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Can Democracy Promote the General Welfare?

  • James M. Buchanan (a1)

To commence any answer to the question “Can democracy promote the general welfare?” requires attention to the meaning of “general welfare.” If this term is drained of all significance by being defined as “whatever the political decision process determines it to be,” then there is no content to the question. The meaning of the term can be restored only by classifying possible outcomes of democratic political processes into two sets – those that are general in application over all citizens and those that are discriminatory.

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Paul A. Samuelson , “An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 66, no. 6 (121958), pp. 467–82.

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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