Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

So to support democracy, we should root for "transitory, negative shocks"?  

Doesn't seem right, somehow.  But I can see how it would work:  when times are bad, contesting the existing power arrangement has a lower cost, as your quote from Ciccione says. (This reminds me of a dynamic in gorilla troops:  low-status males, with little to lose, apparently behave in ways that destabilize the troop hierachy.  Destabilization behavior includes soliciting attacks from neighboring competitive/antagonistic troops.)  

But the dynamic that Ciccione describes is seen only in autocratic systems, in which the negative (social, political, economic) effects of the transitory negative shock are interpreted in ways that delegitimize the extant regime and lead toward democratization.  If the extant regime is democratic, the transient, negative shock may lead to greater autocracy--as, arguably, happened in the US in the wake of 9-ll.  

Really, we shouldn't trust economists to do poliical theory.

Industrial society is not sustainable. Unsustainable systems change--or disappear.

by Eric Zencey (Eric dot Zencey at UVM dot EDU) on Wed Mar 12th, 2008 at 12:32:52 AM EST
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