The Business of Democracy is Democracy

28 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2005


In "Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy" (Harvard University Press, 2004), Richard Posner champions the work of the Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter, who distilled the democratic process down to the election of political officials from among a group of competing elites by the general population. He links this "pragmatic" account of democracy to a broader program of pragmatic adjudication and liberalism. This review critically assesses the empirical and normative grounds of Posner's argument, and accuses him of neglecting the pivotal role of politics, in both his democratic theory and his understanding of pragmatism.

Keywords: democracy, posner, schumpeter, political theory

Suggested Citation

Jacobson, Arthur J. and McCormick, John P., The Business of Democracy is Democracy. International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 3, p. 706, 2005; Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 135; U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 261; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 106. Available at SSRN:

Arthur J. Jacobson (Contact Author)

Cardozo Law School ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-790-0218 (Phone)
212-790-0205 (Fax)

John P. McCormick

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics