Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2003 - Political Science - 401 pages
In Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy, S. M. Amadae tells the remarkable story of how rational choice theory rose from obscurity to become the intellectual bulwark of capitalist democracy. Amadae roots Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy in the turbulent post-World War II era, showing how rational choice theory grew out of the RAND Corporation's efforts to develop a "science" of military and policy decisionmaking. But while the first generation of rational choice theorists—William Riker, Kenneth Arrow, and James Buchanan—were committed to constructing a "scientific" approach to social science research, they were also deeply committed to defending American democracy from its Marxist critics. Amadae reveals not only how the ideological battles of the Cold War shaped their ideas but also how those ideas may today be undermining the very notion of individual liberty they were created to defend.

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Page 17 - And we define: the democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote.
Page 19 - The third and last duty of the sovereign or commonvealth is that of erecting and maintaining those public institutions and those public works, which, though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature, that the prof,t could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it, therefore, cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain.

About the author (2003)

S. M. Amadae is a research fellow in the Office for History of Science and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley.

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