Conditions of Economic Progress (New York, 1940)Google Scholar.
49Georg Simmel, op. cit., pp. 191–194. Talcott Parsons has recently made a similar point, indicating that one of the mechanisms for preventing a “progressively deepening rift in the electorate” is the “involvement of voting with the ramified solidarity structure of the society in such a way, that, though there is a correlation, there is no exact correspondence between political polarization and other bases of differentiation. Parsons, op. cit.
50T. H. Marshall has analyzed the gradual process of incorporation of the working class into the body politic in the 19th century, and has seen that process as the achievement of a “basic human equality, associated with full community membership, which is not inconsistent with a superstructure of economic inequality.” See his brief but brilliant book, Citizenship and Social Class (Cambridge University Press, 1950), pp. 77Google Scholar. Even though universal citizenship opens the way for the challenging of remaining social inequalities, it also provides a basis for believing that the process of social change toward equality will remain within the boundaries of allowable conflict in a democratic system.
51See David Apter, op. cit., for a discussion of the evolving political patterns of Ghana. For an interesting brief analysis of the Mexican “one-party” system see Padgett, L. V., “Mexico's One-Party System, a Re-evaluation”, this REVIEW, Vol. 51 (1957), pp. 995–1008Google Scholar.
52As this paper was being edited for publication, political crises in several poor and illiterate countries occurred, which underline again the instability of democratic government in underdeveloped areas. The government of Pakistan was overthrown peacefully on October 7, 1958, and the new self-appointed president announced that “Western-type democracy cannot function here under present conditions. We have only 16 per cent literacy. In America you have 98 per cent.” (Associated Press release, October 9, 1958). The new government proceeded to abolish parliament and all political parties. Similar crises have occurred, almost simultaneously, in Tunisia, Ghana, and even in Burma, which since World War II has been considered one of the more stable governments in Southeast Asia, under Premier U Nu. Guinea has begun life as an independent state with a one-party system. It is possible that the open emergence of semi-dictatorships without much democratic “front” may reflect the weakening of democratic symbols in these areas under the impact of Soviet ideology, which equates “democracy” with rapid, efficient accomplishment of the “will of the people” by an educated elite, not with particular political forms and methods.
Alexander, Robert J., Communism in Latin America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1957)Google Scholar.
Pipes, Richard, “Max Weber and Russia”, World Politics, Vol. 7 (1955), p. 383CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
55Max Weber's essay on “‘Objectivity’ in Social Science and Social Policy,” in his Methodology of the Social Sciences, op. cit., pp. 72–93.
56The methodological presuppositions of this approach on the level of the multi-variate correlations and interactions of individual behavior with various social characteristics have been presented in Lazarsfeld, Paul F., “Interpretation of Statistical Relations as a Research Operation”, in Lazarsfeld, P. F. and Rosenberg, M., eds., The Language of Social Research (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1955), pp. 115–125Google Scholar; and in Hyman, H., Survey Design and Analysis (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1955)Google Scholar, chapters 6 and 7. See also the methodological appendices to Lipset, et al., Union Democracy, op. cit., pp. 419–432; and Lipse, S. M. “The Political Process in Trade Unions: A Theoretical Statement”, in Berger, M., et al. , eds., Freedom and Control in Modern Society (New York: Van Nostrand, 1954), pp. 122–124Google Scholar.
57This approach differs from Weber's attempt to trace the origins of modern capitalism. Weber was concerned to establish that one antecedent factor, a certain religious ethic, was crucially significant in the syndrome of economic, political, and cultural conditions leading up to the development of Western capitalism. My concern is not to establish the causal necessity of any one factor, but rather the syndrome of conditions which most frequently distinguish nations which may be empirically categorized as “more democratic” or “less democratic,” without implying any absolute qualities to the definition.
Publishing partners
Additional Information
Legal Information
© Cambridge University Press 2021
Back to top
Log inRegisterBrowse subjectsWhat we publishServicesAbout Cambridge Core Cart ( 0 ) Cart ( 0 )Institution loginRegisterLog in Cart ( 0 )