Polity: Demystifying Democracy in Latin America and Beyond 9781626377271

Amidst the many lamentations about the problems of democracy, Joe Foweraker turns his attention to specific questions: I

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Polity: Demystifying Democracy in Latin America and Beyond
 9781626377271

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Polity

POLITY Demystifying Democracy in Latin America and Beyond

Joe Foweraker

b o u l d e r l o n d o n

Published in the United States of America in 2018 by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. 1800 30th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301 www.rienner.com and in the United Kingdom by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. 3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8LU © 2018 by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A Cataloging in Publication record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-1-62637-693-9 (hc. : alk paper) British Cataloguing in Publication Data A Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library.

Printed and bound in the United States of America The paper used in this publication meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials Z39.48-1992. 5

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To Sarah

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. —T. S. Eliot, The Little Gidding Polity is popularly reckoned as a Democracy. —Aristotle, The Politics VI, iii I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. —Eric Morecambe

Contents

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Preface Acknowledgments 1

Polity and Latin America What is Polity? 1 Why Call It Polity? 2 The Argument 5 The Nature of the Argument 12

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Polity as a Political System Failing to Define Democracy 15 State and Regime 20 Inequality and Oligarchy 23 Private Power and Public Sphere 25 Informality and Accountability 28 What’s Wrong with Democratic Theory? 30 Polity as a Political System 33 Polity and Republicanism 36 In Defense of Polity 37

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The Making of the Modern Polity Democratic Origins 45 The Societal Perspective 45

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Contents

Modernization Theory and Democratic Transition 49 The State Perspective 52 The Ideal Purpose of Democratic Constitutions 55 How Do Constitutions Come About? 57 Democratic Progress and the Polity 63

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State, Regime, and Civil Society State Autonomy and Democratic Constitutions 68 Civil Society and Democratic Legitimacy 77 State, Civil Society, and Democratization 81 The Institutional Constraints of Polity 83

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Polity, Inequality, and the Republic The Social Extremes of Latin America 89 Structured Inequality 91 Inequality and Good Government 92 Good Governance and Patrimonial Politics 97 Republicanism, Inequality, and Good Government 101

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Populism and Polity Failing to Define Populism 109 The Political Logic of Populism 111 Populism and Oligarchy in Latin America in Historical Perspective 112 Populism and Oligarchy in Latin America in Recent Years 114 The Common Features of Populism Right and Left 116 Populism and Democratic Theory 121 Populism and the Polity in Latin America 122 Populism, Constitutional Reform, and Normal Politics 124

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Constitutionalism and Polity Constitutional Design and Political Outcomes 133 Problematizing Democratic Performance 138 Democratic Performance in Latin American Polity 141

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Polity, Rights, and Protest The Political Context of Collective Action 154 The Making of Mobilization in Latin America 157 Mobilization and Constitutional Reform 160 Coda: The Human Rights Agenda 163 Appendix: The International Human Rights Project 169

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Demystifying Democracy Contrasts with the Accounts of Tilly and Mazzuca 175 Internal Linkages and Inequality 178 Polity, Oligarchy, and Democratic Struggles 180 Polity in Latin America and Beyond 184

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References Index About the Book

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Preface

I first talked about the idea of polity on 1 March 2005 to the long-running seminar on democratization in Nuffield College, Oxford. The talk got off to a shaky start: I’d mistakenly assumed that the audience had read my paper, so I did not so much present it as reflect on it. But the occasion was saved by the august presence of Guillermo O’Donnell, who had read and eloquently endorsed the drift of the argument. Guillermo was spending that year at Nuffield, and in subsequent conversations he encouraged me to continue my inquiry, graciously adding that he sensed a “musicality” between us. I now recall those conversations with delight, but I regret that it’s taken so long to get from there to here. The book in your hands—or on your screen—sets out to describe, explain, and defend the idea of polity as a political system; it argues that polity best describes and best explains the politics of Latin America and of many countries around the globe. Chapter 2 advances some of the key aspects of the argument, and subsequent chapters then develop them and connect them one to another. So, in some degree, each chapter can stand alone. But the argument has a thematic content and so returns recurrently to its dominant themes such as accountability, constitutionalism, inequality, informality, oligarchic powers and prerogatives, property, republicanism, regime

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autonomy, state formation, and so forth. The point of these feedback loops is to deliver a more modulated understanding of the inner workings of polity as a political system. Much of the argument is developed in the context of Latin America, which is its inspiration. This is no surprise. After all, I’ve been in conversation with the politics of Latin America— reading, researching, teaching, writing—for almost fifty years; this context is my best hope for grounding the argument and giving it strong empirical support. But the argument itself is still a process of conceptual construction, a process once described by Karl Marx as “the appropriation of the concrete in thought” (Marx [1859] 1976). Thus, this is not an exercise in pure theory that proceeds to explain the real world through inductive logic, nor is it an exercise in simple observation and deduction, but, as imagined by Marx, an oscillation between these two poles—a dialectic, in his language—that tests and tempers the theory but leaves it intact and independent. This matters to the argument because it allows the idea of polity to travel beyond Latin America: though “made in Latin America,” the idea of polity aspires to explain political systems of different provenance. The argument addresses big bodies of theory, covers grand sweeps of history, and works with several analytical themes simultaneously. It does so because the whole point is to bring together things that are usually kept apart. But it also aspires to be as economical in exposition and as parsimonious in presentation as possible. Something—quite a lot, in fact—has to give. Much of the theory is characterized in short, some might say cavalier, order; the history takes the form of a condensed and elliptical historical sociology. Above all, much of the complexity of the political life of Latin America remains implicit, with the remainder evoked in epigrammatic fashion. In every instance, the guide is the Goldilocks principle of supplying not too much, not too little, but just enough observation and information to carry the argument; the endnotes to each chapter play their part in striking this balance. This portrayal and promotion of polity is politically neutral in intent. It simply proposes a different way of describing, thinking

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about, analyzing, and understanding the political systems we currently call democratic. But insofar as this serves to dispel a collective delusion about the presence and content of democratic rule, it may cause some discomfort. Some may consider my argument to be overweening and presumptuous; I can think of no candidate constituency that is certain to be pleased by it. Not the historians, for any history here is sketchy and potted; not the philosophers, for any philosophy is more gruel than proper grub; not the democratic theorists, who will inevitably resist the thought that they’ve been barking up the wrong tree; probably not the political scientists, who may well balk at the mélange of historical sociology, oldfashioned political economy, and homespun political theorizing; and possibly not even the Latin Americanists, who may not like the high-flown generalizations that largely ignore the particular political cultures of the republics of the region. My only recourse may be to appeal to a more miscellaneous, motley, and idiosyncratic constituency of misfits, eccentrics, square pegs, bohemians, oddballs, outcasts, wayward souls, lone rangers, iconoclasts, skeptics, space cadets, rebels without a cause, the quaint, the quizzical, the quirky, and the sheer bloody-minded, all of whom—for whatever reasons—may just be prepared to give this small book the benefit of the doubt.

Acknowledgments

Many friends and colleagues helped me to make this book, but they may not be aware of it. In some cases the conversations and discussions took place many years ago, and only occasionally did the help take the form of critical commentary on ideas that now contribute to the argument of the book. More often the assistance was contingent, unexpected, and sometimes serendipitous. Above all, it was a matter of a mutual commitment to dispassionate inquiry and a shared passion for the world of ideas. I cannot mention or even recall everyone who contributed, but here I would like to thank David Howarth, the late Ernesto Laclau, Todd Landman, Gerardo Munck, the late Guillermo O’Donnell, Eduardo Posada-Carbó, Ian Roxborough, Dolores Trevizo, Hugh Ward, and Albert Weale. I am also grateful for the formal opportunities to present some of the ideas that eventually wove their way into the argument of the book—though I could not know that they would do so at the time. These include presentations at Nuffield College, Oxford, in March 2005; at the Latin American Centre, University of Oxford, in November 2006, March 2013, and November 2015; at the Latin American Studies Association Conference in Montreal in September 2007 (at the invitation of Scott Mainwaring and Tim Scully); at the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía (Jaén) in October xv

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2008; at the Southeastern Conference of Latin American Studies at the University of Florida at Gainesville in 2012, where I delivered the keynote address; at Goldsmiths College, University of London, in May 2014; and at Occidental College, Los Angeles, in February of 2012, 2014, and 2015. It is also apparent to me—in retrospect—just how much of my thinking has been shaped by my teaching and supervision over the years. I refer first to the ever-evolving course on the politics of Latin American democracy that I have taught in different versions at the Universities of Essex, Oxford, Florida at Gainesville, and now Exeter. But possibly most formative was the graduate course on contemporary political theory that I briefly co-taught with Hugh Ward at Essex. It was this that first convinced me of the importance of state theory for an understanding of democratization—and eventually of the polity of the book’s title. Hugh opened my eyes to the diverse ways that the state is conceived within different theoretical approaches. Finally, and perhaps unusually, I wish to thank my publisher, Lynne Rienner. If not for Lynne, there would be no book. She had called me to talk about the collection of essays I was coediting with Dolores Trevizo—which she published last year—but took time out to ask whether I had a new book in mind. It was her subsequent invitation to submit a proposal that motivated me to put my thoughts in order, though the way they would all connect was still far from clear at the time. Lynne was characteristically open-minded and relaxed about the outcome, simply saying that she “wanted me to write the book I wanted to write.” This vote of confidence was enough to put me to work and get me to the finish line. Joe Foweraker

1 Polity and Latin America

What Is Polity? Polity is a political system that encompasses both oligarchy and democracy. The combination of these two distinct domains creates a contradictory and syncretic system that conjoins two forms of power holding that are clamped together—not always securely— by a specific mix of formal and informal institutions. The concept of polity recognizes the presence of democratic institutions and practices but assumes that these are only part of a broader and more complex system that embraces not only the democratic regime but also the state, not only formal but also informal institutions. In formal terms, polity simply comprises the state, the democratic regime, and assorted organizations and associations of civil society. But the admixture of oligarchic and democratic powers creates an interconnected system through the complex interaction of formal and informal rules. It is the internal linkages between parts that make polity a political system. Polity emerges from processes of state formation and democratization that have occurred over the past two hundred years or so. The historical record of Latin America is exemplary in this regard. On the one hand, it reveals that the democratization of

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public politics has neither supplanted nor dissolved oligarchic powers. On the other, it shows that the countries of Latin America have been independent states since the beginning of the nineteenth century (unlike most regions outside of Europe) and necessarily engaged in state formation ever since. The relationship between the state and the regime is central to the political system of polity; the process of state formation in Latin America gives rise to a patrimonial state that protects and projects oligarchic power—its public institutions routinely serving private interests and purposes—and thereby shapes and constrains the democratic regime and the conduct of government. There are thus good reasons why in this account the idea of polity is “made in Latin America” and draws directly on the historical and contemporary political realities of Latin America. The inquiry into the Latin American polity demonstrates that it is a distinct and determinate political system with its own empirical attributes that are—in principle—measureable and comparable. The concept of polity does not simply seek to restore an historical sociology of democracy as a counterweight to an exclusive focus on democratic institutions but rather to define and describe a new and different object of inquiry. This allows the inquiry to move from a teleological story about degrees of democratic success in sloughing off historical legacies and countermanding the protean presence of oligarchy to a more objective analysis of the political, legal, and cultural variations within and across polities. The focus of the inquiry is not therefore the formal contours of democratic regimes but the composition and internal linkages of polity. The corollary is that there are processes of democratization without ever arriving at an end point that is democracy, while democratic advances and retreats can and do occur and recur within the ambit of polity.

Why Call It Polity? The notion of a polity is widely familiar, but in current and recent usage the meaning of the word is vague and unfixed, referring to

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any kind of political system, or none at all. Aristotle first proposed polity as an amalgam of oligarchy and democracy. There is a general sense in Aristotle of polity as any constitutional government “designed to prevent oppression by the persons governing,” but only in its specific sense can polity give “adequate security against governmental injustice that Oligarchy and Democracy fail to give. . . . On this view the most perfect type of Polity will be a form of government in which these opposing principles are perfectly balanced” (Sidgwick 1892, 143). This indicates—correctly—that Aristotle talks of polity as a matter of constitutional design and prescription that offers the best hope of good government, and this conception clearly differs from polity as the outcome of historical processes of state formation and democratization. Aristotle’s mixed system of oligarchy and democracy provides the inspiration rather than the model for the modern polity, though his view of polity as the platform for a balanced form of government that can best defend the republic remains relevant to polity today (see Chapter 5). As a constitutional theorist, Aristotle refers to oligarchy as a system of rule by the few in their own interest, and this inquiry maintains this meaning when referring to the distinct oligarchic and democratic domains of the polity. But much more often the reference is to the oligarchy as a political actor; it is important to polity that this actor is not singular but plural, not comfortably collective but contending and competitive. (As we shall see, this is also important to Schumpeter’s “democratic method,” the closest precursor to the modern concept of polity.) Oligarchy everywhere combines economic and political power and exercises this power both formally and informally; this is equally true of traditional landed elites and modern industrial, commercial, and media corporations. Oligarchy in Latin America is no exception, but its plural presence has specific political and cultural profiles and is organized—severally—in families, political families (camarillas, in the vernacular), tribes, clans, and mafias. As such, this oligarchy is clearly undemocratic, but—as Aristotle inferred—it is not necessarily antidemocratic, so enabling polity to contain the contending principles and practices of democratic and oligarchic

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power holding. Democratic principles require that political power be made accountable, whereas oligarchic power seeks immunity from the same. Thus, democratic politics is public, responsive to public opinion, and committed to political equality through universal individual rights; oligarchic politics is private, “protected” from political representation, and rooted in the particular ties of clientelism and nepotism. Stripped down to its core in this way, the concept of polity seems simple. And it is. But many more conceptual moves have to be made to construct polity as a political system, identify its key internal linkages, and explain its political logic. As a political system, polity is beset not only by the contradictions characteristic of democracy itself, between social and economic inequalities and formal political equality but also by the inevitable tensions between its democratic and oligarchic domains. The analytical challenge is then to explain just how this system coheres, and when and why it may fail to do so. This agenda differs from that of the large literature that focuses exclusively and repeatedly on the democratic deficiencies of Latin America and seeks unsuccessfully to explain them in their own terms. The conceptual construction of polity provides a tool set that can be deployed in the service of a different interpretation of the democratic politics of Latin America and its defects. And this is what the inquiry sets out to do. There is no disagreement about the many imperfections noted recurrently in the literature, but it is assumed that they can be rendered intelligible only in the context of the political system of polity. The relentless preoccupation with the failings or inadequacies of Latin American democracy leads to an analytical cul-de-sac. But the larger context of polity can reset the compass. And, beyond Latin America, it may do so wherever a democratic regime has taken root, wherever democratic institutions work in some degree to organize and legitimate the public face of political power, and wherever the formation of a patrimonial state, a lack of autonomy of the democratic regime from the state, and the often limited autonomy of civil society from both state and regime all contribute to deviations from the norms of democratic

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accountability, the rule of law, an equality under the law, and an adherence to formal rules. Indeed, if it is supposed that such deviations can be diagnosed to different degrees in all existing democracies, then the conceptual framework of polity can make it easier to compare democracies old and new and democracies in Latin America and others across the Global South. But anything so ambitious depends on completing the conceptual construction of polity, and this is work for the subsequent chapters (see below). The refinement of the rudimentary description of polity requires rethinking received concepts, especially the conceptual divisions between legal-rational and patrimonial states, state and regime, public and private spheres, and formal and informal institutions, as well as reconsidering the political import of inequality, the role of constitutions, the political underpinnings of republicanism, and so forth. Only once the groundwork is laid can political explanation begin. By way of example, the salient political trait of populism in Latin America can be convincingly explained by the political logic of polity (see Chapter 6) in a way that elucidates some of the current challenges to democratic establishments in the United States and Europe. This is not tantamount to suggesting in a fanciful fashion that the politics of even the most established and venerable of democracies are now beginning to resemble those of Latin America ever more closely—though it is a provocative conceit. But if a common political logic is at work, then the Latin American polity may suggest explanations for political phenomena that might otherwise be misconstrued and misunderstood. The Argument The conceptual construction of polity begins in Chapter 2. The point of departure is a critique of democratic theory that reveals its unwritten assumptions and seeks out those components of the political system writ large that democratic theory routinely fails to recognize. This brief allows the inquiry to range broadly across the relationships between state and regime, and public and private

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spheres, to the questions of structural inequality, informality and clientelism, accountability (or its lack), as well as the possible virtues of republicanism. The inference throughout is not that the empirical experience of democracy falls short of its normative ideals—it always does—but that the normative theory fails because of a blinkered perspective that excludes key analytical elements—not least the state—from its purview. This critique clears the ground for the construction of polity as a syncretic political system that encompasses the “opposing principles” of oligarchy and democracy and argues that the contradictions between them tend to be condensed in the patrimonial practices that permeate the separation of the public and private spheres and that undermine mechanisms of accountability, especially the horizontal accountability achieved through effective legal constraints on state actors with clear legal competences. These practices are illustrated and debated with occasionally explicit but more often implicit reference to Latin America, where the long period of independent state formation since the early 1800s assigns it an analytically privileged place in a global perspective. Yet at times it may appear that the language lags behind the argument in some sense, because the familiar terms of democratic theory take on new meanings in the context of polity. Inevitably, it will take some time to change perspective and describe the new object of inquiry. Indeed, it will take another seven chapters before all the pieces of polity as a political system are securely in place. Following this description of polity as a political system, it may appear odd that Chapter 3 goes back in time to delve into the origins and dynamics of democratic progress in the modern era. But the democratic story is essential to the emergence of the composite system of polity, for the achievement of a democratic regime—howsoever flawed—is integral to the particular institutional configuration of polity. This story should not be taken at face value. The historical accounts of democratic origins that underpin democratic theory seek to explain democratization as driven by large processes of structural change, either economic and social or institutional. But the premises of the theory require

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these historical transformations to be pristine and complete, whereas it is precisely their partial nature that gives rise to modern polity. Thus, an analysis of the societal genesis of democracy leads directly into an account of modernization theory, where the pathway to democracy is always everywhere the same, and of democratization in Latin America, where the process differs from that account in most important respects; a parallel analysis of the institutionalist view of democratic origins prepares the ground for an assessment of competing explanations for democratic constitution making in Latin America. The constitution has a special place in democratic theory as achieving the neutral orchestration of the democratic regime and often providing the link between the historical underpinnings of democracy and the contemporary institutional manifestation of democracy. But this status is compromised and undercut by the examination of constitution making in Latin America, which is constrained by institutional legacies and shaped by self-interested political actors. Furthermore, the grand narratives of structural transformation cannot account for specific historical moments of democratic transition, where oligarchic actors in particular frequently find most room for maneuvering. The discussion of democratic constitutions continues in Chapter 4, but with particular reference to the central role of the state in the political system of polity. The chapter opens with a theoretical discussion of state autonomy and democratic constitutions and concludes that the real capacity of constitutions to shape democratic regimes depends on the state context and the degree of state autonomy, in particular. That discussion acts as a preface to a detailed inquiry into the formation of the patrimonial state in Latin America—in many respects the key to the conceptual construction of polity. The relevance of the partial nature of structural transformations emphasized in the previous chapter is revealed in the specific political economy of state formation in Latin America, where a patchwork of modes of production and exchange underpins the powerful influence of oligarchic interests on the process. The result is that a state lacking in formal (legal and bureaucratic) autonomy begets a democratic regime lacking in political and operational autonomy that in turn

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begets a democratic constitution that is not exogenous to political outcomes but endogenous to political struggles and the play of oligarchic power. Furthermore, this lack of relative autonomy of the state from the oligarchy, the regime from the state, and civil society from both state and regime explains in large part the lack of democratic accountability, the debility of the republican tradition, and the prevalence of informal rules in the political system of polity. The place of civil society in this scheme is essentially ambivalent. Despite its leading role in generating and reproducing democratic legitimacy, civil society is plainly less civil than is often assumed; similarly, although collective action in civil society has always been an important driver of democratization, mobilized civil societies can sometimes threaten democratic institutions. So, if civil society in polity is much less autonomous than many would wish, often this may be no bad thing. Chapter 5 proceeds to explore the relationships between polity, inequality, and the conditions for good government. The opening discussion of the relationship between social inequality and political equality introduces a synoptic account of the social extremes of Latin America, a dramatic picture of poverty and exclusion that tends to distract attention from the structuring of the deep inequalities by oligarchic and corporate powers. It is noted that the ambivalent place of property rights in democratic theory is at the heart of that theory’s failure to resolve the contradiction between social inequality and political equality; the contradiction becomes intelligible, if still intractable, in the context of polity. (A fuller exposition of the mechanisms whereby polity and inequality are made politically compatible can be found in Chapter 9.) This is illustrated by the ways in which the good governance agenda on offer from international financial institutions in recent decades is distorted by this structured inequality, with the aspiration to improve the quality of public administration recurrently impaired by the presence of the patrimonial state. In sum, the oligarchic power expressed in structured inequality and vested in the patrimonial state tends to stymy any attempt to deliver good government and to frustrate any republican response to the challenge of inequality in particular. Yet the classical account of the

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republic, first by Plato, then by Aristotle, defended it as a solution to the problem of good government in unequal societies; despite the received view of the weakness of the republican tradition in Latin America, it is argued that such republican solutions have proved viable in the past and can still be so in the present. But more recent republican theory that depends for its viability on government “tracking the interests and ideas of ordinary people” appears unrealistic in the context of polity. The persistence of populist politics in Latin America is a commonplace of the literature, but there is no consensus about the causes of the phenomenon of populism, or even about its core characteristics. A comprehensive review of the literature in Chapter 6 reveals that any inquiry into the causes falls short of explaining populism if it ignores or mistakes its political context, namely, the combined but contradictory political system of polity. By integrating the current state of our knowledge into the analytical framework of polity, populism becomes intelligible, with the corollary that populist politics are the normal politics of Latin America insofar as they respond to political tensions arising within the polity and reflect political attempts to resolve them. The greater the tensions between the oligarchic and democratic domains of the polity, the stronger the populist impulse; but the populist response can only ever achieve a readjustment in the relationship between these domains, and one that is often confined to changes in the composition of the ruling coalition. Populism certainly represents a challenge to oligarchic power (and in this respect its rhetorical tropes should be taken at face value), but its promises usually remain unfulfilled insofar as it can rarely provide anything more than a temporary solution to political crisis. Yet it will continue to recur as a popular response to patrimonial politics because the articulation of the distinct domains of polity can never be entirely settled or stable. As suggested above, the analysis of populism is timely for the light it can throw on current challenges to the political establishments of the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. The political thrust of populism in Latin America in recent years has targeted the constitution and sought to restore the nation

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to the people by means of radical constitutional reform. Chapter 7 returns to the question of constitutionalism, with a specific focus on constitutional design and its political effects on the performance of democratic governments across the region. A critical response to the political science of constitutional design reveals that it subscribes implicitly to a pluralist view that accords an exogenous status to constitutions as neutral orchestrations of the democratic regime; the array of attempts to measure the political outcomes of constitutional design tends to operate within a narrow compass of broad categories (presidential versus parliamentary systems, proportional representation versus majoritarian systems) that mainly fail to recognize the influence of contextual conditions on their results. In Latin America these conditions reflect the entrenched pattern of political and economic interests condensed in structured inequality, with the political effects of constitutional design mediated either by formal political organizations like political party systems or by the kind of informal rules associated with patrimonialism and clientelism. The consequence—as revealed by a new generation of multidimensional measures—is a specific pattern of uneven democratic performance marked by a very imperfect protection of individual and minority rights and endemic failings of government accountability. This uneven pattern reinforces the finding that constitutional effects are mainly contingent on the deep context of polity, with the distortions in performance profiles driven by structural variations in the composition of the polity. Far from being at odds with polity, the process of democratization—as noted in Chapter 3—is essential to the creation of polity as a modern political system. Among the principal historical markers of democratization is the political and legal equality expressed and experienced through individual rights, and, whatever else it may or may not contain, democratization has at its historical heart the social mobilization and protest that seek to attain and defend these rights. Chapter 8 therefore considers the contribution of democratization to polity through the prism of the relationship between rights and social mobilization. Historically, social movements emerged in tandem with the modern national state and developed

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modular forms of protest that increasingly found expression in a common language of rights. The trajectory of social mobilization in Latin America followed a similar path, as material demands were translated into rights demands that targeted the agencies of the patrimonial state. Subsequent to transitions to democracy across the continent, such mobilization did not subside (as might have been expected) but was reinvigorated by an expanding rights agenda and the glaring gap between rights-in-principle and rights-in-practice. More recently, this mobilization is increasingly motivated by constitutional amendment and reform so that today it is not so parochial in its concern for local issues and identities, nor so particular in its focus on the piecemeal demands and retail reforms that might improve the delivery of rights-in-practice. Rather, as often as not, it is now directed toward the grand issues of national politics, especially the constitutional reforms that might provide some remedy for the inadequacies of political representation and the failings of political accountability in polity. The latter observation is illustrated by a coda to the chapter that draws out the distinctions between human rights, on the one hand, and the rights that respond to national legal and rhetorical traditions, on the other, with specific reference to Chile and Mexico. The concluding Chapter 9 revisits the structural framework of polity and explores its analytical advantages in explaining democratization (and its reverse) and in establishing the conditions for a stable equilibrium between inequality and democratic government. Polities vary according to—inter alia—the resilience of the democratic regime, the reach and efficacy of state institutions (and especially the rule of law), and the historical weight and profile of the oligarchy. But they have things in common, too, because some forms of internal linkage such as private property and the role of informal rules are relatively constant; it is the combination of informality in the form of clientelism and structured inequality that can explain the stable—if often suboptimal—equilibrium between extreme inequalities and democratic government in Latin America. Yet the stability is only ever relative because the democratic and legal-constitutional struggles explored in the previous chapter continue unabated.

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In this connection there is no presumption in the conceptual framework of polity that democracy is all good and oligarchy all bad, still less that there is a permanent Manichean struggle between the two, notwithstanding populist rhetoric. After all, oligarchy may pursue reasonable and justifiable objectives, and— following Oakeshott—the price of oligarchy may be worth paying if political learning over time renders it benign, or at least republican-minded; the republican content of polity—and the historical possibility of a republican response to inequality, in particular (compare Chapter 5)—is always contingent in some degree on the character of the oligarchy. This observation is important to the relevance of polity to the world beyond Latin America because, despite very different trajectories of state formation, the most common form of state is patrimonial, and patrimonial rule in polity is expressed and reproduced through the emergence of a “political class” (Mosca 1939) that comfortably adapts to different institutional templates and usually survives generational change. This conclusion does not seek to celebrate oligarchy, still less to demean democracy. The concept of polity has no ideological agenda and is politically neutral in intent. Its purpose is to deliver a more comprehensive description of the political systems currently described as democracies and a more accurate analysis of the way they work. As noted above, insofar as the inquiry into polity achieves these objectives, the conceptual framework of polity can promote easier comparisons of different democratic regimes. The Nature of the Argument There is no single, uniform orthodoxy about democracy, democratic regimes, or democratic governments, nor about democracy’s current trials and tribulations. The field of study is far too diverse for that. So there is no identifiable straw person to knock down. No easy target. And this is anyway not the nature of the argument. On the contrary, the argument draws on many strands of thinking, many ideas of diverse provenance with distinct

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genealogies; without necessarily agreeing with all these ideas, the avowed intent is to adopt, adapt, and deploy them in the service of the argument’s analytical objectives. We all swim in the same river. The ideas provide raw materials for the argument, and so they have to be processed and put to work. But, as noted in the preface to this volume, the argument is not therefore an exercise in pure theory that seeks to explain the world through inductive logic alone. Equally, it is not simply a series or an accumulation of observations followed by deduction. Rather, it is an oscillation between these two modes of inquiry that builds the argument piece by piece, layer by layer. It aspires to be an analytical argument that eventually achieves a synthesis expressed in the idea of polity. Some of the ideas that make up the raw material of the argument are drawn from classical sources such as Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Hegel, Marx, Weber, Pareto, and Gramsci. The argument also frequently references modern political philosophers, political economists, and political sociologists such as Habermas, Hirschman, Huntington, Linz, Lipset, North, Oakeshott, and Przeworski. Beyond this, three main strands of thinking inform the argument. First there is what can be characterized as empirical democratic theory, principally from Joseph Schumpeter and Robert Dahl. Second are concepts from the theorists and analysts of Latin American democracy and its travails, mainly Guillermo O’Donnell and his acolytes, who relate democratic government to a wider political context that usually includes the state. Finally, there are the contributions of the historical sociologists, such as Charles Tilly and Michael Mann, and the historically orientated political economists, such as Barrington Moore, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol. (The latter are also state theorists in some of their guises, though they mainly subscribe to a Weberian view of the state and so do not cover the full range of state theory.) Because the argument draws explicitly on these different lines of inquiry, many of the ideas will be familiar. But the familiar may come to be seen differently in the synthesis that is polity, so we may indeed arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time. Yet it is recognized and

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accepted that any hopeful attempt to stand on the shoulders of giants does not necessarily or probably make one any taller. One small example must suffice at this stage. It is clear, as suggested in the final chapter, that the titans of empirical political theory, Schumpeter and Dahl in particular, were motivated by similar perceptions to those driving the argument that follows; here, dues must be paid, as always. (Oddly, this is also true, in lesser degree, of the pessimistic theories of democracy propagated by Pareto, Mosca, and Michels.) But these theorists tend to think of democracy as a full-fledged system in its own right, howsoever constrained or distorted. Dahl dedicates much of his effort to analyzing the impact of corporate power and economic inequality on democratic function and democratic performance, whereas Schumpeter accords full recognition to the presence of oligarchy, with democracy simply a method for constraining the same. But neither theorist makes the final conceptual move toward a specific, distinctive, mixed system with its own structures, dynamics, and political logic, of which democratic institutions and practices are just one part. Finally, if it were merely a matter of spinning the ideas, then the argument would remain unanchored in a world of myriad interpretative possibilities. But, as stated at the outset, the argument is also an accumulation of reflections on the political realities of Latin America, as the grounding for an empirical analysis of the emergence and composition of the modern polity. These reflections cover a lot of ground, both historical and contemporary, and are, in practice, a combination of empirical analysis with an empirical critique of received views and assumptions. Thus, both the ideas and the empirical inquiry are required to build the conceptual synthesis that is polity. The aspiration is that the synthesis may just possibly liberate our thinking from the tiresome task of forever talking about democracy in terms of the continuous and manifold slippage from normative expectations to political experience. Indeed, if the synthesis makes sense, there may be good reason to stop talking about democracy and start talking about polity.

2 Polity as a Political System

Failing to Define Democracy Democratic theory is complex, extensive, sometimes contradictory and therefore does not easily reduce to a definition of democracy that is both succinct and comprehensive. Consequently, most scholars have come to accept Robert Dahl’s seven-point list of democracy’s key political institutions as a baseline for the practical purposes of comparative inquiry (Dahl 2001).1 This is an empirical solution to the problem of definition that readily acknowledges its descriptive origins. It is rooted in the work of Joseph Schumpeter, who took issue with classical definitions of democracy because they were “so patently contrary to fact,” arguing that his account of free elections and elite competition was “much truer to life” (Schumpeter 1943, 264–266, 269). Thus, Dahl himself chose to look at governments that “western political scientists would ordinarily call democratic”—mainly the United States and the United Kingdom—and found vertical accountability through elections and political rights to be “the distinguishing characteristics they have in common” (Dahl 1956, 63, 84). The result is not so much a definition of democracy as a checklist for recognizing its presence or for validating a process of democratic transition.2

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The list itself is not without its problems. On one view, it is too permissive and encompassing, its lack of ambition allowing too many governments to claim democratic status. In particular, an early critique worried lest the narrow focus on electoral competition condemn democratic inquiry to be ever bound by the behavioralism of the American Science of Politics (Crick 1959). A contrasting view sees the criteria as so exacting that very few “really-existing” democracies will ever come close to meeting them (Whitehead 2002, chap. 1) because no democracy can qualify as such, and no democratic transition can be considered complete, unless all the items on the list are fully present. This switch from what was conceived originally as a minimal and procedural definition into one that is maximal and fixed3 is a trick of history, insofar as the attributes could accrue over decades or centuries in the established democracies observed by Schumpeter and Dahl, whereas more recent democracies have had to adopt the full package in one go, no cherry-picking of preferred criteria allowed. In this way a set of descriptive criteria can begin to take on normative force, with democratic governments increasingly judged in “value-laden, even idealistic terms” (Whitehead 2002, 268). An explicitly normative definition of democracy, in contrast, tends to focus on those political and philosophical values considered intrinsic to democracy, and so judges democracy by the degree to which it fulfills in practice the values to which it subscribes in principle. (Hence, paradoxically, a normative definition may entail empirical judgments, just as an empirical definition may give rise to normative expectations.) But the normative approach gives rise to a different problem of definition insofar as the values derive from a liberal tradition and come to compose a liberal constitutionalism that alters the definition by extending it from the procedures for electing governments to the goals of elected governments. The problem is that the confluence of liberal thought and democratic discovery (or rediscovery) reflected a unique set of historical circumstances that resulted in the very particular historical product that is liberal democracy.4 It may be unrealistic to expect democracy to be reproduced in this form across time and space (even supposing different genealogies are at

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work) so the a priori inclusion of liberal constitutionalism may be alleged to constrain the definition by unwarranted fiat.5 In other words, this liberal definition may represent nothing more than an Aristotelian assertion of what constitutes “good government,” with the notion of the “good life” it supports heavily circumscribed by history and culture.6 Ironically, it was Dahl’s recurrent concern with “the inevitable imperfections of democratic performance” (Dahl 1989, 177) that inspired his description of really-existing democracies as “polyarchies” (Dahl 1971), but it is the failure to fulfill the full list of the criteria of polyarchy that fuels current perceptions of democratic imperfection. Furthermore, in the degree that the list expresses a kind of “surreptitious normativism” (Tavares de Almeida 2004, 212), these imperfections may be understood as failings of liberal constitutionalism rather than as imperfections in strictly democratic procedure.7 But whether the path is mainly empirical (leading to either condemnation or lament) or mainly normative (with the imperfections taken as axiomatic), the perceived failings lead to a proliferation of “democracy with adjectives” (Collier and Levitsky 1997) and a growing body of work on the “low intensity citizenship” (O’Donnell 1999a) or inadequate legal protections of these “electoral” (Diamond 1999) or “illiberal” (Zakaria 1997) or “defective” (Merkel 1999) democracies. Inevitably, the more the adjectives multiply, the less precise the definition of democracy, and in extremis this may lead to a degree of conceptual confusion that can blur the boundaries between democratic and authoritarian regimes (Ippolito 2004). But the key point is that this increasingly negative view of democracy leads straight into an analytical cul-de-sac where democracy is recurrently defined by what it lacks or what it fails to be rather than by what it is in fact. This rather undemanding and soft form of definition tends to discourage any attempt to achieve a positive description and analysis of really-existing democracies and, by extension, promotes a remarkably static approach that routinely fails to recognize or address the dynamic elements of these democracies and their capacity for change, not least through diverse democratic and legal struggles. In sum,

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many or perhaps nearly all democracies now “function in ways that current democratic theory has ill prepared us to understand” (O’Donnell 1999b, 177). But it is the majority view that the bulk of the imperfections is confined to new or newer democracies on the periphery of the world system, possibly because the challenge of achieving all the institutional attributes of Dahl’s polyarchy list “in one go” so rarely proves feasible.8 This is confirmed by the most commonly used measures of democratic performance that award almost all the highest scores to the established democracies of the West (beginning with Dahl 1971), while the same democracies attain perfect or near-perfect scores on the aggregate indicators created by both Polity and Freedom House.9 These scores appear to create a discrete set of advanced democracies that has been widely accepted. However, some remain skeptical about an apparent attempt to compare apples and oranges. O’Donnell argues that Latin American democracies in particular are unlike this “advanced” set, and for good historical and cultural reasons (O’Donnell 1999b, 179); Zakaria suggests in analogous fashion that “Western liberal democracy might prove to be not the final destination on the democratic road, but one of many possible exits” (Zakaria 1997, 40). But the more tantalizing suggestion is that the scores in fact reflect a received notion of pristine and accountable government generated by democratic theory, leavened by a dose of cultural bias, and that the concentration of imperfections in the periphery is an illusion created by “a generic and somewhat idealized view of the old polyarchies” (O’Donnell 1999b, 179, 181) that are themselves beset by many of the same or similar imperfections. Take by way of example (one anecdote must suffice at this stage in the argument) the treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system of the United States, which leads to the disenfranchisement of a high and disproportionate number of African Americans, especially in southern states like Alabama and Florida.10 A rather specific imperfection, but one that had a significant and possibly critical influence on the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in the swing state of Florida. Indeed, this

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election was surely a wake-up call to anyone still dreaming that imperfections afflict only the democracies of the periphery. Recall that a private firm was employed by the state government, headed by the brother of the Republican presidential candidate, to purge the electoral register of all (suspected) felons and ex-felons; that alleged electoral irregularities were judged by the state returning officer, a flamboyant Republican activist; that despite the scandal of the “hanging chads” the winning margin statewide was just five-hundred-odd votes; that the Supreme Court refused a recount by just one vote, after voting along partisan lines; and that the power brokers of the state Democrats composed their differences with their Republican counterparts in the Jockey Club, against the express wishes of their own party activists and supporters. A caricatured account, perhaps, but one that suggests that the election was compromised in some degree by the pathologies of peripheral democracy, namely, patrimonialism, elitism, nepotism, electoral corruption, and a dubious judicial impartiality. It is no surprise in these circumstances that Fidel Castro helpfully offered to send observers to ensure free and fair elections. Thus, it appears that something must be wrong with democratic theory, gauging by whether it succeeds in explaining the experience of really-existing democracies. If it is accepted that there is not and cannot be any perfect democracy, it might be thought that the theory simply starts in the wrong place, with its focus on democratic imperfections leading to a preoccupation with consequences rather than causes. But this in turn suggests that some things are missing from its definition of democracy that together may provide a more coherent causal story. So, what follows is an attempt to line up some suspects, both usual and unusual, that may supply the missing pieces. Subsequent chapters will then explore these suggestions in greater detail, often with particular attention to why the theory fails to provide a convincing reading of democracy in Latin America. But equally there is a recurrent inference that any lessons learned in this inquiry may well apply to democracies everywhere, and so may serve to expand and deepen democratic theory itself. Yet, for all that, the inquiry does not aspire to be and cannot stand as a work

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of democratic theory tout court. On the contrary, it simply seeks to identify what the theory must move to encompass and embrace if it is to prove useful to the comparative study of socalled democratic systems. State and Regime Possibly the first thing the theory has to recognize is the importance of the state. Subsequently it will be argued that the pattern of state formation has a powerful influence on the content and operation of the democratic regime. But the first task is to recover the presence of the state itself, which virtually disappeared from the development of political science in the United States during the years after World War II, dominated as it was by behavioralism. With the advent of the Cold War without and the “end of ideology” within (Bell 1960), political science became increasingly celebratory of the democracy of the United States—which Lipset called “the good society itself in operation” (Lipset 1959, 439). The notion of the state was removed from the vocabulary of political science (even as the state itself was becoming ever stronger; Ball 1989) and replaced by an exclusive emphasis on an almost “self-regulating” pluralist system. Yet this did not preclude, and perhaps invited, a recurrent concern with economic inequality and “special interests,” with Dahl himself quick to observe that a serious potential flaw in this system was the preponderance of elite groups and specialists in public policymaking (Dahl 1956). He subsequently set out to test the proposition that beneath the facade of democratic politics an elite of “social and economic notables” would usually be found actually running things (Dahl 1961) but concluded that the noncumulative nature of inequalities in resources underpinned the pluralistic distribution of power. This was rejected by critics from the “elitist school” (e.g., Bachrach and Baratz 1962) on the grounds that Dahl’s conception of power was too narrow. Yet, crucially, in the elitist-pluralist debate on power (played out in the pages of the American Political Science Review) even the

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elitists’ assertion of a “second face of power” was conducted with no systematic reference to the role of the state. Thus, democratic theory, and in particular the mainstream represented by Dahl, did not address the relationship between the democratic regime and the state because it made no distinction between them. The theory was founded on the pluralist premise of the state as a passive and neutral mechanism for aggregating preferences, providing collective goods, and promoting consensual values. (The values are important though they are exogenous to the theory.) In this way the very existence of the state was “naturalized” and became analytically invisible as a consequence. In effect, state and regime were not differentiated but fused together so that democratic politics became coextensive with politics itself. Consistent with these “naturalizing” effects was a “normalizing” language that described the political system as meeting social challenges, increasing institutional coordination, and avoiding prohibitive transaction costs. For these reasons it is alleged that the pluralist approach to the state reflects “liberal democracy’s view of itself” (Mann 1993, 46). It was the structural Marxist theory of the 1960s and 1970s (Poulantzas 1973, 246–317; Cardoso 1976) that resurrected the analytical distinction between forms of state and forms of regime,11 and most state theory—whether Marxist, elitist, or institutionalist—now recognizes the distinction, even if it does not always use the same terms. Most state theory also recognizes that nearly all states are capitalist in the specific sense that policymaking by democratic regimes is always constrained by the requirements of capital accumulation. It may appear odd, therefore, that most democratic theory focuses more or less exclusively on the democratic regime, without seeking to conceptualize the form of state in which it is embedded. For state theory it is axiomatic that private capital’s control of crucial investment, production, and location decisions gives it a unique degree of autonomy and freedom of action. It may well be that the political elite in control of the state has interests that are distinct from those of capital, such as the extraction of social surplus or influence in the international domain. But over time its

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interests are best served by a dynamic economy that raises tax revenues, legitimates state action, and allows state programs to grow—in absolute if not in relative terms—without hampering economic activity in civil society. Increasing the rate of productive investment also favors future state capacity by expanding the future revenue base. For these reasons, “a government’s policies must follow a political agenda that is at least favourable to, that is, biased towards the development of the system of private enterprise and corporate power” (Held 1987, 209). On these grounds alone, the absence of the state means that democratic theory cannot encompass enduring relationships of power and the mechanisms of its reproduction that together constrain the scope and efficacy of the democratic regime. Nonetheless, it would be misleading to suggest that all state theory sees the constraints of capital accumulation in the same way. On the contrary, much depends on the degree and conditions of state autonomy. Thus, class-centered (Marxist) and society-centered (pluralist) approaches see the state as a function of class domination or societal interests and so accord it minimal autonomy, though it must retain some by virtue of its role in providing order to class interaction or cohesion to society as whole; and this minimal autonomy may increase in times of war, economic crisis, or mutual class attrition (described as Bonapartism by Marx [1852] 1934). Elite views encompass different degrees of state autonomy, depending on whether the rules are effectively imposed by a dominant coalition (North 1981; Riker 1962; Sened 1997) or whether a plurality of elites allows the state to authorize its own policy preferences (Nordlinger 1981, 42–73)—though even here the degree of state autonomy will vary by issue area and over time. Institutionalist views see the state as capable of constituting markets (North 1981) or as conforming political and social action (Skocpol 1985) but as influenced, shaped, and controlled, in turn, by “interests” (Tilly 1990) and “parties” (Weber 1978) in civil society. In short, as the infrastructural power (Mann 1993) or capacity to intervene of the state increases, its autonomy may likewise diminish—so that what really matters is the increasing density and intricacy of state-society relations.

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Inequality and Oligarchy In Thomas Jefferson’s vision of the republic, the necessary foundation for democracy was an agrarian society of independent farmers of more or less equal resources. But this Arcadian vision was never fulfilled “because market capitalism inevitably creates inequalities” and therefore “limits the democratic potential of polyarchal democracy by generating inequalities in the distribution of political resources” that adversely affects “political equality among citizens” (Dahl 1998, 177–178; also Dahl 1989, 130– 131). Dahl’s account excludes the state and so must imply an intentional exercise of power based on unequal resources that leads to disproportionate influence on political outcomes. But, for others, these intended effects are insignificant in comparison with the “power structures” located outside “the institutional political sphere” (a sotto voce invocation of the state) that fix the parameters of what is politically possible through “impersonal structural bias” (Hyland 1995, 194–195). All agree that democratic principles are violated because unequal economic resources mean that citizens are not in fact political equals, not least because the validity and viability of rights and protections vary across distinct social groups and categories. Paradoxically, although democracy is seen as imperfect mainly on the periphery, the corroding effects of economic inequality are recognized as universal. Just as severe inequalities in the new democracies mean that public policy is “biased in favour of highly organized and economically powerful interests” (O’Donnell 1999b, 186), so governmental collusion with major financial and industrial corporations in the advanced economies can skew public policy in their favor.12 Yet the conclusions that are drawn are always more explicit for the periphery, where it is common to acknowledge that economic power can constitute a countervailing political power that can be correctly characterized as oligarchy. It may be the starkness of the inequalities of power, or a cultural bravura that rarely seeks to disguise them, that underpins the categorical distinctions between democracy and oligarchy on the periphery, whereas in the highly developed world academic

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and popular perceptions concur in a more abstract sense of inequality—as measured by economic indices of different stripes—that finds no direct translation into political power. In the advanced democracies of the West, it is sometimes acceptable to talk of oligarchy in relation to a democratically imperfect and politically quaint past13 but rare to refer to oligarchy in the present. One exception is Duverger, who argued that the combination of economic and political inequalities led to the rise of a new oligarchy—which he called the plutocracy—that is not totally coherent, perhaps, nor a jumble of interest groups jockeying for position as claimed by the pluralists. In his view, modern democracies are subject to a ruling class that governs through an intermediary class of politicians, civil servants, and media professionals. Universal suffrage supports not the sovereignty of the people but the sovereignty of “parliament,” so contributing to reconcile popular democracy and propertied interests and preserving the integrity of an oligarchy composed of “the new barons of finance, industry and trade that come to dominate the state” (Duverger 1974, 57). Although his use of oligarchy is distinctive, Duverger’s analysis chimed closely with consonant accounts of the “corporate domination of the state” (Galbraith 1971, 301) in general and the overweening power of the “military-industrial complex” in particular.14 Although democratic theory has mainly confronted the challenge of the political effects of economic inequality at the national level, where it has done so at all, the separate inquiries into the political stability of democratic regimes, or latterly into the performance of democratic governments, have also had to recognize the impact of international inequalities. Although some see these inequalities statically, and simply try to map the political outcomes of different levels of income and wealth, others take a more dynamic approach to the timing and form of the process of insertion into the world system and the structural relations of trade and investment that ensue from it. The current vogue for globalization theory tends to assume that all countries can compete equally in the world marketplace and reap the benefits of comparative advantage, so eclipsing an earlier focus on the unequal relations that leave the development of some countries

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permanently dependent on the development of others. In the latter approach these unequal relations were reproduced internally through the class relations and state formation of the dependent countries to create “situations of dependency” (Cardoso and Faletto 1969) that had a direct influence on the exercise of political power in general (Tilly 1984) and on the perpetuation of oligarchic politics in particular. O’Donnell’s (1973) account of the emergence of “bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes” drew directly on the insights of dependency theory of this kind. One of the more striking findings of the static analysis of international inequalities is that democratic stability is a linear function of economic development, as measured by the growth of gross domestic product (GDP).15 Although the relationship does not always hold at the regional level, this global claim appears to comfort the advocates of globalization. My own work suggests, equally, that democratic performance is also a linear function of development but reveals “a significant contrast between the effects of economic development on democratic performance inside and outside the core of the world economy.” Indeed, the statistical analysis demonstrates that “the advanced group in the core of the world system has a different starting point from the rest and that its structural superiority will remain whether the rest achieves higher rates of economic growth or not” (Foweraker and Landman 2004, 16). This suggests, in contrast, the continuing relevance of some form of dependency analysis. Not only is the gap between rich and poor countries far greater now than it was thirty years ago but also economic inequality within poor countries is increasing rapidly (owing in no small part to the “conditionalities” and neoliberal policy prescriptions that accompany international financial support and stabilization packages), so buttressing the structural support of oligarchic power and its reproduction. Private Power and Public Sphere An often unwritten assumption of democratic theory is the clear distinction between a private and a public sphere, with democracy

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inhabiting the public sphere, as in the definition of a democracy as a political system that makes “important public decisions on questions of law and policy depend, directly or indirectly, upon public opinion expressed by citizens of the community, the vast bulk of whom have equal political rights” (Weale 1999, 14). In this way “the activity of attending to the arrangements of society” (Oakeshott 1977, 112) can be made accountable by following formal procedures and established practices that are subject to the rule of law and open to public scrutiny. Oligarchic power, in contrast, inhabits the private sphere,16 and hence has to operate informally— if not exclusively so.17 In this perspective the imperfections of democracy derive from a chronic failure to keep the two spheres separate, which is the defining characteristic of patrimonial politics. Most typically, patrimonialism describes the invasion of the public sphere by private interests, so turning public offices to private purposes and appropriating the “commonweal” for private use.18 In democratic theory one of the main counterweights to the concentrated economic power and private wealth of the oligarchy is constitutionalism and the rule of law (Whitehead 2002, 117). In other words, the state must monitor and defend the boundaries between the public and the private, partly by conferring public political rights on the citizens, and partly by vesting private relationships—such as contract—with the public dimension of law. It also backs the legal system that underpins the construction of “political society” (Stepan 1988, 3–5) with its formal rules and procedures for competing for control of government. But the state can fail in this task—in Latin America and presumably elsewhere—and state agencies lose their “public, lawful dimension,” so ceding control of whole regions and sectors to circuits of privatized power that can eventually “invade even the bureaucratic apex of the state” (O’Donnell 1999d, 140). Thus, what emerges from the failure is a pervasive pattern of patrimonial politics that biases the rule of law in favor of the wealthy and powerful, with regional and corporate oligarchies retaining their traditional prerogatives through embedded systems of patronage that recurrently constrain the reach of political parties and political representation (Foweraker and Krznaric 2002).

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In the theory a further defense of the public sphere comes in the shape of the associations of civil society, with a vigilant and mobilized civil society contributing to preserve the integrity of the “republic” against the predations of private interests and power. But the associationalism of civil society can be unevenly distributed, with negative consequences for democratic rule. Oligarchic families and clans, in particular, may act in very uncivil ways in the public sphere, while maintaining high standards of civility “at home” (Whitehead 2002, chap. 3). In these circumstances, civil society may not always and automatically be a good thing. Indeed, it provides a justification for strong state intervention of a broadly illiberal kind, and there are strong traditions— in Latin America and elsewhere—“of government-chartered interest groups” that “contrast strongly with some of the basic assumptions of pluralist associational patterns” (Stepan 2001, 67). The success of the state in patrolling the separation of the public and private spheres must depend in some degree on state administrative capacity. There are worries that “the degree of ‘stateness’ existing in many (even most) new democracies may fall far short of what is required by standard democratic discourse and assumed in most democratic theory” (Whitehead 2002, 269). It is argued that “an effective state is not free of charge” and requires “appropriate financing” that is often lacking (Iazzetta 2004, 224–225). But an inadequate fiscal capacity may be part of the problem, while the solution may be found in a process of “bureaucratization”—in the Weberian sense—that achieves standards and protocols to contain patrimonial and prebendal practices. Recent studies have demonstrated that bureaucratization of this kind does lead to an improved organizational ability to deliver the collective goods that comprise the state’s contribution to economic growth (Evans and Rauch 1999; Rauch and Evans 2000)19 and, it may be inferred, should therefore improve state capacity in other respects as well, most importantly in its potential defense of the rule of law. But this complicates the task of democratic theory: bureaucratization may improve democratic performance—by reducing O’Donnell’s circuits of privatized power, for example—but bureaucratization and democratization are

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patently not the same thing (Mazzuca 2004, 257), and their mutual influences are difficult to disentangle. Informality and Accountability The relevance of calling the attention of democratic theory to the state, the oligarchy, and the porous boundaries between the public and private spheres is that they all, separately and conjointly, influence the exercise of political power. Insofar as the theory assumes that power is exercised in an exclusively formal fashion, according to the constitutional framework and legal rules of the democratic regime (and in most instances it does just this), so this influence must be understood to operate informally. But informality may also have its rules and conventions, so the imperfect democracies of the periphery are seen as “informally institutionalized polyarchies” (O’Donnell 1999b, 176) where “political power is exercised through a complex network of informal and essentially undemocratic institutions” (Ippolito 2004). Although there are certainly more than one type of informal institution (Lauth 2000),20 O’Donnell (1999b) chooses to focus—correctly, for present purposes—on the “particularism [that] vigorously inhabits most formal political institutions” in the peripheral democracies under his scrutiny.21 He assumes, quite plausibly, that “particularism is a permanent feature of human society [and] only recently, and only in some places and institutional sites, has it been tempered by universalistic norms and rules” (184). Particularism in this context mainly means clientelism but also refers more broadly to the wide range of individual ties and loyalties expressed through families, fiefs, clans, tribes, and mafias. The presence of particularism of this kind—at least in the democracies of the periphery—is now a commonplace of the literature. Although it is broadly understood that clientelism expresses the informal exercise of power through individual relationships of loyalty and exchange, clientelism is often treated as a kind of cultural epiphenomenon that remains unconnected to social structure in the form of class relations and private property.

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It is the exercise of power without a subject. But clientelism is a quintessential expression of the unequal relationships between patron and client and, by extension, of oligarchic power. At its origins in Rome, the predominance of the oligarchy was reinforced by the institution of “clientela,” a form of personal dependence unknown in the Greek world, whereby clients performed a range of services, including the delivery of votes, in return for favor and protection. A second connection that often remains obscure is that between clientelist politics as the expression of oligarchic power and the imperfect nature of democratic government, because the political effects of clientelism are rarely made explicit. In my view these operate in two main ways.22 First, clientelism assumes and promotes a particularistic style of politics that produces and reproduces power through particular relationships of favor and loyalty that are inimical to the general claims of individual rights as founded on the democratic norm of political equality. The tension between the particularism of clientelism and the universalism of an effective regime of individual rights has been explored elsewhere (Foweraker 1993, chap. 10; 1995, chap. 5; Foweraker and Landman 1997, chap. 2). Second, it underpins what was described above—d’après Weber—as a patrimonial pattern of politics, where there is no clear and enduring distinction between the private and public spheres (Weber 1964, 1028) and therefore no cultural defense of a res publica that requires the rule of law. Furthermore, it is worth emphasizing that these effects work to impair what is arguably the primary purpose of democracy, namely, to make government accountable to the people. In these respects it appears odd to argue that it is too much democracy—in the form of unbridled majoritarianism—that does the most to damage accountability, but this is the import of O’Donnell’s seminal statement on “delegative democracy,” by which he meant little or no accountability between elections (O’Donnell 1994). But, consistent with the pervasive presence of clientelism, O’Donnell’s overweening executives (the most apparent manifestation of delegative democracy) work to subvert the institutional checks and balances that are integral to liberal constitutionalism

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and its delivery of “horizontal accountability” (O’Donnell 1999d).23 And without such checks and balances the only thing left is the “vertical accountability” available at election time. Thus, the accumulation and extensive use of decree powers, the routine subordination of the judiciary (often through the packing of supreme courts), the failure to redress past executive abuses, and current abuses committed in combating armed insurgencies or drug cartels or any other “threat to national security,” real or imagined, can create the kind of “accountability deficit”24 that, at the extreme, describes a form of plebiscitary democracy or “competitive authoritarianism” (Levitsky and Way 2010). What’s Wrong with Democratic Theory? A synoptic response to this question may easily appear unjustifiably categorical in its judgments. Nonetheless, it appears that democratic theory tends to assume power operates in an exclusively formal fashion, and so focuses on the democratic regime rather than on the state (or, more seriously, simply fails to distinguish between the two) and on the public sphere rather than on the presence of private, often corporate powers. Moreover, in a way that is consonant rather than logically connected, the theory also tends to elide normative concerns with its empirical judgments (Sartori 1987, 7–8), often expanding the compass of definitions of democracy. Taken together, these tendencies mean that it routinely mistakes a part of the political system for the whole, and so systematically inflates the scope of its object of study. Democratic theory becomes coterminous with political theory tout court.25 Specifically, the theory tends to ignore the protean presence of oligarchic power in general and to underestimate the importance of patrimonial politics in particular. Among the peripheral democracies this (lack of) perspective leads to endless discussions of the pathologies and failings of democracy that add up to a large waste of analytical effort; the advanced democracies are deemed to be self-adjusting and perfectible, with political analysis massively concentrated on secondary aspects of the dem-

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ocratic system.26 A further consequence is that the observed differences between the performances of peripheral and advanced democracies are interpreted as differences of kind rather than of degree, which is at best debatable. One way forward is to recognize and accept that neither historical processes of democratization nor the contemporary presence of democratic governments has ever entirely succeeded in supplanting countervailing systems of oligarchic power. What has been recognized is that “the relation between a country’s democratic political system and its nondemocratic economic system has presented a formidable and persistent challenge to democratic goals and practices throughout the 20th century” (Dahl 1998, 179). But this acknowledgment that economic inequality translates into unequal political resources falls some way short of recognizing the simultaneous presence of two distinct systems of political power, one oligarchic, one democratic, that coexist more or less uneasily. Yet the original political science of Aristotle accepted such mixed systems, and in particular the “mixture of oligarchy and democracy” that Aristotle called “polity” (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, IV:8). For Aristotle, both oligarchy and democracy were debasements of better forms of government,27 but he saw the virtue and potential stability of polity in responding to the interests of both rich and poor. Better yet, in his view, was the “middle-polity,” a mixture based on the middle classes that can mediate and negotiate between the extremes of rich and poor (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, IV:11). Aristotle sought to specify the correct principles of constitutional design, or “the organization of the various authorities and in particular the sovereign authority that is above all the others” (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, III:6). He saw the mixing of oligarchy and democracy as an almost technical and legal matter of constitutional construction. His idea of polity therefore appears different from the coexistence of oligarchy and democracy proposed here. But Aristotle’s constitutional concerns corresponded to a form of city government (polis) where the sovereign authority had to be present and visible, so constitutional forms were not as distant from the real exercise of political

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power as they are today. Indeed, the government of Athens (and presumably of the other 122 constitutions he studied in greater or lesser degree) was recurrently engaged in a public enactment of the constitution that tended to dissolve the difference between constitutional form and political system. It is striking that Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of “protective democracy” (Schumpeter 1943) bears a close resemblance to polity remade as a mixture of oligarchy and modern representative government. In Schumpeter’s view, there is no way to determine the common good, and public policy and government decisions cannot be justified by appeal to a popular will. Democratic government does not respond positively to public opinion, but political competition serves to defend the rule of law and protect citizens from abuse of government power. In practice, the people do not rule but merely choose who is to rule them. Popular participation is weak and ill-informed, and citizens are ruled by the social and political elite. In sum, democratic government serves as a constraint on oligarchic rule, nothing more. Hence, the task of government is to conserve inherited rights and duties and to protect against the overweening ambition of “special interests” (Weale 1999, 34, 101). In this perspective, political equality may provide a normative justification for democracy, but as a fundamental principle of democratic theory it is clearly false. The principle is supposed to preclude any claim by a privileged group to control the machinery of government decision making, but it does not in fact do so. To the contrary, a large body of classical sociological analysis (Pareto 1991; Mosca 1939; Michels 1959) concluded that a political ruling class was inevitable in every society, and democracy simply makes class rule more acceptable by allowing citizens to choose among the candidates chosen by the ruling class. Despite the many constraints, checks, and balances of democratic constitutions, “historical evolution undoes all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy” (Michels 1959, 406). The idea of a polity as a mixture of oligarchy and democracy should not be construed as a more or less random combination of empirical elements from two distinct systems of power. On the

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contrary, the idea can only be operationalized by tracing the connections and interactions between these forms of power, while holding fast to the conceptual distinctions between state and regime, public and private spheres, and formal and informal rules, important because they may serve to discipline subsequent empirical inquiries. By way of example, it makes little sense to talk of a “schizophrenic state” (O’Donnell 1999d, 142) that mixes, functionally and territorially, democratic and oligarchic characteristics or, by extension, of different degrees of “democraticness” of the state (O’Donnell 2004, 20, 32) as measured by the effects of a liberal constitution that underpins the rights and freedoms of a democratic regime. It is not the state but the regime that may be more or less democratic and more or less successful in defending the rule of law and the public policies of this regime that will be shaped in different degrees by patrimonial practices or constrained by objective audit and democratic accountability. Polity as a Political System Polity is a contradictory political system in that it has to encompass the contending principles and practices of democratic and oligarchic power. Democratic principles require that political power be made accountable, whereas oligarchic power seeks immunity from the same. Thus, democratic politics is public, responsive to public opinion, and committed to political equality through universal individual rights; oligarchic politics is private, “protected” from political representation, and rooted in the particular ties of clientelism and nepotism. Hence, the contradictions tend to be condensed in the patrimonial practices that permeate the separation between public and private spheres28 and undermine mechanisms of accountability, especially the “horizontal accountability” achieved through effective legal constraints on state actors with clear legal competences. Despite the contradictions, the distinct oligarchic and democratic domains of polity as a political system are also closely interconnected, and the key to the political articulation of democratic

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and oligarchic power is the institution of private property. In liberal constitutionalism, private property is one of a number of individual rights that provide a bulwark against unbridled majority control, and so act to protect democracy (Sunstein 1993, 342). Liberal theory sees this as a virtue of all private rights, both civil and economic. But property rights are considered to be distinct from civil rights in general, because they directly constrain government power (Nedelsky 1993, 242) and underpin the protection of civil rights by diffusing political power (Dahl 1989, 252). Yet, quite differently from other civil rights that are inclusive of the whole demos, property rights have come to be uniquely exclusive (Macpherson 1978, 199), often violently so. Thus, property rights play a dual role of preserving democratic freedoms and protecting oligarchic power, and so contribute to system stability by limiting the policy dimensions subject to democratic choice and by preventing recurrent struggles over the distribution of wealth in particular (Riker and Weimer 1993, 80).29 One of Schumpeter’s five fundamental conditions for the stability of “protective democracy” is “a narrow effective range of political decision-making” (Schumpeter 1943, 232), meaning that most oligarchic privileges and prerogatives are not open to democratic contestation. In this connection, Duverger (1974) argued that universal suffrage and parliamentary politics can serve to reconcile oligarchic interests and popular democracy, but it appears that they can do so only in tandem with private property rights. It is certainly the case that most accounts of the democratic transitions of the so-called Third Wave acknowledge that the pacts and settlements that underpin them are designed first and foremost to protect oligarchic interests, and so bind oligarchic actors to the democratic outcome (Karl and Schmitter 1991, 281). In this perspective, property rights have an “overriding importance” in all new democracies (Schmitter 1995, 23), and statistically it can indeed be demonstrated that property rights consistently trump other civil and minority rights in the democracies of the periphery (Foweraker and Krznaric 2002). The case for property rights appears compelling, but it may seem odd to argue that patterns of patrimonial politics can also act

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as linkages between systems of oligarchic and democratic power. Patrimonial politics is imagined, often correctly, as a process of private appropriation of the public interest or private manipulation of political society. But the encroachment of these informal rules is not necessarily and always in conflict with formal rules or simply parasitic on pristine democratic institutions. It can also occur, and does so frequently, that formal rules require informal rules to survive and operate effectively, so the relationship between the two can be mutually supportive or symbiotic (Helmke and Levitsky 2006). Analogously, the institutional veto points that veto player theory sees as raising transaction costs in democratic systems (Tsebelis 2002) may be better understood as linkage points for the informal bargaining and exchange that underpins and sometimes sustains formal democratic institutions. None of this amounts to a claim that the polity is a fully consistent and homogeneous political system, because it continues to articulate systems of power that have quite distinct sources. But it does suggest that most contemporary polities are more complex, opaque, and ambiguous than democratic theory allows. This context explains the recurrent appearance, and contemporary resurgence, of populist politics in the peripheral democracies and elsewhere. Populism expresses a direct appeal to the people against the irksome oligarchic constraints on democratic choice and decision making and, more often than not, against a restricted and elite-dominated party system.30 Populism therefore projects the (potentially) disruptive effects of the founding myth of popular sovereignty into the political societies of “protective” democracies ruled not by the people but by a ruling class or political elite subject only to recurrent electoral veto.31 But populism has traditionally reflected and sometimes reinforced patterns of patrimonial politics, and the private manipulation of political society in particular, as well as relied on clientelist and paternalist mechanisms for building political followings and mobilizing the vote. It is therefore an ambiguous political phenomenon that straddles the oligarchic and democratic domains of the polity, promising much, but delivering only transitory and often illusory popular gains.32

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Polity and Republicanism One partial exception to the strictures on democratic theory can be found in the theory’s tangential connection to the republican tradition in political thought, a tradition that itself connects directly to the idea of the polity. Indeed, Aristotle’s preference for a mixed constitution was primarily driven by a concern for the “common good” (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, III:6), or what in seventeenthcentury England came to be called the “common weal,” or commonwealth. Although suspicious of democracy for its perceived tendency to deteriorate into demagoguery and mob rule, Aristotle was aware that constitutional rule was usually overturned by putsches led by cliques of wealthy oligarchs and nobles. So, the goal was to protect the common good from both the predations of the “men without means,” on the one hand, and the oligarchy, on the other. In similar fashion, the Roman republic deployed elaborate constitutional engineering to create a form of mixed government where power was divided between four assemblies, each with a distinct constituency, with an aristocratic senate the most important. The balancing of power within a broadly hierarchical structure of government sought to create stability (Lakoff 1996, 65), and a system of group voting created incentives for patrimonial politics, allowing the oligarchy to survive a broadened franchise by means of patronage and clientelism (Lakoff 1996, 80).33 A revival of republicanism during the Renaissance again sought to divide power among different classes or estates, with Machiavelli ([1532] 1952) advocating a model of mixed government with strong constitutional restraints on popular authority. Thus, it is clear that the idea of a mixed constitution has a long republican pedigree. Republican and democratic institutions share common ground insofar as both are justified “as those practices that promote and protect the common interests of the members of a political community” (Weale 1999, 42). But what most matters to the republican tradition is this plural autonomy of different groups that share in political power to produce balanced government, whereas modern democratic institutions emphasize the representation and expression of individual wishes and prefer-

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ences. Under the influence of natural rights theory and social contract theory, the combination of plural autonomy and social hierarchy was supplanted by the notion of a functionally divided government that reposes on a pluralism of interests, factions, and parties. It is argued that this took place at the precise moment when Madison redefined the republic as “a government in which the scheme of representation takes place,” a definition without historical basis (Dahl 1998, 16–17). Modern democratic government is often zealous in its protection of individual rights but less sensitive to class and status inequalities. But (as suggested in the discussions of inequality and informality above) modern forms of plural autonomy often trump individual rights and enable groups and corporations with special interests to wield disproportionate and unaccountable political power. In sum, if the republican mixed constitutions of the past were mainly preoccupied with preventing demagoguery and mob rule, the principal problem of Madisonian representative democracy is controlling the oligarchy.34 Hence, the republican tradition of balancing government continues to be important to the modern polity. This tradition is still present in certain forms of liberal (Whig) constitutionalism as well as in mainly illiberal and organic theories of the state and its role in “balancing the body politic by pursuing the common good” and correcting the inequalities and injustices of modern capitalism against “the self-resistance of the privileged interests” (Stepan 2001, 61–62). And, as suggested above, it is also present in Schumpeter’s republican-minded theory of “protective democracy,” which is designed to defend a traditional form of political life from oligarchic ambition and caprice. In Defense of Polity The first claim that may be made for privileging the notion of the polity is that it provides a more accurate description of the object of study, much as Schumpeter claimed that his theory of “protective democracy” was simply closer to “the facts.” In effect, polity describes a contradictory but interconnected political system that

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encompasses both oligarchic and democratic domains. Things are the way they are because of the political system of polity, not because of the pathologies of peripheral democracies or the shortcomings of advanced democracy. This may appear to be a distinction without a difference, but the definition of a different object of inquiry creates a new and more productive analytical perspective. Instead of a negative focus on what really-existing democracy is not or lacks or fails to be, the inquiry moves to describe and analyze the positive attributes of polity and the balance, connections, and interactions between its oligarchic and democratic principles and practices. This change in perspective should be relatively conservative in its effects. There are no revolutions in the study of politics, and the defense of polity does not discover anything that is not already known. But there are novel ways of exploring what is known, and polity reinterprets the relationships between political actors, institutions, and practices. Hence, although the change would not make democratic theory redundant, it may set it new tasks. Specifically, democratic theory would have to move closer to state theory in order to address the relevance of patrimonial politics to democratic forms of government, and it would have to recognize the formalinformal ambiguities of polity, with even normative theory embracing a sense of ambivalence. Similarly, nothing in polity implies that democratic struggles or democratic transitions, past or present, are unimportant, but the legal-institutional terrain of democratic struggles may be understood differently when it is seen as linking not only civil society and the state but also the oligarchic and democratic domains of polity. Contrariwise, it might be argued that the costs of refusing this change could be high if it means that the theorists and commentators continue, quite literally, “to not know what they are talking about,” so inviting analytical mistakes and flawed policy prescriptions. At the very least, this change in perspective should create new opportunities for comparative politics. For even if it were accepted that most democracies are in fact polities, in the sense developed here, this would not mean that all polities are the same. On the contrary, if polity is a mixture of oligarchy and democracy,

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“the mixture varies from nation to nation both in its proportions and its modalities” (Duverger 1974, 130). One often-cited example is the different sequences and political styles observed in the development of liberal and democratic rights;35 but polities also vary across many other dimensions—state capacity and rationality, economic base of the oligarchy, strength and social insertion of the political party system, to mention a few—that inform the balance and linkages between oligarchic and democratic sources of power. This opens the way to a conceptually coherent comparative inquiry into the varying compositions of polities worldwide that may seek to establish either “ideal types” of polity or distinct genealogies of polity. It is some comfort to note that such an inquiry would follow faithfully in the footsteps of Barrington Moore, Charles Tilly, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Michael Mann, Theda Skocpol, and all the others who have sought to understand the process of democratization in its broad contexts of class relations, state formation, and the evolving relationships among state, regime, and civil society. Notes 1. The list comprises the following political institutions: control over government decisions about policy is constitutionally vested in elected officials; elected officials are chosen in frequent and fairly conducted elections; practically all adults have the right to vote in the election of officials; practically all adults have the right to run for elective offices; freedom of expression; alternative information; and associational autonomy (Dahl 2001). Some scholars follow Schmitter and Karl (1996, 45–46) and include two further criteria, namely: elected officials must be able to exercise their constitutional power without being subjected to overriding (informal) opposition from unelected officials; and the polity must be self-governing and able to act independently of constraints imposed by any other political system. 2. Dahl’s criteria have been transformed over time into the indicators deployed by Freedom House and Polity to construct singular scales of democracy or of democratic performance. 3. Brian Barry had argued for a minimal and procedural definition of democracy without “any constraints on the content of the outcomes produced, such as substantive equality, respect for human rights, concern for the general welfare, personal liberty or the rule of law,” the only exceptions to this minimalism being those required by electoral competition such as the freedom to form and express political preferences (Barry 1979, 156–157).

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4. There is a broad consensus on the foundational principles of liberal democracy. The intellectual grounds for the consensus were created by long traditions of both liberal and democratic thought, beginning in seventeenth-century England, and in the encounter and conversation between them. The classic statement of liberal principles is found in Locke’s Second Treatise, and his defense of the constitutional protection of individual liberty and equality under the rule of law has remained central to liberal theory ever since (Locke [1689] 1924, 180– 183). The first strands of modern democratic thought were skeptical of the ability of the law to protect liberty and equality unless each citizen could “exercise an equal right of participation in the making of the laws” (Skinner 1998, 69–70). By making government accountable to the people, self-rule provides a guarantee that it will uphold the law, so supplying the essential democratic link to liberal democracy. Over time, liberal democratic government has developed the institutional and legal means for achieving the rule of law and sovereignty of the people, so defending the key principles of liberty and equality (Foweraker and Krznaric 2000). These means are closely reflected in Dahl’s list of democratic components. 5. It may be worth adding that neither a normative approach nor its emphasis on liberal constitutionalism poses any particular problems of commensurability in the comparative study of the political systems of Latin America. But such problems may arise in the encounter with long-established legal traditions that offend the liberal ethos, such as Sharia law. Analogous concerns about the constraints of history and culture informed Huntington’s discussion of Asian values (Huntington 1993a). 6. For Aristotle, good government was defined as that government that best promoted the good life, which was the whole point of the polis. He admitted the possibility of bad democracy as well as the likelihood of bad oligarchic rule— both democracy and oligarchy being debased forms of government incapable of supporting the good life (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969). 7. Zakaria began his essay on the rise of illiberal democracy by asserting that “democratically elected regimes, often ones that have been re-elected or reaffirmed through referenda, are routinely ignoring constitutional limits on their power and depriving their citizens of basic rights and freedoms” (Zakaria 1997, 22–23). 8. The increasingly fixed and formal nature of the package may also hamper the analysis of complex processes of transition. “The minimal procedural concept of polyarchy is too aggregated to be analytically useful” when it is recognized that democratization is “not one political process but several, each with potentially divergent causal histories” (Mazzuca 2004, 256). 9. Dahl (1971) measured the performance of 114 states against the criteria of political contestation and the right to electoral participation. The contemporary measures draw on Dahl and deliver similar results. Jaggers and Gurr (1995) created an aggregate indicator of democracy on a scale from zero to ten that follows Dahl’s procedural definition of democracy and that awards perfect scores of ten to the “Western” democracies in more than 80 percent of its observations. Similarly, the Freedom House Index of Political Rights, based on Dahl’s polyarchy list, accords the same democracies a perfect score of one, on a scale from one to seven, for more than 90 percent of its observations, and a score of two for the remainder. In statistical terms, the measures clearly fail to differentiate performance at the top end of the range, so creating the illusion of a remarkably uniform set of advanced democracies.

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10. Losing the right to vote while serving a prison sentence is common in the West, but in fourteen US states criminals lose this right for life. Consequently, as of 2003, an estimated 3.9 million US citizens were disenfranchised, including 1.4 million who had served their sentences and another 1.4 million who were on parole or probation. More than one-third of the disenfranchised population were African American males. Of this total 13 percent were permanently disenfranchised, and the figure rose to 31 percent in Alabama and Florida. Higher rates of incarceration therefore mean fewer voters among African Americans (Foweraker and Krznaric 2003). 11. O’Donnell defines a regime as “the patterns, formal and informal and explicit and implicit, that determine the channels of access to principal government positions, the characteristics of the actors who are admitted and excluded from such access, and the resources and strategies that they are allowed to use for gaining access” (O’Donnell 2004, 15). 12. A common characterization of Japan’s one-party-dominant democracy— at least until the early 1990s—was of a system sustained by patronage and gerrymandering, where a weak parliament was merely a facade to cover up this collusion, while the dominant party extracted financial rents from the business corporations. 13. Thus, it is comfortable to refer to British democracy in the mid-eighteenth century or US democracy in the mid-nineteenth century as oligarchic. 14. It would be difficult to argue that these accounts have lost relevance with the passing of time. Dahl himself came to express recurrent concern with the lack of accountability of the “enormous defence establishment” of the United States (e.g., Dahl 1989, 250), and nothing suggests that this lack has been supplied in any way. 15. The large literature on this topic is reviewed in Foweraker and Landman (2004). 16. It was not always thus. In Athens the different social “orders” had to rule and literally appear to rule in public, so the oligarchy or aristocracy was plainly visible and part of the public sphere (Dahl 1998, 104). The expectation that the political power or influence of the different “orders” or “estates” should be manifest in public was reflected in greater or lesser degrees in the republican traditions of Rome and Renaissance Europe. 17. Private interests find many ways of operating formally in the public sphere of democratic politics, including political parties, interest groups and associations, and media ownership. 18. In O’Donnell’s view, the permeation of the public by the private sphere occurs most directly through clientelism that, “like its counterparts, neopatrimonial and delegational concepts and practice of rule, is antagonistic to one of the main aspects of the full institutional package of polyarchy: the behavioural, legal and normative distinction between a public and a private sphere” (O’Donnell 1999b, 181). 19. Evans and Rauch constructed a “Weberianess” scale from measures of meritocratic recruitment and stable, long-term careers. They found that “even after the effects of initial GDP per capita levels and preexisting levels of human capital have been controlled, the relation between the Weberianess Scale and economic growth remains strong and significant” (Evans and Rauch 1999, 74). They further found that it is bureaucratic structure that most influences administrative performance: the less patrimonial the structure, the more effective it is

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(Rauch and Evans 2000, 61). They also found quite dramatic regional effects. The countries of Africa sit right at the bottom of the scale, and the Asian “tigers” are right at the top. Interestingly, the “Weberianess” of the Latin American cases was only marginally superior to that of Africa. 20. Lauth distinguishes five main types of informal institution, namely, forms of specific relationship (clientelism), of material exchange (corruption), of violent exercise of influence (putsch threat), of civil resistance (civil disobedience), and of legal practice (custom law) (Lauth 2000). In my view, two of these types (putsch, civil disobedience) stretch the concept of institution to the breaking point. 21. O’Donnell believes that the one institution of the Latin American democracies that operates according to formal rules and procedures is elections. In his view, these are “ring-fenced” and protected from informal practices. Although this claim may be overstated, it is true that most elections across the continent are genuinely competitive, and their outcome may plausibly lead to a change of government. In sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast, not even elections are institutionalized in this sense, and there are very few instances of genuine alternation— with an opposition moving into government as the outcome of an election. 22. A fuller account of this synoptic statement can be found in Foweraker and Krznaric (2002). 23. There was subsequently some debate about whether the checks and balances of liberal constitutionalism are not so much a matter of accountability as of executive constraint (Moreno, Crisp, and Shugart 2003). In my view, the constraint is required to achieve some measure of accountability. 24. As Levine and Molina conclude: “The most notable democratic deficit across the region [Latin America] is clearly on the dimension of accountability . . . without exception in each country considered individually, the dimension with the lowest scores is precisely that of accountability . . . [and] by far the lowest average score for the seventeen countries included in our index comes on the dimension of accountability” (Levine and Molina 2011, 255–256). 25. It is clearly recognized that some specific questions, such as those of the definition of the demos and of rights of secession, cannot be resolved “within the terms of democratic theory.” But in most discussion of democracy it is rare to see it acknowledged that “democratic theory is not the whole of political theory” (Weale 1999, 150–151). 26. I do not mean to suggest that the minutiae of electoral rules or the mathematical possibilities of coalition formation in legislative bodies are unimportant, simply that they tend to crowd out attention to more fundamental questions of political power and influence. Cui bono? 27. Aristotle departs from the premise that “those constitutions which aim at the common good are right . . . while those that aim only at the good of the rulers are wrong,” so kingship or aristocracy or polity can be a “right” constitution. Oligarchy is a debasement of aristocracy, serving only the few rather than the common good, whereas democracy serves only the property-less, or “men without means” (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, III:6). He observed that “now there has been an all-round increase in the size of cities. . . . It is hard to avoid having a democratic constitution” (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, III:9) but considered that in general democracy was “the least objectionable of the deviations,” except where “laws do not rule” and democracy deteriorates into demagoguery, which is rule by decree of the popular assembly (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, VI:2). Despite the

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reputation of Athens as the birthplace of democracy, there is a dearth of Athenian democratic theory. All writers whose works survive were more or less sympathetic to oligarchy (Lakoff 1996, 55), and there is good reason to suppose that even the democratic regimes of Athens were often oligarchies in all but name (Lakoff 1996, 43). 28. Democratic theory correctly recognizes that democratic politics cannot eradicate economic and social inequalities but only mitigate their effects. Patrimonial practices may mitigate their effects for the few while exacerbating them for the many. 29. Some constitutional theorists do not hesitate to talk of a political constitution and an economic constitution that are separate but synchronized, but this may misconstrue the key role of private property as a political relationship. 30. The specific institutional context of this resurgence in Latin America is the trade-off between representation and “governability” that is nearly always resolved in favor of the latter: executive-legislative relations work reasonably well in these PR-presidential democracies (and better than the theory predicts) because of their capacity for coalition formation, which itself depends on patterns of patrimonial politics and elite collusion. Congressional compacts are achieved on the basis of patronage, exchange, and logrolling (often made easier by lax party discipline and loyalty), but policy outcomes fail to respond to popular preferences or to reflect constituency concerns. 31. The rules that govern elections in Latin America (especially nonconcurrent legislative and presidential elections, and majority run-off in presidential contests) often encourage “outsider” presidential candidates of different kinds who run without the support of the major parties (Jones 1995). At the same time, popular movements of poor and excluded groups increasingly switch their activities from direct mobilization and negotiation with local and national authorities to the electoral arena and combine their political efforts through electoral fronts and campaigns. 32. These cursory observations are explored in greater detail in Chapter 6. 33. In this way public opinion played only a restricted role, and, in Lakoff’s view, the Roman republic was less susceptible to demagoguery than the Athenian as a consequence (Lakoff 1996, 66). 34. The antifederalists “regarded the constitution of 1787 with its bicameral structure and the indirect election of senators for extended periods of six years as tending towards oligarchy” (Whitehead 2002, 100). 35. From civil to political to social rights in the United Kingdom and United States; from civil to social to political rights in Germany and parts of Catholic Europe; and from social to political to civil rights in many countries of Latin America.

3 The Making of the Modern Polity

Democratic Origins Polity is a combined and interconnected political system that contains both oligarchy and democracy, so the historical progress of democracy is essential to its eventual composition. There are competing interpretations of the emergence of democracy in the modern period, but for ease of exposition they are reduced here to just two mainstream accounts, namely, the societal account and the institutionalist or state account. Despite the differences between them, they share a conceptual ambition that does not easily accommodate differences in processes of democratization or in their specific political outcomes, which may fall far short of democratic ideals. Hence they fail to find a comfortable fit with the progress of democracy in Latin America (or indeed in the United States) and, in particular, they have no ready explanation for the different historical sequence and timing of democratic institutions and democratic rights in the region. The Societal Perspective The societal account of democracy takes the form of a functionalist argument that sees all institutions and behavioral patterns as 45

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having a function that explains their presence. In this way functionalism seeks explanation not by discovering cause but by describing effects, so reversing the temporal arrow. In this instance its synoptic assumption is that democracy is a function of class conflict in the era of capitalism. On a broad view it suggests that the patterning of social relations according to contract and money entails a degree of individual freedom and, by extension, creates the conditions for successful struggles for civil freedoms and rights. The emphasis is on bourgeois freedoms in the shape of civil and political liberties that arise from conflicts between a rising capitalist class and a landowning aristocracy.1 On a narrower view it focuses on capitalism’s creation of free industrial labor as the social basis of a sustained social movement that struggles for democracy. In both social democratic theory of the Marxist stripe (Luxemburg 1973) and of British “labourism” (Hill 1958; Dobb 1963; Thompson 1974), the organized working class is the major force fighting for universal suffrage and for a government responsible to an electorate. Democracy is still a function of class conflict as the “medium of the extension of citizenship rights” (Giddens 1985), but the emphasis has shifted to the internal contradictions of capitalism itself with emerging labor and socialist parties pressing to extend the franchise. This account has been subject throughout to three main orders of criticism. First, it is observed that, whether on a broad or narrow view, democracy may be a function of different classes in different places at different times. So for Moore (1973) it is the bourgeoisie, for Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens (1992) it is the working class, and for many modernization theorists it is the middle class, with the result that the relationship becomes indeterminate insofar as democracy can appear as a function of any change in the social structure whatsoever. Second, it is objected, more specifically, that democracy is not so much a function of class conflict as of the emergence of any excluded class that aspires to be included in the polity; thirdly, and more radically, it is claimed that classes per se determine nothing because it is their political capacity and activity that count (Skocpol 1985). The latter critique argues that the societal account begs big questions of

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the construction of class interests, class political organization, and class projects. Insofar as class is important to democracy, it is political class conflict that matters, not social structure so much as political action with its attendant challenges of solving collective action problems. Skocpol’s critique allows a closer and more differentiated reading of democracy’s progress not as a passive function of class interests but as the active construction (or prevention) of particular class alliances that require organization, negotiation, and strategic intent. Moore focuses on the bourgeoisie as the pivot of class alliances against reactionary landlords or as a block to reactionary class alliances between landlords and peasants; Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens accept that the working class cannot achieve democratic advances on its own but must enter into alliances with the middle classes or the bourgeoisie. The relevance of the critique for present purposes is that its lessons can lead the argument much closer to the historical experience of Latin America. Moore states axiomatically “no bourgeoisie, no democracy” (Moore 1973, 148) but elaborates by referring to “a vigorous and independent class of town dwellers” as an “indispensable element in the growth of parliamentary democracy.” For, in his view, it is agriculture that is the problem and, in particular, the reactionary landlords who have routine access to the “coercive apparatus of the state” (422); so “getting rid of agriculture as a major social activity is one prerequisite for successful democracy” (420). This is a conclusion that resonates in the context of Latin America, where the longevity of the large landed estate with its diverse forms of indentured labor (indicted by Moore as “the political plague of the peasant question” [422]) severely constrained the progress of democracy in the modern era, irrespective of whether the estates in question were traditional latifundia or dynamic export enterprises. For their part, Rueshemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens accept the caveats on the political organization of class interests, with democracy often contingent on “the changing opportunities for class coalitions and compromises” (Rueshemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens 1992, 59); although sticking to the

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assertion that the urban working class is the key to the extension of democratic rights, they recognize that it is too weak to achieve this extension by itself. What happens on the ground, then, depends inter alia on the size and density of the working class and, following Moore, the relationship between conservative landowners and the state. In Latin America there was an unfavorable balance of class power because of the endemic weakness of the working class, leaving the middle classes to take the lead in pushing for democratization, with the result that democracy often remained restricted. Because the presence of the state is also strong relative to civil society, Rueshemeyer and colleagues admit that their model must be modulated in Latin America,2 with more attention to political representation, in particular. Contrary to Moore, who focuses on public contestation, they see political participation and strong political parties that can mobilize the subordinate classes as essential to democratic advance.3 Thus, if democratization is a function of capitalist social relations in general, and the wage relation in particular, its progress will inevitably be more complicated and constrained where the capitalist transformation of the economy is partial and variegated. This heterogeneous economic environment was conceptualized by the structural Marxism of the 1970s as an articulation of modes of production (AMP) that contained mechanisms for siphoning off economic value from the pre- or noncapitalist modes that then swelled capitalist profits (Foweraker 1978). In retrospect, this theory can appear rather elaborate and arcane, but it did provide a formal description of the political economy of the emerging polities of Latin America and elsewhere. Furthermore, this political economy had direct and indirect effects on state formation, as analyzed by O’Donnell in his influential essay on the vicissitudes of democratization in his native Argentina, which arose from the conflicts between conservative landed interests and an emergent commercial and industrial bourgeoisie and which remained unresolved and largely unmediated for decades (O’Donnell 1978), and in my account of the relationships between the large landed estate and authoritarian traditions in Brazil, and of the legal, bureaucratic, and political mediations

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through which landowners were able to influence the content and conduct of government (Foweraker 1981).4 Modernization Theory and Democratic Transition In modernization theory democracy emerges because of its functional fit with advanced industrial economy. In other words, democracy is a function of market-oriented economy, higher levels of economic well-being, cultural traditions tolerant of diversity and compromise, more education, more urbanization, and greater social pluralism. It is therefore rooted in a societal perspective that differs from the accounts of both Moore and Rueshemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens, which focus on the middle class as the primary agent of democratic progress. The story that modernization theory tells is one of expanding industrial and service sectors and the progressive division of labor, which together require the mass education that promotes more information, communication, exchange, geographic mobility, and mass media. These are the changes that create cross-cutting social memberships and identities that reduce the potential for intense conflict and facilitate the dissemination of modern values, including universalism, achievement, future orientation, equality, and trust. To complete the story, the theory then has to assume a set of linkages between these social and cultural changes and the process of democratization. The main assumptions are that competition in the economic marketplace is mirrored by competition in a political marketplace for ideas and projects; that economic markets repose on democratic and civil rights and vice versa; that competition in the political marketplace drives greater political participation, notably universal suffrage but also more voluntary associations, trade unions, and political parties; that education promotes tolerance and generates beliefs in democratic norms, whereas social mobility blunts class divisions; and that political parties and interest groups aggregate preferences and (eventually) translate them into government policy. In sum, democratic

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government is a function of popular participation so long as consensual values make leaders responsive to legitimate demands. As is evident from this list of the social prerequisites of democratic government, modernization theory is still a functionalist idiom of analysis that draws on the early experiences of democratization in Western Europe from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century (and, in lesser degree, on the post–World War II processes of decolonization), where the institutional components of democracy and a fuller definition of the demos were achieved in a gradual, piecemeal, and often halting fashion. In common with the historical sociological analysis of Moore and Rueshemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens, it sees economic change leading to changes in social structure leading in turn to democratization. If present at all, political agency is implied and epiphenomenal: because the analytical objective is to establish causal regularities there is no place for voluntarism or contingency. Clearly, this is all very different from the matter of achieving democratic government through democratic transition, a notion that became current with the analytical engagement with the Third Wave of democratization from the 1970s onward, and which monopolized the attention of political analysts of Latin American politics for a generation or more. Transition describes a moment in historical time that contains the movement from a nondemocratic to a democratic regime, as defined by a particular set of institutions, including free and fair elections, civil rights, and legislative governing authority. This is a moment that requires some form of process-orientated analysis that may begin, for example, with splits in an authoritarian regime and end with the installation of a new democratic government. In this moment things happen. Social structure is not immediately relevant. Political actors are no longer epiphenomenal but take center stage and make decisions with consequential outcomes. The focus on the moment of democratic transition was a response not only to the spate of such transitions occurring during the Third Wave but also to the perceived incapacity of modernization theory to explain this wave. O’Donnell was the first to note that economic development and the attendant changes in

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social structure appeared to lead not to democratization but rather to forms of bureaucratic-authoritarian rule in Latin America, and later studies by Landman (1999) and Mainwaring and PérezLiñán (2003) found no conceivable connection between economic development and the progress of democracy in the region. This is not to deny that background conditions played an important part in preparing the ground for the transitions in Latin America. The debt crisis and economic downturn of the 1970s and early 1980s left authoritarian, mainly military governments vulnerable and often precipitated splits in the military establishment if its mission was under threat; also, shifts occurred in the international context, and especially in US foreign policy with Carter’s human rights agenda, and the elimination of any lingering signs of left-wing insurgency opened the way to agreements between soft-liners in government and moderates in opposition. Thus, it is clearly no accident that analysis focused on intelligent and intentional strategic action by actors who were defined not by their class or other interests but by their strategic posture and the incentives available to achieve compromise. Perhaps inevitably this tended to be a narrow focus on the short-term maneuvering and negotiation between elite actors (Levine 1988, 385) who decided the terms of the pacts and settlements that underpinned the new democratic regime (Higley and Gunther 1992). Because the elites had to agree to differ over their preferences and goals, they had to be reassured of certain boundary conditions if there was to be a procedural consensus on the transition. And the guarantee of competitive electoral politics was central to this process of “institutionalizing uncertainty” (Przeworski 1986, 58–59) by offering an equal chance of access to power and the spoils of office.5 Modernization theory privileges structure, whereas the analysis of democratic transitions favors agency. It’s the old debate. But what is plainly missing from both is any understanding of the role of the state because of the former’s preoccupation with economic and social change and the latter’s exclusive focus on the political regime. That said, it is apparent that the coherence of modernization theory depends in some degree on an implicit account of the state insofar as the changes in

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social structure must be matched by a more differentiated state organization, with multiple programs and agencies that are able to respond to the wider range of demands and preferences, while a measure of state neutrality and a commitment to the public interest are essential to create public trust and the stability of normal, democratic politics. In sum, modernization theory’s account of democratization requires a parallel account of the formation of a modern state supportive of a democratic political culture. It may be alleged that this is a rather teleological account, with modernization theory doing little more than providing the historical story to support pluralist theory’s account of the state (a point that will be taken up below). But it does raise the much bigger question of the connections between state formation and the progress of democracy. The State Perspective Logically and historically, the state is prior to democracy because “without a state, no modern democracy is possible” (Linz and Stepan 1996, 17). The underlying reason for this is that the democratic process presupposes a political unit, and the criteria of this process—not least the definition of the demos—presuppose the rightfulness of the unit itself. Contrariwise, if the unit is not considered proper or rightful, or if its scope or domain is not justifiable, then it cannot be made rightful by any available democratic procedure (Dahl 1989, 207). In sum, “without a state there can be no citizenship, and without citizenship there can be no democracy” (Linz and Stepan 1996, 28). The logic of this argument appears impeccable, but the coherence of the account may depend on some implicit historical claims that lend themselves to a particular theory of the state. This is not a Marxist theory, where the state is a function of the domination, control, and exploitation of one class by another and, under capitalism, the mediation of class conflict and the maintenance of a political order guarantee the dominance of the bourgeoisie. Nor is it a pluralist theory (almost never referred to as such), where the state is a passive place or

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“empty slate” (Carnoy 1984, 16) that serves as a neutral mechanism for aggregating preferences, providing collective goods, and integrating the society by embodying consensual values (as noted in the previous chapter, the values are important even if they are exogenous to the model).6 Still less can it be some form of elite theory that either sees states as actors, invasive, predatory, and preoccupied with their own interests (Giddens 1985) or those of the goal-oriented activity of state officials. Differently from all these, the state perspective depends on an institutionalist theory of the state and the autonomous effects of state institutions on all political actors, great and small. In this perspective, states affect political behavior and political culture, encouraging some kinds of group formation and collective activities, but not others, and allowing certain political issues onto the political agenda, while discouraging others (Skocpol 1985). The key question here is that of autonomy. Marxist theory is critical of the state, whereas pluralist theory is apologetic,7 but neither accord it much autonomy of action, except for the “relative autonomy” necessary in Marxist theory for the state to act against individual capitalists in the interests of capital in general or to maintain order, especially in the abnormal times of economic crisis or mutual class attrition that Marx called Bonapartism (Marx [1852] 1934). On one view this is a reasonable assumption to make about capitalist states with democratic regimes because no political actor can afford to abrogate the limits set by the requirements of capital accumulation for long without incurring the negative consequences. Elite theory, in contrast, accords the state much greater autonomy as an elite-controlled mechanism of distributive power, but this view makes most intuitive sense in absolutist, dictatorial, and authoritarian contexts and requires careful calibration to fit comfortably with democratic regimes. But, on the institutionalist view, the state is an institutional template, shaping, directing, and conditioning the activities of actors in both government and civil society; the complexity and multiplicity of its institutional engagement mean that it must remain interactive in both respects. The degree of its autonomy then depends on the nature of its interactions, and in some instances

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this autonomy may actually diminish as a consequence of intervention in social and economic life. The institutionalist view of the state reflects the growth of what has been called infrastructural power (Mann 1993, 44–88) in the modern period. This is the institutional capacity of a central state to penetrate its territories and implement decisions, coordinating social life through state infrastructures. But, crucially, this power is a two-way street that enables “parties” (in the Weberian sense that includes classes, interest groups, civic associations, social movements, and, yes, political parties) to influence and control the state to some degree. For this reason institutionalism gains analytical traction in the context of modern states with democratic regimes where there is greater reciprocity between those who govern and the governed. Indeed, in this view the growing infrastructural power of the state is intimately interrelated with the progress of democracy, because it changes the dialectics of control and gives subordinate groups a firmer purchase on state institutions. This story finds ample empirical illustration in Charles Tilly’s account of war, bureaucratization, and the expanding need and capacity for general taxation as it was traded historically for the extension of citizenship rights, especially in the years following World War I (Tilly 1990). Thus, the explanatory power of the institutionalist view of democratization increases as the collective, infrastructural powers of the modern state accumulate. Before proceeding further, it must be emphasized that this institutionalist view is an idealized account of state formation, much as modernization theory is an idealized account of democratization, and so does not describe the historical process of state formation—in Latin America and elsewhere—that accompanies the creation of modern polity. This latter process, as described in the following chapter, requires some combination of elite theory with institutionalism to be at all intelligible. But the institutionalist view serves democratic theory well by providing the perfect prelude and justification for its focus on constitutionalism, because in this view constitutions really matter. Constitutionalism can legitimate both nondemocratic and demo-

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cratic regimes, but democratic constitutions are central to the theory insofar as they structure power relations in distinctive ways and, in particular, seek to prohibit the kind of elite autonomy of action typical of despotic or authoritarian rule. The assumption is that elites are diverse and possibly divided, and left to their own devices they may not be able to achieve a coherent pattern of rule; but whether democratic constitutions can deliver such a pattern is an empirical question that depends, inter alia, on state structures, the relations of the state to civil society, and transnational regimes, not to mention the particular political conjuncture and contemporary political challenges (Skocpol 1985). 8 So the argument now moves to consider what democratic constitutions do in principle, before suggesting that the way they come about in the first place makes it unlikely or impossible that the principle will be realized in practice. The Ideal Purpose of Democratic Constitutions First and foremost, constitutions do what all institutions do in some degree: they constrain, but they also enable, because they can unburden political actors from purposive and strategic considerations. Institutionally constrained behavior may be trusted to yield beneficial or at least tolerable outcomes by providing norms, rules, and expectations, so reducing transaction costs (North 1995, 20;9 Offe 1985, 304–312). Despite the constraint, a measure of purposive choice remains possible, so institutions as social arrangements that are designed to settle potential conflicts need to be endorsed by third parties. In the case of constitutions, that third party is the state. This is a source of considerable ambiguity in constitutional theory, for the constitution is also designed to constrain the state and establish the internal and external boundaries of its legal competence and reach.10 Democratic constitutions impose particular constraints, especially on the majoritarian principle. They do so by removing certain decisions from the democratic process, so disempowering temporary majorities in the name of binding norms. There

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are two good democratic reasons for this. First, democracy is “impotent” without constitutional constraint (Elster 2000, 88– 174). It can make decisions but cannot make itself stick to them. Simple majority rule is vulnerable to unstable oscillations between 51 and 49 percent, and preferences can change for no good reason (passion or demagogy) or no reason at all: the inevitable turnover of generations can do it. Second, democracy can only work if it is bound by a framework of rights that prevents majorities from suppressing the rights of minorities to organize and vote. The constitution is a hedge against arbitrary government. Yet it must be conceded that constitutions can also constrain less heroically, for example, by imposing property or gender restrictions on the franchise, or by resisting the effective enfranchisement of minorities (across two centuries in the United States), or by entrenching a highly centralized system of parliamentary sovereignty (as in Great Britain). Most theorists concur that the occasional negative effects of constitutional constraint are easily outweighed by its positive effects in enabling and reinforcing democracy.11 In principle, it achieves these in four main ways (Holmes 1993, 195ff.). First, it unburdens political actors by removing fundamental questions from the political agenda and so allowing each generation to get on with the business of governing and of solving the society’s most pressing problems. The fixity of the constitution promotes the formation of long-term plans, which are a condition for economic growth and personal security (Elster 2000, 208–209). In this respect the theorists routinely follow Madison in defending a regime of property rights, and in regard to economic development in particular, “any rules are better than no rules” (North 1981, 31; Sened 1997, 1–11). Second, it liberates the power of the people by curtailing the disproportionate power of self-elected elites and their systems of informal coercion (a typical symptom of plebiscitary democracy). Third, it empowers voters by limiting the authority of their own elected officials over basic governmental processes. In this respect the constitution not only limits power but also creates and assigns powers, structuring government and guaranteeing popular participation, and it regulates the ways these

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powers are used in accord with principles of due process and equity. Finally, it promotes bargaining and compromise by placing constitutional amendment outside the scope of normal political strategy so that factions and interests have to learn to disagree and come to terms. Democratic decision making is a deliberative and procedural process, and constitutions create the conditions for democratic politics, not the quest for a common purpose or for public virtue (Sunstein 1993).12 In sum, rules can be creative. Popular government requires a legal framework that enables the electorate to have a coherent will. Democracy is the rule of the people, but within certain predetermined channels—as in the drawing and re-drawing of electoral districts for example. In addition, the principle of consent entails constitutional guarantees of unpunished dissent, while the principle of popular sovereignty entails rules for organizing and protecting public debate. In these ways rule-based constraint can at best serve to correct and instruct the majority; and in all these respects collective self-binding enables collective self-rule. How Do Constitutions Come About? The foregoing prospectus for democratic constitutionalism makes it appear to be altogether a good thing, and highly democratically desirable. But moving to consider just how constitutions come about in the first place may inject a necessary note of realism and so compromise the picture in some degree. Possibly the most optimistic of the three main answers to this question is simply that constitutions are the result of conscious and conscientious design. In principle this answer is possible, perhaps even plausible, because liberal democracy is the historical result of two separate traditions that became conjoined, namely, liberal constitutionalism with its appeal to limited government, and democracy with its appeal to the power of the people. There is evidently a tension between these two principles: the constitution limits political action, while a popularly mandated government should be free to pursue whatever goals it thinks fit. So,

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the key to democratic success is to design a successful fusion of the two by finding the right balance between constitutional rights and responsiveness to popular opinion. Design choices underlie the discussion of power concentration and power diffusion (Barry 1965). In the power concentration view, governments should have the constitutional powers to achieve their goals but should be held accountable for their actions. Decision points should be reduced, not multiplied, with a single party in control of government. In the power diffusion view, government capacity should be fragmented in a series of checks and balances to control power and should be shared among many actors in a consensual fashion. All this is familiar from the debates on proportional representation (PR) electoral systems versus first-past-the-post, coalition government versus single-party domination, and presidential versus parliamentary systems versus variants and hybrids of the two. Today design choices extend beyond the executive, legislature, and judiciary to include quasiconstitutional features such as an independent central bank and public broadcasting by state-owned media.13 There appear to be clear historical instances of constitutional design. Indeed, it can be argued that the creation of institutions or the building of better ones is the central practical problem that societies confront as they emerge from authoritarian or socialist regimes (Offe 1996, 209). Thus, the most convincing recent example is Eastern and Central Europe, where the transitions took place “not under institutions but about institutions” (Offe 1996, 207), with wide margins of design discretion.14 The act of design was facilitated where the first election after the transition was for a legislature, whether constituent or not, “that was free to create new institutions without having to delegitimize a democratically elected president” (Linz 1994, 68). In this context, the quest for an appropriate institutional model or design is critical to the outcome, and the fiction of imitation or transplantation of the model from a golden era of the past or a benign foreign environment may contribute significantly to its chances of success. 15 Be that as it may, it yet remains unclear what degrees of freedom are available to the act of constitutional

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design, and how exactly the act itself is to be understood. Does it require a noninstitutionalized designer, an unruled ruler, Machiavelli’s Prince, or Weber’s charismatic leader? Can such a figure even be imagined as emerging from the flux of a democratic transition? The answer is unequivocal and negative for those who believe that constitutions develop within the context of extant institutions (March and Olsen 1984) and specifically from what are termed “political lags.” These occur over time because the current conflicts institutionalized by the state inevitably become institutionalized historic conflicts that then exert their influence over new conflicts. In this view, constitutions are not designed tabulae rasae but are strongly influenced by the long arm of the past. In the language of modern political science, all constitutions are subject to path dependency, all political actors are embedded in institutions, and so is the act of constitutional design. So, there may be constitutional design, but there are no constitutional designers. At best there are theorists of historical evolution (Hobbes 1968) who legitimate constitutional outcomes; critics of anciens régimes who invoke principles betrayed; and importers of designs made popular elsewhere. This traditionalism is efficient in the degree that institutions have to make sense to the actors within them as well as be fit for the purposes for which they are designed (Offe 1996, 202). And it is precisely this duality of institutions that makes the act of constitutional design so difficult. If designs look too new, they are susceptible to culturally specific versions of Oakeshott’s critique of political rationalism, which argues that the contingent products of the past may well make more sense than the bright designs of the present (Oakeshott 1977). If the design is not culturally rooted, the temptation to tinker will become too much, leading to the kind of “designer activism” that destroys popular trust (Stark 1992, 27).16 The insistence on institutional tradition in Latin America clearly conforms to this process of “institutionally regulated institutional change” (Offe 1996, 209), and there is a broad consensus that “in their recent transitions to democracy, little institutional innovation has occurred” (Mainwaring 1990, 171) either

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because the authoritarian legacy continued into the present, with no new constitution being written or agreed (as occurred in Chile), or because the “rules and procedures of the earlier democratic period, although sometimes long suppressed, were often simply revived” (Geddes 1996, 30).17 Moreover, it was often the case that the same political parties rose “phoenixlike from the ashes,” with the same interests, representing the same groups, and benefiting from the same institutional incentives, and consequently with “little to gain from making risky changes in the political rules” (Geddes 1996, 31). On all counts, therefore, the design choices of the present were heavily constrained by the institutions inherited from the past. The strength of institutional tradition in Latin America means that Latin American democracy is presidential and will almost certainly remain so. This renders the broader debate on the virtues of presidentialism versus parliamentarianism redundant for present purposes, because it remains true that “no existing presidential system has ever changed to a parliamentary system” (Shugart and Carey 1992, 3), and referenda on the question of such a change in the early post-transition years in Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil were all comprehensively rejected. Thus, the presidential tradition determines presidential outcomes, for where there is a “presidential constitution . . . the transition to democracy takes place through the free election of a new president, presumably under the old constitution, for either a normal or a reduced mandate” (Linz 1994, 68). Hence, with the constitutional deck so clearly stacked in favor of presidentialism—because of the “long arm of the past”—the political actors of the democratic transitions tended to dedicate themselves to “political gardening” rather than “institutional design” (Stark 1992, 29). The result was a “distinctive subset” of democratic political systems in Latin America that is largely defined by a combination of presidentialism and PR-based assemblies (Lijphart 1993, 150; 1994).18 The critics of this constitutional combination see all the countries of Latin America as beset by the same fundamental problems of political instability and poor economic performance so that “the Latin American model remains a particularly unattractive option” (Lijphart 1993,

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151). But equally it can and will be argued that these political systems in fact perform much better than the theory predicts (Foweraker 1998).19 Although the constitutional choices of the political actors in democratic transitions clearly are constrained by this process of institutionally embedded constitutional design, it remains a process of rulemaking by interim governments, constitutional and legislative assemblies, round tables, and national conferences, with a sometimes considerable margin of maneuver in deciding outcomes; the actors are aware that their constitutional choices will necessarily affect their future political position and economic well-being. Consequently, despite the constraints, the process is inevitably shaped by particular interests and the design itself shaped by self-interested choices. These interests may be individual and usually economic, including the individual interest of delegates in defending the interests of their constituencies (Shugart 1998); party political, especially as concerns electoral laws; and institutional, where the institutions to be regulated by the constitution are themselves engaged in its design, namely, legislatures and executives. So far as possible their presence remains disguised and only ever is declared in the guise of the public interest, often because any visible attempt to impose a partisan interest or particular principle may make agreement more difficult or the new constitution less broadly acceptable. There are good political reasons to defend the outcome not as new but as a copy from a suitably remote point in time and space, even though the real process is one of logrolling in assemblies, in assembly committees, or in smoke-filled rooms far away from formal chambers in order to achieve the minimum winning coalition that gets the design agreed (Elster 1993).20 Despite the institutional constraints, therefore, the democratic transitions of Latin America remained subject in greater or lesser degree to negotiation between self-interested political actors who had to reach agreement on the specific constitutional outcome. The requirement to deliver the full polyarchy package of participation, representation, rights, and contestation presented a massive political challenge; it can be no surprise that

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the pacts underpinning the constitutional settlements were not only institutionally constrained but also politically constricted and intended first and foremost to protect oligarchic interests and so bind oligarchic actors to the result. 21 Consequently, the settlements tended to squeeze the ideological and policy spectrum, and did so more from the left than from the right, leading left-wing actors to protest that the outcome was too restrictive and lacking in important social and distributive entitlements. These perceptions were sharpened by the coincidence between the democratic transitions in Latin America and prevailing conditions of austerity, with neoliberal policy prescriptions working in tandem with economic downturn to deepen inequalities, as well as with the dismantling or at least diminishing of welfare institutions and agencies, so reducing an already partial and often fragile state capacity to achieve civil order and implement social policies.22 In this way democratic transitions are explained through the ex-post modeling of elite decision making in specific institutional conditions; the fusion of institutional tradition and selfinterested choices is confirmed by the game-theoretic investigations of the pacts by Geddes (1991) and Shugart (1998), which suggest that they tended to generate weak parties and strong executives (especially when led by insiders) as key political actors sought to defend particular political constituencies—a combination of conditions that “almost requires a presidential form of government” (Shugart 1998). In this view, elite actors defending oligarchic interests determine the modal pattern of transition and set the boundary conditions for the political agenda of subsequent democratic governments that are then alleged to ignore “the citizenry at large” and its “wish to be rid of tangible evils” (Rustow 1970, 354–355). So the strong institutional tradition within Latin America certainly accommodated a measure of intentional design, even if this design was shaped less by worthy precautions against the unwise impulses of majorities and more by the defense of oligarchic interests and the prerogatives and immunities granted to the military and the police. 23 The result may have been a democratic constitution, but it was nearly

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always a democratic constitution shaped by oligarchic powers to fit and suit the broader context of polity. Democratic Progress and the Polity It is now apparent that the two mainstream accounts of democratic progress in the modern period present rather idealized views. In the societal account, the broadly class-based approach depends closely on the structural transformation of economy and society, but democracy is inevitably fractured and constrained when this transformation is partial and variegated, as it was in Latin America; the assumption in modernization theory that the pathway to democracy is always everywhere the same is denied by the experience of Latin America and by the democratic transitions of the Third Wave in particular. On the one hand, a partial transformation leads to an unfavorable balance of class power and consequently to more restricted democratic outcomes. On the other, it is not so much social and cultural change as the political activity of powerful actors that determines these outcomes at moments of democratic transition. In similar fashion, the state account depends on an institutional theory of the state and an idealized presumption of state autonomy; this then serves as both prelude and justification for an equally idealized interpretation of the constitution as achieving a neutral orchestration of the democratic regime, while simultaneously linking the historical underpinnings of democracy to its contemporary institutional manifestation. But none of this explains the actual process of constitution making in Latin America, which is bound by institutional legacies and shaped by self-interested political actors to their own ends, while oligarchic actors find most room for maneuver at moments of democratic transition, with democratic constitutions contingent on oligarchic pacts. In this perspective the idealized views aspire to explain democratization, whereas the empirical critique demonstrates that democratization depends at every turn on accommodating and adapting to oligarchic power. The critique does not therefore seek to deny democratic progress per se

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so much as demonstrate how such progress tends to lead to the making of the modern polity. Notes 1. It was and is a matter for debate whether these nascent freedoms and rights were indeed universal or merely served to legitimate the domination of the capitalist class, as Marx first argued in On the Jewish Question (Marx [1843] 1981). Note, more generally, that the emphasis on social relations looks forward to modernization theory, where the middle class serves as a metaphor for societal differentiation and pluralism that—alongside the spread of education—create propitious conditions for the growth of democracy (see below). 2. They also admit that their model may possibly have to be rejected in its entirety in the United States, where the working class was constituted structurally “after the struggle for a more or less inclusive democracy was won” (Rueshemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens 1992, 69). Moore too has to modulate his approach for the United States, despite the initial claim that the “American Civil War was the last revolutionary offensive on the part of what one may legitimately call urban or bourgeois capitalist democracy” (Moore 1973, 127). He recognized that democracy here was not simply a function of the “rise of the urban bourgeoisie” because the alliance with the “West” had freed northern capitalists from reliance on the Southern planter class to keep labor in its place. (Different from Bismarck’s Germany, there was no “marriage of iron and rye” between industrialists and the reactionary Junkers.) And he too was obliged to incorporate more autonomous political elements, including tariffs, federalism, the machinery of the federal government and whom it supported, and the acute uncertainty attendant on the admission of a slave state or a free state to the federation that might tip the political balance one way or the other. 3. Equally, in their view democracy can only take root if the interests of the capitalist class are not threatened by it, so strong parties are also necessary to represent capitalist interests where these interests are not secured by direct access to the state. 4. These summary observations may serve as an introduction to the process of patrimonial state formation as described in Chapter 4. 5. Elite actors must be convinced of the institutional guarantees that minimize the threat to their longer-term interests: in the reiterative game of electoral democracy, today’s losers must be able to think of themselves as tomorrow’s winners. 6. Pluralist theory positively invites a complementary account of intentionalstrategic action by interest groups, because this too needs explaining. This action bears inward upon the state, but the systemic relationships between interest groups and government require that the groups compete for decision-making power or allocation of resources. There is an ambiguity here, for the push and pull of interest group activity merges into a struggle between competing elites, albeit often in the form of party politics. It may be that these elites are responsive to the wishes of the electorate, or it may be that they are not (Schumpeter takes the latter view).

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7. “Pluralist political theory is the official ideology of capitalist democracy” (Carnoy 1984, 19). If so, whether self-consciously or not, the pluralist account only explains modern democratic governments, not states in general. The process of modernization shifts power to the people through the political mechanisms of contestation and participation (Dahl 1971). Contestation occurs through party democracy and interest group activity. In this perspective, classes are just one kind of interest group (equal with sectors, regions, religions). The apology is that, although this system may not produce perfect political equality, it does produce responsive government through the competition between elites for popular support. 8. It is a question that will be explored in the context of state formation in Latin America in Chapter 4. 9. According to North, institutions emerge in order to lower transaction costs in a world characterized by unforeseen contingencies and cognitive limitations, but institutions do not automatically adjust as the world changes. 10. The potential impact of the state on the political effects of democratic constitutions will be considered in Chapters 4 and 7. In the liberal view the constitution seeks to ensure the state is neutral between the various interests and identities of citizenship, whereas the republican view directs the state to seek accommodation between interests and promote their mutual engagement in order to deliver the public goods required to realize individual potentials. 11. This account of constitutional constraint mixes a liberal view of a constitution restricted to upholding civil and especially property rights, with democracy and political rights playing a subsidiary role as a curb on government power by allowing the peaceful removal of political rulers, and a more positive republican view of the constitution as emerging from the political and democratic process to make arbitrary power impossible by replacing the rule of the few with the rule of the people. The central distinction is between a liberal emphasis on the constitution as a legal framework to restrict government power and a republican interpretation of the constitution as fostering deliberation and reciprocity not so much to limit power as to regulate it. 12. But the quest for public virtue may provide a justification for constitutionalism, as in James Madison’s letter to Thomas Jefferson of 24 October 1878, where he alleges that “the mutability of the laws of the states is found to be a serious evil. The injustice of them has been so frequent and so flagrant as to alarm the most steadfast friends of Republicanism.” 13. Further discussion of design issues and empirical tests of design choices can be found in Foweraker and Landman (2002). 14. This historical moment appears to combine the two sets of circumstances where constitutions are most likely to really matter: first, the democratic transition itself, where constitutions can exercise a symbolic and real influence on political outcomes; second, the absence or debility of the state, which cannot therefore easily enforce compliance on competing elites or interests. In the latter circumstance a simple set of rules may itself become “sovereign” if there is sufficient belief or consensus that it is better to conform to the rules, whatever they are, than not to do so. 15. However, giving priority to legislative elections may create its own problems if the first winning party establishes a clientelistic machine to perpetuate itself in office, as arguably occurred in Italy, India, and Japan (Przeworski 1995, 54).

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16. The notion that the consciously planned and executed is not likely to be better than what has grown up and established itself un-self-consciously over a period of time has a long pedigree. Compare Hume (1893, 169–175) and Sugden (2005, 1–9, 87–103) on the conventional origin of rules and morality. 17. Note that these observations relate to transitions that are both recent and democratic, so excluding, for example, the Mexican Constitution of 1917, on the one hand, and the Chilean Constitution of 1980, on the other. 18. Moreover, the subset mainly conforms to a model of pure presidentialism, with popularly elected chief executives, the terms of both executive and assembly fixed and not contingent on mutual confidence, the government named and directed by the executive, and with at least some constitutionally granted law-making authority vested in the president (Shugart and Carey 1992, 19). 19. This point will be explored in greater detail in Chapter 7 and passim. 20. Possibly the only way to achieve an entirely objective outcome would be to decide on the design behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance, with no designers able to discern how the rules would affect them in the future (Rawls 1999). 21. The veto power of these actors was an informal power derived from their insertion into or connection to the patrimonial state (see Chapter 4), but it was exercised to influence and shape the formal veto powers deriving from future constitutional authority. 22. The pacts underpinning earlier democratic transitions in Costa Rica in 1947, Colombia in 1957, and Venezuela in 1958 were carried through in mainly more propitious economic circumstances. These were the only democratic governments to survive the “reverse wave” of military and authoritarian governments in the Latin America of the 1960s and 1970s. Latin America had had a long history of (often constricted and/or curtailed) democratic experiences, but these suffered a brutal interruption prior to the democratic transitions of the late 1970s and 1980s. 23. Yet “prejudiced founders will not regard their views as biased, but wise” (Elster 2000, 169).

4 State, Regime, and Civil Society

In simple terms the state is the principle of order and authority in a society, and the regime governs the form of the state’s relationship with society and controls the modes of access to authoritative positions within the state apparatus. Thus, regimes can be traditional, theological, authoritarian, sultanistic, or democratic, or they can appear in hybrid form. The process of democratization is clearly a question of regime, not state. Hence, most democratic theory focuses on the democratic regime and its principal components of the public sphere, public law, political society (parties, interest groups, and so on), mass media, and formal citizenship with its panoply of rights and protections, without any apparent concern for the form of state in which it is embedded. Furthermore, this focus tends to assume that power is exercised in a formal fashion according to a constitutional framework and the legal rules of the democratic game. But such a formal focus does not exhaust the description of the political system because it cannot encompass its contending principles of power and authority as configured by particular forms of state.

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State Autonomy and Democratic Constitutions In the previous chapter it was noted that Marxist theory sees the state as a function of class struggle and that it plays a necessary role in the mediation of class conflict. As such Marxist theory is criticized for reducing the state to a passive place where class interests confront each other in mechanical fashion. The state has no autonomy whatsoever. But the state is also seen as a function of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall (Marx [1894] 1975), a tendency that recurrently requires state intervention to restore the conditions of capital accumulation, while the state must also use violence to maintain political order. For Lenin, the latter was the state’s primary function as the “repressive apparatus of the bourgeoisie” (Lenin 1972), but political order may require legitimacy as much as repression, and theorists note the tension in modern capitalist states between their roles in maintaining the conditions for rapid accumulation, on the one hand, and in maintaining order (mediating class conflict) through extensive welfare programs, on the other (Offe 1984, 1985, 300–316). The theory then concedes some relative autonomy to the state to fulfill these conflicting roles, especially in particular conjunctures.1 It is recognized that the class structure of a society must influence its form of state.2 For example, the enclosures and early elimination of the peasantry in Britain created a relatively homogeneous capitalist environment suitable to the early development of a “night watchman” state, with the restricted roles of maintaining law and order, protecting private property, regulating trade, and reposing for its legitimacy on an expanding suffrage and a measure of equality before the law; whereas the survival of the Junker class and indentured labor in Germany led to a more interventionist and authoritarian outcome. Indeed, more generally, the recurrent concern with the autonomy of the capitalist state itself derives from the separation of economic and political power in capitalism. In feudalism and state socialism, political authority is fused with control over the means of production and other resources of social power: the political is not a function of the economic because they are inseparable. In capitalism, in contrast,

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the separation of economic and political power is made possible by the extraction of surplus value through market mechanisms that no longer require “extra-economic coercion.”3 Consequently (compare Moore’s argument in the previous chapter), large landed estates that keep labor immobile even as capitalism develops outside them have an especially powerful impact on state formation, as is evident from the formation of the patrimonial state in Latin America (see below). An awareness of state formation and its importance for state autonomy makes it difficult to sustain a simple view of the democratic regime as the formal expression of the constitution. Political outcomes in democratic regimes are explained by the distribution of preferences and the distribution of resources, subject to the constraints of the rules of the game as contained in the constitution (March and Olsen 1984). But in the present perspective constitutions are not exogenous to political outcomes in this way but are shaped by the institutional context of the state and configured by elite and other interests. In other words, they are not neutral orchestrations of democratic regimes but deeply inserted in the power relationships crystallized in particular forms of state. In behavioral terms they are intervening rather than independent variables. This does not mean that constitutions cannot set out to remove certain issues, options, and actions from the political agenda before politics begins. They can. Nor does it mean that constitutions cannot reinforce democracy by establishing the legal framework that enables electorates to form a coherent will (and in the other ways spelled out in the previous chapter). But in both instances the effectiveness of the constitution, its real capacity to shape the regime, is determined in greater or lesser degree by its state context and the degree of state autonomy. Just how far any constitution can shape a democratic regime— and the relationship between constitutions and elite interests in particular—depends on the preferred theory of the state. Thus, in the Marxist or class-centered view the state will always underpin and protect the long-term conditions of capital accumulation, and the constitution will provide the order that regulates class conflict to this end. In the pure elite view (Oppenheimer 1972; Mosca

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1939; Pareto 1991), the state exercises distributive power over the society at large—and is invasive, extractive, and self-preoccupied as a consequence—although constitutions can work to constrain elite autonomy and enable accommodation between diverse elites. In the institutionalist or state-centered view, state institutions exercise autonomous effects on all political actors, both constraining and directing them, and constitutions work to structure power relations in diverse and distinctive ways. In all these cases, as proposed in Chapter 2, it is clear that the capacity of constitutions to determine political outcomes depends critically on the degree and conditions of state autonomy. The exception is the pluralist view, where the constitution substitutes for the state in regulating the interplay and access of the competing interests within society, so checking and balancing them in the common good.4 Thus, this is the only version of state theory that endorses a view of the constitution as exogenous to political outcomes, and then only because it “naturalizes” the very existence of the state by adopting and promoting a “normalizing” language of constitutions meeting social challenges, increasing institutional coordination, and avoiding prohibitive transaction costs.5 Although related to the process of state formation, the question of state capacity is distinct in its concern with the ability or inability of the state to uphold the rule of law and implement the agreed policies of a democratic government in an effective and neutral fashion. If state formation and (a lack of) state autonomy are the source of “upstream” constraints on the modus operandi of the democratic regime itself, then state capacity may impose “downstream” constraints on its operational reach wherever that capacity is so far curtailed that it leaves areas of the country, sectors of the economy, or parts of the political apparatus where the writ of law does not run. O’Donnell was the first to speak of these “brown areas” in the countries of Latin America (O’Donnell 1999c) as a prelude to his analysis of the pathologies that follow from the “severe incompleteness of the state, especially in its legal dimension” (O’Donnell 1999c, 311–315). In short—and anticipating the formation of the patrimonial state (below)—the democratic regime is enfeebled if the application of the law or the

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implementation of policy has to be negotiated with or is otherwise refracted through oligarchic powers, corporations, and other local power holders. Comparative research has demonstrated that constitutions do have some degree of autonomous and regular influence on political outcomes—although much work remains to be done to make the measurements more diverse and the results more robust.6 But state theory shows that states vary in structure, especially informal structure, and administrative capacity; that they operate with different degrees of domestic autonomy; and that they are differentially constrained by international political economy and international agencies. It follows that the same constitutional design can have different outcomes in different national-state contexts. The corollary is that there can be no intrinsic or a priori grounds for deciding what constitutional design—whether federalism, confederalism, consociationalism, or legal protections—can best balance the general conditions of individual rights with specific provision for minority protection (representation versus minority rights); or what design—whether of executive-legislative relations or electoral systems—can best avoid gridlock and governmental incapacity to achieve change by imposing losses on blocking coalitions; or what decision rules can best correct the democratic deficit of the European Union—whether at the federal level (representation) or the regional level (responsiveness); or what form of judicial review can best secure the accountability of public servants. In other words, there is no way to explain constitutional outcomes—and the political trade-offs implicit in distinct designs in particular—without resort to state theory and an exploration of power, institutions, and informal rules. State Formation and Democratic Regimes

Max Weber famously characterized the state as an ensemble of apparatuses and cadres that can “plausibly claim to exercise a monopoly of violence within a given territory” (Weber 1978, 1041). Beyond this minimum requirement he defined the modern form of state as “legal-rational” in nature, insofar as it operated

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according to the rule of law through predictable bureaucratic systems of tax, surveillance, and institutional control; it is the rule of law that distinguishes and separates the public sphere from the realm of private interests. But this was never intended as a literal description so much as an “ideal type” of authority that derived its legitimacy from making the rules explicit and then sticking to them. Weber constructed his “ideal type” from extensive comparative evidence, but it was never imagined as manifest in any particular place or time. Real states would always express some admixture of different forms of authority and different operating procedures. In respect of the division between public and private spheres alone, it might be argued that a purely “legal-rational” state would also be an entirely autonomous state, but this would ignore the modern state’s systematic legal and bureaucratic commitment to the provision of public goods and its engagement with private and corporate interests in civil society. In this connection it is instructive to consider the process of state formation in Latin America, where the birth of its nations through the struggle for independence in the early years of the nineteenth century occurred prior to the construction of an effective state, with Chile the only partial exception. Indeed, for most of that century these nations did not achieve a state, even by Weber’s minimum definition of a plausible claim to territorial control. In most cases this could only come with a measure of integration into the world market, the subsequent flow of fiscal revenue, and the emergence of a commercial and financial oligarchy that could take the lead in forging such control in alliance with landowning elites in the localities and regions. In contrast to the bureaucratic construction of the state according to legal rules and protocols, here were the origins of a different pattern of state formation, where state institutions and practices were shaped to suit private and corporate interests as the price of achieving territorial control and the principal imperative of political order. Much followed from this. The constraints imposed elsewhere by liberal constitutionalism were felt only faintly in Latin America, where liberalism was everywhere subordinate to the ideological predominance of conservatism and positivism, under the watchwords of

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Order and Progress (as inscribed on the Brazilian flag); the fractured nature of territorial control with extensive concessions to regional oligarchies left incomplete any idea of the “nation,” in Benedict Anderson’s sense of an “imagined community” (Anderson 1983); and the endemic use of state patronage to cement public loyalties led to the growth of widespread clientelist networks that impinged permanently on state-citizen relationships, and indeed on the construction of citizenship itself. The story of democratic participation in Europe and in lesser degree in the United States recounts the extension of the vote beyond the propertied classes as a means of redressing or assuaging social and economic inequalities as well as bolstering legitimacy.7 The growth of the suffrage and the subsequent creation of a broad political public open the way to mass-based competitive party systems with distinctive political projects and policy platforms. At the same time labor unions and interest groups, sometimes in tandem with political parties, begin to engage in the policy process and, in some instances, become “partners” in the business of government. In Latin America, in contrast, participation is curtailed by clientelist forms of political control, political parties are initially the vehicles of particular politicians rather than the political expression of public preferences or interests, and much of the citizenry remained effectively disenfranchised despite the extension of the suffrage. Thus, universal rights such as the vote were subverted by particularistic ties and loyalties and were controlled by the patron, the ward boss, or the landowner;8 equality before the law was only ever a prospect for the people of property who remained “more equal than the others.” In this context mass-based politics often led to populism and charismatic leadership rather than routinized competition between settled political parties,9 and although there is a growth of the bureaucratic state in countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, it was legitimized by clientelism and a newly manufactured nationalism based on national developmental and industrialization projects.10 Not infrequently, these populist projects sought political support in an emergent national bourgeoisie allied to a nascent and newly incorporated urban working class.11 Their nationalism expressed a

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different set of interests from that of the landowners and financiers of the export oligarchy, often portrayed as subservient to imperialist interests abroad.12 Thus, the state is formed in negotiation with powerful regional, sectoral, and corporate groups, combining public purpose and private interests in defense and promotion of oligarchic power. The state that emerges from this contradictory and often tortuous process of state formation is a patrimonial state, in Weber’s language, where there is no clear separation between the public and private spheres but, to the contrary, a porous and shifting boundary between the two. As a consequence, the public sphere is routinely penetrated and sometimes subverted by oligarchic interests and cross-cut by cronyism, corruption, and clientelism, so damaging state capacity and undermining mechanisms of accountability.13 Horizontal accountability, of the kind embodied in Madison’s model of the separation of powers, is especially at risk, because constitutional provisions themselves cannot be defended in this context. So it is that a state lacking in formal (legal and bureaucratic) autonomy begets a democratic regime lacking in legal and operational autonomy that in turn begets a democratic constitution that is not exogenous to political outcomes but endogenous to political struggles and the play of oligarchic power. The relative fixity that is in principle a major virtue of a democratic constitution (its difficulty of amendment placing contentious issues beyond political strategy and action) is lost or at least much diminished as a consequence. By promoting the incursion of oligarchic interests and private agendas into the public sphere, the patrimonial state compromises the democratic regime both directly through the presence of nondemocratic claims to power and indirectly by subverting the autonomy of the constitution; on both counts, democratic accountability is rendered less effective and, at worst, is severely impaired. There are political and cultural consequences of this intricate pattern of patrimonial power. It is commonly argued that the United States has a republican tradition that responds to an idea of the res publica and a sense of the rights and responsibilities of

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citizenship and that frames the relationship between government and society; Latin America, in contrast, lacks such a tradition because no cultural defense of the res publica is possible where oligarchic interests can invade the public sphere and appropriate the commonweal for private use. The lack in Latin America is not in dispute, but from the perspective of polity the contrast with the United States is overdrawn, and the implicit differences in their state formation more a matter of degree than kind. Be that as it may, the republican tradition as formed in the ancient world and developed in Renaissance Europe carries a different sense of mixed and balanced government, with the balance of distinct estates providing the best possible protection of the res publica. This governing principle is clearly different to the aggregation of individual wishes and preferences that is characteristic of formal representative democracy, but it may be relevant to our understanding of the combination of contending claims to power in the syncretic polities of Latin America—an observation that will be explored in Chapter 5. A further legacy of patrimonial state formation is the prevalence of informal rules. As observed in Chapter 2, an exclusive focus on the democratic regime tends to assume that power operates in a predictably formal fashion, whereas a flurry of recent research (beginning with Helmke and Levitsky 2006) has revealed the presence and persistence of informal rules governing political interactions in fields as diverse as law enforcement, political party systems, and executive-legislative relations. In this political context the formal reflects—however imperfectly—the tenets of liberal constitutionalism, and the informal is imbued with clientelism as the quintessential expression of oligarchic power condensed in particular relationships of favor, protection, and personal claims. But the interpretation of the informal rules is complicated because their effect cannot be construed simply as parasitic on or destructive of formal procedures. On the contrary, the combination of the two may be required to “make democracy work,” as is best illustrated in the sphere of executive-legislative relations, where the informal rules of executive patronage, pork, and logrolling frequently

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combine with the procedural rules and committee structure of the legislatures to provide legislative support for executive initiatives and so contribute to “governability.” 14 In this account, party indiscipline in voting and switching and the opportunistic attitude of individual legislators are not only common but necessary to the predominant style of “coalitional presidentialism” in Latin America. In this ambivalent world, Tsebelis’s (formal) “veto points” can be seen—conversely—as (informal) opportunities for bargaining and exchange (Tsebelis 2002, 91–115). Yet this emerging but generalized pattern of successful collusion may render legislators and their parties increasingly less responsive to constituency claims and popular preferences, so revealing a stark trade-off between increased governability and democratic representation (Foweraker 1998).15 Finally, in democratic theory it is a constitutional and accountable government that acts as the ultimate guarantor of the presence and viability of citizenship rights, a claim that cannot be so easily made for the patrimonial state as it is described here. In T. H. Marshall’s account of the history of rights in England and Europe more broadly, it is civil rights that emerge first to support the growth of market capitalism, followed by the political rights of suffrage, and, much later, the social rights implicit in universal education, welfare systems, and employment protections. But the sequence in Latin America follows the reverse order in most cases, with social rights arriving first in the form of corporatist and clientelist protections for particular constituencies, often for the purposes of political incorporation and control of unions, associations, and party cadres. In this variant of state corporatism, social rights become a constricted form of representation and a surrogate for citizenship rights. The political rights of suffrage may be developing over the same period, but only gradually with a deeper and more extensive enfranchisement of the political public can they begin to gain traction. And, notoriously, both social and political rights precede a full regime of civil rights, which remain fragile and spotty in most political systems of the continent, and which in many places have become even more precarious in recent years.16

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Civil Society and Democratic Legitimacy The conceptual construction of the relationship among state, regime, and civil society depends most directly on how civil society itself is understood. In the economic view of John Locke (and subsequently Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson), civil rights and obligations arise in lockstep with market-based capitalism, and civil society is founded on the civil law, especially the law of contract. Yet in claiming he “could recognize a civil gentleman even if he met him in a forest,” Locke recognized that markets could not function efficiently if every contract had to be enforced in law (Locke [1689] 1971, 58). Civil gentlemen are those who willingly abide by contracts made in the marketplace, and civility in this sense is the original ideology of market capitalism. In the distinctly political perspective of Hegel (1991) and later Tocqueville (1946), however, civil society mainly comprises those intermediate associations (guilds, corporations, civic societies, religious organizations, charities) that remain distinct both from the economy, on the one hand, and the state, on the other, and that together act as an important guarantee and protection of individual freedoms, so providing political rather than ideological support to the law. Both the ideological and political elements within civil society are seen rather differently in the cultural approach most closely associated with Antonio Gramsci (1971), which focuses on the specific form of political domination he calls hegemony and the ways it is contested by civil networks, social movements, and political projects and parties; in the democratic perspective of Habermas (1985), civil society expresses a communicative and deliberative lifeworld that creates the common cultural understandings that underpin the legal categories of citizenship. It is the latter view that comes closest to current ideas of legitimacy and trust and to the rather teleological notion of democratic consolidation. In David Beetham’s synoptic account, legitimacy in general requires legality, normative justifiability, and legitimation (Beetham 1991). The first indicates that power is acquired and exercised according to rules; the second, that power is derived

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from a valid source of authority; and the third, that power is publicly acknowledged by relevant subordinates through actions that confirm their acceptance of it. Thus, in the specifically democratic mode of legitimacy, power is exercised through constitutionalism and the rule of law, derived from the will of the people, with popular sovereignty the source of all political authority, and legitimated by the whole of the enfranchised population through the electoral process. The demos chooses a government and acknowledges the authority of that government in the single act of voting, and this popular sovereignty mandates the primary purpose of the government, which is to protect individual rights and liberties. There are competing modes of legitimacy extant across the world, whether traditional, communist, fascist, or theocratic, with their own modes of legality, sources of authority, and legitimizing procedures. But the democratic mode became prevalent by the late twentieth century, partly because competing modes had entered into crisis for one reason or another, and perhaps because it is the mode most suited to market capitalism and multicultural societies. In this regard, the assumption that individuals are the best judge of their own best interests—the principle of democratic autonomy—tends to place paternalistic modes of legitimacy in check; the assumption of a communicative civil society (Habermas 1985) tends to undermine closed political systems that require a monopoly of information to survive.17 The claim that democratic legitimacy depends above all on the vibrancy of individual rights within civil society appears unexceptionable, but its coherence requires a rather idealized sense of democracy itself. Indeed, the image it invokes of civil society appears to correspond to democratic theory’s image of normal politics as manifest and accountable within a pristine and uncluttered public sphere that is itself ensconced within a homogeneous democratic system. This world of opinion surveys, political platforms, party competition, ideological debate, civil contestation, and lively lobbying and maneuvering by pressure groups, NGOs, and civic associations is an imagined Habermasian sphere of communicative action (Habermas 1985) that is the context of pluralist theory’s definition of democratic politics, uncontami-

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nated by corporate power and ignorant of the presence of the state. By extension, it also assumes that political and civil rights, to include participation, universal suffrage, free assembly, association, speech and expression, are uncompromised in all respects, and this assumes in turn that these rights remain viable whatever the provision of social rights to health, education, welfare, and secure and equitable working conditions. The philosophical differences between these distinct orders of rights are easily recognized and correspond broadly to the differences between liberal and communitarian traditions. Political rights represent universal claims that find formal expression in the rule of law and in an equality of opportunity, whereas social rights express particular and variegated claims that seek an equality of outcomes through a programmatic policy agenda but remain contingent on fiscal capacity. But in reality they are not so easily distinguished. Both political and social rights are costly to establish and maintain, and some social rights at least may be made justiciable (though subject not only to fiscal capacity but also to the contingencies of aid, support, and investment from bodies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund). All this matters because a lack of social rights works to impair political rights. Without the literacy, information, and analytical skills achieved through education or the sufficient health and income to ensure the capacity and mobility to participate (and register to vote in the first place), no insistence on political rights can achieve the genuinely free and fair elections that constitute the core of democratic legitimacy. Legitimacy is taken to be the key to the—no longer entirely fashionable—matter of democratic consolidation because democratic rule cannot be consolidated without sufficient popular support. So, the survey data that showed some 60 percent support for democracy in the countries of Latin America, dropping to 50 percent or below in some cases in some years, were taken as conclusive evidence of the lack of such consolidation because support did not reach the required but entirely arbitrary “twothirds level” that is the “minimum threshold” (Diamond 1998, 10–13).18 But this assumes, as Dahl alleges, that the public must

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hold democratic values for democratic rule to be consolidated (Dahl 1998, 156–158) so that democracy has become “routinized and deeply internalized in social, institutional and even psychological life” and is now the “only game in town” (Linz and Stepan 1996, 15–16). But this assumption is unsafe, for at least three reasons. First, it is not always clear “who must accept formal democratic rules, and how deep must this acceptance run” (O’Donnell 1999b, 183). Survey data may reveal popular attitudes, but the historical record in Latin America demonstrates that “democracies are overthrown by elite conspiracies, not popular revolt,” with loss of popular support neither “a necessary nor sufficient condition for democratic breakdown” (Remmer 1995, 113). Second, political rights may have advanced considerably over recent decades in Latin America, but the regime of civil rights is patchy, imperfect, and everywhere under threat, whereas social rights suffer from poor delivery and are subject to major reversals at moments of fiscal tightening. This undermines the legitimacy founded on individual rights, especially in Latin America, where political publics tend to understand democracy in terms of economic distribution and social justice, not democratic values per se. Third, as noted above, the informal rules that coalesce in clientelism and patronage are institutionalized in the democratic life of Latin America, not just the formal rules of the legal and constitutional framework, but this lack of “fit between formal rules and actual behaviour” (O’Donnell 1999b, 185–186) does not necessarily lead to a lack of consolidation. Although these informal rules “vigorously inhabit most formal political institutions” (185–185), they can and often do contribute to the viability and reproduction of formal democratic procedures. So, contrary to much of the received wisdom on democratic consolidation, it can be argued that popular support for democracy in Latin America is not critical for democratic survival and eventual longevity and that this support is anyway higher than might be expected in conditions of extreme inequality and social exclusion. That said, current survey data reveal deep popular unease with levels of crime and insecurity and widespread dissatisfaction with the endemic corruption of public administration and the lack of accountability of those in public office.

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State, Civil Society, and Democratization An idealized image of democracy (as above) breaks down where the state is not constructed and defined as a legal-bureaucratic and neutral arbiter of the rules but, conversely, is so far shaped by private powers that it is incapable of policing the division between private and public. It follows that the modern political systems of Latin America encompass and combine a public realm of often very lively and highly contentious democratic politics with a private and patrimonial realm of oligarchic powers; a democratic politics that is in principle public, responsive to public opinion, and committed to political equality through universal individual rights (so requiring that political power be made accountable) with an oligarchic politics that is private, “protected” from political representation, and rooted in the particular ties of clientelism and nepotism (so seeking immunity from accountability). In similar fashion there is an idealized view of civil society as the privileged site of trust, social solidarity, and so-called civicness (Putnam 1993) that imagines it as something private, separate, and fundamentally positive for democracy. This view privileges an almost exclusive focus on voluntary associations of different kinds and the role they may play in fostering social capital, which in turn creates propitious conditions for the growth of democratic values. The analogy is with the structural changes that create the preconditions for democracy in modernization theory, but in Putnam’s account of northern Italy the slow sedimentation of social capital took several centuries to accumulate, which may look rather too long for those aspiring to achieve or improve democratic rule in their own lifetime (Putnam 1993). This view is both romanticized and reductionist insofar as it excludes political institutions, the law, and every formal element of the public sphere. Civil society is seen as a private world set against the public world of the state and political regime, so ignoring the important role played by state-sponsored or state-regulated institutions or corporations in developing and maintaining civil society and failing to recognize that the law can contribute to instill cultural norms, values, and rules, so promoting trust (Schmitter 1995).19

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Civil society is not always a positive force for democratic good, and it is odd that the widespread acceptance of a more plural society as necessary for the progress of democracy over the longer term (modernization theory once again) does not see that this plurality may easily include rather uncivil actors, organizations, and movements that may prove noxious for democracy. In this regard, a state that disciplines and sanctions uncivil actors while continuing to monitor and regulate civil society may be no bad thing, even if its interventions are always ambiguous to some degree. Equally odd is that the notion of civicness as generalized “good behavior” and as a passive prerequisite for democracy fails to recognize either the role of the state in granting and curtailing rights or the “bad behavior” in the form of the political agency, projects, and struggles that seek to defend and promote rights either against the state or against the caprice of oligarchic actors. Indeed, the very mention of rights should refute any conception of civil society as simply private and separate from the state and regime. Yes, it may certainly be the site of social networks and voluntary associations, but it is also the wellspring of collective action and of the political publics that press oligarchy and state alike for accountability, both directly through social mobilization and political protest and indirectly through electoral campaigning. Yet the collective action required to defend and promote individual rights remains absent from many accounts of democratization and of democratic transitions in particular. An emphasis on strategic calculation by elite actors tends to demote the role of popular agency and diminish the importance of the links between elite actors and popular organizations. What remains is a partial and often distorted view of democratization that excludes the process of democratic transformation that nearly always precedes the transitions (Foweraker 1989, 2001b). The literature has referred to this process as the “resurrection of civil society” (O’Donnell and Schmitter 1985, 86), but it required mass mobilization by social movements and the creation of a political public to construct this society or—at the very least—to recover a measure of its autonomy from the state; this “prolonged struggle over a generation or more” (Rustow 1970, 361) was often begun in per-

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sonal and social networks in rural and urban communities and then carried forward by grassroots organizations and popular movements that pressed their demands upon public officials and state agencies. Over the course of these struggles, demands that began as calls for better living conditions and the delivery of material benefits were transformed into demands for civil and political rights that could eventually coalesce into projects of popular citizenship, the projection of popular movements into political society, and the realization of positive rights to participation and contestation. Subsequently, whether prior to or at the moment of democratic transition, political parties compete to become the bearers of rights demands as the struggle moves into the constitutional sphere and citizenship acquires the status of a universal political identity. Thus, the journey of democratic transformation runs from an inchoate “wish to be rid of tangible evils” (Rustow 1970, 352) to the dissemination of individual rights that may create the kind of “diffuse support” (Easton 1975) that can confer legitimacy on the newly minted democratic regime. For this reason it was said in the aftermath of Brazil’s democratic transition, with some wit and perspicacity, that “where civil society did not exist, it had to be invented” (Weffort 1989, 115).20 The Institutional Constraints of Polity The common understanding of democracy sees the constitution as ordering and regulating the democratic regime, and the democratic regime as making the authoritative decisions and policies that will be implemented by the state apparatus and public administration. But in polity these relationships are reversed because the capacity of the constitution to shape the democratic regime depends on the state context and the degree of state autonomy in particular. The result is that a state lacking in formal (legal and bureaucratic) autonomy leads to a democratic regime lacking in political and operational autonomy and a democratic constitution that is subject to political pressures and often the object of political contestation and conflict. In many

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respects, this makes the patrimonial state the key to the construction of polity, for this is a state that dissolves the clear separation of public and private spheres and fosters informality alongside the formal and constitutional rules of democratic and public politics. The formation of this patrimonial state means that it is not autonomous of oligarchic interests and powers; though this lack of autonomy may be distinguished from a lack of capacity to implement public policy or apply the law, this too may be curtailed by oligarchic powers that reduce the state’s operational reach. The role of civil society in this scheme of things is open to conflicting interpretations. It plays a leading part in generating and reproducing democratic legitimacy, but this role depends in large measure on a benign view of civil society that corresponds to an idealized view of democracy itself and, in particular, an untrammeled fulfillment of its promise of individual rights. In this benign view, civil society is a repository of civic values and trust and is portrayed as essentially private in its organizations, associations, and networks and therefore separate from the public politics of the democratic regime. But this view denies the multiple incursions of state-chartered and state-regulated institutions into civil society, and especially the role of law, the police, and the criminal justice system in disciplining and directing civil activities. Civil society is therefore much less autonomous of both the state and the democratic regime than is fondly imagined. On the one hand, the state can intervene to discipline uncivil actors or control mobilization that threatens democratic institutions. On the other, the associational activity of civil society can be both public and political, most critically in the collective action that claims and defends individual rights, demands accountability, and promotes democratization. Thus, just as the patrimonial state tends to dissolve the separation of things private and public in polity, so civil society is a complex mixture of private and public activity; just as polity is a combined and contradictory political system, so the role of civil society is itself contradictory and deeply ambivalent.

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Notes 1. The question of autonomy was central to the heated debate of the 1970s between Ralph Miliband, who saw state personnel as a direct instrument of the capitalist class, and Nicos Poulantzas, who argued for a structural view of the state as reproducing capitalist social relations of production and exchange. 2. Equally, as Skocpol argues, once the state is conceded a measure of autonomy the “classness” of politics varies according to the nature of the state; and the degree to which class interests are organized into national politics depends on political culture, forms of collective action, the “political opportunity structure,” and much else besides (Skocpol 1985). 3. Yet the state cannot survive without protecting the profitability of capital because economic growth is the source of both tax revenue and legitimacy. The state ultimately has to act in the interests of capital. 4. Yet, as discussed in Chapter 2, society-centered (pluralist) and classcentered (Marxist) views are similar in seeing the state as a function of societal interests or class domination and so accord it minimal autonomy. Their similarity in this important respect enticed earlier analysts to attempt some kind of fusion of the two, as in C. Wright Mills’s The Power Elite (1956) or Baran and Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital (1968). C. Wright Mills in particular was concerned about correcting the neglect in both accounts of the specificities of the political and institutional context. 5. It is Anglo-Saxon rather than continental theorists who have traditionally been reluctant to recognize the constitutional-legal system as an integral part of the state. 6. This research and the issues raised in this paragraph will be explored in detail in Chapter 7. 7. The skepticism of James Mill (1992) and especially Jeremy Bentham (1973), who could see only dangers in extending the suffrage, eventually gave way to the optimism of John Stuart Mill (2015), who was convinced of the advantages. 8. In Brazil the landowning “colonels” of the northeast of the country would reliably deliver the voto de cabresto (the cabresto being a herd of cattle), and in Mexico the staffers of the PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, would truck in the party’s voters to the voting stations, the acarreados, and pay them with food, drinks, or even cash. 9. “Patrimonialism was the defining feature of the caudillo rule that emerged in the wake of Independence, and a key institutional component in the coalitions behind the oligarchic parties and governments that superseded caudillo domination in the last third of the nineteenth century. At least in the biggest countries of the region, the mass political parties that replaced them actually subsumed oligarchic structures, especially in the countryside, and old patrimonial practices carried over into new parties” (Mazzuca 2010, 351). 10. These nationalist projects were a means of legitimizing the very different regimes of Perón in Argentina and the PRI in Mexico. The latter’s rule rested on a combination of clientelism and what Weber called “institutional charisma.” 11. These and later populist projects are analyzed in some detail in Chapter 6. In subsequent decades these populist governments tended to succumb to

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military coups, and the ensuing authoritarian regimes severely curtailed civil, political, and even social rights. The so-called national security regimes, such as Brazil and Chile, sought legitimacy through a hard-line anticommunist stance and rapid but concentrated economic growth untrammeled by labor unions or political parties and spearheaded by direct foreign investment and transnational corporations. In these circumstances any legitimacy was narrowly based, accountability was almost nonexistent, and the only form of effective participation was the few social movements and protests that could survive the political clamp-down. The exceptions were Cuba in 1959 and Nicaragua in 1979, where national-popular movements took arms against what they saw as a corrupt combination of oligarchic and imperialist interests. 12. It was the combination of oligarchic and imperialist interests that shaped the situations of dependency first identified and described by Carlos Mariátegui (1971) in Peru. 13. These pathologies are certainly not confined to the countries of Latin America and could be said to characterize the democratic regimes of both Japan and Italy in the first decades of the postwar era. 14. There is a contrary account that includes an increasing capacity of legislators to hold executives to account with instances of impeachment and—more frequently—“interrupted presidencies” (Marsteintredet and Berntzen 2008). 15. It is recognized that problems of representation often begin with electoral rules, and especially permissive forms of PR that allow open and unblocked lists, that lead to weak party identification and allegiance, on the one hand, and prevalent patterns of personal and clientelistic voting, on the other. This can occur not only where most (Brazil) but also where least (Chile) expected. In Chile, the peculiarities of the electoral rules (binomial system) combined with the insider deals required to keep the different strands of the Concertación governments together fomented the grassroots desertion of political parties and increasing support for known personalities (Luna and Altman 2011). 16. It is the lack of autonomy of the judiciary and the corruption of the criminal justice system that lead to many of the abuses of civil rights, observations that are taken up and developed in Chapter 8. 17. The changing international dimension of legitimation has also played its part. For centuries past, this simply required a de facto capacity to exercise power. But there are now externally validated legitimacy requirements such as an adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the requirement to join the Council of Europe, with strict conditions on democracy and human rights, before applying for membership in the European Union. The argument returns to this point in Chapter 8. 18. The figures for Latin America were compared with contemporaneous figures in the high seventies in southern Europe and high eighties in Eastern Europe, which may go some way to explain the choice of this rather arbitrary minimum threshold. 19. This means that constitutions too are important to civic associations and political publics alike, contributing to shape their conception of the public sphere and their place within it, and to frame public debate. 20. These closing observations are developed in more detail in Chapter 8.

5 Polity, Inequality, and the Republic

Political equality, in the everyday sense of everyone having an equal say in deciding “the arrangements of society” (Oakeshott 1977, 112), is a foundational principle of democracy as well as a fount of legitimacy and principal aspiration of democratic government. But, despite the apparent simplicity of the principle, it has proved to be an “essentially contestable” concept (Gallie 1956). There is no initial problem with the notion of a legal equality that supports equal access to decision-making procedures and institutions, first and foremost through voting to choose a government. The delivery of such equal access requires some government intervention in the way of voter registration, civic education, the drawing of electoral districts and boundaries, and anything else required for the business of procedural democracy. But, broadly speaking, all this is in the service of a formal equality that must assume that most citizens do not wish to participate too much for much or most of the time. The difficulties begin to arise with the recognition that the capacity to participate, even in this limited way, is closely bounded by social and economic conditions, and that these conditions are themselves a matter of policy. Political equality is then understood to depend in large degree on social equality, and the promotion of social equality then becomes a

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process of political empowerment that requires state intervention to deliver some measure of redistributive justice.1 This reciprocal connection between political and social equality was already implicit in the contractual democratic theories of Locke ([1689] 1971) and especially Rousseau (1971) and becomes quite explicit in the Rawlsian assertion that social and economic inequalities of any kind are only democratically permissible if they benefit the least advantaged in society (Rawls 1999). It was noted in the previous chapter that the decision to emphasize political equality to the detriment of social equality or to insist on social equality as essential to political equality corresponds to a broad distinction between liberal and communitarian philosophical traditions. The liberal tradition is content to defend a parsimonious and often normative model of democracy as defined by legal, political, and institutional criteria, broadly writ, that precludes consideration of social and economic inequality, or indeed poverty or welfare or any other concern that is exogenous to the model. The defense argues that the relationship between democratic government and inequality has always been open and indeterminate, with no government, democratic or not, ever able to shift inequality curves in any perceptible degree (the basic assertion of Pareto’s Law),2 and with social justice always fiscally contingent. The communitarian riposte is that core democratic values like political equality are difficult or impossible to achieve in conditions of extreme social inequality because the poor are not only poor in income but in health, dignity, political knowledge, and hence any sense of political efficacy (Almond and Verba 1965), and because their lack of resources hampers any effort to organize or mobilize and leaves them susceptible to cooptation, selective repression, and political exclusion.3 Furthermore, the accumulation of evidence in the form of comparative statistical time-series data does not entirely confirm the indeterminacy of the relationship between democracy and inequality (Przeworski et al. 2000): the relationship between democracy and economic growth is indeed indeterminate, but democratic governments are strongly associated with lower infant mortality and lower death rates overall, leading to far higher life expectancy, while spending

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on both health and education are twice as large as that of nondemocratic governments. Whether the deployment of social policy measures to alleviate social and economic inequalities is in fact politically empowering is moot and depends, first and most immediately, on the political purpose of the policy and, second, on the degree of autonomy of the democratic regime. Once again, two very different traditions are discernible. In the tradition associated with the birth of the Fabian Society in 1884, there is an aspiration to apply socialist principles through liberal democratic government and realize social equality and justice through the redistribution of resources in the name of the common good. (In the United Kingdom this aspiration was passed from the Independent Labour Party to the modern Labour Party at its foundation in 1906.) In the Bismarckian tradition, however, the accident and injury insurance offered to factory workers—also quite coincidentally in 1884—was the first step towards a program of social welfare legislation designed to mollify working-class militancy, promote political stability, and secure the “social peace.” The contrast between the two traditions raises the question of whether social policy of whatever stripe seeks to realize greater social equality and authentic political inclusion or whether it is compromised by an exclusionary logic that undermines democratic government as much as racial and ethnic division or religious dissension may do. It demonstrates that—at the extreme—the difficult relationship between political equality and social inequality is a question of who comprises the demos.4 The Social Extremes of Latin America Latin America is notorious for being the most unequal region of the world in economic and social terms, bar none. Over the years 1970 to 1990, indicators of literacy, infant mortality, and life expectancy all improved in some degree, though unevenly across the region. Yet in 1990, 46 percent of its population (195 million people) lived in poverty, and some half of these (93 million people) were classified as “indigent,” without the means to satisfy

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basic human needs. The bottom 20 percent of its population received just 4 percent of total regional income. In response, per capita social spending rose by some 80 percent during the 1990s, but its effects were muted by the sluggish growth during the decade, followed by the recession of 1998 to 2002. So the broad picture had hardly changed at all by 2003, with just over 44 percent of the population living in poverty, with the 19 percent indigent still living on the breadline. In the following five years, 2003–2008, the region did better than at any time since the 1960s, with growth averaging 5.5 percent per year and inflation in single digits. As a direct consequence some forty million people were lifted out of poverty out of a total population of 580 million, and income distribution became a little less unequal, with the Gini coefficient dropping in twelve of the seventeen countries for which there are comparable data (López-Calva and Lustig 2010). But income inequality was still greater than anywhere else in the world, the informal economy counted for at least half of all economic output, and the recent improvements were threatened by the return of recession in 2009. Some social policies have been effective in targeting the very poor, especially the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs that pay a small monthly stipend to mothers who keep their children in school and take them for regular health checks. Most of the programs are well designed and relatively cheap, costing about 0.5 percent of GDP, and their spread across the region means that some 110 million people benefit from some form of CCT. Mexico’s Oportunidades has reduced poverty in that country by 8 percent, and Brazil’s Bolsa Familia has lifted millions out of destitution; the programs have also raised school enrollment, reduced drop-out rates, and increased the adoption of pre- and postnatal care and vaccinations. Yet there is no doubt that any significant reduction in poverty or mitigation of inequality has been a consequence of faster economic growth and the control of inflation— which always has regressive redistributive effects. Possibly for this reason the reduction in the incidence of poverty of the early years of the century took place irrespective of the political color of the governments, though it appears that social democratic gov-

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ernments like those of Chile and Brazil did somewhat better in this regard than center-right governments or those propelled to power by populist insurgencies. Yet even in Chile, where the flagship program Chile Solidario had succeeded in reducing the proportion of the poor from 45 percent in the mid-1980s to just under 14 percent in 2006, the measure of inequality showed no improvement over these years. Structured Inequality These measures of poverty and inequality paint a dramatic picture of the social challenges faced by democratic governments in Latin America. But the assumption that inequality is susceptible to apparently objective measurement along single uniform scales such as the Gini index tends to reduce it to an external fact of political life, whereas in reality it is structured politically by different forms of oligarchic and corporate power; as observed in the previous chapter, it is the political oligarchies that do the most to constrain the reach of democratic politics. Thus, the radical economic and social extremes of Latin America do not simply describe a continuum from very poor to very rich but rather reveal a pattern of oligarchic interest and control that has been entrenched over time by the process of patrimonial state formation. This structured inequality is supported and reproduced by property rights, so creating a conundrum for democratic theory, which always views the right to property as an important civil right.5 There are good reasons for this insofar as it promotes the plurality of power (Dahl 1998, 2001) by serving to constrain the scope and mode of state action. But, as noted in Chapter 2, civil rights are in general universal and inclusive, whereas property rights are particular and exclusive; it is often the defense of property rights (whether in land by traditional oligarchies or in more opaque instruments of financial value by modern corporations) that leads to the direct infringement or outright violation of other civil rights. 6 The ambiguous status of the right to property in democratic theory, and the key role of this right in reproducing

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structured inequality, lies at the heart of the theory’s failure to reconcile political equality and social inequality.7 The primary political expression of structured inequality is a consistent but variable pattern of entrenched oligarchic interests that have proved highly resistant to democratic control and accountability. This is a commonplace. In the neoclassical theory of liberal democracy, the main threat appeared to come from majoritarian abuse rather than oligarchic overreach. But once the successful Madisonian defense of private property ensured the permanence of the oligarchy, the principal challenge for democracy was to control it. Hence, the Whig reading of England’s modern political history enshrines the constraints of liberal institutions but recognizes the crucial role of oligarchy in its expanding democracy; Schumpeter’s idea of “protective democracy” defended a “democratic method” that balances popular sovereignty and oligarchic interest, while seeking to defend a traditional way of life—the “good life”—from oligarchic ambition and caprice (Schumpeter 1943). In fact, in the relatively short history of the modern form of representative democracy, all successful democratic governments have had to find effective ways of accommodating their oligarchies. Inequality and Good Government Aristotle first raised the question of good government and how it might best be accomplished. Good government was simply that government that best promoted the good life, which was the whole point of the polis (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, III:9), and it would only be accomplished by careful design. It was not equivalent to democratic rule, because this could be bad and often was so. Indeed, in his view both democracy and oligarchy were debased forms of government incapable of supporting the good life. All this stands in stark contrast to the approach of the international financial community of today, which insists on the importance of “democratic governance,” a portmanteau phrase that serves as a synonym of good government, with the notion of governance

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encompassing policymaking, policies, and policy outcomes.8 By emphasizing the process of reaching and implementing decisions in a democratic government, they intend to focus attention on the institutions that shape and support this process, and how they may be improved. Yet, it will be argued, these international actors too have an idea of “bad democracy” in mind, an idea that turns out to be not so very different from that of Aristotle himself, who believed that democracy was always susceptible to demagoguery. Toward the end of the twentieth century, international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund promoted their own brand of good government in the form of neoliberal reforms known collectively as the Washington consensus. But subsequently they were obliged to recognize—as indeed were the governments of many Latin American countries—that the recourse to market mechanisms could lead to unwelcome and unacceptable outcomes, notably increasing inequality and greater poverty. The World Bank in particular came to see poverty itself as a drag on growth (Perry et al. 2006), and so more equity in outcomes became not just desirable but necessary, requiring not only the right policies but also effective policymaking within effective institutions. This recognition precipitated the World Bank’s agenda of “second-generation” reforms to make government institutions more effective, in the sense of promoting policymaking as a rational and utilitarian process that pursues specific goals decided a priori by technical and objective criteria. But the problem with this approach, not difficult to discern, was that it lost all reference to democracy. Yes, it was accepted that policymaking could involve political bargaining between political actors with different preference orderings (Inter-American Development Bank 2006), but not that oligarchic actors allied to the middle classes might form blocking coalitions to prevent progressive distribution, especially in times of economic downturn.9 So this form of effective policymaking was never perceived as democratic in content, with only a quarter of all Latin Americans believing that their country is governed for the benefit of all rather than a few powerful groups (Latinobarometro 2006 to the present).

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The view of policymaking implicit in what was called the good governance agenda was heavily influenced by the “new institutionalism” of the 1980s (March and Olsen 1984) and its soft rational-choice manifestation in particular. Adopting this approach imported some strong contextual assumptions, namely, that policymaking occurs within republican institutions; that the policy process is manifest and accountable within a pristine public sphere; and, critically, that this public sphere inhabits a relatively homogeneous democratic system. But structured inequality in the sense developed here means that none of these assumptions is safe in Latin America, so the good governance agenda is confined only ever to address symptomatic outcomes rather than root causes. Hence, it is a wonder that most Latin American governments have stayed the course and stuck to a standard package of neoliberal economic policies since the mid-1990s, despite the recessions of 1998–2002 and recent years, and have maintained a good degree of fiscal discipline and flexible exchange rates, with inflation targeting by more or less independent central banks. But the good results of the 2003–2008 period were largely driven by high commodity prices in the world market and powerful flows of external remittances; the aggregate figures were flattered by the initially rapid recovery of Argentina and Venezuela from earlier economic meltdown. Moreover, as noted above, these policies have made little headway against social and economic inequality, and even the economic good times have been tempered by rising crime rates in the metropolitan areas and a pervasive sense of public insecurity. The survey evidence is once again convincing in this respect, with most Latin Americans mainly worried, first, by poverty and unemployment and, second, by crime and insecurity.10 The lesson for the World Bank is that even institutions that are successful in reducing transaction costs can still produce pathological outcomes. Only a classically technocratic approach would presume that institutions—or the business of governing more generally—could be placed “beyond politics” (Saint-Simon 1976), when it is selfevident that they are shaped and directed by political struggles and, by extension, so is the policymaking. These struggles tend to

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express conflicts over fiscal distribution and social justice, or conflicts over contending visions of the political community and membership of that community—though these distinct motives are often difficult to disentangle. The conflicts are acute and recurrent because inequalities are sharp and enduring, and social and political exclusion tend to reinforce each other. Interestingly, the good governance agenda recognizes these struggles indirectly by reference to the “dysfunctional leadership” that weakens institutions through the personal accumulation of power and leads to a “dangerous brand of politics” (Inter-American Development Bank 2006, 15), an evocative euphemism for bad democracy. The dangers reflect the fear of a return to “economic populism” (Dornbush and Edwards 1990), but the political thrust of the analysis is absolutely correct. Populism gives political direction to the struggles, recasting them in terms of the antagonism between the excluded and the oligarchy, and displacing them into projects of state control and selective distribution that are often anti-institutional in rhetoric and practice, with the institutions of normal policymaking rejected and reduced, either by attrition over time or by violent démarches. In these circumstances, whatever emerges as economic and social policy is a contingent result of populist political projects and therefore unlikely to abide by the strictures of the reform agenda.11 This technocratic skepticism of populism became widely accepted following the tumults of the 1930s and World War II, so that by the 1940s a favorable view of populism as a corrective to special interests had given way to a distinctly antipopulist orthodoxy (Canovan 1981, 179). From then on, populism has been understood entirely pejoratively as a politics of mass society where an elite could easily manipulate public opinion, in contrast to the liberal “community of publics” that could shape opinion and contest and modify elite views (Wright Mills 1956); this is the theme that Riker took up in his treatise on liberalism versus populism (Riker 1982). Dahl, too, was keen to reject “populistic” theories of democracy because of the clear danger “that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority” (Dahl 1956, 4). But, equally important for our purposes, a sense

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of structured inequality and oligarchic prerogatives is also a commonplace of these commentaries. Thus, Wright Mills’s main concern was with the emergence of a “power elite” in the United States, a concern echoed by Marxist (Baran and Sweezy 1968), Keynesian (Galbraith 1971), and erstwhile pluralist (Duverger 1974) critics of modern political economy; Dahl himself was quick to recognize the preponderance of elite groups and specialists in public policymaking (Dahl 1956) and subsequently set out to test the proposition that beneath the facade of democratic politics an elite of “social and economic notables” is usually found actually running things (Dahl 1961). Much later in his long engagement with democratic theory, Dahl admitted that it is the “nondemocratic economic system” that is the real problem (Dahl 1989, 179), with democratic principles most at threat not from tyrannical majorities but from tyrannical minorities in the form of corporate and military powers—a political judgment that was once routinely made with reference to the governments of Latin America. Today the strictures on populism as an expression of bad democracy must be modulated to fit the distinct political contours of the different countries of Latin America. By way of illustration, a simple separation can be suggested between those political systems in which policymaking is less institutionalized and populist politics more pronounced—namely, Argentina (2003–2015), Bolivia (2006–), Ecuador (2007–), and Venezuela (1999–)—and those with more institutionalized policymaking and more established party systems—namely, Brazil (1995– 2015), Chile (1990–), Mexico (2000–), Uruguay (1985–), and, with some reservations, Colombia. (Peru appears to straddle this divide in a rather uncomfortable way.) This separation happens to correspond quite closely to different economic and social policy orientations, with a tendency to more direct state intervention in the economies of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela and more openness to market forces, both external and internal, in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. It may also appear to correspond to a further division between left-leaning governments and others, but appearances here can be deceiving, because

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governments on both sides of the divide can be judged equally committed to equity and social justice: so, not just Bolivia and Venezuela but also Chile and Brazil. More compelling is the corresponding division between governments that are “delegative democratic” (O’Donnell 1994) or moving in that direction— namely, Argentina (until 2015), Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela— and those that cleave to a more centrist policy mix and exhibit greater or lesser degrees of ideological convergence whereby all parties endorse the basic components of economic and social policy.12 (Mexico has to be shoehorned to sit uneasily in the latter group.) Finally, it is worth noting that the balance between the more populist cases and the rest over recent years could have been very different but for the narrow electoral defeats of the populist contenders Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and Ollanta Humala in Peru in 2006; perhaps the only safe conclusion is that the possibility of populist resurgence can never be entirely excluded anywhere, even in Chile. Good Governance and Patrimonial Politics Inevitably, this reading of populist politics complicates the construction of the good governance agenda and raises doubts about the longer-term resilience of reformed institutions in the face of populist resurgence. That public bureaucracies that achieve the standards and protocols to successfully resist partisan political pressures are more effective in delivering collective goods is demonstrable (Evans and Rauch 1999; Rauch and Evans 2000);13 effective public bureaucracies should win sufficient political support to make them relatively immune to political manipulation. Whether they do so has never been truly tested in Latin America, where the available measures indicate that public bureaucracy is only marginally more effective than in sub-Saharan Africa.14 But herein lies the conundrum. The good governance agenda assumes that better bureaucracy is the best remedy for bad democracy, but the bad democracy of populist politics recurrently degrades the institutions required for better bureaucracy.

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But good governance does not simply depend on the absence of populist politics but on the larger political context of public administration, with populist politics and poor administration alike the symptoms rather than the cause of institutional malfunction. In this regard, a simple but useful distinction can be drawn between access to power, which concerns the workings of the democratic regime, and the exercise of power, which is the concern of the good governance agenda (Mazzuca 2010). In this view the malaise of ineffective and corrupt institutions does not reflect deficiencies of democracy so much as the failures of bureaucratization implicit in patrimonial politics writ large; this larger context allows “presidents, governors, legislators, and judges to foster or protect the semi-legal exploitation of public office for private gain” (Mazzuca 2010, 335). In an historical perspective, this seems self-evident, for “what is new in the Latin American landscape is democratic access, but patrimonial exercise is very old” (Mazzuca 2010, 351). In this context public administration may be judged quantitatively according to the proportion of state resources invested in public goods, not private ones, and qualitatively according to whether the allocation of speciously public goods and services responds to general standards, such as need or merit, or particularistic motives, personal connections, and the caprice of the powerful; a high degree of both the private appropriation of state resources and the particularistic exercise of state power is what defines the patrimonial form of public administration. Furthermore, in this perspective it is “sustained patrimonialism” that creates opportunities for populist politics of a kind that may degrade or destroy democracy (Mazzuca 2010, 353)15 and underpin the incumbency of populist leaders once they are in power. Yet, despite the shift in perspective, the key question for practical purposes remains the same as that posed by the good governance agenda: “Can countries build efficient bureaucracies after they establish democratic regimes?” (Mazzuca 2010, 353).16 This conundrum is not new. Indeed, it has been a commonplace of debates in the field of development for decades. Hirschman argued cogently that the performance of government’s “administrative activities” was always the most difficult

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of development tasks (Hirschman 1958, 153–155) and warned that ineffectual public institutions would beget brutality and disregard for “acquired rights and lawful procedures” (Hirschman 1958, 210). But he was equally clear that “comprehensive plans”—and the good governance agenda is one such—are “quite unhelpful” (Hirschman 1958, 205). In their place, and in the context of a discussion of the deficiencies of “charismatic leadership,” he advocated “reform-mongering” (Hirschman 1971, 338),17 or the continuous practice of “piecemeal reforms” (Popper 1945) that might bring about the gradual improvements in policymaking and policy outcomes that can win sufficient political support to survive the vicissitudes of populist politics. Though seemingly modest in ambition, no better solution to the conundrum has yet been devised. Thus, good government in Latin America still seems a distant hope on a far horizon. In this regard, Mazzuca offers a counsel of despair: if the historical sequence is wrong, if democratization precedes bureaucratization, there’s no way to get there from here; Hirschman says that things may improve over the very long term by dint of constant trying, but the setbacks will be many and the result will not look pretty. But against this it has been argued that the very business of democratic politics can achieve more effective institutions and more equitable public policy, especially through the electoral arena that remains “ring-fenced” (O’Donnell 1999b) with its political rights intact. In this view, the electoral process can deliver a measure of vertical accountability as well as the degree of horizontal accountability implicit in political party competition.18 But whether the electoral principle alone can gain sufficient traction to reform public administration over the longue durée remains an open question. There is little doubt that in most countries of the continent public policy today is less driven by ideology than it was in previous decades and more concerned with economic management, governability, and security; more audaciously, it may be alleged that even the pervasive pattern of patronage and clientelism that still contaminates governing institutions may possibly promote and facilitate political negotiation and bargaining, and sometimes sharpen perceptions of possible

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trade-offs and “satisfycing” solutions. But, although all this may indeed guarantee democratic survival, democratic government still faces the intractable reality of the oligarchic power vested in structured inequality, and the poverty and social exclusion that follows from it;19 so long as this remains true, democracy will continue to look like a set of “facade arrangements” that serve to disguise “traditional power relations” (Whitehead 1992, 158), and the combination of oligarchic power and clientelist controls will continue to impede the construction of good government. This combination is expressed in different ways in different places. In Brazil, for example, regional oligarchies have retained their traditional powers through deeply embedded systems of patronage, and clientelist political machines in national government (especially the national congress) have operated to protect both military autonomy and landed property. In Guatemala, party politics is patronage politics, where the traditional oligarchic families have continued to exert a powerful influence over the elected executive. In Colombia, national politics is divided between oligarchic domains that encompass local and regional politics and severely constrain the reach of political parties and political representation. Here and elsewhere oligarchic actors allied to powerful economic interests are able to target the executive and capture “benefits that flow more as patronage and privileges than as universal rights,” while “operating through parties and legislatures only to defend achieved privileges” (Malloy 1987, 252). Furthermore, oligarchic power is not abstract or invisible but operates through the interrelationships among powerful political families. In Brazil, once again, the principal families of the political elite of Minas Gerais remain especially strong and have been successful in colonizing political parties and maintaining control of local politics, in addition to preventing agrarian reform (Hagopian 1996, 247–249). Moreover, “no group or political party is today in a position to govern Brazil except by means of alliances with those traditional groups—and therefore, without large concessions to the needs of political clientelism” (Souza Martins 1996, 196). In Guatemala, the networks of the Castillo, Novella, Gutiérrez, and Herrera families enjoy government pro-

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tection and incentives to their major economic enterprises, and family members and high-level employees frequently occupy government posts, including ministerial posts (Casaus Arzú 1992, 106). In Colombia, apart from the new “narco-oligarchy,” traditional families dominate politics and the press, with “the sons of ex-presidents [appearing] as candidates for the presidency or other political posts in disproportionate numbers, [as do] the sons of senators and regional leaders” (Melo 1998, 66). It is in these particular ways that oligarchic power provides general support to clientelist controls, and so underpins patrimonial politics, where no clear and enduring distinction between the private and public spheres is possible (Weber 1978, 1028), and therefore no cultural or political defense of a res publica that requires the rule of law. Republicanism, Inequality, and Good Government The recognition of oligarchic power as secured through the structured inequality present within the patrimonial state appears to preclude the possibility of a republican solution to the difficulties of acquiring good government in Latin America, and the lack of a republican tradition is now a commonplace of the literature. But there is another sense of republicanism that merits examination in this context, and this is the idea of mixed or balanced government, which is the solution that classical democratic theory provides for achieving good government in conditions of inequality. It was Aristotle who first considered the strengths and weaknesses of rule by the aristocracy, the oligarchy, and the “citizens” who comprised the demos and concluded that the best possible form of government was the combination of oligarchy and democracy that he called polity. In his view, as explained in Chapter 2, it was precisely the balance of different estates within the polity that could best protect the republic. Similarly, both early republican Rome and the Renaissance republics crafted mixed constitutions of this kind, where different social strata shared power to create a combined and balanced government. This view of republicanism stands in clear contrast to the modern democracy that enshrines

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the principle of popular sovereignty as expressed through the aggregation of individual wishes and preferences; but nonetheless, as noted previously, it was this notion of the republic that was audaciously appropriated by Madison in the eighteenth century to the balance the different institutional components of the newly constituted democratic regime of the United States, namely, Congress, executive, and subsequently judiciary, which were simultaneously divided and combined to create a simulacrum of the republican balance of estates. It has long been assumed that any such constitutional solution that seeks to balance different estates in a semblance of the polity was not viable in Latin America because of its patrimonial politics and the much lamented weakness of its liberal institutions20 and, as important, because there is within Latin America a widespread and culturally embedded view of the oligarchy as always everywhere the enemy of democracy. But it is too easily forgotten that in several countries limited democratic rule and oligarchic power have served as mutual constraints over not inconsiderable periods, mediated to a greater or lesser extent by liberal institutions.21 Though these past experiences can be seen as a matter of historical contingency, they are sufficient to reject a counsel of despair that governments in Latin America can never achieve good government on the basis of the political compact that is the polity. Whether they can will depend on the effectiveness of the mutual constraints of oligarchic power and the democratic regime and their success in finding solutions to systemic political crises,22 and this will depend in turn on both constitutional design (Chapter 7) and popular mobilization and political struggle (Chapter 8). What is reasonably certain is that any government that combines democratic access to power and a sufficiently effective exercise of power to make up a modicum of good government will have the character of a polity, so in this sense there is a republican tradition in Latin America, and it remains a key to getting good government. The republican thinking of recent years has sought to defend a theory of freedom as nondomination, understood as the “condition under which a person is more or less immune to interfer-

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ence on an arbitrary basis” (Pettit 1997, vii). It is argued that this was a recurrent motif of republican thought down to and including the American and French Revolutions but that it subsequently gave way to the less democratic and liberal notion of liberty once citizenship was extended beyond the realm of propertied males to women and servants who could not be considered free in this sense. Thus, a republican notion of positive freedom that requires protection from arbitrary interference is distinguished from the liberal notion of negative freedom that remains tolerant of domination in the home or workplace and of unequal relationships of power in general. Other elements of the republican tradition remain in place, including the emphasis on institutions, a mixed constitution with different powers checking and balancing each other, and a culture of civic virtue (Pettit 1997, 20); but it is recognized that freedom as nondomination cannot be pursued by individuals, but only by the state. This raises the question of how a state can seek “to promote nondomination by non-dominating means” (Pettit 1997, 93), and the answer lies in the control of the state “by the interests and opinions of those affected” under a properly constituted system of law, so interfering in a way that is not arbitrary and entails no loss of liberty. But even in these benign conditions, the best that the republican regime can do is seek to equalize the “intensity of non-domination,” leaving the extent of nondomination, and in particular the distribution of material resources, unequal—an outcome that is optimistically called “structural egalitarianism” (Pettit 1997, 113). The recognition that material resources will remain unequal would appear to compromise Pettit’s defense of the state as the agent of nondomination, for in these conditions the protean presence of the oligarchy will remain immanent; in the context of the patrimonial state in Latin America in particular, it seems unlikely that a “non-dominating government” can “track the interests and ideas of ordinary people” (Pettit 1997, 11). Clearly, much depends on the nature of the state, which must be a “free state” defined by its “capacity for self-government” (Skinner 1998, 26), with its “actions” determined by nothing and no one other than

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the “representatives of the body politic as a whole” (Skinner 1998, 49), for individual liberty cannot admit of any “element of discretionary power” (Skinner 1998, 74). But this would require a degree of state autonomy that, as argued in the previous chapter, is simply not available to the patrimonial state in Latin America, so the notion that this state can liberate its citizens from “personal exploitation and dependence,” while preventing its own agents from “behaving arbitrarily” in imposing the “rules of common life” (Skinner 1998, 119), is a chimera.23 This does not invalidate the idea of the republic as a balance of estates expressed in the composite but syncretic political system that is the polity, but it does suggest that any degree of nondomination realized within it will depend closely on the delivery and defense of individual rights and liberties under the rule of law, a topic that is discussed in some detail in Chapters 7 and 8. Thus, oligarchic power expressed in structured inequality and vested in the patrimonial state tends to stymy most attempts at good government and frustrate a republican response to the challenge of inequality in particular. Yet, the classical accounts of the republic defended it as a solution to the problem of good government in unequal societies, and, despite the received views of the weakness of the republican tradition in Latin America, such republican solutions have proved viable in the past and may yet prove viable in the present. This would depend on a commitment to the core republican notion of a balance of estates because the composition of the polity appears to exclude the possibility of a “non-dominating government” that can “track the interests and ideas of ordinary people.” In this way the framework of polity can create a different perspective on the difficult contradiction between political equality and social inequality that has always bedeviled democratic theory. This perspective offers no philosophical resolution of the question, but the combination of formal and informal rules in polity can explain its recurrent political resolution, at least in the arena of electoral politics. An exposition of the mechanisms whereby polity and inequality are made politically compatible is in Chapter 9.

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Notes 1. There are also nonmaterial elements to social inequality, such as restrictions on women’s place or participation in the public sphere, through disenfranchisement and a variety of legal and cultural prohibitions. 2. Przeworski asserts that income distributions are “amazingly” stable over time, with 90 percent of the variance in Gini coefficients explained by the variation across countries rather than over time within countries, and with earned income in particular showing almost no variation over the course of the twentieth century (Przeworski 2010, 87). 3. Habermas argues that a lack of legal protection and political efficacy leads inexorably to less political awareness, organization, and participation, so fostering supplicants in place of citizens and creating a “clientelization of citizenship” (Habermas 1991). 4. This question is at the heart of the phenomenon of populism in Latin America, which is examined in the next chapter. 5. The right to property is also included in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 6. Elsewhere I have argued that it is precisely this oligarchic defense of private property combined with partially unaccountable military, police, and paramilitary security services that leads to the patchy and highly imperfect rule of law in many democracies of Latin America and to the feebleness of their civil rights regimes (Foweraker and Krznaric 2002). These observations are developed in Chapter 8. 7. But, as observed in the previous chapter, the more pervasive and indirect impact of such inequality can be traced through its structural support for clientelism and the subsequent dissolution—at least in part—of the separation of the public and private spheres, and with it the possibility of a political and cultural defense of the res publica, so slicing through the horizontal and universal claims of democratic rights with vertical and particular claims of patronage and power. 8. If government is that set of specialized institutions for reaching collective and authoritative decisions that have an impact on society as a whole, then governance is the process of reaching and implementing these decisions and maintaining long-term political stability. 9. In addition, much of the reform mandated by World Bank and IDB led to a deterioration in the working conditions and wages of officials, health workers, and teachers across the central bureaucracies of the traditional welfare apparatus, so making the implementation of social policy that much more difficult. 10. In fact, the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and other surveys of very recent years have seen insecurity rise to become the chief preoccupation of Latin American publics, relegating even unemployment to second place. This is a direct result of the decline of civil and political order—the principal plank of the “reason of state”—as it has increasingly succumbed to crime and violence from uncivil and sometimes state actors. 11. Populism and its political and economic effects are examined in detail in the next chapter. 12. For a carefully calibrated institutional analysis of these divisions, see Doyle (2016).

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13. Evans and Rauch constructed a “Weberianess” scale from measures of meritocratic recruitment and stable, long-term careers. They found that “even after the effects of initial GDP per capita levels and preexisting levels of human capital have been controlled, the relation between the Weberianess Scale and economic growth remains strong and significant” (Evans and Rauch 1999, 74). They further found that it is bureaucratic structure that most influences administrative performance: the less patrimonial the structure, the more effective it is (Rauch and Evans 2000, 61). 14. Evans and Rauch also found quite dramatic regional effects. The countries of Africa sit right at the bottom of the scale, whereas the Asian “tigers” are right at the top. But, interestingly, the “Weberianess” of the Latin American cases was only marginally superior to that of Africa (Evans and Rauch 1999). 15. A different, rather more elaborate but analogous explanation for populist politics is developed in the next chapter. 16. In Mazzuca’s opinion the historical record in this regard is grim: if democratization precedes bureaucratization, “public resources naturally become a primary target of predation because patronage is the parties’ easiest strategy for survival and expansion” (Mazzuca 2010, 353). Thus, in his language, the combination of democratic access to power and bureaucratic exercise of power is only possible when bureaucratization comes first. 17. Hirschman first coined this term to describe Carlos Lleras Restrepo’s “masterful performance” in initiating agrarian reform legislation and then seeing it through the Colombian Congress (Hirschman 1963, chap. 2). 18. The maintenance of relatively free and fair elections is also important to international legitimation of the kind that garners support from the World Bank, the IMF, and all other international agencies that may engage in “reform-mongering.” 19. Social inequality and exclusion compose the contextual conditions that can create political support for populist leaders and projects; populism either is or masquerades as a reaffirmation of the founding principle of democracy that is popular sovereignty. 20. There is a liberal tradition in Latin America, especially in the narrow sense of its rhetorical and legal tropes, but it is etiolated and often feeble in its support for the individual rights of citizenship. If anything, this became more apparent with the transitions to democracy when—following the excesses of the military-authoritarian regimes and the international spread of the human rights agenda—the question of rights became increasingly salient. But there are exceptions to prove the rule. Chile has a strong legal tradition of defending individual rights, and its auditoria general has had considerable success in monitoring and regulating state agencies; successive democratic governments have gradually purged the legislature and judiciary of their pinochetista residues. Colombia also has a strong legal culture and an independent judiciary that has recurrently proved capable of holding the executive to account. So the resilience of liberal institutions varies widely, and there are some few cases—Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica—where “normal politics” has been maintained by constitutional checks and balances, the horizontal accountability implicit in competitive party politics, the legislative process, and the legal defense of citizenship rights. 21. These cases may include Argentina 1916 to 1930, Brazil 1945 to 1961 (in some regions), Chile 1932 to 1973, Colombia 1957 to the present, Costa Rica 1948 to the present, Uruguay 1911 to 1973, and Venezuela 1958 to 1988 but

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would certainly exclude Argentina 1955 to the present, Central America apart from Costa Rica, and Mexico and Peru for most of their modern history. 22. One recent discussion of “interrupted presidencies” in Latin America has suggested that such solutions often involve para-constitutional practices where de facto political fixes anticipate and possibly precipitate de jure reforms (Llanos and Marsteintredet 2010). 23. Skinner is more ecumenical in his understanding of liberty than Pettit and, pari passu, readily assimilates liberal ideas that open the way to a notion of individual rights upheld by the rule of law.

6 Populism and Polity

Failing to Define Populism Reaching agreement on a succinct definition of populism has not proved easy, despite the growth of a large literature on the topic over the past forty years or more. Perhaps for this reason there is a tendency in the literature to revert to a checklist of descriptive characteristics that usually includes popular mobilization, charismatic leadership, and some measure of reformism (Knight 1998). Together, these characteristics may be taken to compose an ideal type of the phenomenon (Taggart 2000) or may be differentiated to comprise a typology of distinct populisms (Canovan 1981). Yet the phenomenon remains elusive and the ideal type blurred at the edges by reference to populism’s ideological emptiness or transitory existence, while the different types of populism are too contextually dependent to be properly distinct one from the other. One consequence is that the populist label can be applied permissively to leaders, governments, and movements of very different political stripes and distinct political trajectories.1 The different descriptions of populism often refer to its contextual conditions and to conditions of crisis in particular. In Latin America the crisis in question may be economic (the depression of

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the 1930s, hyperinflation, and structural adjustment in the 1990s) or political (violent political protest, party system collapse) but is normally understood to stem from some stage of development or process of transition. In this perspective populism reflects “a crisis of existing political institutions” (Cammack 2000) produced by the tensions of transition from a traditional to industrial society, or from a state-led to a market-oriented development model. The effect is to make populism an aberrant phenomenon that is ineluctably tied to exceptional circumstances. But this does not resolve the problem of definition because it is soon apparent, on the one hand, that similar crises are not everywhere associated with populism2 and, on the other, that populism can occur in the absence of such crisis, in what may pass for normal times.3 It may be the frustration induced by the seeming indeterminacy of populism—deriving in some degree from the failure to pin the phenomenon down to particular historical circumstances— that provokes a more reductive definition of populism as a political “style.” It is precisely the “empty heart” of populism that predisposes it to the “politics of personality” (Taggart 2000, 101), especially the “close bond” between leaders and led (Knight 1998, 226). Another possible solution is to see populism as a political strategy for mobilizing an excluded mass constituency to compete for and exercise political power, with the socioeconomic circumstances varying across different historical experiences. But the notion of strategy rapidly returns to one of style, because it is “attuned to the opportunities of populist leaders and their weak commitment to substantive policies, ideas and ideologies” and emphasizes above all the leaders’ intense or charismatic connection with their followers (Weyland 2001, 8–11). In the end, the indeterminacy wins out, with Taggart’s notion of populism as “an episodic, anti-political, empty-hearted chameleon celebration of the heartland in the face of crisis” (Taggart 2000, 2) looking more like a parody of the definition than the thing itself. Unsatisfactory as all this is, the recurrent attempts at definition have tended to identify two core elements of the phenomenon, namely, an appeal to the people and an antagonism to elites. Indeed, radically different conceptual approaches to the phenom-

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enon agree on this “distrust of elites” (Canovan 1981, 264), antagonism to the “power bloc” (Laclau 1979), or, more simply, a disaffection with “the way things stand” (Cammack 2000). In this way populism can begin to be defined explicitly by what it is against (the elite, the oligarchy) and implicitly by whom it is for (the excluded). These elements are not sufficient to define populism, but they are a necessary beginning. In addition, at least for Latin America, it should be recalled that populism is a quintessentially electoral phenomenon and that the appeal to the people is an appeal for votes and for the legitimate claim to authority or power that comes with a majority vote. This does not gainsay populism’s well-known ambivalence or hostility toward political parties and institutional politics more broadly writ, but it does place the phenomenon squarely within the confines of particular political systems. It will not finally be understood without understanding its political role within those systems. The Political Logic of Populism Once populism is correctly located within particular political systems, then it is no longer intrinsically abnormal or deviant. It simply obeys a particular political logic that challenges the institutional order of things “by constructing an underdog as an historical agent” (Laclau 2005). This process presupposes social division and a certain ambiguity that sees the “people” both as excluded and as constituting the whole community. The political logic of populism is therefore a logic of simplification that reduces politics to two opposing poles. This logic requires the construction of the collective identity of the people as well as the frontiers that divide the people from their enemy, whether it be the anciens régime, the oligarchy, the establishment, or whatever (Laclau 2005, 102–111). In more direct language, the populist drive to “pit the non-elite against the elite” depends on the fictional unity attributed to both people and elite (Riker 1982). This is the first sense in which populism can be understood as an integral part of normal politics.4

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Yet it must be recognized that the frontier that divides the people from their enemy can be blurred by cooptation, clientelism, or the satisfaction (real or imaginary) of popular demands—all instances of a process of trasformismo (Gramsci 1971, 58ff.)—or may be subverted altogether by changing the political “sign” or content of popular protest. There are many historical instances of the switching of signs, as in the shift from the popular radicalism of the New Deal to a radical Right in the United States, or from the French Communist Party to the National Front, but what explains the switching is less clear. One simplified account suggests that it all depends on whether the “exploited classes” or “peripheral factions of the dominant classes” succeed in defining the terms of the antagonism between the people and their enemy (Mouzelis 1985, 330), but this misses the main point that what most matters is the way the identity of the people is constructed in the first place. It is this variable identity that allows the populist label to be plausibly applied to historical figures as different as Hitler, Tito, Mao, Perón, and Nasser (Laclau 1979, 144–145). This identity is forged on the grounds of the frontier separating the outs from the ins, the people from its enemy, and it is the instability of this frontier that permits radical protest to migrate between political movements of very different hues. But explanation of the switches must be sought on a case-by-case basis in the historical dynamics of particular political systems.5 Populism and Oligarchy in Latin America in Historical Perspective The early populist experiences of Latin America emerged in the context of the limited electoral politics of the oligarchic republics, with the enemy defined as the national oligarchy—often a landowning, export oligarchy—and the imperialism implicit in the export-led growth model of the time. The frontier between the people and the enemy was constructed by multiple social divisions between an urban bourgeoisie and the landowning oligarchy,

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between a national and nationalist industrial project and a dependent agrarian economy, and between a mobilized public seeking political inclusion and a political sphere of restricted suffrage and parties of notables. The populisms of Haya de la Torre in Peru, Cárdenas in Mexico, and Vargas in Brazil all projected at least some of these divisions, but the paradigmatic populism was certainly that of Perón, who emerged from the electoral fraud and political violence of the conservative restoration in the Argentina of the 1930s to win electoral victory with the Justicialist Party in the mobilized and urban Argentina of the 1940s. In its early trajectory the populism of Perón could claim to defend the people against both foreign interests and the corruption and vote rigging of the oligarchy as well as mobilize the excluded to defend the principle of popular sovereignty. The construction of a popular identity in opposition to the oligarchy can be understood as part of an economic project of growth and income distribution supported by the working class, the lower middle class, and domestic business interests against the alliance of the rural oligarchy with foreign interests or as a political model of reform and development without explosive class conflict through active state intervention to expand domestic demand. Moreover, so long as the political context of rapid urbanization, import-substituting industrialization, and national development projects remained in place, the political contours of populism could continue largely unchanged through the 1950s and 1960s (Adhemar de Barros in São Paulo), 1970s (Echeverría in Mexico), and even the 1980s (García in Peru). But it is well to remember that the oligarchy was never just a generic category but always a specific cultural presence that could and did inspire political passion and hatred, just as populist movements from Perón to Gaitán in Colombia were viscerally opposed by conservative propertied groups (Knight 1998, 237). 6 Although never revolutionary in intent, the populisms of the era did not only push for more extensive forms of political and especially electoral participation but also sought to break oligarchic political control through “the entrance of new men into the power game” (Mouzelis 1985, 334).

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There is no doubt that populist success implied and impelled a certain “circulation of elites” that tended to promote greater social inclusion, more political participation, and some material distribution, and so possibly meant more democracy. But populist governments had to find ways to “routinize charisma” (Weyland 2001) and build and maintain long-term support so that participation was channeled through clientelist networks, while social welfare was selective and often confined to corporatist labor organizations. Thus, the populism of the era was always paternalist in its dependence on clientelist politics and increasingly authoritarian once the new pattern of elite rule was established (Knight 1998, 231).7 Although vestiges of the original populist promise could serve to legitimate conservative regimes, as in Mexico, the general tendency was for populist success to expand the machinery of political cooptation and control, and so practice old oligarchic politics in new guises. No doubt the new governments had no choice but to accommodate the entrenched cartels, cacicazgos (clientelist networks), and camarillas (political families) of the old regime, but the consequence was that this populism remained an essentially ambiguous phenomenon. Populism and Oligarchy in Latin America in Recent Years The resurgent populism of recent years has been no less antagonistic to the oligarchy, though the composition of the oligarchy has changed and there is less uniformity in the way it is characterized. In some cases populist antagonism is narrowly focused on the political elite and the political party system (Collor in Brazil, Fujimori in Peru, Menem in Argentina), whereas in others the enemy clearly encompasses not only political but also economic elites, including export agribusinesses and multinational energy companies (Chávez in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Correa in Ecuador). This difference in the definition of the oligarchy corresponds, albeit imperfectly, to a division between populisms of the right and populisms of the left.

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All populisms continue to need a clear enemy, but the enemy had to change for the populisms of the right, not least because the enemies of historical populism were now integral to the ruling coalition that supported them. This coalition comprised, severally, international finance (both big banks and multilateral organizations), the technocrats, the dynamic export enterprises—and the military. The populist animus therefore turned to the corrupt political class and the exclusive and self-serving partidocracia, and this “virulent anti-elitism” proved successful in winning popular support (Kay 1996, 86). In this sense this neopopulism served as the political vehicle for the policies of neoliberalism (Weyland 1996), and the winning elites were those committed to economic liberalization. Because the neoliberal policy prescriptions set out to dismantle the developmental state and inhibit rent seeking by vested interests, including labor unions, this populism of the right ran counter to the political objectives of historical populism, and so can be seen to have changed sign.8 Evidence for the same switch toward populist solutions for neoliberal problems can also be found in the governments of Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela and Carlos Salinas in Mexico, especially in his Solidarity program. This change of political sign underpins the defense of the affinities between neopopulism and neoliberalism (Weyland 1996, 1999, 2001). It was argued that neoliberal success in combating hyperinflation and delivering targeted antipoverty programs benefits the very sectors that comprise the mass constituency of this populism, while populist animus against party politicians and organized interests helped break their resistance to neoliberal stabilization packages. A more negative view suggests that neoliberal policies tended to increase the numbers of the extremely poor, so allowing populist leaders to mobilize large numbers in return for rather modest redistribution, and privatization programs gave an early boost to public finances, creating a temporary illusion of public largesse (Philip 2000, 203). It was also argued that it was the failed policies of Sarney in Brazil, García in Peru, and Alfonsín in Argentina (most evident in the high rates of inflation) that prepared the political ground for this populism of the right by making it appear politically necessary. But, in truth, it was not

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long before the affinities became enfeebled and this populism too began to fail. Collor de Mello and Carlos Andrés Pérez were both impeached, possibly because both had failed to curb inflation. Carlos Salinas was forced into exile, though he did serve his full term. Fujimori and Menem both faced corruption charges and eventually fell in disgrace. It might be thought that these failures—in turn—paved the way for the emergence of the populisms of the left in Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador, but this may be to fall too easily into the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. What is undeniable is that Chávez broke with all the elements of puntofijismo,9 not only the elitist parties and their policies of social and political exclusion but also the oligarchy of land and oil; far from pursuing neoliberal policies, he was self-conscious in promoting an endogenous growth model with rhetoric that was redolent of the most radical historical populism. Moreover, just as past populisms sought to expand the suffrage, Chávez mobilized the excluded to push for more direct political participation and support his project of rewriting the constitution and bolstered the mobilization by appeal to the mestizo and Indian population in opposition to the criollo oligarchy. In this way he strengthened his hold on government while simultaneously disrupting oligarchic patterns of political control. In principle the Chavista project sought a more radical “circulation of elites” and an overhaul of the ruling coalition. But it was surprising how many elements of the traditional parties, AD and COPEI, and even the old left and above all the army became eager bolivarianos.10 The Common Features of Populism Right and Left The Political Context

The elite-dominated party systems of Latin America provide the common institutional ground for the region’s contemporary populisms. Electoral rules characterized by proportional representation and open lists usually fail to give executives sufficient support in the legislature, and so entail processes of coalition formation that

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tend to be characterized by patronage, pork, and entrenched patterns of elite collusion (Foweraker 1998). Coalitional politics of this kind can and often do resolve the immediate problem of governability, to the degree that the executive can pursue a legislative program with some hope of success, but they ignore popular preferences and constituency concerns and leave political parties increasingly detached from their publics. Consequently, the tradeoff may favor governability over representation in the short term but is likely to create problems of political exclusion and hence legitimacy and potential instability over the longer term. At the same time, executive elections that are nonconcurrent with those for the legislature, and that are resolved in most cases by majority run-off, tend to encourage outsider presidential candidates, who run without support of the major parties (Jones 1995). These candidates—Collor, Fujimori, Chávez, Morales—inevitably seek to run against the elitism and corruption of the political party system as a whole, not simply against particular parties within the system. It is true that the declines of mass-based political parties and of secular rates of party identification are general phenomena, not particular to Latin America. 11 But in Latin America it was not merely the political parties but the political party system overall that lost public support, so inviting the ensuing spate of populist appeals. In most cases economic crisis, inflation, and forced austerity had constrained the reach of characteristically clientelist politics, and party leaders could no longer deliver sufficient government largesse to shore up political support (Philip 2003, 60). The collapse of support for the system in Peru clearly occurred before Fujimori arrived to attack its inefficiency and corruption. The collapse of support in Venezuela had encouraged belated attempts to reform the system and make it more responsive, but they came too late to prevent and may well have hastened its dissolution. And as the institutional channels of political representation and mediation shut down, the rapid development of mass media promoted the politics of personality in their place. But this political context was more turbulent than the static presence of detached political parties and disenchanted political

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publics may suggest. There was widespread popular protest against stabilization policies and recurrent rioting against everything from shrinking state subsidies to price hikes in urban transport. Urban popular movements everywhere mobilized in their struggle for survival in the city (Castells 1983), while the poor, both urban and rural, fought for parcels of land that just might ensure survival. In this way the extreme and increasing inequalities of income and wealth—and the lack of adequate social welfare—are part of the political context insofar as they extend and reinforce political exclusion and give populist appeals for greater social justice their special political potency.12 Moreover, there were critical moments when large clusters of popular movements switched their strategic focus from direct confrontation and negotiation with local and national authorities to electoral mobilization in support of populist candidates, as occurred in Mexico in 1987–1988, Venezuela in 1997–1998, and Bolivia in 2005–2006. The Political Project

As suggested above, the populist leaders of recent times were either political outsiders or sought to present themselves as such. Collor, Fujimori, Chávez, Morales, and Correa were the outsiders. Menem and Salinas were party men who broke with their party traditions. Menem was neither porteño nor compromised by membership of the partidocracia liberal, while Salinas was a young Turk and technocrat without party loyalties. This outsider status gave them the tactical advantage of being free to attack vested interests, inefficient bureaucracies, selfserving political parties, and the political establishment in general. In all cases this angle of attack allowed them to ignore institutional constraints while seeking systematically to assert and increase the power of the executive. Though the precise content of the project varied from case to case, it would usually encompass a concentration of decision making in the executive, an increase in the size and resources of the executive branch, a curtailment of judicial autonomy, an assertion of decree power against legislative oversight or resistance, and a centralization

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of political control to the detriment of local and regional political authorities. It might also include the construction of new institutions of executive-driven social and welfare policy (Salinas, Fujimori, Chávez) to extend and reinforce political support. 13 In most cases the project succeeded in concentrating power at the apex of the state and in some cases wrought a radical change in state structure.14 In this regard these populist projects corresponded closely to the modus operandi of the delegative democracy that departed from the premise that “whoever wins the election for the presidency is entitled to govern as he or she thinks fit, constrained only by the hard facts of existing power relations and by a constitutionally limited term of office” (O’Donnell 1994, 59). In particular, it is clear that the appeal to the people has less to do with political participation and democratic accountability than with the drive to achieve executive license to choose its own course. Illustrative of this license are the spectacular voltes-face of Fujimori and Menem, both of whom were elected on promises of state intervention and distributive politics but switched to neoliberal policy packages once in government. Yet more remarkable is the way that populist presidents have consistently sought to rewrite the constitution (Fujimori, Menem, Chávez, Morales), both to bolster executive power and to extend their rule beyond their “limited term of office.” And this appeal to the people is successful in boosting the executive, if in nothing else. Fujimori, Menem, Chávez, Morales, and Correa all completed at least two successive presidential terms,15 still a relatively rare political occurrence on the continent. The Political Ambiguities

There is widespread agreement that populism could advance where political party systems were in disarray. In particular, it was the decay of traditional “networks of representation” (Hagopian 1998, 100) that created the political void so adroitly exploited by populist leaders and the radically reduced role of the state in the economy, and in its redistributive capacity, that

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undermined corporatism, clientelism, and the political pacts that depended on them (Smith and Acuña 1994). The corporatist clienteles of the line ministries of labor and welfare and the neighborhood clienteles of political parties had both required a considerable degree of political organization. But these clientelist networks began to unravel, not only because of state retreat but also because of a swollen informal sector and spreading urban slums. In one view, these developments created “a mass of people available for political mobilization” (Weyland 1999). But this mobilization was no longer organized along clientelist lines or motivated by material reward (Weyland 2001). On the contrary, it was stimulated by vague promises of an end to corruption or discrimination that were made through the mass media or inspired by utopian prospects of participation in the consumer world of the telenovelas (TV soap operas). But this view may settle too easily for the appearance of things. In fact, populist politics may finally reflect and reinforce clientelist practices and perpetuate pork and patronage. In particular, the reforms intended to root out inefficiency and corruption may create new clientelist networks capable of colonizing the state bureaucracy (Panizza 2000a, 761); decentralization initiatives may strengthen regional and local elites with their own clientelist networks (Hagopian 1998, 122–127). In short, the appeal to the people and against the oligarchy only serves to reproduce entrenched patterns of oligarchic politics and promote oligarchic control of national legislatures. Populism is therefore “subject to acute internal contradictions” since its “democratic impulse” is always tempered by “authoritarian and personalist tendencies” (Ellner 2003, 157). This essential ambiguity of populism is reflected in the ambivalence of its interpretations, where populist leaders prepared to push through the necessary reforms against vested interests are a good thing for democracy (Remmer 1998), but executive overreach and the failure of institutional checks and balances are a very bad thing for democracy (O’Donnell 1994). The ambiguity itself reflects the strange amalgam of populism’s narrowly electoral notion of the popular will and its ineluctable reliance on oligarchic politics.

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Populism and Democratic Theory There are significant similarities and analogies between past and current populisms in the construction of a “politics of difference” or polar antagonism between the people (both as a general claim and a specific category of the excluded) and the oligarchy (frequently in a specific cultural and political form). But moving beyond the rhetorical tropes, the most enduring feature of populist politics in Latin America is its tendency to reproduce that which it consistently aspires to chastise and suppress, namely, the presence of oligarchic power. That populist politics begins with popular appeals but ends in oligarchy confirms the convictions of the early elitist critics of democracy such as Michels, who argued that the domination of the unorganized majority by the organized minority was inevitable and that democratic party politics in particular was subject to “the iron law of oligarchy” (Michels 1959, 406). This minority always ruled either by manipulation or violence (Mosca 1939; Hayward 1996, 12–13), so democratic ideals were nothing more than a “masquerade” (Michels 1959, 353–354) and any attempt to democratize power through universal suffrage simply absurd (Pareto 1991). Furthermore, because the distribution of income and wealth was everywhere highly unequal and immutable, whatever the form of government (Pareto’s Law), Pareto dismissed the fiction of popular representation in favor of rule by a “demagogic plutocracy” (Pareto 1991).16 In hindsight it may appear that this early critique was directed at a pure and unmediated form of democracy and driven by a fear of tyrannical and demagogic majorities bent on the destruction of enlightened minorities. But it was founded on a deeply pessimistic view of popular political capabilities in general. It was the political incompetence of the “average man” that made popular sovereignty unviable and the recourse to oligarchic rule “an evil, but a necessary evil” (Michels 1959, 113). The fact that the “typical citizen” was nothing but a “primitive” in matters political (Schumpeter 1943, 269) justified the rejection of the populist premise of a popular will that could be discovered by voting. No such will could be identified, 17 and were it to be identified it

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would not necessarily be right. The populist ideal was therefore unattainable, and populism remained “an empty promise” (Riker 1982, 239). It was also unattractive and often dangerous because its assertion of the democratic principle in its pure form (with no appreciation for the intermediate institutions of representative democracy) made it prone to revert to “plebiscitarian” or “caesaristic” forms of rule (Sartori 1987, 71). For these reasons democratic theory has long recognized that the notion of the popular will, and indeed the principle of majoritarianism, must be tempered and restrained by liberal institutions that create checks and balances and promote deliberation, bargaining, and compromise. Schumpeter saw this as a practical problem of reconciling the principle of democratic legitimacy with elite decision-making effectiveness and found the solution in his “method . . . for arriving at political decisions in which the individual acquires the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote” (Schumpeter 1943, 269). He was clearly inspired by Pareto’s seminal insight into the “circulation of elites”—whereby the access of nonelites to power occurs through cooptation by a self-perpetuating elite18—but adapted it to the discipline of his democratic method for providing a popular choice of governing elite by means of a popular vote for political parties. His method thereby recognized the populist assertion of the myth of popular sovereignty, and its rejection of oligarchic rule and the sway of special interests, by providing a recurrent electoral check on oligarchic prerogatives, while simultaneously empowering liberal institutions to constrain the populist impulse. It was designed to deliver an interactive balance between the populist defense of the popular will and the liberal construction of democracy as rule by elites, subject only to the occasional electoral veto (Taggart 2000, 116). Populism and the Polity in Latin America It would appear implausible to suggest that populism should be similarly constrained by liberalism in Latin America, where most

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accounts of its present democratic governments lament the lack of effective liberal institutions, and where populist forms of delegative democracy have often been so successful in their assaults on these same institutions. However, the populist assertion of popular sovereignty in Latin America represents a challenge to oligarchic and corporate power because it is these powers that constrain the entire public sphere of democratic politics. Therefore, the dominant rhetorical trope of this populism, its animus against the oligarchy, should be taken at face value. Even where the specious target is the elitism and corruption of institutional party politics, the antagonism is correctly imagined as a contest between the people and the oligarchy. It must be recognized that the modern democratic theory of Latin America has become less Schumpeterian than it should be, insofar as it fails to take sufficient account of the immanence of oligarchy and takes democratic politics to be the whole of the political system of which it is in fact just a part. This political system is neither democratic nor oligarchic but is composed of both democratic and oligarchic components combined together—sometimes quite comfortably, sometimes less so—in the political amalgam described by Aristotle as a polity (Aristotle [350 BC] 1969, IV:8). (As argued throughout, polity is distinct in its conception from Dahl’s description of competitive oligarchy or—in more inclusive systems—polyarchy: Dahl 1971, 6–9.) This combined and syncretic system shapes the particular form of electoral populism found in Latin America. But, as observed repeatedly, if populism is a challenge to oligarchic power, it does not necessarily produce democratic outcomes: its impact is likely to be far more ambiguous and may finally serve to reproduce patterns of oligarchic control. It does not therefore express democratic advance so much as some degree of readjustment of the relationships between the oligarchic and democratic domains of the polity. A current or impending crisis may then be important to populism (and to our understanding of it) to the degree that the crisis requires a rearticulation of these two domains. Thus, the political logic of populism in Latin America is everywhere connected to the structural properties of its combined and uneven political systems.19

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In this regard, the process of rearticulation requires and may equally be described as a process of a “circulation of elites,”20 leading to a usually partial recomposition of the ruling coalition. In this way this form of populism serves to reshape the linkages between oligarchic power and the public sphere of mass mobilization and electoral politics. The overall articulation of these two domains is a more complex matter that requires analysis of the place of private property (individual and corporate), the role of patrimonialism, and the interplay between the formal and informal rules governing political competition in the public sphere (compare Chapters 2, 4, and 5).21 Populism itself is specific and distinctive in its dynamism and its capacity to make a visible political impact, but it too is rooted in the composite system of polity and expresses its tensions. It is not therefore epiphenomenal but integral to this system; because the articulation of polity’s principal domains can never be stable, it is destined to recur again and again. In other words, populism is the normal politics of much of Latin America and characterizes the region’s political systems,22 and any plausible theory of the “strictly populist element” in Latin America (Laclau 1979, 147) must address the recurrent role it plays in the polity.23 But this should not restrict populism to those few cases where significant institutional change takes place (Philip 2000).24 The theoretical objective is to connect the political logic of populism to the particular dynamics of the political system of polity, not to define populist success. Populism, Constitutional Reform, and Normal Politics Since the late twentieth century, there has been a populist resurgence in Latin America, and much academic ink has been spilled in debating the reasons for it.25 There is little doubt that the perception of a partidocracia that feeds from the public trough but ignores the public interest and constituents’ concerns can fuel popular discontent, and some popular mobilization is certainly driven by democratic struggles for more effective representation and more accountable government. Yet, increasingly, these are not

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democratic struggles as such so much as legal-political struggles for legal and constitutional guarantees and protections that can— at best—promote a process of constitutional reform that is incremental and piecemeal. In many instances the reform process sticks however imperfectly to established democratic procedures but can become contradictory and sometimes counterproductive as a consequence. In particular, once the process of constitutional reform becomes endogenous to the struggle for political power within the legislature, and therefore captured by oligarchic interests, any show of accountability becomes merely perfunctory. But recent populist projects have made the more radical constitutional promise of refounding the nation in order to restore accountability and return government to the people, a promise that holds a special political potency at moments of crisis. In the usual way of populist politics, these crises do not impel a linear process of democratic advance but a more complex and ambiguous process of readjustment that may eventually reproduce the same or similar politics in different guise, most often through a recomposition of the ruling coalition.26 But it is noteworthy that political crises in Latin America today do recurrently exhibit a systemic dimension with extraordinary and often extraconstitutional measures required for their resolution. In the more radical cases, they may indeed reproduce and reshape oligarchic power, but this power is now more or less untrammeled by liberal constitutional constraints, depending on how far these are suppressed by a plebiscitary and polarizing politics that bypasses established forums of representation and deliberation. In place of constitutional reform they promise a complete constitutional reformation in their millenarian but illusory aspiration to purge the polity of the oligarchy and return the nation to the people, but the radical constitutional engineering only serves to bolster oligarchic powers and prerogatives and to curtail government accountability, which then becomes yet more uncertain and ineffective. However, although populism looms large over the landscape of polity in Latin America today, the number of radical cases is relatively small, only comprising a minority set in the political universe of the continent. Although these cases look more ambitious

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than ever in political intent, populist rhetoric has usually proved unsettling to contemporaneous observers; it is too early to judge if all or any of these insurgencies will have an enduring impact. Finally, and most importantly, these radical cases do not represent a real deviation of any kind in the political life of Latin America but, on the contrary, are expressive of the normal politics of the continent in at least two significant ways. Firstly, they express the tensions that are everywhere evident between a public sphere of democratic politics that requires political accountability and a private, patrimonial realm of oligarchic powers that seeks immunity from the same. For most periods in most places, these tensions are managed through political party competition, democratic procedure, and the mix of formal and informal rules that characterizes high politics. But when the tensions become acute in conditions of low institutional capacity, or moments of little institutional flexibility and rising popular demands, they can find expression in a populist insurgence—which may alleviate the tensions in the short term but never—or never yet—resolve them. Secondly, they seek—as do most governments in Latin America from time to time—to respond to and indeed resolve the tensions through constitutional means, even if their chosen means are more radical and less liberal than those adopted elsewhere. Notes 1. Demmers, Jilberto, and Hogenboom (2001) apply the label not only to the Fujimori government in Peru and the Menem government in Argentina but also to both the Concertación government in Chile and the Cardoso government in Brazil—to name a few. This promiscuous use of the term empties it of meaning. 2. Laclau (1979) criticized the functionalism and teleology of those accounts, and that of Gino Germani (1978) in particular, that explained populism as a consequence of a process of delayed and dependent industrialization: populism was a function of the institutional incapacity of the political system to absorb the ensuing social mobilization. Laclau looked at fascism in Germany, and in its pale reflection in Poujade in France, to show that this was not always the case (Laclau 1979, 147). 3. Knight notes that if populism in Latin America is defined by the transition to import-substituting industrialization, state intervention, and the mobilization of new social groups in an urban context, then it automatically excludes

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the populisms of Haya de la Torre and Sánchez Cerro in Peru and Velasco Ibarra in Ecuador, not to mention Somoza in Nicaragua and Batista in Cuba (Knight 1998, 238). 4. One of the first formulations of this idea suggested it be understood “not simply as a particular kind of overall ideological system or type of organization” but “as an emphasis, a dimension of political culture in general” (Worsley 1969, 245). 5. Laclau has explored the furthest reaches of semiotics and linguistic theory to provide an exhaustive philosophical inquiry into the political and ideological mechanisms of the construction of these frontiers and, by extension, of the switching of political signs (Laclau 2005). The frontier is defined by a “chain of equivalence” that unifies popular demands into a single identity and by a “chain of difference” that distinguishes the people from their enemy. Critical to the theory are the “floating signifiers” that can attach to different identities and so contribute to bind or break the “equivalential” links that construct the people. In this perspective, the frontier is an unstable compromise between the logic of equivalence and the logic of difference. In sum, the frontier is characterized by both instability and ambiguity. But whatever Laclau’s success in explicating the mechanisms of populism in general (and opinions differ), and the instability of the frontier in particular, populist movements can never be explained in their own terms but only in terms of their role in particular political systems. 6. “Populism was not a bland, superficial multiclass melange as sometimes claimed; it involved sharp political polarization and laid down deep political loyalties” (Knight 1998, 237). 7. Knight refers specifically to the conservative elitism of Perón’s later years, to Cárdenas’s key role in institutionalizing the Revolution in Mexico, to the corrupt and conservative Batista of the Cuba of the 1950s, and to the oligarchic dictatorship of Somoza in Nicaragua (a complete inversion of his earlier populism). 8. This may complicate the use of populist rhetoric, and occasionally make it more temperate. Peronism had traditionally relied on exclusive and antagonistic identities of the people against the oligarchy, but Menem was self-conscious in his use of more inclusive and nuanced categories. 9. Punto Fijo is the small town south of Barcelona in Catalonia where the pact was agreed that underwrote the 1958 democratic transition in Venezuela. 10. Chávez proclaimed himself the leader of a “Bolivarian” revolution, in reference to Simón Bolívar, a leader of the Independence movement in Latin America. 11. In Europe, populism had little success historically where representative institutions were firmly established and enjoyed full public support. But it has flourished in Italy and Greece as well as in Russia and some countries of Eastern Europe, especially in the form of right-wing and even neofascist populist parties. These parties mobilized against the elitism and corruption of the political class, and the lack of accountability over fiscal policy in particular, so promoting plebiscites and referenda in place of institutional politics. As Jean-Marie Le Pen—the founding president of the National Front party in France—said of the party elites, “ils sont tous pourris” (Immerfan 1998). Right-wing populism is now resurgent in France and even Germany and was at least partly responsible for the United Kingdom’s referendum on Europe and its decision to leave the European Union.

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12. Similarly, in Europe in the 1990s the support for right-wing populist candidates increased with falling real incomes and increasing unemployment, especially among blue-collar workers. The pressures to be competitive in the world marketplace created new insecurities and led to a rapid decline of trust in political parties and in politics in general (Betz 1998). 13. Fujimori’s populist project represented a step change in this regard. The privatization windfall and a successful tax reform increased the fiscal revenue available for executive philanthropy, and the presidential ministry delivered welfare directly through executive agencies like FONCODES, FONAVI, and PRONAA, while the military was politicized and put to work in civic action and political campaigns in rural districts throughout the country. The new machinery of social policy not only delivered welfare but created new clienteles loyal to the project and to the person of Fujimori himself (Kay 1996, 58). 14. The political process in Mexico was different, in part because Salinas could only reaffirm and elevate executive power at the cost of some significant political compromises, especially electoral reforms that would eventually lead to more rather than less institutional constraint. Once the ruling party lost its majority in the lower house in 1997, the executive lost the metaconstitutional powers that had assured its predominance. 15. Chávez completed a truncated first term (1999–2000) that was brought to a close by the new constitution, as did Morales at a later date. 16. Pareto’s insistence that democratic government was just as “exploitative” of the mass of the people as any other regime exposed the central conundrum of subsequent democratic theory: how to reconcile the formal political equality implicit in universal suffrage with the massive practical constraints of achieving an equality of opportunity, let alone of outcomes. 17. On the contrary, the “popular will” has to be “constructed” by a complex set of rules and institutions (Elster 1993). 18. Within a distinct intellectual tradition, this was the process that Gramsci dubbed trasformismo (Gramsci 1971, 58ff.). 19. It has been noted that in the cases of populism of the right this rearticulation elevated the alliance of technocrats and international capital within the ruling coalition under a regime that was “neither consolidated democracy nor authoritarianism, but a hybrid of the two,” with “the essence of an authoritarian regime embedded within the procedural framework of polyarchy” (Kay 1996, 91). 20. This Paretian notion is also consistent with Laclau’s analysis of populism as the consequence of a crisis of the “dominant bloc,” his term for the ruling coalition (Laclau 1979). In his view the crisis is likely to be created by the rise of a new elite that seeks to impose its presence. If this struggle proves difficult or the outcome uncertain, this elite may appeal to the people to mobilize against the system or the state. In this perspective Nazism was the project of monopoly capital to dominate the German state, with popular mobilization diverted into xenophobia and racism to avoid a revolutionary outcome. 21. Whether populism works with or against the grain of other forms of internal linkage in polity depends on context and conjuncture. For example, Weyland argues that populism typically opposes “rent-seeking by special interests, and the culture of kick-backs and patrimonialism” (Weyland 1999), but—as noted above—populism’s role is in fact far more ambiguous in this regard, with populism often serving to reproduce and extend patterns of patrimonialism.

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22. I am certainly not the first to reach this conclusion. Alan Knight has argued that “populist movements—not to mention regimes—are thoroughly mundane, even conventional; they do not belong to an extraneous political universe, requiring exceptional analysis or categorization” (Knight 1998, 229). 23. Laclau (2005, preface) argues that the “dismissal of populism” to the “margins of social explanation” is equivalent to the “dismissal of politics tout court.” He recognizes that populism is dismissed in this way by much political philosophy because it is so often linked to dangerous political excess. For Laclau, however, “populism is, simply, a way of constructing the political.” 24. For Philip, these few cases include Fujimori in Peru, Chávez in Venezuela, and indeed Menem in Argentina insofar as he redesigned Peronism and made it part of a pro-change coalition with significant elite support. But he overstates his argument when he claims that the only true populisms are those that “change the course of their country’s history” (Philip 2000). 25. By Kurt Weyland (1996, 2001), Ken Roberts (1995, 2003), Steven Levitsky (Levitsky and Cameron 2003), Javier Corrales (2010, 2011, 2016) et alia, and in a detailed comparative study by George Philip and Francisco Panizza (2011). 26. If this is correct, then it would appear to follow that political party competition in the electoral arena cannot usually achieve the same order of recomposition.

7 Constitutionalism and Polity

Political theory has its origins in the question of constitutional design, and contemporary democratic theory continues preoccupied with the constitutional design of democratic government. As described in Chapter 3, the theoretical opportunity to design democracy draws on the historical confluence of two separate traditions in the emergence of what is now recognized as liberal democracy, namely, liberal constitutionalism, with its appeal to limited government, and democracy itself, with its appeal to the power of the people. The constitution can limit political action, but a popularly mandated government is in principle free to pursue whatever goals it thinks fit. The key to democratic success is therefore to design a successful fusion of the two by finding the right balance between constitutional rights, on the one hand, and a responsiveness to popular opinion, on the other. But it also became apparent in Chapter 3 that the coherence of this approach depends on a simplistic notion of design as the pure and untrammeled act of disinterested designers rather than as a process that is constrained equally by its institutional context and by the powers and interests engaged in it (March and Olsen 1984). The question of constitutional design becomes more complicated when constitutions are seen as shaped by conflicting

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interests, especially elite interests,1 and constrained by the institutional crystallization of past conflicts.2 The study of constitutional design has practical import and is mainly driven by a preoccupation with its impact on democratic performance, a term that is preferred here to the habitual use of quality of democracy. But the political science of constitutional design remains relatively undeveloped, with its object of inquiry poorly specified in constitutional models that are reductive and unrealistic, and its measures of democratic performance confined to the crude exploratory device of mainly dichotomous categories. If this were the only or the principal problem, a remedy might be sought in a more complex model of the constitution and its components.3 But the much bigger problem is the assumption that the political effects of constitutional design are straightforward and mechanical in their impact rather than intimately contingent on their political environment. For these effects cannot be conceived as mechanical once it is understood that constitutions are set within an institutional context that is not and cannot be neutral but will rather reflect entrenched patterns of political and economic interests; as a consequence the effects will be mediated either by formal political organizations such as political party systems or by the kind of informal rules associated with patrimonialism and clientelism (Foweraker and Krznaric 2002). In Latin America in particular the mediations that comprise the political environment of constitutional provision may underpin, severally, oligarchic powers and prerogatives, executive dominance, executive support in the legislature, the party composition of governing coalitions, and so forth. The counterintuitive consequence is that Latin America’s governments appear to perform better than the theory predicts, but there is no doubt that the failed aspects of their performance—mainly rooted in a lack of government accountability—are powerfully influenced by the deep context of polity. Thus, constitutional design is not exogenous to political outcomes but is constrained by its institutional context and configured by oligarchic interests and prerogatives; it cannot deliver a neutral orchestration of a democratic regime because it is deeply embedded in the power relationships structured by particular

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processes of state formation. This is a determinate process, but, as argued in Chapter 3, just how it is determined—and the relationship between constitutions and oligarchic interests in particular— will vary according to the preferred view of the state and only if the pluralist view of the state accords the constitution an entirely exogenous status. This matters because the mainstream political science of constitutional design implicitly conforms to this view of the state as a neutral place that regulates the interplay and access of competing interests within society, with the constitution the key to checking and balancing these interests in the common good. (It was also observed that in the political science and political imagination of the United States the constitution tends to supersede and eventually displace any reference to the state but is understood to fulfill an analogous political role.) Yet the pluralist perspective necessarily ignores variations in the structure of the state, especially informal structure and administrative capacity; the different degrees of domestic autonomy of the state; and the differential constraints of international political economy and international agencies on the state. It therefore cannot recognize that the same or similar constitutional designs can have different political outcomes in different national-state contexts. Constitutional Design and Political Outcomes It is accepted that the performance of democratic governments varies widely, and it is assumed that constitutional design accounts for a considerable degree of this variation. The “new institutionalism” (March and Olsen 1984) in contemporary political science had revived classical concerns with the legal architecture of government, partly in response to the importance of the constitutional choices made by the many new democracies (the number of democracies has expanded from 35 to approximately 120 since 1974) and partly in response to constitutional reform initiatives in established democracies or their supranational bodies such as the European Union. This focus on constitutional design sought practical knowledge about its political outcomes

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and policy implications, so bringing the issue to the attention of politicians and political publics and—in rare fashion—increasing the political currency of political science. Subsequently, the assumption that the “elements of constitutional design have a substantial impact on democratic performance” (Powell 1982, 54) led to a growing number of comparative studies on constitutional design and its political effects that came to comprise a small but distinctive subfield of the discipline. Nearly all these studies responded to Powell’s original research agenda of “executivelegislative relations, rules of legislative representation, and federalism” (Powell 1982, 54), and hence did not extend beyond the core concerns of mainstream comparative politics. Most of the extant quantitative studies have addressed the first topic on Powell’s list, namely, executive-legislative relations, with eight out of the nine main analyses suggesting that the most stable democracies are parliamentary, even in the interwar period.4 The exception to the rule is the analysis by Shugart and Carey (1992) that focuses only on “third world” countries and excludes very small states, so reducing the number of parliamentary democracies in the sample. These results seem to confirm the claims of superior performance by parliamentary systems (Riggs 1993, 215; Linz 1994, 71), with performance defined consistently and exclusively as regime endurance. It is further claimed that these results remain robust when controlling for levels of economic development. Stepan and Skach claim that such controlled results show that parliamentary democracies have a rate of survival that is more than three times higher than that of presidential democracies (Stepan and Skach 1993, 10– 11), and Przeworski and colleagues concur that “democracy’s life expectancy under presidentialism is less than 20 years, while under parliamentarism it is 71 years,” with “presidential systems . . . less likely to survive under good economic conditions than parliamentary systems are under bad conditions” (Przeworski et al. 1996, 45–46). Stepan and Skach also attempt to move beyond performance defined as regime endurance and use the residuals produced by Vanhanen in regressing his Index of Democracy on his Index of Power Resources (Vanhanen

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1990) as a more complete measure of the superior performance of parliamentary regimes.5 Regarding the rules of legislative representation, constitutional designs are usually divided into plurality and PR systems, or, analogously, into majoritarian and consensus systems (Lijphart 1984).6 In principle, consensus systems are more representative, in the double sense of translating votes into seats more proportionally and of including more discrete sectors and constituencies (Lijphart 1993, 147; Powell 1989, 108). Insofar as they are more encompassing in this sense, they may induce more inclusive, deliberative, and collegial decision making (Crepaz 1996, 89). But their tendency to multipartism means less executive control of the legislature and possibly less executive stability (Powell 1982, 54). The typically two-party competition of majoritarian systems, on the other hand, produces policies aimed at the median voter (Downs 1957) and greater executive stability and government accountability (Powell 1982, 54). Where these propositions have been tested empirically, the results tend to confirm that “PR is to be preferred over plurality since it offers both better representation and at least as effective public policy-making” (Lijphart 1994, 8)7 and that majoritarian systems have higher executive stability and lower participation than consensus systems, and vice versa (Powell 1982, 63). Other studies suggest that PR systems achieve a “greater congruence between government and voters” (Huber and Powell 1994, 310), that such systems are indeed more encompassing than plurality systems (Crepaz 1996, 91), and that the gap between the satisfaction levels of electoral winners and losers is smaller the more consensual the system (Anderson and Guillory 1997, 75). But worries about research design, and especially case selection, have raised doubts about the robustness of these results. This matters less for studies of the relationship between executivelegislative relations and regime endurance, because their results all tend to point in the same direction. It matters rather more for studies of the differential impact of PR and plurality electoral systems because they are usually confined to the same set of (some twelve to twenty) advanced democracies. Moreover, the PR cases

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tend to be situated within Western Europe8 (Lardeyret 1993, 160), so allowing the results to be biased by a preponderance of “very small societies” that in the Scandinavian cases are “nearly homogeneous” (Quade 1993, 167). It is argued that Lijphart’s assertion of the superior performance of PR systems is “purely speculative” (Quade 1993, 169) once both these characteristics and the peculiar historical advantages of the Marshall Plan and US-NATO military protection are taken into account. At the same time, PR systems are judged superior by a single criterion of comparison, the degree of representation. But since these systems are designed to achieve a “more accurate representation of interests” (Lijphart 1994, 11), any attempt to demonstrate their superiority on these grounds alone must invite a degree of tautology. After all, representation is just one aspect of democratic performance. In fairness, Lijphart quickly recognized that the inquiry into the relative merits of PR and plurality systems should be extended “to long-term democracies that are non-European, non-Western, and non-wealthy” to discover whether his same results obtain elsewhere (Lijphart 1994, 13). But this would extend the study from parliamentary into presidential democracies where the dominant characteristics of electoral systems are much less easy to classify. Lijphart assumes that presidentialism has plurality rules and “fosters a two-party system” with “majoritarian” effects on the executive (Lijphart 1993, 148). This is the US model of oneparty cabinets and dominant executives. But most presidential systems, and all of the presidential systems of Latin America, are PR and multiparty and cannot easily be described as majoritarian (Foweraker 1998). It may also be the case that the research results may only appear relatively robust under the assumption that constitutional design has unmediated and mechanical effects on democratic performance. But there are good a priori grounds—as suggested above—for doubting that this will ever be the case because “the ‘structural’ implications of the constitutional design are only part of the story” (Powell 1989, 124). By way of example, electoral rules influence the composition of the political party system, but not exclusively. This system may also be configured by preexist-

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ing social and cultural conditions, especially by the principal political cleavages in the society (Lipset and Rokkan 1967) as well as by the relative stability of political party ideologies and political party loyalties in the population. The political party system is therefore capable of playing a relatively independent role in linking and mediating constitutional design and democratic performance. This example is directly relevant to the poor performance results accorded to presidential regimes in the literature. It is argued that these are most unstable when combined with multipartism, with all cases of multiparty presidentialism finally breaking down (Mainwaring 1993). But the problem may be more with multipartism than with presidentialism, especially in the “third world,” where none of the multiparty cases evolved as a stable democracy, irrespective of the type of executive-legislative relations (Zelaznik 1998).9 Beyond the relative independence of institutional variables of this kind, the recommendation that the comparative study of constitutional design should be extended to countries that are “nonWestern and non-wealthy” recognizes that the effects of constitutional design are likely to be changed by disparities of income and differences of culture. There is now a strong consensus on the positive linear relationship between economic growth and democracy (Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens 1992, 12–39), at least with regard to regime endurance. Poor democracies are extremely fragile, but “once established in a developed country, democracy endures regardless of how it performs” (Przeworski et al. 1996, 41, my italics). It has also been suggested that it is not so much absolute income levels but rather “world position” (Burkhart and Lewis-Beck 1994) or “region” (Foweraker and Landman 2004)—as determined by the structure of the world economy—that most affects the prospects of democratic success. Similarly, global explanations of democratic performance have been advanced at the level of political culture. Over several years the World Values Surveys demonstrated the existence of “coherent and relatively stable” cross-cultural differences that were shown to have “important behavioral consequences,” including the “persistence of stable democracy” (Inglehart and Carballo 1997, 46).

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The surveys supported the construction of the “two key cultural dimensions” of modernization (traditional versus secular-rational authority) and postmodernization (survival versus well-being). The higher the nation-states of the world sit on these two dimensions, the more likely their governments are to be democratic and the more democratic these governments are likely to be (Inglehart and Carballo 1997, 41). The force of these contextual conditions has been recognized by but not integrated into studies of constitutional design and its political outcomes. For example, Powell admits that “both constitutional type and performance pattern may be products of political culture . . . rather than one being the cause of the other” but concedes that “no statistical procedure can adequately disentangle” general culture and constitutional design (Powell 1982, 67–69). The general lesson is that any politically salient “background condition” may produce a spurious relationship between constitutional design and democratic performance (Mainwaring and Shugart 1997, 24).10 Problematizing Democratic Performance The literature on constitutional design tends to interpret its political outcomes in three main ways: first as regime endurance, second as government efficacy, and finally as democratic performance. The latter is very different from the simple endurance or longevity or political stability of democratic government, though it is clearly important for democratic government to survive if democratic politics is to prosper (Przeworski et al. 1996). 11 It is also different from government effectiveness in matters such as national security, macroeconomic management, or even social policy and welfare provision, because these concerns are common to all governments, whether democratic or not, and so concern government performance in general rather than democratic performance in particular (Lijphart 1994, 4). Democratic performance, in contrast, is a gauge of how far democratic governments fulfill in practice the values to which they

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subscribe in principle. In this perspective, democratic performance “refers to the degree to which a system meets such democratic norms as representativeness, accountability, equality and participation” (Lijphart 1993, 149). As outlined early in Chapter 2, there is a broad consensus on the foundational principles of liberal democratic government, and especially individual liberty and equality under the rule of law (Locke [1869] 1924, 180–183). The implicit proviso here is that each citizen can “exercise an equal right of participation in the making of the laws” (Skinner 1998, 69–70) because only the selfrule that makes government accountable to the people can ensure that it will uphold the law. Over time governments made in this image have developed the institutional and legal means for achieving the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people necessary for defending their key principles. The institutional means include the electoral participation and party political competition that promote contestation and inclusiveness, and the legal means are mainly expressed through the panoply of rights (property rights, political rights, civil rights, and minority rights) that underpin constitutionalism (Foweraker and Krznaric 2000).12 In this perspective the idea of democratic performance must refer primarily to these principles and values that are intrinsic to the purposes of democratic constitutional design and thereby recognize that modern forms of democratic government have distinct dimensions, meaning that democratic performance is itself a multidimensional concept.13 Self-evidently, if governments perform well in some respects but poorly or erratically in others, then their performance must be judged as uneven. If these distinct dimensions can be measured in some way, then the measures may achieve nuanced comparisons of different democratic governments with different performance profiles. Yet this is not the approach of most democratic indicators that have come to constitute barometers of comparative democratic performance in academic, public policy, and business circles (Foweraker and Krznaric 2000). These indicators usually tend to focus on just one or two aspects of democratic government that provide a rather partial picture (Hadenius 1992, 5; Gastil 1991, 26), even if

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this partiality is often disguised by single scales masquerading as summary performance measures. Yet there is no escaping the lingering sense of analytical and political naïveté that marks the various attempts to measure democratic performance. The naïveté is an expression of a blinkered view that sees the democratic government as synonymous with a democratic political system and democratic performance as driven in unmediated fashion by constitutional design. Multidimensional measures are a clear improvement on single scales, but any comparisons across time and space can only ever be meaningful if the very notion of democratic performance is placed in its proper political context of polity. For the variations in such performance necessarily flow from the constraints imposed on democratic government by oligarchic powers and prerogatives, either directly or indirectly through the administrative, regulatory, and legal mediations of the state, and from the combination of formal and informal rules that permeates the institutions, policymaking, and government agenda of the democratic regime. Some support for these assertions can be found in an early effort to find multidimensional measures of democratic performance, still understood as the political outcome of constitutional design (Foweraker and Landman 2002). For the most part the results were unexceptional in the sense that they tended to endorse the superiority of parliamentary systems (see above) as well as the superior performance of unitary over federal systems (an aspect of performance that had remained unexplored in the literature). The results of the comparison of PR and plurality systems were less clear-cut, with PR systems performing better on some values and plurality systems performing better on others, within an overall picture of evenly matched but distinct democratic performance profiles. Finally, it was perhaps not surprising that the established, wealthy, and mainly European democracies tended to outperform the rest. But here the multidimensional approach was able to reveal that this superior performance was created more by the rights measures than by the institutional measures—by a ratio of more than two to one. There was thus no doubt that the often newer democracies of the periphery were

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more successful in meeting the formal, institutional requirements of democratic government than in implementing the rule of law and the effective protection of individual and group liberties. The empirical inference—and it remains an inference—is that this pattern of performance is a direct reflection of the unfettered presence of patrimonial politics, the penetration of the public sphere by the agents of unaccountable oligarchies, and the combination of formal and informal rules that inevitably impairs the rule of law. In the context of Latin America, the finding is consistent with the conclusions of a large literature that distinguishes narrowly electoral from more fully liberal democracies (e.g., Diamond 1999; Foweraker 2001b);14 but in the present perspective, this descriptive distinction can be rendered intelligible only in the context of polity. Democratic Performance in Latin American Polity Democratic government may be defined in the most minimal and procedural fashion as a set of institutional arrangements that allow political parties to compete for control of the government through relatively free and fair elections. Today some 120 countries have institutional arrangements of this kind, including all the countries of Latin America with the exception of Cuba and Venezuela. 15 But beyond this minimum benchmark, it is recognized that the democratic performance of these governments varies widely (Diamond 1999, 24–63), so although the democratic label may serve to legitimate them all in some degree, some are perceived to be far more democratic than others.16 The democratic governments of Latin America in particular are often judged to be imperfectly democratic, mainly because their democratic performance is perceived to be so uneven. As suggested above, such uneven performance has been characterized as electoral democracy without liberal democracy, where political parties compete for control of the government through relatively free and fair elections (O’Donnell 1999b), but in the absence of an effective rule of law that might underpin individual and

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minority freedoms and protections (Diamond 1999, 1–23). 17 In sum, the institutional core of democratic government is affirmed by political party systems and electoral competition for both executive and legislature, but individual and minority rights continue to languish. The contention here is that such imperfections can only be explained satisfactorily by the internal structure and linkages of polity and that it is the structural variations in polity that make some democratic governments more “perfect” than others (Tsebelis 1990, 92–119).18 In this connection it is noteworthy that this simple characterization of uneven democratic performance in Latin America cannot capture the ways in which the distinct institutional elements of democratic government can often coexist uncomfortably, as can different individual rights. By way of example, it is frequently observed that the vertical accountability implicit in electoral politics does not necessarily entail an equal degree of horizontal accountability between branches of government (O’Donnell 1999a; Schedler 1999), for reasons of executive predominance or of oligarchic or military prerogatives and influence. Equally, the political rights required for electoral politics may indeed promote more intense contestation, but civil rights may suffer as a consequence if oligarchic actors perceive their interests to be threatened. This suggests that the boundaries between electoral politics and a broader liberal context may be overdrawn in theory and blurred in practice, because electoral democracy cannot be fully established in the absence of entrenched civil liberties (Riker and Weimer 1993). One general lesson to take from this is that not all aspects of democratic performance will necessarily move in tandem over the same period but, on the contrary, may exist in tension or in some circumstances trade off against each other. There can be no strong theoretical expectation of such trade-offs—performance profiles are not derived from a formal model—but they do in fact occur with some frequency in the combined and syncretic political system that is polity. As indicated earlier, this discussion draws on a normative model of democratic performance that is founded on the two key principles of liberty and equality as upheld through the rule of law

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and the sovereignty of the people and expressed in eight core values that combine the individual experience (rule of law) and institutional efficacy (sovereignty of the people) of democratic government (Foweraker and Krznaric 2000). On the first axis are found civil rights, property rights, political rights, and minority rights, while the second axis comprises accountability, representation, constraint, and participation.19 Once viable measures are found for these values over time (Foweraker and Krznaric 2001), it proves possible to provide differentiated performance profiles for Latin America that can demonstrate not only that this performance is uneven but in what specific ways it is uneven (Foweraker and Krznaric 2002). The pattern that emerges for electoral participation and competitive party politics is one of little change until 1982, with a marked rise from the mid-1980s that accelerates in subsequent years before flattening again in the 1990s. This reproduces the familiar shape of the Third Wave of democratization and tells the same story of the spread of the formal institutions of procedural democracy over this period.20 But a different picture emerges for the performance of civil and minority rights during the same years, which, in stark contrast to the rising trajectory of political rights, remain flat and unchanging throughout. In sum, despite the improvement in political rights with the rapid dissemination of competitive electoral politics across Latin America, civil and minority rights remain fragile with citizens enfranchised, but still unprotected and vulnerable. What is at issue here is the rule of law.21 In some degree this rule is imperfect because of the incomplete or contradictory nature of the law itself. In particular, the special immunities and protections of the military or police can contribute to damage the integrity of civil and minority rights.22 But the main problem is that the law is simply bypassed or subverted, and this is a problem of accountability. In principle, democratic government is designed to safeguard the rule of law by making government accountable to the people. But in conditions of continuing oligarchic power and clientelistic controls, the principles and practice of accountability are fractured or enfeebled. The result is freely elected governments that “either do not respect or do not maintain the state

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based on the rule of law” (Merkel 1999, 10). Although it was thought at first that the newly democratic governments of Latin America could not endure without an effective “rule of law to ensure legal guarantees for citizens’ freedoms and independent associational life” (Linz and Stepan 1996, 7),23 it is now accepted that they can and do, and their increasing longevity provides the proof. They do so despite the merely formal presence of the law and its subversion by the informal rules that favor the oligarchy and discriminate systematically against the powerless. What survives is a form of democratic government that is only partially shaped and constrained by a constitutional order (Linz 1964; Foweraker 2001b). The statistical findings described above, and the general propositions that derive from them, can be checked for plausibility by considering the specific contextual conditions that underpin the big picture. The same case studies that began to explore the modus operandi of oligarchic power in Chapter 5 reveal a record of persistent abuse of civil rights by both civil and military police in Brazil, throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, including torture, death squads, and the murder of street children; a large catalogue of groups targeted for torture and disappearance in Guatemala, where until the mid-1990s many candidates on the left could not run for office without fear for their life and where indigenous peoples and displaced populations suffered en masse from military violence; and a proliferation of paramilitary organizations in Colombia, where disappearances and death squads were a commonplace of everyday life and where elections have often been especially violent and marked by hundreds of assassinations of left-wing activists and candidates. Furthermore, there are strong indications, especially in Colombia and Guatemala, that a more open or intense process of political competition (and the extension of political rights) may actually intensify the abuses of civil and minority rights. Although it must be conceded that the state does not necessarily mandate these abuses (and may not always be able to prevent them), the case studies nonetheless highlight two key problems. First, the police and especially the military retain a high

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degree of autonomy, often vested in the constitution, and remain largely unaccountable. In Brazil, the military act constitutionally in the violent defense of law and order; in Guatemala, the new democratic constitution contained forty clauses of military immunities and prerogatives, including impunity for past rights violations, with the military intelligence apparatus intact, and the military role in internal security unmitigated; and in Colombia, the military made brutal use of its enhanced powers in the rural emergency zones, while the use of paramilitary groups removed any vestige of accountability. Second, it is often the violent vindication or defense of property rights by entrenched oligarchies that leads to the degradation of civil rights, and in these cases it is the defense of landed property that does most damage. Whether through political organizations like the Rural Democratic Union in Brazil or by the private and state security forces deployed by the oligarchy in Guatemala, any threat of agrarian reform has been repulsed as subversive; in Colombia, traditional landowners and an emerging narco-oligarchy alike have employed private armies against peasant and indigenous groups—who might already be under threat from guerrilla forces. Thus, in these cases at least, it is the combination of oligarchic power and military prerogatives that subvert the rule of law and prevent judicial reform; that typically promote tradeoffs between political rights and civil rights, between property rights and civil and minority rights, and between vertical and horizontal accountability; and so go a long way to explain the patchy and imperfect rule of law and the failure to achieve a stable rights regime. More generally, as suggested in Chapter 2, oligarchic power produces an imperfect rule of law through the structural support it provides to clientelist politics, and the pervasive presence of clientelism, in turn, has two major political effects. First, as observed repeatedly, it underpins a patrimonial pattern of politics, where there is no clear and enduring distinction between the private and public spheres, and therefore no political and cultural defense of a res publica that requires the rule of law. Second, it assumes and promotes a particularistic style of politics that produces and reproduces power through

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particular relationships of favor and loyalty that are inimical to the general claims of individual rights. The result is a recurrent tension between the vertical and particular power relations of clientelist politics and the horizontal and universal claims of a regime of individual rights, a tension that reflects in myriad specific ways the systemic contradiction between the oligarchic and democratic spheres of the polity. It is a tension that proves noxious to any form of effective accountability, without which no rights regime can ever be entirely secure. In this connection it can easily be forgotten that as recently as the 1970s the possibility of accountable government in Latin America was almost entirely lacking and certainly restricted to the three countries that might plausibly claim to have a democratic government (Colombia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela), while the democratic transitions that had created a democratic universe in Latin America by 1989 (with the exceptions of Cuba, Mexico, and, arguably, Guatemala and El Salvador) had promised a remedy for its lack in the classic form of representative government and popular sovereignty. But in the years that followed, it was the deficiencies of the newly democratic governments that attracted most academic and public attention, and, in particular, there was never any generalized conviction that these governments were truly accountable; the available evidence tends to confirm that “the most notable democratic deficit across the region is clearly on the dimension of accountability” (Levine and Molina 2011, 255–256). There is little doubt that the imperfections of the rights regimes and the failings of government accountability in Latin America have provoked widespread discontent in the political publics of these republics (Foweraker 2016a) that then precipitated a rising tide of mass mobilization across the continent since the turn of the millennium (Foweraker 2016b). For the much greater part, this mobilization is not antisystem or antistate, but rather seeks to make these democratic governments more inclusive and above all more accountable, mainly by pressing for proper protection of civil rights and more effective means of political representation. This part of the story is pursued in the next chapter.

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Notes 1. Elite interests may be in open competition with each other (Mosca 1939; Michels 1959) or combined within a power bloc (Poulantzas 1973) or ruling coalition (North 1981; Riker 1962). 2. In historical perspective constitutions develop within the context of political institutions because of “political lags” within the state (Mann 1993, 52): all constitutions are subject to path dependency. 3. To illustrate, democratic constitutions set limits on majority decision making and constrain the scope of majority action. Hence, in principle, they seek to defend the liberal content of an imagined liberal democracy by establishing and protecting individual and minority rights. It would therefore be important to include measures of the kind of constraint implicit in, for example, the separation of powers, such as parliamentary and congressional checks and controls on executive powers, prerogatives, and legislative initiatives; parliamentary powers of censure, recall, and dismissal of ministers; the independence of the judiciary and forms of judicial review; as well as quasi-constitutional checks like the independence of central banks and publicly funded media corporations. 4. These analyses are found in Huntington (1991), Mainwaring (1993), Mainwaring and Shugart (1997), Riggs (1993), Shugart and Carey (1992), and Stepan and Skach (1993) and are summarized by Zelaznik (1998). The study by Huntington suggests that presidential regimes have a higher “rate of democratic survival,” but only for the particular period of 1900–1939. 5. Vanhanen’s Index of Democracy is an aggregate index of the percentage of the vote for all but the largest party multiplied by the percentage of the population that votes. His Index of Power Resources is an aggregate of several modernization variables. Prima facie, the residuals produced by regressing one on the other must remain a very tenuous measure of democratic performance. 6. As ideal types, majoritarian systems will have a one-party majority executive; an executive that predominates over the legislature; a two-party system; a one-dimensional party system (parties differ on socioeconomic issues); a disproportional electoral system; and a pluralist interest group system. Consensus systems, on the other hand, will have a multiparty coalition executive; executivelegislative balance; a multiparty system; a multidimensional party system (religion, rural-urban, ethnic, regional, etc.); a more proportional electoral system; and corporate interest group representation (Lijphart 1994). 7. Yet his statistical results are far from conclusive. The comparison of means of measures of growth, inflation, and unemployment favor the PR systems, but the difference is only substantial for unemployment, and none of the differences are statistically significant. Subsequently, he repeats the analysis with a continuous variable for consensus-majoritarian systems without strengthening the results. 8 The typical set includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden but usually excludes the southern European cases of Greece, Spain, and Portugal. 9. Of the 59 “third world” cases in Mainwaring’s data set, none of the 27 multiparty systems evolved as a stable democracy in the period 1967 to 1992, but 8 two-party (or two-and-a-half-party) systems did so, out of a total of 32. Similarly, of the 19 “third world” countries in Stepan and Skach’s data set of

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stable democracies, 1979–1989, there are only two cases with more than twoand-a-half parties, namely (presidential) Venezuela (2.6) and (parliamentary) Papua New Guinea (4.0) (Zelaznik 1998). 10. Mainwaring and Shugart identify Western Europe, income level, population size, and British colonial heritage as relevant “background variables” for the study of the relationship between parliamentarism and democratic survival (Mainwaring and Shugart 1997, 24ff.). 11. Political stability is not itself an intrinsic liberal democratic value, and regime longevity does not necessarily entail a better democratic performance. Indeed, the quality of the democratic government in question may deteriorate over time. Yet liberal democratic values such as civil and political rights depend on an entrenched rule of law that is difficult to achieve without political stability. Equally, accountability and representation would lack meaning if they were merely transitory phenomena. Hence, although stability is not a direct measure of democratic performance, it can be understood as facilitating aspects of this performance. 12. Consequently, the primary purposes of democratic constitutional design are to create the institutions of democratic government, configure the relationships between them, and provide for the rights, protections, and immunities of democratic citizens. 13. As suggested above, these values can be clearly distinguished from extrinsic values that reflect the performance of any government, not exclusively democratic ones. 14. Measures of democratic performance are important for their practical policy implications. The good governance agenda of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (Chapter 5) eventually came to require democratic governance as a condition—severally—of diplomatic recognition, political and military support, and economic aid and restructuring; a key development in this regard was the World Bank’s interpretation of good governance to include not just sound public finance but also civil and political rights (Kieley 1998). Despite this, it is often alleged that policy conditionality (linkage to democratic performance) derives from a minimalist conception of democracy that places excessive emphasis on free and fair elections (Diamond 1999, 59). 15. Just a quarter of a century ago there were some 35 democracies in the world, most of them rich and industrialized nations in the Western Hemisphere. Today this number has grown to some 120. Huntington argues that at least 30 countries turned democratic between 1974 and 1990 (Huntington 1993b, 3), whereas Diamond takes Freedom House data to show that the number of democracies increased from 39 in 1974 to 118 in 1996 (Diamond 1997, 22). Consequently, democratic governments now outnumber all others. 16. Recognizing that no democratic government could be perfectly democratic, Robert Dahl famously chose to refer to existing democratic governments as “polyarchies” (Dahl 1971). But this alters nothing in comparative terms, with some “polyarchies” remaining less perfect than others. 17. Similarly, it has been characterized as inclusiveness and contestation without constitutionalism (Hartlyn and Valenzuela 1994, 100–101), where electoral participation, political party competition, and an active political opposition can serve to secure some degree of inclusiveness and contestation, even though political and civil rights cannot be properly protected because of the lack of effective constitutional guarantees.

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18. The structural variation across polities was first broached in Chapter 2 and is further explored in Chapter 9. It may be a conceptual stretch, but locating uneven democratic performance within the deep context of polity is redolent of the “nested games” that render intelligible otherwise opaque political practices (Tsebelis 1990). 19. Rights and the rule of law are important guarantees of individual freedoms and protections and so work to deliver the substance of democracy to the citizenry at large, while the second axis promotes the rule of law by making government accountable to the people. 20. The annual average scores from Polity III (1970–1994) and Freedom House (1972–1998) were plotted for the same nine Latin American cases. They show a third wave that builds slowly in the 1970s, gains momentum in the 1980s, and accelerates rapidly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This reflects the “global trend in the direction of democratization” (Jaggers and Gurr 1995, 477) that reaches a “high-water mark” in the early 1990s (Diamond 1997, 23). 21. In the Spanish vernacular, “la ley se acata pero no se cumple.” 22. The residual problem here is the often long-term suspension of constitutional guarantees in specious conditions of domestic strife or national emergency. 23. In Linz and Stepan’s analysis, it is the rule of law that underpins democracy by its specific effects on political attitudes and political behavior. Moreover, it emerges that the rule of law is also central to their other four arenas of established democratic government. On the one hand, “the necessary degree of autonomy and independence of civil and political society must be embedded in and supported by the rule of law.” On the other, the rule of law is integral to a “useable state bureaucracy” and a regulated “economic society” (Linz and Stepan 1996, 10–11).

8 Polity, Rights, and Protest

Modern polity combines the features of a democratic regime with oligarchic interests and powers protected institutionally by their insertion into a patrimonial state. So, far from being at odds with polity as a political system, processes of democratization are essential to its creation. Among the principal historical markers of democratization is the political and legal equality expressed and experienced through individual rights, and, whatever else it may or may not contain, democratization has at its historical heart the social mobilization and protest that seeks to attain and defend these rights. But the process of democratization does not stop with the moments of transition to a democratic regime, and social mobilization has continued to vindicate rights and protest their violation in the often adverse context of polity, where claims to individual rights—and civil rights in particular— remain more or less precarious and uncertain. Historically, such social mobilization and protest have served in greater or lesser degree to mediate the relationship between the individual and the state (Hegel 1991) and to protect the individual from state oppression by defending individual rights (Durkheim 1960), for the viability of individual rights has always required political struggle, not just legal guarantees. This is why for modern theorists like

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Dahl a full sense of citizenship must necessarily include both participation and public contestation (Dahl 1971), not least in the defense of rights. Although the specific demands of particular movements are likely to be very different one from the other, over time they have tended to find common expression in a language of rights that can underpin political alliances and forge common purpose. This language is a set of tools used to assemble the components of political struggle, and it has served the strategic purposes of different movements in widely different cultures, because strategic economy favors the adoption and adaptation of a language that appears universally effective. In fact, it is a perfect example of the kind of master frame that promotes effective social mobilization. Thus, the process of pursuing and defending rights is characterized by an historical encounter between modern forms of mobilization and a common language of rights (Foweraker and Landman 1997, 26–45). This same encounter has been everywhere evident in Latin America, with its continuous if checkered history of bottomup struggles for rights, both against an authoritarian state prior to and during the transitions to democracy and for the effective exercise and extension of rights in more recent years. The range of individual rights demands that motivates these collective struggles is historically very broad and includes not only the original demands for freedom of association and extension of the franchise but also freedom of speech, belief, information, and the rights of women in relation to marriage and property; in Latin America they often cluster around the protections and immunities that underpin individual or group security. But eventually all these rights demands tend to converge on a regime of equal rights under the law, a regime that has proved elusive in Latin America despite the promise of its democratic constitutions. The nature of the past authoritarian regimes in Latin America had tended to catalyze the transformation of economic and social demands into rights demands at the same time as an international discourse of human rights was emerging, so precipitating what— in retrospect—may be construed as a struggle for democratic citizenship. But the contradictory outcome was that the new demo-

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cratic governments arrived unaccompanied by a secure regime of civil rights, though the political rights expressed in the electoral arena were mainly present and rarely under direct threat, if never entirely immune to the pressures of patrimonial politics. In this circumstance, as argued in Chapter 4, it was only mobilization around the fight for rights that could improve democratic performance, because there could be no expectation that a slow accumulation of civic virtue would make any immediate difference (contrary to the view of Putnam 1993). Inevitably this mobilization has met with variable success, and any such success is usually partial and always reversible. But there has been sufficient success to demonstrate that the multiple imperfections of democratic government in Latin America are not static characteristics of its democratic regimes. On the contrary, these regimes are more dynamic, adaptable, and inventive than this static view allows, and there is a plausible prospect that democratic performance can be improved over time. Moreover, social mobilization has been resurgent in Latin America since the turn of the millennium, reaching unprecedented levels whether measured by the frequency of protest or the numbers of the mobilized. In many instances this mobilization has sought to supply specific legal lacks or remedy specific “tangible evils” (Rustow 1970, 352). But it will be seen that increasingly the mobilization has taken on the broader goals of democratic and especially constitutional reform, though the outcomes remain as indeterminate as ever. Yet consensus on these questions is far from complete. Although some major works of political sociology concur that the Third Wave of democratization represents a sea change in the politics of Latin America, and in the import of popular agency in particular, they do not agree with the causes identified here. Thus, Touraine interprets the half century from 1930 to 1980 in terms of the dominance of the “national popular model,” where the state is not clearly differentiated from the political system, and where social mobilization is mainly subordinated to political power (Touraine 1989, 185–192). In analogous fashion the Colliers define the same period in terms of the political incorporation of the labor movement, with social agency mainly expressed through

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the choices of national political elites (Collier and Collier 1991). Both works characterize the recent change as a consequence of attempts to achieve a more autonomous expression of interests by the labor movement and other popular actors. Here, in contrast, this key change is characterized not by the social mobilization of interests but by the historical encounter between social mobilization and the language of rights. Only this encounter can explain the trajectory of social mobilization in the years following the democratic transitions or the diversity and dynamism of social mobilization in Latin America today, and it is an encounter that may be just beginning its historical agenda. The Political Context of Collective Action Charles Tilly’s approach to social mobilization focused not only on political activity in the form of pressing political demands through mobilization but also on the formal exercise of power, with a social movement thus defined as “a sustained series of interactions between power holders and persons . . . [making] publicly visible demands for changes in the distribution or exercise of power, and [backing] those demands with public demonstrations of support” (Tilly 1984, 306). This definition has the virtue of focusing on political activity rather than organization, and on political demands rather than outcomes, with the demands expressed as claims to rights because they are addressed to the political power vested in the polity. The increasing participation implicit in a process of democratization (Dahl 1971) may possibly be the passive result of the rise of urban society and modernization writ large, but Tilly agrees that Dahl’s second dimension of contestation clearly requires the political activity of social mobilization. The rise of modern social movements coincided with the formation of the national and “nationalising state” in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (Tilly 1990, 96–126). The state became a “target for claims” as the movements took advantage of the political space created by the state to press for political rights. At the same time, the movements developed a new “reper-

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toire of contention” (Tilly 1978) that sharpened their strategic response to the new political context and prepared them for sustained campaigns of collective action. Local, communal, and reactive struggles became national, thematic, and proactive, as many social groups combined to fight for the rights to vote, hold office, and make policy. This does not mean that a social movement no longer has a communal identity (many do) or that reactive claims are not typical of many modern movements, including the labor movement (they are). It is rather that most movements came to recognize a modular repertoire of action that could be used by very distinct groups for a wide variety of purposes and goals (Tarrow 1994). The repertoire included protest meetings, electoral rallies, demonstrations, strikes, and barricades. For its part the state developed standardized procedures for dealing with its citizens, so providing a framework for political action and contributing to shape the trajectory of social movement activity. Long waves of protest firmed up the conventions governing the interaction of social movements and state and prepared the ground for the fully national social movements of the twentieth century. At the same time, the language of rights—as argued above—helped to underpin political alliances between the now modular movements. This view is consistent with the argument advanced in Chapter 3 that there is a clear coincidence between the increase in state administrative power and the popular empowerment implicit in social mobilization. This was not always a good news story. Weber (1964), in particular, held a skeptical view of the growth of legal, bureaucratic authority whereby citizenship could and sometimes did become a modulated form of subjection, and it was soon evident that much state intervention was not conducive to civil and political freedoms, with citizenship an expression of forcible conformity as much as of political freedom. These broad historical tendencies have been reproduced in Latin America, where political struggles for rights have often been resisted by the patrimonial state and the oligarchic interests embedded within it, and where the risk of antagonism, repression, and violence has only been partly attenuated by the transition from authoritarian to democratic regimes. Equally, it cannot be assumed that all social

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movements in Latin America necessarily press for citizenship rights or seek to defend democratic values. But, at best, social movements can act as schools of rights and therefore as a form of popular education, while simultaneously challenging interests groups, trade unions, civic associations, and political parties to take up their demands. The variable success of this mobilization then depends in large degree on a strategic reading of what has been called the “political opportunity structure,” an amorphous category that can encompass possible political alliances, political party programs, openings in the legal-bureaucratic apparatus of the state, and the presence of enlightened and potentially sympathetic oligarchic actors (Foweraker 1995). It is the composition of polity, and especially the entrenched place of oligarchic interests within it, that makes the vindication of rights and the defense of the rule of law so difficult (as argued in the closing section of Chapter 7); the role of oligarchic actors in forging the pacts and so shaping the subsequent constitutions that underpinned the transitions to democratic regimes sought to protect these same interests (as explained at the end of Chapter 3). Consequently, these were elite-constricted and narrowly negotiated transitions intended first and foremost to bind oligarchic actors to the democratic outcome (Karl and Schmitter 1991). An exclusive focus on oligarchic actors can only provide a partial and distorted view of the process of democratic transition because it demotes the contribution of popular agency, not least through the “many ties that bind leaders to mass publics, for example, through political parties, trade unions, and secondary associations of all kinds” (Levine 1988, 385); consequently, “we are left with reified social forces moving at one level, and leaders interacting at another” (Levine 1988, 388). But this restricted view does highlight the original sins of a process that enshrines the political rights of electoral participation but leaves both civil and minority rights unprotected and vulnerable. Yet social mobilization prior to and during democratic transitions was primarily motivated by these rights, and there were no a priori grounds for believing that it would stop at the moment of transition. There is no doubt that the electoral arena requires parties and party leaders to appeal to a

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mass public, and in some degree to organize this public for political participation; but this should not deny civil society’s capacity to organize and participate of its own volition, and to continue to press its own demands The Making of Mobilization in Latin America For much of the twentieth century, social mobilization in Latin America was as much a rural as an urban phenomenon, and often impelled by land rights or labor relations in the countryside.1 But from the mid-1960s onward, mobilization becomes progressively more urban, often as a matter of what Castells called “surviving in the city” (Castells 1983), and begins to encompass a far broader range of actors, not only industrial unions but the many neighborhood groups comprising the so-called urban popular movements;2 partly reflecting this shift from rural to urban, mobilization also moves ever closer to the state and develops in increasingly intimate interaction with the state, even to the point where in some cases significant mobilization can develop within the corporatist structures of the state itself (Foweraker 1989, 1993).3 As a consequence different forms of legal and bureaucratic intervention by the state are present in virtually every process of social mobilization in the years that follow, and such interventions become ever more salient under the military authoritarian regimes that ruled most countries of Latin America in the 1970s.4 A few small groups of urban and rural guerrillas engaged in direct action against the military in the early years, but much the greater part of the mobilization involved unions, community groups, and neighborhood and popular movements of different stripes, including incipient women’s groups, while the diversity of issues, claims, and demands multiplied over the same period. In this respect social movements were integral to the period of democratic transformation (Foweraker 2001b), the so-called resurrection of civil society (O’Donnell and Schmitter 1985, 86), 5 that preceded moments of transition and sometimes played a key role in changing the strategic compass and choices of elite actors.

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In simple terms, social movements prepared the political ground for democratic transitions by transforming civil society, with the labor movement often taking the lead in creating the traditions and rights of free collective bargaining (Foweraker and Landman 1997, 226–228); in some instances social mobilization was clearly required to push through the elite pacts and settlements that marked these transitions. So it is often alleged that democracies may be brought down by elite conspiracies, but authoritarian regimes only fall under pressure of large-scale mobilization. But for democratic transformation to occur in tandem with the emergence of mass political publics, the original multiplicity of mainly material demands had themselves to be transformed into demands for the civil and political rights that might eventually comprise a claim to democratic citizenship. As suggested above, social movements are specialists in demand making,6 with the state both their context and their target, and the “prolonged struggle over a generation or more” (Rustow 1970, 361) that is required to transform civil society is therefore simultaneously an intricate process of negotiating and shaping the legal and institutional terrain that links civil society to the state (Foweraker 1993, 45–57). This is the platform for projecting social movements into political society with further demands for the positive rights of participation. But the political outcomes were constrained by the institutional context of the patrimonial state, and contingent on the resistance of oligarchic actors with intersecting and sometimes conflicting agendas, so the delivery of rights was both delayed and diluted. For these reasons the formal constitutional recognition of rights was only faintly reflected in political practice. Yet in the immediate aftermath of the democratic transitions there was a widespread conviction that social mobilization would quietly subside, because the social movements had “lost their reason for being” (Jaquette 1989, 194) now that citizenship rights were enshrined in new or revived democratic constitutions, with political parties taking center stage in the normal politics of democratic life. And in fact there was a temporary lull in mobilization for some years while a second transition occurred to the predom-

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inance of so-called neoliberal economic policy prescriptions and—in the view of some influential commentators—the atomization of civil society that resulted. But the death of social mobilization had been exaggerated,7 and once it had resumed in the mid-1990s it began to follow a rising rhythm and trajectory across the continent, almost without exception, that has continued to the present day. This contention is now supported by a growing body of survey and other statistical evidence, and although this mobilization could no longer be about democratic transition, it was still very much to do with democratic government, both with the particular model of government that should be paramount, whether liberal democratic or social and participatory (Munck 2016), and with democratic performance in general. The analysis of uneven democratic performance in Chapter 7 emphasized the imperfections in the rule of law as manifest above all in the violations of civil and minority rights. Although correct in its emphasis, this analysis can appear more static than it should be if it fails to recognize the dynamism of the popular response to uneven performance. For it was the failings of rule of law that continued to motivate social mobilization, and what remained constant—before, during, and after the democratic transitions—was the progressively closer encounter between mobilization and the language of rights; in the present, as in the past, this common language is learned and disseminated through the political activity of demand making, just as the language serves to solidify a common repertoire of contention. Yet the mobilization of the present is not the same as that of the past, for two main reasons. First, it targets a much broader range of rights impelled by struggles for social rights and for the extension of rights to minority groups, especially indigenous groups from the 1990s onward. In these ways it encompasses a greater array of social actors, all of whom may feel excluded or disadvantaged to some degree, reading from a rich recipe of rights concerning race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and the environment—in addition to the more traditional demands of the workplace and urban neighborhood. Second, most of these rights are now vested in constitutional principles and in principle defended

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by representative government. The glaring gap between these rights-in-principle and the inadequacies of the rights-in-practice experienced by the citizenry (Foweraker and Landman 1997, 19–21) has driven the initial resumption and rising rhythm of social mobilization. Given these changes, it was perhaps inevitable that the social mobilization of the present would seek to make the democratic regimes more inclusive and, critically, more accountable, mainly by pressing for more effective means of representation. Mobilization and Constitutional Reform So it was that—after a sharp rise in the late 1980s and a subsequent region-wide recession in the early 1990s—social mobilization began to increase exponentially, especially after 1997. As noted above, this mobilization was focused on the realization of formally encoded citizenship rights as well as cultural, regional, indigenous, environmental, and gender rights. It continued on a rising trajectory across the region in the decade after 2000, peaking to its highest point in thirty years in 2009. Over most of these years, labor mobilization followed a different rhythm,8 only becoming strongly correlated with social mobilization broadly writ in the years after 2005 (with the exceptions of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador). It has been argued that the economics of liberalization and the ensuing economic grievances allied with a democratic politics raised expectations of redistribution that drove this mobilization. But the evidence suggests that it was the legal and constitutional reforms promising more effective citizenship rights—and especially more permissive electoral rules offering enhanced political representation—that precipitated the high rates of mobilization after 1997, opening up the political party arena and encouraging social movements to ally with opposition parties or eventually to become parties themselves. 9 In fact, there were sixty-seven electoral reforms in Latin America from 1978 to 2009, twenty-nine to the rules governing the election of executives and thirty-eight to those of legislatures.10

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This sea change in the relationship between social mobilization and the rights agenda sometimes catalyzed and certainly coincided with the emergence of left-wing governments, so creating the appearance of greater political inclusion. Indeed, social mobilization appeared to respond not only to the incidence of electoral and political party reforms—largely irrespective of economic fluctuations of different kinds—but also to the electoral cycle itself. In sum, just as past material demands were translated over time into demands for civil and political rights, so in more recent years a growing frustration over lack of progress in establishing secure rights regimes gradually led to struggles over metarights, in the form of electoral rules and constitutional ordinances and provisions. In response, the democratic governments of Latin America have been recurrently engaged in a complex process of institutional reform and constitutional amendment intended to increase the representative capacity of the political system, and so counter and resolve their autochthonous perception of a systemic crisis of representation.11 But this is not the whole story. For mobilization that presses for or responds to constitutional amendments has often been encouraged or provoked, either by incumbent oligarchs keen to protect their accumulated privileges or by elite contenders eager to win power and supplant them. One way or the other, this means that the reform process will inevitably be caught in the cockpit of party politics in the legislatures, where is it recurrently captured by oligarchic interests. When social mobilization is conjoined with party politics in this way, it may or may not lead to some “circulation of elites” (as explained in Chapter 6), but it will certainly fail to resolve the root problems of political exclusion. Hence, the inclusion of new actors in the political arena did not necessarily or very often lead the party system to respond effectively to their political demands, largely because of the enduring constraints of patrimonial politics. So mobilization motivated by the aspirations of the socially and politically excluded for more representation is frustrated by the subsequent incapacity or apparent unwillingness of governments to satisfy citizens’ demands for public goods, not least clean government and public security.

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Whether this leads to a new cycle of mobilization or not, it inevitably leaches away the legitimacy of many governments across the region.12 All this may appear uncomfortably redolent of Huntington’s pessimistic view of democratization, where increasing mobilization is likely to outpace the system’s capacity for institutional response, so leading ineluctably to new forms of mass praetorianism (Huntington 1968).13 In the current perspective it is less a matter of institutional capacity as of the institutional constraints implicit in the structural properties of polity, and in this context the pessimism is only justified in those cases where the pressure for constitutional amendment has become clearly endogenous to oligarchic manipulation and struggles for political advantage within the legislature. For this is the point where the process of constitutional reform elides into constitutional reformation of the kind that aspires to refound the nation through the medium of populist resurgence. As recounted in Chapter 6, it is then but a short step from the frustration of stymied reforms or a recurrent lack of effective implementation to the politics of antipolitics and calls for que se vayan todos, so making it easy for aspiring populist leaders to inveigh not merely against the party in government but against the partidocracia in general. It was also noted in Chapter 6 that political crises in Latin America today tend to exhibit a systemic dimension with extraordinary measures required for their resolution, both constitutional and extraconstitutional, and this is part cause and part effect of the changing agenda of social movements as it has converged on a project of legal and constitutional reform. Just as these crises do not express a linear process of democratic advance, but a more ambiguous process of readjustment between the distinct spheres of polity, so the constitutional reforms are often contradictory and sometimes counterproductive. But the crux of the matter is that social mobilization has now entered mainstream democratic politics in Latin America and plays a central role in the decay and breakdown of party systems, the outcomes of critical elections, the rise of radical participatory governments, and, last but not least, the series of “interrupted presidencies” that

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increasingly characterize this politics (Marsteintrendet and Berntzen 2008; Llanos and Marsteintrendet 2010). Indeed, every instance of such interruption, bar none, has been accompanied by high levels of social mobilization, and the great majority of cases involved street protests, while the solutions to the crises responsible for the interruptions often involve para-constitutional practices or de facto political fixes that anticipate and possibly precipitate de jure reforms (Llanos and Marsteintrendet 2010). Thus, social mobilization in Latin America is no longer exclusively parochial and closely concerned with local issues and identities, with the politics of mobilization imagined as a process of changing identities and communal empowerment—though these concerns continue to motivate the mobilization in greater or lesser degree. Nor is it focused uniquely on particular rights issues and the piecemeal demands and retail reforms that might improve the delivery of rights-in-practice. Rather, as often as not, it is now directed toward the grand issues of national politics, and especially the reforms that may provide some remedy for the inadequacies of political representation and the failings of political accountability in polity. Coda: The Human Rights Agenda It may seem odd that a discussion of rights in Latin America has had nothing to say about the human rights agenda, the more so because this agenda is important to the development of a language of rights in the modern era and so played a part in the politics of several countries of the continent from the mid-1970s, coincident with the tenure of President Carter in the White House. But this agenda is defined by the tradition of natural philosophy that understands our rights as inherent to us in our condition as human beings, whereas the civil and political rights of citizenship draw on culturally specific legal and rhetorical traditions that are themselves the products of complex histories of political struggle. Thus, the international human rights project14 remains orthogonal to national rights regimes and the corresponding histories of

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social mobilization that press for the enactment of rights and the realization of enacted rights. In analogous fashion, although there is now a secure body of international human rights law, there is no equivalent international human rights regime, because this depends on the willingness of national states to fulfill their legal obligations in this regard by first implementing and then enforcing human rights norms. Furthermore, for rights to be realized in practice and take on social and political substance, they have to be rooted in common cultural understandings of the kind that can only develop within a shared political culture (Habermas 1985), and the language of human rights may only find intermittent connections and occasional resonance in this political culture. These summary observations are illustrated by reference to the tribulations of retributive justice in Chile and the difficult defense of civil and minority rights in Mexico. Chile

The Chilean coup of 11 September 1973 and the quick consolidation of General Pinochet’s rule came at a time when the international and inter-American human rights regimes were notoriously weak.15 But in the years that followed, Chile became a cause célèbre of human rights abuse for the human rights movement, playing a significant role in raising awareness of human rights and in advancing international human rights law. Indeed, some see Chile as initiating a “justice cascade” (Sikkink 2011) that made it everywhere more difficult for human rights to be abused with impunity, so demonstrating the potential of “transnational advocacy networks” (Keck and Sikkink 1998). Subsequently, following its democratic transition of 1989, Chile established one of the first truth commissions, the Comisión Nacional de Verdad y Reconciliación, a formal body with a legal mandate to uncover past abuses. But this mandate was peculiarly narrow, only recognizing victims that could be identified from bodily remains, as opposed to the systematic analysis of narrative accounts adopted by subsequent commissions in South Africa, Peru, East Timor, and Sierra Leone. Consequently, the official lists published in the

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Rettig Report included just 2,774 victims, considered by many to be a gross underestimate given that so many victims were simply “disappeared.” The commission did acknowledge the past abuses and recognized that agents of the Pinochet regime were responsible, but an effective process of retributive justice proved elusive, so disappointing many families of the victims and “disappeared.” The explanation for this apparently pusillanimous approach is simple. The political context of the transition did not permit a more rigorous and punitive process. Pinochet remained at the head of the armed forces. The legal system was deeply conservative and unreformed. And the Senate was stacked with pinochetista senators without term limits. So rather than prosecuting the alleged perpetrators of the abuses, the first president of the transition, Aylwin, apologized on behalf of the Pinochet regime while authorizing reparations for the victims, a course he described as providing truth with “as much justice as possible.” Paradoxically, the human rights movement was effective in pressing for the reforms that led to the plebiscite and the transition but had absolutely no success in promoting an effective form of retributive justice. Yet Chile has strong legal traditions, and even the Pinochet regime stuck to the prescriptions of its own 1980 constitution and counted votes fairly at the moment of the plebiscite. And throughout the years of the dictatorship, especially in the highly repressive early years, a systematic attempt to document the human rights abuses was carried forward by the Vicaría de la Solidaridad of the Catholic Church, while legal activists continued to present pleas of habeas corpus to the state authorities, despite threats, beatings, and “disappearances” among their number. By the time of the transition, these activities had assembled an impressive body of case materials that—in the absence of criminal prosecutions brought by the government—could serve the purposes of the more than 750 prosecutions of army, police, air force, and naval officers brought to the civil courts by the victims and their families. Thus, two important lessons can be drawn from the Chilean case: first, that the rhetoric of human rights at the international level may fly far above and beyond the fractured reality of national rights processes; and, second, that the rhetoric of human

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rights can be no substitute for an effective regime of civil rights founded on strong legal and rhetorical traditions. Mexico

One macabre fact to emerge from the extreme violence in Mexico over the past few years is the targeted murder of transsexuals by rival drug cartels for the purpose of putting down markers about control of territory and trade. There have also been massacres of groups of transsexuals in the states most fiercely contested by the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels and the Zetas.16 Crimes against both transsexuals and homosexuals are increasingly linked to drug-related violence (more than doubling in number between 2003 and 2011) because the worlds of the cartels and the transsexual community are now bizarrely conjoined. On the one hand, the cartels (especially the Zetas, who have the broadest geographical presence) have moved into different forms of racketeering and now control prostitution in many states, border towns, and major tourist resorts; on the other, a lack of legal protection in the workplace has led many transsexuals to work as prostitutes, forced to push drugs to their clients and pay their pimps to protect them. So a plausible and proximate motive for at least some of the murders is a failure to sell sufficient drugs or pay enough for protection. There is no recourse to justice. On the contrary, survey results suggest that transsexuals and homosexuals are the groups that suffer the most abuse by state and local authorities, with activists especially vulnerable (US Department of State 2010). The Federal District’s Human Rights Commission sees the criminal justice system itself as chiefly responsible for the abuse, with transvestite and transgender persons a particular target for arbitrary arrest, extortion, torture, physical abuse, and rape by agents of the Ministry of Public Security, the transport police, the judicial police, and military officials—often simply for having a nonheterosexual appearance. The commission has also recorded many acts of violence against the LGBT community, especially against sex workers on the street; while the perpetrators go unpunished, the victims are subject to biased and prejudicial sentencing.

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Yet the Mexican Federal Constitution of 2011 includes freedom of sexual orientation as a right in its Article 1, and the federal government claims that its human rights legislation now protects all human rights, including those of transsexuals, with a number of state agencies charged with protecting the public from abuse. These include the National Office for the Victims of Violence (ProVictima), which reports directly to the federal executive, the National Human Rights Commission (and corresponding statelevel Human Rights Commissions), and the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED). But a national survey conducted by CONAPRED itself in 2010 identified the police as the agency most intolerant of LGBT groups (with the most severe harassment reserved for men “who dress as women”), followed closely by the Catholic Church, and there is no indication that these agencies can provide effective protection where corrupt local police forces fail to do so (CONAPRED 2010). Moreover, the Federal District has the highest rate of criminal attacks on transsexuals and homosexuals, despite the legal protections introduced over recent years. The vulnerability of LGBT groups is clearly rooted in social attitudes. CONAPRED surveys suggest that 40 percent of all Mexicans believe homosexuality is the greatest cause of tension and hostility in society, the same proportion that would refuse to live in a household with a homosexual or HIV-positive individual. This pervasive homophobia leads to constant verbal and physical aggression, including many murders a month, although most crimes against homosexuals and transsexuals go unreported (their families do not report the true motive) or are frequently recorded as crimes of passion, whereas local governments use an obscure language of “moral faults,” “attempts against modesty,” or “obscene exhibitions” to penalize homosexuality. Little surprise that 50 percent of homosexuals in Mexico report recurrent discrimination by society, with 26 percent admitting that they have been rejected by their families. This constant pressure impels over one thousand Mexican transsexuals and homosexuals a year to apply for political asylum abroad, especially to Canada where persecution on the basis of homo- or transsexuality is sufficient legal

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grounds for asylum (University of Toronto International Human Rights Program 2009). The first lesson here is simply that it is not only state agencies but also uncivil actors who can threaten human rights. The second is that the abuses, whoever is directly responsible for them, derive from pervasive cultural prejudices, and rights can only ever be effective if they are rooted in common cultural understandings across the public sphere (Habermas 1985).17 Without these cultural anchors, rights represent nothing more than a political promise that corrupt or underresourced criminal justice systems will fail to fulfill. Yet advocates of human rights, for all their talk of legal and institutional protections, have surprisingly little to say about social mobilization, as if rights can be delivered from above or indeed abroad.18 But the social movements of Latin America have succeeded in placing a range of rights on the political agenda, with many of them becoming law, and disseminating new values and perceptions that have had some impact on political culture. This is true of the feminist movement since the 1980s, the indigenous movement since the 1990s, and in some countries such as Brazil (or possibly just some cities in Brazil) the LGBT community can now enjoy its rights relatively untroubled by social prejudice and political pressure. The Common Context of Polity

These two very different cases of rights violations have in common the political context of polity. Mexico has a notoriously patrimonial state, with oligarchic and corporate interests engaged and embedded in every aspect of state administration, whereas the Chilean state had arguably become more patrimonial under Pinochet, as a ruling coalition comprising international finance capital, large extractive enterprise, technocrats, and the military came to dominate the state apparatus. The corollary is that Mexico’s democratic regime is closely constrained by oligarchic powers and saturated with clientelist politics, and Chile’s democratic transition was directed less by a pact than a covenant imposed by Pinochet, leaving the ensuing regime little autonomy, with residual oligarchic

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control of the higher echelons of the judiciary, the banking sector, some branches of public administration, and even the Senate. Thus, the particular impediments to achieving retributive justice in Chile or preventing abuses by delivering rights-in-practice in Mexico are symptomatic of the lack of regime autonomy and government accountability so typical of the Latin American polity. Appendix: The International Human Rights Project The promulgation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights—seen by most as a response to the atrocities committed during World War II—was the seminal moment in establishing a set of universal human rights that were distinct from nationally grounded citizenship rights. The claims articulated through its thirty articles were put into international law through the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which together with the Universal Declaration formed the International Bill of Human Rights, which was itself followed by an increasing number of international covenants on specific rights issues, including racial discrimination (1966), women’s rights (1979), torture (1984), children’s rights (1989), migrant workers (1990), disability (2006), and enforced disappearances (2006). These covenants were buttressed, in turn, by the 1998 Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, active from 2002 and described as the “international institutionalisation of criminal liability” after some eighty years of advocacy for the principle of “universal jurisdiction,” a legal principle that allows states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed. The principle also applies to such a person regardless of his or her nationality, country of residence, or particular relation to the agent bringing the prosecution. These international covenants have been complemented by regional agreements led by the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights adopted through the Council of Europe, which

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created individual rights of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The 1969 American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) lacks any such regional court but does provide a set of legal standards to the Organization of American States and a convention on visits in situ to monitor human rights and protections. Together with international organizations like the UN Human Rights Council (previously Commission), these regional bodies may serve to monitor states’ compliance with the covenants and conventions and, in some instances, investigate and attempt to address human rights abuses while an informal human rights regime composed of nongovernmental organizations and international nongovernmental organizations aspires to bridge the gap between international covenants and national laws, deploying “transnational advocacy networks” (Keck and Sikkink 1998) to pressure individual states to adopt and practice human rights norms. Thus, the 1948 Declaration can be seen as the anchor of a worldwide movement that has sought legal recognition for a wide range of moral claims to personal integrity, due process, political rights, social rights, and equality, a project to define and defend political norms to guide the treatment of individual citizens by their governments. The outcome is a secure body of international human rights law and a much less secure international and regional human rights regime. This regime is exclusively focused on the protection of human rights by national states and depends on the states to meet their legal obligations in good faith. Hence, the regime lacks the autonomous capacity to implement, let alone enforce, its norms. In this regard it must be recognized that much human rights commentary indulges in wishful thinking, eliding too easily from advocacy to the assumption of real improvement in practice. The actual process of securing human rights is more likely to be piecemeal, iterative, and all too easily reversed. What the state gives with one hand it can take away with the other (Foweraker and Landman 1997, 3–6). Nonetheless, since World War II more than one hundred countries have begun legal or quasi-legal processes to address past wrongs of some kind, which typically have included large-scale

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human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed during periods of civil war, authoritarian rule, and foreign occupation. Popular examples of these processes include trials, amnesties, truth commissions, commissions of inquiry, reconciliation forums, human rights commissions, and lustration processes that seek to provide a public accounting of what occurred, who the victims are, who is responsible, and what should be done about it. Between 1970 and 2007, there were 848 of these processes, with amnesties the most frequent (424, or 50 percent of the total), followed by trials (267, or 32 percent of the total), truth commissions (68, or 8 percent of the total), lustration policies (54, or 6 percent of the total), and reparations (35, or 4 percent of the total). Furthermore, the use of trials has increased significantly since 2000, even as the use of truth commissions has fallen out of favor, with the exception of Brazil’s long-awaited Comissão Nacional de Verdade, set up in 2011 to address the alleged human rights abuses that took place during the military regime of 1964 to 1985. Notes 1. Among the seminal studies of the countryside were Hobsbawn (1969) on La Convención in Peru and Pereira de Queiroz (1969) on messianic movements in the Brazilian countryside. 2. There are many exceptions to prove this rule, possibly the most salient being the emergence of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (MST) in Brazil in the early 1980s. 3. This is not to suggest that the state was absent from conflict in the countryside. The land rights of smallholders in particular were often clouded by the complexities of the legal history of the land, the corruption of provincial judicial systems and local land registries, and the conflicting interests of different state politicians. The combination of legal chicanery and bureaucratic corruption routinely provided political cover for the violent eviction of farmers and peasants by the police or the private police employed by regional oligarchs (Foweraker 1981). 4. The only three exceptions were Colombia, Costa Rica and Venezuela. 5. This is the phenomenon that Carlos Monsiváis in Mexico referred to as “la sociedad que se organiza” (Monsiváis 1987). 6. Their primary political activity of demand making subsumes the debates over new and old social movements and over identity versus strategy: though taken as primary, these are in fact secondary issues. 7. It was true however that popular political agency had changed and become more diverse. NGOs had multiplied, and many more traditional social

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movements had disappeared or been transformed (Foweraker 2001a). In some degree the changes meant that civil society had become denser and more resourceful. Despite their potential weaknesses, NGOs can and do create new resources for popular mobilization, including education, leadership, know-how, and information. Even without a social base, NGOs can promote such mobilization, as demonstrated by the democratic transition in Chile. Thus, the contours of social mobilization changed, but the mobilization itself continued to express discontent with failures of democratic performance. 8. Labor mobilization did rise in the late 1980s but fluctuated considerably in subsequent years before dropping back from 2000 to 2005. 9. In truth it is never this easy to distinguish the economic from the political motives for mobilization if only because changes to electoral rules also change the relative participation of particular interests in deciding the outcome of distributional conflicts. 10. Over these years every election in Ecuador was run under different rules. 11. These reforms did sometimes work to improve representation in some respects. One example is the reduction or removal of literacy requirements for enfranchisement that helped empower ethnic minorities. 12. The problems of exclusion and hence legitimacy were the likely longerterm effects of the trade-off between governability and representation in these presidential-PR systems, where the entrenched patterns of elite collusion of the coalitional politics underpinning executive legislative programs tend to ignore popular preferences and leave political parties increasingly detached from their publics. The reforms at issue here were intended to address these problems, but it appears that these ex-post solutions tended to induce the political instability they were intended to avoid. The Lula government in Brazil and the early Concertación administrations in Chile provide partial exceptions to the rule. 13. In Huntington’s view mass praetorianism was a leading cause of insurgencies and coups and/or weak and disorganized governments. 14. A brief synopsis of this project can be found in the appendix to this chapter. 15. This account of the travails of retributive justice in Chile is deeply indebted to Todd Landman’s essay “A Most Unlikely Case” (Landman 2013). 16. Despite the fear of reporting such crimes, many murders of this kind have been attributed to the paramilitary groups linked to the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels, which allegedly have close links to right-wing business groups and Catholic associations. 17. The rule of law cannot run true if there is no common understanding of the rule of law and the rights specified by it as shared equally by all members of the demos. This observation is explored in Chapter 9. 18. In this respect it is not for nothing that struggles for rights are referred to as movements, as in “the civil rights movement” in the United States or “the women’s movement” everywhere.

9 Demystifying Democracy

It is nearly always assumed that contemporary democratic governments are a complete expression of political systems that are in fact fully democratic in content and configuration. The mainstream analytical agenda—as noted at the outset of Chapter 2—must then seek to discover and explain why these governments are insufficiently, imperfectly, or only partially democratic, or why governments that are deemed democratic are often reduced or rendered less democratic, sometimes to the point of losing their democratic credentials entirely. This assumption and the agenda it supports are so widely held that together they can appear to constitute a collective delusion about the nature of modern politics. Here it is recognized that there are democratic institutions or, rather, that there are institutional ensembles that work in a systematically democratic fashion in greater or lesser degree; but it is argued, contrary to the mainstream view, that democratic governments of all stripes sit within political systems that comprise an admixture of oligarchic and democratic claims to power and forms of power holding that characterize and define the modern polity. This is not simply a change of perspective that seeks to restore a political and historical sociology of democracy as a counterweight to an exclusive focus on institutional design,1 but

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an entirely different object of inquiry. Thus, there can be processes of democratization without ever arriving at an end point that is democracy and democratic advances and retreats that can and do occur and recur within the ambit of the polity. Polity is a syncretic political system that combines two separate but conjoint spheres of power holding that are clamped together—sometimes more, sometimes less securely—through the action of both the state and civil society and through the complex interaction of formal and informal rules. On this view, the main object of inquiry into contemporary politics should not be the formal contours of democratic regimes but the internal structures and linkages of polities, which are determinate political systems with empirical attributes that are in principle measurable and comparable.2 Polities have things in common because some forms of internal linkage such as private property are relatively constant, as are certain characteristic institutional and political tensions. But they also vary widely according to the maturity of the democratic sphere, the reach and efficacy of state institutions, especially the rule of law, and the historical weight3 and profile of the oligarchy,4 which are themselves determined—inter alia— by national patterns of state formation and international political economy.5 The inquiry would then move on from a teleological story that traces greater or lesser degrees of democratic success in sloughing off historical legacies and countermanding the protean presence of oligarchy to a more positive and objective analysis of the institutional, legal, cultural, and political variations within and across polities. A premise of this analysis is that democratic government is doomed to be ever imperfect, not least because a moving normative horizon will ensure it remains so, but the imperfections are only intelligible in the context of the political system that is polity. In describing the contemporary polity in Latin America, this account has focused on the patrimonial state, and its active role in shaping oligarchic preferences and delivering oligarchic objectives, often through the close ties of family, clan, party, and camarilla (the extended political family), and those between oligarchs and mandarins (compare Miliband 1970). 6 Although al-

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ways distinguishing the state from the democratic regime, it has become clear just how far the autonomy of the regime is circumscribed and compromised by state influence and incursions, and this in turn conditions the role and reach of the democratic constitution. As described in Chapter 3, constitutions are meant to shape and constrain democratic regimes, as well as define and delimit state powers and competences, and the scope of state authority. But, as argued in Chapter 4, there are limits to what the constitution can do in these respects because it itself is shaped by state and oligarchic interests, with constitutional outcomes contextually conditioned, as demonstrated in Chapter 7, by the power exercised by oligarchic actors embedded in the patrimonial state in their complex interaction with the democratic regime. In other words, although the purpose of the constitution is to define the formal arrangements for establishing sovereign authority and for accessing positions of authority as the portal to public, performative, and competitive politics within the democratic regime, the position of the constitution—sitting as it does between the patrimonial state and the democratic regime—means that this promise must remain unfulfilled. As noted repeatedly, in this model of polity the constitution is an intervening rather than an independent variable. Contrasts with the Accounts of Tilly and Mazzuca It may be possible to get more analytical traction on these complex interrelationships by contrasting this account of polity with Charles Tilly’s (2007) approach to democratization. Tilly is keenly aware that the task at hand is to explain the two contrary historical processes of democratization and “de-democratization” because “even established democracies such as India fluctuate constantly between more or less democracy [and] in the contemporary world as in the past, de-democratization occurs almost as frequently as democratization” (Tilly 2007, 189).7 In this regard the degree of democracy is to be judged by “the extent to which the state behaves

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in conformity to the expressed demands of its citizens” (13), and so a “regime is democratic to the degree that political relations between the state and its citizens feature broad, equal, protected and mutually binding consultation” (14). But note that this democratic regime is no longer truly separate from the state, but is subsumed within the characteristic set of relations between the state and its citizens, while the state itself varies exclusively along a continuum from low capacity to high capacity,8 and this allows Tilly to define four clusters of states according to whether they have low or high capacity and whether they are democratic or not. His analytical scheme is completed by the three central clusters of change that explain democratization or its reverse, namely, the degree of integration between interpersonal networks of trust, the degree of insulation of public politics from major categorical inequalities, and the degree of autonomy of major power centers, especially those wielding significant coercive means with respect to public politics (23). Furthermore, in Tilly’s view, “the fundamental processes promoting democratization have remained the same over democracy’s several centuries of history” (78). Clearly, such a radical condensation of Tilly’s analytical scheme cannot do justice to the nuanced elaboration of the scheme or to its impressive historical illustrations. But the differences from the account of polity developed here are patent. In short order, his emphasis on “interpersonal networks of trust” has little explanatory value in the context of polity, as explained at the end of Chapter 4, and draws on a rather monochrome view of civil society; his insistence that “democratic accomplishment consists of insulating public politics from whatever material inequalities exist” (Tilly 2007, 118) makes no analytical sense in this same context where the boundary between public policy and private interests is dissolved; “the autonomy of major power centers” may be important at very early stages of state formation but appears anomalous in contemporary polity, where oligarchic power is so intricately integrated into the political system overall. In general, if the state may be considered undertheorized in Tilly’s inquiry (in a way that is not at all typical of his previous work), so equally his explanatory mechanisms appear to be overspecified in

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their reach to embrace every empirical variation. The claim that they themselves remain unvarying over time seems inherently implausible, especially in light of the huge change in the structure of the state over the course of the nineteenth century—noted by Tilly himself—as it moved toward the “widespread adoption of direct rule” through the “creation of structures extending governmental communication and control” (19). The purpose of pointing up the differences between the analytical framework of polity and Tilly’s approach is not innocent, but seeks to suggest that the questions posed by Tilly could be answered more economically and coherently in the context of polity, its internal linkages and shifting internal boundaries. In part this is because the construction of polity is driven by analytical concepts rather than the multiplication and combination of empirical categories. One example is Tilly’s reading of the “strong state trajectory” toward democratization, where he describes the mechanisms that allow the state to “establish substantial control over resources, activities, and populations within the state’s territory before serious democratization begins” (Tilly 2007, 163). This is Tilly’s version of Mazzuca’s argument that there must be “bureaucratization before democratization” (examined in Chapter 5) if there is to be any prospect of good government (Mazzuca 2010, 349–353). But Tilly relies on empirical categories, whereas Mazzuca bases his argument on an analytical distinction between access to power and the exercise of power, so making the conceptual distinction between regime and state that finds no place in Tilly’s approach. Yet, having advanced this far, Mazzuca continues to read this distinction in terms of an empirical separation of public administration from the formal procedures of democratic politics, especially elections as a vehicle for accessing positions of authority, so affirming that the democratic regime is in fact autonomous of the state (Mazzuca 2010, 336)—a proposition that does not stand scrutiny in the context of patrimonial state formation (as argued at length in Chapter 4).9 Later in his argument he appears to reverse this proposition in asserting that “the regime is an aspect or part of the state” (Mazzuca 2010, 346),10 so revealing an implicit assumption that the democratic

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regime is the only means of access to positions of power and authority. This assumption mistakes the nature and scope of the patrimonial state in polity, where oligarchic power is built into state institutions through the very process of state formation itself. Internal Linkages and Inequality It has been argued throughout that the two distinct spheres of power holding in polity, the oligarchic and the democratic, are linked together by private property, informal rules, and, episodically, populism. But these linkages are not constant in their construction or their effects. Property rights are exclusive and exclusionary, and the boundary between the included and the excluded can change for economic, political, or cultural reasons, as occurred through the privatization of state assets mandated by neoliberal policy prescriptions, which had the effect of extending and deepening oligarchic control of corporate and private property in Latin America. Similarly, the informal rules condensed in clientelism can and do express oligarchic power in a democratic setting, but their effects in electoral politics are routinely extended and heightened by the particular strategies adopted by political parties (Luna 2014),11 and populism can have the contradictory effects of not only reinforcing the democratic executive and— temporarily—the autonomy of the democratic regime but also driving a process of intense polarization that can reduce or eventually destroy that regime (Corrales 2016).12 According to Luna (2014), political parties in Latin America and beyond can pursue segmented electoral strategies, deploying different types of appeal to mobilize distinct constituencies. In particular, where the ideological appeals the parties make to their traditional or “natural” electoral bases will not deliver an electoral majority, they can be complemented by clientelistic mobilization of voters beyond those bases. If these segmented strategies can be “harmonized” to avoid damaging inconsistencies and trade-offs, the parties may gain “an electoral edge” (Luna 2014, 8). In this respect clientelism and ideology are not necessarily mutually

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exclusive (Luna 2014, 13), with clientelism able to serve rich and poor constituencies alike as part of a strategy of segmented representation. For example, a conservative party may deploy the financial resources it obtains from its core constituency to pursue the clientelistic mobilization of poorer voters, so securing a majority that can protect the interests of that constituency in the legislature. This strategy illustrates how informal rules can work to bind together the two distinct spheres of the polity and proves to be especially effective in highly unequal societies, where there is a marked territorial and political separation of social sectors. Indeed, the main thrust of Luna’s argument throughout is that these segmented strategies serve to explain how democratic politics and extreme inequality can combine into a “stable equilibrium” (Luna 2014, 3);13 in this respect, the informal rules of clientelism—just as much as property rights or populism—express and reinforce the structured inequality that is intrinsic to the combined and uneven political system that is polity.14 Thus, the inherent tension between democratic politics and inequality that democratic theory has never truly been able to resolve, despite a recurrent display of conceptual legerdemain, becomes quite straightforward and transparent in the context of polity. Once again, the contrast with Tilly’s approach may prove instructive, because Tilly understands the process of democratization in part as the reduction of “autonomous power clusters” through “the broadening of political participation [and] the equalization of access to non-state resources” (Tilly 2007, 139).15 So for Tilly it is either “autonomous power clusters” and undemocratic governments or democratic governments that protect the wellbeing of “larger shares of their subject populations” (Tilly 2007, 117). But these questions are resolved very differently in the context of polity, where “power clusters” are present and unreduced in the articulation of oligarchic interest and state institutions, and where they can come to combine with democratic politics in “stable equilibrium.” In sum, as argued in Chapter 5, the structured inequality of polity is integrated directly into the exercise of state power and, by extension, into the sphere of democratic politics— though this rarely goes uncontested (see below).16

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Adam Przeworski quotes a political figure in mid-nineteenthcentury Colombia who asserts that “we want enlightened democracy, a democracy in which intelligence and property direct the destinies of the people; we do not want a barbarian democracy in which the proletarianism and ignorance drown the seeds of happiness and bring the society to confusion and disorder” (Przeworski 2010, 79). He proceeds to observe how surprising it is in retrospect that democracy was transformed so completely from a revolutionary project into a conservative one, which succeeded in combining an idea of political equality with a practical order founded on the protection and reproduction of an increasingly dynamic system of economic inequality. He adds that “no one at all in 1750 either did or could have seen democracy as a natural name or an apt institutional form for the effective protection of productive wealth. But today we know better” (Przeworski 2010, 84). To which the answer is “yes and no.” Yes, as we know all too well, the name has indeed come to serve this purpose; but no, the institutional form in Latin America and beyond is not democracy but the more complex form that is polity.17 For Przeworski, the key and unexceptional point is that “democracy is a mechanism that treats all participants equally. Nevertheless, when unequal individuals are treated equally, their influence over collective decisions is still unequal” (Przeworski 2010, 92). This is no doubt true, but by treating inequality as a contextual fact that is external to the world of politics, it entirely mistakes the nature of structured inequality in polity, and so underestimates its impact on collective decision making. Polity, Oligarchy, and Democratic Struggles The claims made here for the status of polity as a political system can in no wise be taken as tantamount to an assertion that there is no historical point in pursuing democracy or that democratic values are unimportant or that democratic struggles no longer matter—as the final section of Chapter 4 and the argument of Chapter 8 make clear. So this account of polity should

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not be read as a “futility thesis” (Hirschman 1991, 43–80)18 or a pessimistic tract in the mold of Mosca (1939) and Pareto (1991), though elements of their analyses are pertinent to the construction of polity (see below). Rather, the premises of this account of polity are that no process of democratization can ever be complete, that—consonant with Tilly’s reading of the question— democratic reversal is just as likely as democratic advance, and that for the foreseeable future the net result of democratic struggles will be best characterized not as democracy but polity. At the same time it has been noted (Chapter 8) that—in Latin America at least—many democratic struggles are expressed through legal-political struggles to demand or redeem elements of liberal constitutionalism, and so are seen to pursue a program of constitutional reform. It is recognized that in the majority of cases the reform process is at best incremental and piecemeal, and often contradictory or counterproductive, especially insofar as it is captured by oligarchic interests, while the few cases of radical constitutional engineering driven by populist insurgencies have signally failed to fulfill the millenarian promise of restoring popular sovereignty by purging the polity of the oligarchy (Chapter 6). But the democratic constitution, as argued above and in Chapters 4 and 7, straddles the boundary between democratic and oligarchic spheres of power holding in polity, and so it is surely no surprise that the constitution has become the privileged terrain of struggles for more meaningful representation or more accountable government. It may be objected that changes to the formal rules enshrined in the constitution may do nothing to change the informal rules that inform political practice, because they may not, and certainly not in the short term.19 But the point is that the reform process can project a public enactment of political struggles to defend the democratic regime and press government actors to engage in complex projects of institutional improvement and constitutional amendment. In a different perspective democratic struggles can serve as a vehicle for popular education. It was argued in the coda to Chapter 7 that rights have to be rooted in common cultural understandings to be viable and effective and are likely to fail where

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many or most of the demos have little faith in such rights or, more accurately perhaps, no conception of the rule of law or its implications.20 Therefore, where social mobilization adopts and disseminates a language and understanding of rights, it may serve to modify the interaction of formal and informal rules in polity. Equally, survey data from Latin America recurrently reveal that the democratic values implicit in rights are understood in terms of material benefits and distribution, so importing clientelism into the notion of democracy in a way that both conforms to and confirms the reality of polity. Far from being a cultural epiphenomenon, clientelism is integral to the patrimonial state and to the coherence and naturalizing of polity as a political system. But, as argued in Chapters 2 and 7, the general claims of rights are cross-cut and countered by the particular power relations of clientelist politics, so reproducing the structural tensions within polity in the lived experience of it. In sum, beliefs and values may both reflect and confirm the structure of polity and contribute to modify its modus operandi, depending in some degree on the impetus and strategic intent of democratic struggles. Contrariwise, and possibly more difficult to digest for those committed to the democratic ideal, there is no presumption in the model of polity that democracy is all good and oligarchy all bad. Nor is there any presumption, notwithstanding populist rhetoric to the contrary, that there is a permanent Manichean struggle being waged between the two: the variable composition of polity is too open and contingent for this to make any kind of historical sense. Just as democracy and especially majoritarian or unbridled democracy can have its dangers and deviations (as argued in Chapter 5), so oligarchy may pursue reasonable or justifiable political ends that have socially acceptable or “satisfycing” political outcomes. In particular, private gains may be used for public purposes, even where corruption runs deep, while, more generally, an institutionalist view of economic development (North 1995; Sened 1997, 76–102) contends that dominant oligarchies within ruling coalitions can impose binding arrangements such as a regime of property rights that may benefit everyone, if in very different degrees. In other words, “any rules are better than no

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rules.” Furthermore, in the view of conservative philosophers like Michael Oakeshott (1977), the price of oligarchy may be worth paying if political learning over the generations allows oligarchies to become good, or at least republican-minded, leaving open the possibility that new oligarchies may be no better and may indeed be worse than old—which is something for populists to consider. And whatever the character of the oligarchy itself, there will still be a recurrent need to legitimate the polity, so even high oligarchic politics may have to be mindful of public opinion. Here it is worth recalling the argument of Chapter 5 and the part that oligarchy may plausibly play as a key component of balanced government in a republican polity. It was concluded that Pettit’s theory of republican government in the pursuit of freedom as nondomination was unviable in the context of polity in Latin America, where the structured inequality vested in the patrimonial state made it unlikely or impossible that government could “track the interests and ideas of ordinary people” (Pettit 1997, 11).21 But the rejection of this normative argument leaves intact Aristotle’s original assertion—which was based on extensive and comparative empirical research—that politeia as a balance of oligarchy and democracy might best serve the defense of the republic. Aristotle’s argument was nonnormative, and Schumpeter’s defense of “protective democracy”—which bears a strong resemblance to polity—was explicitly and self-consciously so. So the possible role of oligarchy in this respect is not a normative proposition, and hence not a matter for constitutional prescriptions.22 On the contrary, a republican reading of oligarchy’s role in the polity is empirical and contingent and serves as a kind of shorthand for the complex ways in which polity works as a political system that may achieve some kind of balance—more or less precarious, only rarely comfortable—between oligarchic and democratic spheres of power holding; given the considerable variation within and across polities, as described earlier, it is a shorthand that may give rise to a wide range of descriptive inferences. In sum, polity is a political system with some potential for some degree of republican government, depending in part on the political and cultural character of the oligarchy.23

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Polity in Latin America and Beyond This inquiry into polity has referred recurrently to the politics of Latin America, past and present, while also making general claims for polity as a complex but coherent political system with a global presence. But inevitably the question arises of just how far does the conceptual construction of polity depend on the particular empirical context of Latin America? It must be said immediately that this question will remain largely unresolved here, insofar as it would require a more comprehensive comparative inquiry, or perhaps several such, to do it justice. So what follows is a speculative look beyond Latin America, punctuated by summary opinions, that continues to draw on democratic theory for its inspiration. The great conundrum of comparative politics is that every region of the world, and indeed every nation-state, has a distinctive political and cultural character that mark it out as different from anywhere else so that any comparative inquiry will inexorably trade off the specific features of particular places for comparative statements with general validity. In Latin America these features would certainly include the particular pattern of state formation that created the patrimonial state; the high political profile and economic weight of the oligarchy, but also its cultural bravura and generational continuity; the pervasive presence of clientelism in political institutions and political practice; the recurrent resurgence of populist politics; and, paradoxically for some, the extraordinary vibrancy of its electoral politics. This much is uncontentious. But it is surely plausible that all these features—if not always in the same measure or historical sequence or combination—can be found equally in many others countries, and not only India, South Korea, and the Philippines but also Japan, Italy, and Spain and its autonomous regions, and subsequently they have also come to characterize the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and not just Georgia and the Ukraine but also Hungary, Slovakia, and even Poland in some degree. The process of state formation is central to a comparative inquiry into polity, and it may be objected that the trajectory of state formation is very different across these disparate cases, as is

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the timing of their insertion into the world economy and the economic foundations of their oligarchies. But different historical trajectories may yet lead to the creation of a patrimonial state, and this is the key to whether apparent differences can be encompassed and accommodated within the variations of polity. Here the categorical distinctions drawn between Weber’s ideal types can be misleading, and especially the distinction between the private appropriation of state resources and particularism in the exercise of power that characterizes the patrimonial state and the legal-bureaucratic state with its “complete separation” of things public and private and a maximum adherence to objective and impartial rules (Weber 1978, 220, 1028–1029). The heuristic intent of the types never amounted to an assertion of historical reality: a pristine embodiment of the legal-bureaucratic state is a vision of institutional perfection, whereas an extreme version of the patrimonial state would simply lose its institutional coherence. That said, versions of the patrimonial state are clearly prevalent across the world,24 even if the image or illusion of the legalbureaucratic state informs the design of democratic constitutions. In Latin America there is clear evidence of the persistence of patrimonial rule following the democratic transitions of the 1970s and 1980s: mass participation, fiercely competitive elections, and the rotation of different parties in government have had little or no impact on the ways in which political power is exercised, not least because the elected political leaders of mass parties have shown no commitment to change them (Mazzuca 2010, 352–353). The conceptual construction of polity easily embraces this reality and explains why it is how it is. But the point here is that patrimonial rule in polity is usually characterized and supported by the emergence of a “political class” (Mosca 1939)25 that comfortably adapts to different institutional templates within the democratic regime,26 frequently finds expression in political families, clans, or tribes, and typically survives generational change. So one useful gauge of the presence of the patrimonial state, and hence of the comparative validity of a model of polity, is the presence and popular perception of a political class of this kind across different cases.27 Sometimes, as often the case in Latin America, this

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class is itself described, often in culturally specific terms, as the “oligarchy,” but elsewhere it may simply be seen as some form of political establishment or elite that serves as a surrogate for the oligarchy writ large and as an occasional focus of populist animus and electoral mobilization. Latin America only entered the mainstream of comparative politics some thirty-five years ago,28 coincident with its transitions to democratic institutions, having long been considered a rather exotic exception to most rules of thumb and only defined by its differences. But insofar as this political class is now recognizable everywhere from Europe to South and Southeast Asia to Africa, there emerges the enticing conceit that the mainstream now begins to resemble Latin America ever more closely, as Latin America comes to constitute the model for polity. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in the United States, which appears increasingly assimilated to the model of polity to the degree that it now looks like a mirror image of Latin America—a strange fate for the imperial power that promulgated the Monroe Doctrine. Unsurprisingly, this is always more apparent during periods of high oligarchy, which also tend to coincide with moments of populist insurgency. The populism of the late nineteenth century arose initially in response to land grabs by the banks and railroad companies, though today it is prompted by the remoteness of a self-serving political class characterized as the Washington establishment. 29 Reference has already been made to the conduct and outcome of the presidential election of 2000 in the state of Florida (Chapter 2)—redolent in every way of electoral politics in Latin America—and, more generally, the vibrancy and color of electoral politics in the United States is only matched by the extraordinary influence of finance capital and corporate power in both the electoral arena and the policymaking process. The pervasiveness of “machine politics” (clientelism by another name), gerrymandering, massively endowed political action committees and the power of political lobbies, political clans and families, and a rather brazen political class are all signs of the presence of a patrimonial state. 30 What may be not just distinctive but exclusive to the United States is the degree to which this state is disguised ideologically, as signaled

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in Chapter 2, by constitutionalist rhetoric and enduring republican tropes that maintain a myth of popular sovereignty despite the overwhelming evidence of structured inequality and oligarchic prerogatives. And, finally, what’s in a name? Why not democracy nor protective democracy nor polyarchy nor competitive oligarchy nor electoral authoritarianism, but polity? There is nothing new under the sun, and certainly not in the study of politics, and the appeal to Aristotle to confer classical authority on the idea of polity has been self-conscious and explicit. And it is clear that the titans of empirical democratic theory, Schumpeter and Dahl in particular, were motivated in their work by a similar set of perceptions to those that inform the inquiry into polity—and the inquiry is therefore indebted to them. In lesser degree, as noted in Chapter 6, this is also true of the pessimistic theories of democracy of Pareto (1991) and Michels (1959). But all these theorists approached democracy as a fully fledged political system in its own right that was then either dismissed as inherently flawed and subject to disturbing pathologies (Pareto, Michels) or accepted as constrained and distorted by historical legacies or economic and cultural contexts, and so without hope of ever meeting normative expectations (Schumpeter 1943; Dahl 1989). The rock on which these theories struck and foundered was inequality. Much of Dahl’s work is dedicated to teasing out the impact of corporate power and economic inequality on democratic function and performance, but he stopped short of staking out the conceptual ground for a political system of which democratic procedures are just a part; Schumpeter accords full recognition to the presence of oligarchy, with democracy simply a method for constraining the same, and so comes closer to polity without, however, moving on to describe and analyze the political outcome as an integrated political system. The practical result of all this for the purpose of comparative politics is that it remains stuck in a consistently negative reading of a disappointing democratic universe that is assumed to be a fact but is in fact an illusion,31 a reading shaped by the myth of Sisyphus, where all analytical effort is condemned ad infinitum to explaining why democracy does not work as well as it should—

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why, in short, it fails to be what it is. It is a premise and a conclusion of this inquiry into polity that, as an intellectual and practical project, this negative reading of democracy makes no sense at all simply because the presence of a democratic “manner of attending to arrangements of a society” (Oakeshott 1977, 122) is simply not equivalent to a democratic political system. Polity, very differently, is understood as a political system with its own positive attributes that can provide an economical, coherent, flexible, and comparatively viable model of most modern governments with democratic features. Notes 1. Previous chapters have reviewed the work of Barrington Moore, Skocpol, and Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens, who often focus on the historical preconditions—whether changes in class structure, processes of state formation, forms of warfare, or shifts in international relations—that may lead to the emergence of democracy, or not. But their arguments—and indeed those of Charles Tilly in his earlier works—are often teleological to the degree that they understand the journey to democracy as a form of progress that will leave behind the historical residues of oligarchic and other premodern forms of authority and power. 2. This inquiry has focused on the composition of the polity in Latin America, but, yet more ambitiously, these claims embrace all so-called democracies in greater or lesser degree, including those that are considered most “advanced.” By way of example, the first edition of Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain (1962) provided ample evidence of the United Kingdom as a polity and not a democracy. 3. The size of the tax take, the balance of regressive and progressive taxation, and the proportion of state resources captured by private interests are possible indicators of the relative political weight of the oligarchy. Compare Mazzuca’s criteria for judging the quality of public administration (Mazzuca 2010) reported in Chapter 5. 4. To illustrate, the late nineteenth century in the United States was a period of “high oligarchy” characterized by the emergence of industrial barons, the foundation of giant trusts, machine politics, and the disenfranchisement of freed African Americans, which were all greatly changed and constrained during the era of the New Deal, only to come full circle in the present day of big corporations, iron triangles, and super PACs. 5. One possible approach would be a conjunctural analysis that examined the sequential impact of Fordism, post-Fordism, monopoly capital, and globalization; Ernest Mandel’s Late Capitalism (Mandel 1975) is an early example of such an analysis. Equally possible would be a world-system perspective that focused on “situations of dependency” (Cardoso and Faletto 1969), where the

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oligarchy is itself a client of international capital and where different fractions of the bourgeoisie (agrarian, commercial, national-industrial, comprador, monopoly) have distinct and sometimes contending interests to defend (Foweraker and Landman 2004). 6. This characteristic of polity is widely recognized. Kaufmann and Vicente (2011) of the World Bank have noted the increasingly direct and mutual influence of private power and public authority and have argued for a much broader and nonlegalistic definition of corruption as shaping the policy process so that its outcomes suit and favor oligarchic interests. Interestingly, by their measures the United States and the countries of Europe often appear as more corrupt than many countries of Southeast Asia. 7. For Tilly, this is in some degree a numbers game because “the more democratic regimes that exist, the more regimes run the risk of de-democratization” (Tilly 2007, 189). He notes that Freedom House counted 44 of the world’s 151 countries (29 percent) as free (that is, more than just formal electoral democracies) in 1973, but by 2003 had raised the number to 88 out of 192 (46 percent), with the “number of regimes at risk to serious de-democratization” doubling between 1973 and 2003 as a consequence. 8. State capacity is defined as “the extent to which interventions of state agents in existing non-state resources, activities, and interpersonal connections alter existing distributions of those resources, activities, and connections” (Tilly 2007, 16). 9. Mazzuca seeks to demonstrate this separation through the analysis of the available databases, namely, the Evans-Rauch database on the “Weberianness” of national administrations that includes 34 countries from four continents (Evans and Rauch 1999); the UNDP survey of the quality of the civil service that covers 18 Latin American cases; and Agustina Giraudy’s research on subnational patrimonial administrations that focuses on 21 provinces of Argentina and 31 states of Mexico (Giraudy 2015). He finds that “institutions of access and institutions of exercise are not empirically related” and concludes that “access and exercise are not only conceptually different dimensions of politics but are also not part of the same underlying empirical domain” (Mazzuca 2010, 349). 10. This follows from the proposition that “access to political power and the exercise of political power are simply two analytically distinct aspects of the institutional structure of the modern territorial state” (Mazzuca 2010, 342). 11. In these circumstances the electoral arena may be less “ring-fenced” than O’Donnell thought (O’Donnell 1999b). 12. The analogy here is with Bonapartism, which Marx argued reinforced the autonomy of the state from oligarchic interests at a time of severe social polarization and conflict (Marx [1852] 1934). 13. “High inequality and democratic politics have coexisted in most of Latin America for over three decades without significant shifts towards either redistribution or regime backlashes” (Luna 2014, 13). 14. Furthermore, Luna argues convincingly that segmented strategies not only serve stability by reducing threats to the oligarchy and hence polarization but also reinforce inequalities in access to political representation, so inhibiting redistribution and reinforcing inequality itself. Consequently, in the context of polity, the more skewed the income distribution, the more difficult it is to combat inequality (Luna 2014, 11). Robert Kaufman reaches a similar and similarly

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counterintuitive conclusion by exploring the distributional preferences of different groups of poorer voters in highly unequal societies (Kaufman 2009). 15. By extension, because “weak states” are incapable of suppressing or subordinating these clusters they “suffer from significant obstacles to continued democratization” (Tilly 2007, 189). 16. Tilly also makes much of the “categorical inequalities” of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and so forth that “impede democratization” (Tilly 2007, 110), and rightly so. But he recognizes that the core of such inequalities is the structured inequality founded in property rights, so that “state maintenance of inheritance rights, for example, passes racial and ethnic differences in wealth from one generation to the next” (117). 17. In principle, the institutional form of democracy is shaped by the democratic constitution, but, as reiterated above, the constitution cannot fulfill this promise in practice because it is constrained, curtailed, and undercut by oligarchic interests and state action, with its outcomes contextually conditioned by the interaction of formal and informal rules. 18. The futility thesis states that any “attempt at change is abortive, that in one way or another any alleged change is, was, and will be largely surface, façade, cosmetic, hence illusory, as the ‘deep’ structure of society remains wholly untouched” (Hirschman 1991, 43). 19. Even if constitutional amendment may make only a slight difference to political outcomes in polity (as argued in Chapters 4 and 7), the cumulative effect of small differences can be considerable over time, at least in some cases. Yet any such effect cannot be seen simply as an affirmation of the formal rules of liberal constitutionalism in order to improve democratic performance (Zakaria 1997), for in polity it is often the characteristic combination of formal and informal rules that allows government to work at all. 20. As a peasant farmer recently evicted from his land in the south of Pará, Brazil, reported in 1976, “aqui no Brasil, todo mundo come todo mundo” (“here in Brazil, everybody eats everybody else”), an epigrammatic statement of life as “nasty, brutish, and short” and without any of the protections implicit in the rule of law. For an extensive treatment of this topic in the particular case of Mexico, see Foweraker (1997). 21. It was also observed that Pettit’s argument may be theoretically incoherent insofar as it relies on the opaque and contradictory notion of “structural egalitarianism” (Pettit 1997, 113). 22. The more waggish thought is that any constitutional proposal of this kind would not flourish in the face of the near universal delusion that these are democratic political systems, if only imperfectly so. 23. In his last and posthumous work, Christopher Lasch decries the “democratic malaise” that has infected the United States, but it is clear from the outset that his real concern is with the deteriorating character of the oligarchy and the consequent decline of republican ideals (Lasch 1995). The oligarchy is no longer rooted in community, dedicated to philanthropy, and republican-minded, but global, heartless, and without national identity. In his view social mobility as a mechanism for the “circulation of elites . . . strengthens the likelihood that elites will exercise power irresponsibly, precisely because they recognize so few obligations to the predecessors and the community” (41).

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24. They may also be increasingly prevalent because of the increasing number of “weak state trajectories toward democracy” in recent decades, characterized by “considerable democratization that precedes any substantial increase in state capacity” (Tilly 2007, 87). Since World War II, protection by great powers and international institutions has combined with the decline of interstate warfare to increase the emergence and survival rate of weak states that had been colonies or satellites of great powers. It is the weak state trajectory that supports patrimonial practices (see Chapter 4). 25. According to Mosca’s unvarying view throughout his life, all societies regardless of their particular political organization (monarchy, republic, aristocracy, democracy) are always divided between rulers and ruled, between a small minority of power holders and a large majority of powerless, because the organized minority can always impose its will on the disorganized majority. It is relevant to the present analysis that Mosca first developed this view from his experience of the Italian south, post-Risorgimiento, where the introduction of representative politics did little or nothing to loosen the political grip of deeply entrenched clientelist networks (Hirschman 1991, 51–54). 26. PR-presidentialism in Latin America, PR-parliamentarianism in the Western Europe of the postwar decades, forms of semi-presidentialism in many countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and so forth. 27. Similarly to Mosca, Pareto saw elite domination as a constant of history (the political equivalent of Pareto’s Law), but he emphasizes elite appropriation of the wealth of the many through the “spoliation” made possible by control of the state, which is “a machine for spoliation” (Pareto 1991); irrespective once again of whether the political system is characterized as oligarchy, plutocracy, or democracy, the spoliation of the people will continue unchanged. The language of Mosca and Pareto differs from that of Weber, but it is clear that they make the analytical connections between oligarchy, clientelist politics, and the patrimonial state. 28. This claim refers to its presence in mainstream journals of comparative politics. It is recognized that Latin America was part of the comparative argument on “Economic Development and Democracy” in chapter 2 of Lipset’s Political Man (1959) and the focus of Cardoso and Faletto’s book Desarrollo y Dependencia en América Latina (1969, English translation 1979). 29. On a comparative view, over many years it is remarkable how little electoral turnout varies between rich and poor, educated and noneducated in virtually every country around the globe. But in this respect the United States has been an extreme outlier. So in the postwar period, almost 90 percent on average of those with high incomes (US$75,000 in dollars of 1995) turned out at the polls, but less than half of those with incomes of US$15,000 did so, and the difference in turnout between the educated and noneducated was on the order of 40 percent (Przeworski 2010, 97). Thus, it is clear that social exclusion did in effect lead to political disenfranchisement in the United States over these years, to a far greater extent than in Latin America. 30. González and King explain “late democratization” in the United States by focusing on three dimensions of “stateness,” namely, the legal (principally federalism and local state autonomy), the bureaucratic (state capacity and state self-restraint), and the ideological (republicanism to obscure the gap between

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foundational principles and political practice). They argue that this approach makes the experience of the United States comparable to many instances of Third Wave democratization and so attenuates “American exceptionalism.” But, unwittingly, no doubt, their argument and the evidence they adduce in its support provides a convincing account of patrimonial state formation in the United States (González and King, 2004). 31. As recounted in Chapter 2, this is a universe that tends to divide—to paraphrase Tolstoy—between those more perfect democracies that are all perfect in the same way and those less perfect democracies that are all imperfect in their own particular ways. But, irrespective of where particular cases fall, this still leaves us in the same analytical cul-de-sac.

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Index

accountability: defining democracy, 15; delegative democracy, 29–30; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143; fundamental principles of liberal democracy, 40(n4); informality and, 28– 30; lack in US defense establishment, 41(n14); polity as syncretic political system, 6; role of the public sphere, 26. See also horizontal accountability; vertical accountability accountability deficit, 30 advanced democracies, 30–31 African Americans in the US criminal justice system, 18–19 agency, political: modernization theory and democratic transition, 50– 52; rights protection, 82; Third Wave of democratization, 153– 154. See also populism; social mobilization agrarian reform, 145 agriculture: social perspective on democracy, 47 Alfonsín, Raúl, 115 American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), 170 antifederalists, 43(n34)

Argentina: characterizing the populism, 127(n8); democratization as class struggle, 48–49; economic recovery and inequality, 94; nationalist projects legitimizing the regime, 85(n10); populism and neoliberalism, 127(n7); populism as bad democracy, 96; populism of Perón, 113; populism of the left, 116; populism of the right, 115– 116; presidentialism, 60; recent populism targeting elites and the party system, 114 Aristotle: achieving good government, 40(n6), 92; coexistence of oligarchic and democratic power, 31–32; defining polity, 3; mixed constitutionalism for the common good, 36, 101 articulation of modes of production (AMP), 48 authoritarian regimes: constitutional design in Latin America, 60; democratic transition following, 50; rights and liberties underpinning social mobilization, 152–154 autonomy, state, 85(n1); class interests and state formation, 85(n2); constraints of capital accumulation,

209

210

Index

22; in democratic transition, 53– 54; Marxist theory, 68–69; nondominating government, 103–104; patrimonial state formation, 83–84; role of class structures in state formation, 68–69; state formation in Latin America, 7–9 Aylwin, Patricio, 165

bad democracy, 93 Beetham, David, 77–78 Bentham, Jeremy, 85(n7) Bolivia: populism as bad democracy, 96; populism of the left, 116; populism targeting economic elites, 114–115; presidentialism, 60 Bolsa Familia (Brazil), 90 Bonapartism, 22, 53, 189(n12) bourgeoisie, 46–48, 52, 64(n2), 68, 73–74, 112–113, 188–189(n5) Brazil: democratization as class struggle, 48–49; electoral rules, 86(n15); landowners’ control of the vote, 85(n8); oligarchic power and clientist controls, 100; oligarchic power in political families, 100; populism and good governance, 96; populism of the right, 115–116; populism of Vargas, 113; presidentialism, 60; recent populism targeting elites and the party system, 114; social policies targeting the poor, 90; truth commission, 171; violation of citizens’ civil rights, 145 Britain: class structures influencing the form of the state, 68 bureaucratic state: democratization and, 99; state formation in Latin America, 73–74 bureaucratic structures: influence on good government, 106(n13) bureaucratic-authoritarian state, 25, 51 bureaucratization, democratization and, 27–28, 106(n16), 177–178

camarillas (political families), 3, 114, 174–175

capacity, state: defining, 189(n8); separation of public and private spheres, 27; state formation, state autonomy and, 70–71; Tilly’s classification of states, 176; weak state democratization trajectory, 191(n24) capitalism: civil rights and obligations, 77; creating inequalities, 23; separation of political and economic power, 68–69; social perspective on democracy, 48; state autonomy, 85(n1); state survival and, 85(n3); state theory, 21–23; state theory on the constraints of a democratic regime, 22 capitalist class: democratic transition, 64(n3) Cárdenas, Lázaro, 113, 127(n7) caudillo rule, 85(n9) Central Europe: constitutional design, 58–59 Chávez, Hugo, 114, 128(n15); “Bolivarian” revolution, 127(n10); outsider candidates challenging elites, 117–118; populism of the left, 116, 127(n9) checks and balances: as accountability or constraint, 42(n23); balancing popular will with institutions, 122; constitutional power diffusion, 58; delegative democracy and, 29–30; liberal traditions in Latin America, 106(n20). See also power Chile: electoral rules, 86(n15); human rights agenda, 164–166, 168–169; liberal tradition towards individual rights, 106(n20); populism and good governance, 96; social programs targeting the poor, 91 Chile Solidario, 91 circulation of elites, 161–162, 190(n23) citizenship rights: institutionalist view of democratic transition, 54; Latin America’s liberal tradition towards, 106(n20); patrimonial and democratic states, 76; role of social mobilization in, 158–159

Index civil law, 77 civil liberties: functionalist approach to democracy, 46 civil rights: democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143–144; economic and social extremes in Latin America, 91–92; Latin America’s lack of legitimacy and, 80; property rights and, 34; social movements demanding, 83; state formation in Latin America, 76 civil society: in an idealized democracy, 81; defining, 77; democratic legitimacy and, 77–80; mobilizing the subordinate classes, 48; patrimonial state formation, 83–84; private power and public sphere, 27; resurrection during democratic transition, 157–160; role of the state and the regime, 67; the state, democratization and, 81–83; state formation and constitutions, 68– 71; state formation in Latin America, 8; Tilly’s approach to dedemocratization and democratization, 175–177 class structures: class rule, 32; constructing a popular identity, 113; early Latin American populist experiences, 112–113; influencing a society’s form of state, 68–69; modernization theory and democratic transition, 49–50; social perspective on democracy, 46–48 classical theory, 13 clientelism: as cultural and political feature of Latin American polity, 184; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143–144; early populism in Latin America, 114; evidence in US politics, 186– 187; expressing oligarchic power in a democracy, 178; inequality and good governance, 11; Latin American politics combining private and public realms, 81–82; nationalist projects legitimizing the regime, 85(n10); particularism in peripheral democracies, 28–30;

211

populist leaders challenging economic policies, 119–120; results of populism, 112; self-perpetuation of a current regime, 65(n15); state formation in Latin America, 73–74 coalitional presidentialism, 76, 116– 117 Cold War, 20 collective action, the political context of, 154–157 Collor de Mello, Fernando, 114, 116; outsider candidates challenging elites, 117–118 Colombia: Latin America’s liberal tradition towards individual rights, 106(n20); oligarchic power in political families, 101; populism and good governance, 96; violation of citizens’ civil rights, 144 common good, 32, 36 communitarian traditions: political and social equality, 88 comparative politics: patrimonial politics in democratic government, 38–39 competition, political, 32; modernization theory and democratic transition, 49–50 composite system of polity, 6–7 conceptualizing democracy and polity, 13–14 conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, 90 consensus systems of constitutional design, 135 consent, principle of, 57 constitutional design: Aristotle on polity, 3; Aristotle on the coexistence of oligarchy and democracy, 31–32; boundaries between private and public spheres, 26; convergence of liberal constitutionalism and democracy, 131–133; creation and evolution of, 57–63; democratic transitions and state failure, 65(n14); elements shaping Latin American states, 63; function in a democratic regime and the polity, 83–84; ideal purpose of, 55–57,

212

Index

65(n10); imposing constraints, 55– 58, 65(n11), 143, 162; Mexico’s protections for homosexuals and transsexuals, 167; mixed constitutionalism, 36; oligarchic components of the US constitution, 43(n34); political and economic rights, 43(n29); political outcomes, 10, 71, 133–138; for power concentration and power diffusion, 58; protection of individual rights, 159–160; regime endurance, government efficacy, and democratic performance, 138–141; republicanism, inequality and good government in Latin America, 102; role of the state in systems of polity, 7– 9; state formation and state autonomy, 69; straddling democratic and oligarchic power, 181 constitutional reform: focus of democratic struggles, 181; political outcomes over time, 190(n19); populism and normal politics, 124–126; social mobilization and, 11, 160–163 constitutionalism: institutional view of democratization, 54–55; populism targeting, 9 constraints, constitutional: access to and control of power, 65(n11); democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143; the ideal purpose of constitutions, 55–57; social mobilization and democratization, 162 core-periphery relations: economic inequality and democratic imperfection, 23; effects of populism, 112 corporate power, 186–187, 188(n4) Correa, Rafael, 114, 118 corruption: defining in terms of oligarchic political interests, 189(n6); democratic legitimacy and, 80; military authoritarian regimes, 85– 86(n11); populism emerging from a swelling informal sector, 120; populism targeting economic elites, 115

crime, democratic legitimacy and, 80 criminal justice system:: disenfranchised minorities, 18–19, 41(n10) crisis, political: constitutional solutions to, 162–163; context for populism, 109–110, 128(n20) Cuba: national-popular movements, 86(n11) cultural differences: comparative inquiry into polity, 184–185; constitutional design and, 137–138; crimes against Mexico’s homosexuals and transsexuals, 168; international human rights agenda, 164

Dahl, Robert, 15–18, 39(n2), 79–80, 96, 187 debt crisis, 51 delegative democracy, 29–30, 119 democracy: analyzing the Latin American polity, 4–5; Aristotle’s view of oligarchy and, 92; Dahl’s indicators for measuring, 40(n9); defining polity, 1–3; defining through political institutions, 15–20, 39(n1); delegative democracy, 29– 30; democracy-oligarchy linkage, 178, 180–183; democratic progress and the polity, 63–64; democratic theory ignoring the democratic-oligarchic linkage, 30–33; democratic-oligarchic power linkage, 32–35, 37–39, 178; difficulty in defining, 16–20; diverse modes of inquiry and analysis, 12–14; early republicanism and, 101–102; examining inequality in democratic regimes, 179–180; historical progress of, 45; ideal purpose of democratic constitutions, 55–57; Japan’s one-party democracy, 41(n12); minimalist definition, 39(n3); mixed constitutionalism, 36; neoliberal reforms and, 93; political and social equality, 87– 89; polity as contradictory political system, 33; polity as political system, 4; questioning the basic value of, 182; societal perspective, 45–

Index 49; view of power in, 4. See also liberal constitutionalism; liberal democracy democracy-oligarchy balance, 12, 30– 33, 36, 180–183. See also constitutional design; democracy; oligarchy democratic consolidation, democratic legitimacy and, 79–80 democratic imperfection. See imperfect democracy democratic legitimacy: military authoritarian regimes, 85–86(n11) democratic method, 3 democratic performance: constitutional design and political outcomes, 138–141; defining, 139; driving constitutional design, 132; the fight for human rights and, 152–154; Latin American polity, 141–146 democratic regimes: constitutions, state formation and state autonomy, 69–71; Pareto’s Law, 128(n16); pattern of state formation influencing regime type, 20– 22; power structures constraining constitutional design, 132–133; role of the constitution in regulation, 83–84; spectrum of democratic maturity and legitimacy, 173–175; state capacity and regime type, 70–71; state formation, 71–76. See also constitutional design democratic reversal, 180–181, 189(n7) democratic theory: characterizing democracy, 15–16; convergence of liberal constitutionalism and democracy, 131–133; failure to define democracy, 19–20; ignoring the democratic-oligarchic linkage, 30–33; inequalities, 43(n28); informality and accountability, 28– 30; institutional view of democratization, 54–55; patrimonial politics in democratic government, 38; political equality and, 32; polity

213

and republicanism, 36–37; populism and the polity in Latin America, 123; populism reproducing the displaced oligarchy, 121– 122; private power and public sphere, 25–27; property right status, 91–92; role of the state in democratization, 67 democratic transition: Chile’s truth commission, 164–165; institutional view, 54–55; modernization theory, 49–52; patrimonialism persisting beyond, 185–186; political challenge of constitutional design, 61– 62; political context of social mobilization, 155–156; property rights and, 34–35; recent constitutional design, 58–59; resurrection of civil society through mobilization, 157– 160; role of the state in, 52–53 democratization: bureaucratization and, 27–28, 106(n16), 177–178; inequality and good governance, 11; as ongoing process, 180–181; political outcomes, 10–11; regime type and, 67; the state, civil society and, 81–83; Tilly’s approach to de-democratization and, 175–176 dependency, situations and culture of, 25, 86(n12), 188–189(n5) development, economic: as measure of democratic stability, 25; modernization and democratic transition, 50–51 disappeared individuals, Chile’s, 164– 165 dissent: rule-based constraints, 57 drug cartels, 166

Eastern Europe: constitutional design, 58–59 economic change: context for populism, 109–110; modernization theory and democratic transition, 50 economic crisis, 94 economic downturn, 51, 62 economic growth: democratic performance and, 137; poverty alleviation in Latin America, 90

214

Index

economic populism, 95 economic systems, nondemocratic, 96 economy: democracy as a function of, 49; populism targeting economic elites, 114–115 Ecuador: populism as bad democracy, 96; populism of the left, 116; populism targeting economic elites, 114–115 education: democratic struggles and popular education, 156, 181–182; modernization theory and democratic transition, 49; social programs targeting the poor, 90–91 elections: Dahl’s indicators for measuring democracy, 40(n9); defining democracy through, 39(n1); democratic imperfections, 18–19; minimalist definition of democracy, 39(n3); outsider candidates challenging elites, 43(n31), 117–118; US election of 2000, 19, 186; voter turnout variations, 191(n29) electoral reform, 160–161 electoral rules, 86(n15); party system composition and, 136–137 electoral systems: achieving good governance in patrimonial systems, 99–100; constitutional design for power concentration and power diffusion, 58; early Latin American populist experiences, 112–113; populism as electoral phenomenon, 111; populism of Perón, 113; self-perpetuation of a clientelist regime, 65(n15) elite theory: democratic transition, 64(n5); fundamental role of the state, 53–54; role of the state in civil society, 69–70 elites: defining populism as distrust of, 110–111; outsider candidates challenging, 43(n31), 117–118; polarizing effect of populism, 111– 112; the political challenge of constitutional design, 62–63; populism as circulation of, 123–124, 161–162, 190(n23); populism targeting economic elites, 114–115;

power in democratic regimes, 20– 22; social mobilization during democratic transition, 157–158 empirical democratic theory, 13–14 equality, political: democratic performance in Latin American polity, 142–143; Latin America’s structured inequality, 91–92; political participation and, 87–88; principles of liberal democratic government, 139 equality, social, 87–88 European Convention on Human Rights, 169–170 executive-legislative relations, 75–76, 134–136

Fabian Society, 89 families, political, 3, 100–101, 114, 174–175 fascist politics, 127(n11) feudalism: role of class structures in state formation, 68–69 fiscal capacity, 27 formal rules, 75–76 France, populism in, 112, 127(n11) freedom, as nondomination, 102–104, 183 Freedom House index, 18, 39(n2), 40(n9) Fujimori, Alberto, 114, 116, 128(n13); outsider candidates challenging elites, 117–118 functionalism: societal perspective on democracy, 45–46

game theory, 62 García, Alan, 115 Germany: class structures influencing state formation, 68; populism in fascist Germany, 126(n2); populism in modern Germany, 127(n11) Gini index, 91 global economy, democratic performance and, 137–138 globalization theory, 24–25 governance: Aristotle on good government, 40(n6); coalitional politics,

Index 116–117; constitutional design and government efficacy, 138–141; defining, 105(n8); defining democracy through, 17; good governance agenda, 8, 94–95; good governance and patrimonial politics, 97–101; inequality and good governance, 11, 92–97; republicanism, inequality, and good government, 101– 104; tension between constitutionalism and democracy, 57–58 Gramsci, Antonio, 77 Greece, populism in, 127(n11) gross domestic product (GDP), 25 Guatemala: oligarchic power in political families, 100–101; violation of citizens’ civil rights, 144–145 guerrilla action, 157 Gulf cartel, 166

Habermas, Jürgen, 77–79, 105(n3) Haya de la Torre, Victor Raúl, 113 Hegel, G.W.F., 77 hegemony, 77 high oligarchy, 186–187, 188(n4) historical evolution, constitutional design and, 59 historical sociology, 13–14 homosexuals, crimes against, 166–168 horizontal accountability: delegative democracy failing to deliver, 30; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 142; Latin America’s liberal tradition towards individual rights, 106(n20); state formation in Latin America, 74. See also accountability Humala, Ollanta, 97 human rights: human rights agenda in Latin America, 163–169; international dimension of legitimacy, 86(n17); international human rights project, 169–171; violation of citizens’ civil rights, 144–145

identity construction, populist, 112– 113 illiberal democracy, 40(n7) imagined community, 73

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imperfect democracy: analytical focus of polity, 38; democratic theory ignoring the democratic-oligarchic linkage, 30–31; economic inequality and, 23–24; electoral rules, 18– 19; informality and accountability, 28–30; polyarchy, 17–19; rights violations, 159–160 import-substituting industrialization, 126–127(n3) income distribution: constructing a popular identity, 113; Fujimori’s populist project, 128(n13); segmented strategies, 178–179, 189– 190(n14); stability over time, 105(n2) independent state formation, 2, 6 Index of Democracy, 134–135 indigenous groups, 159 individual rights and liberties: Latin America’s liberal tradition towards, 106(n20); principles of liberal democratic government, 139. See also rights and liberties industrial sector: early Latin American populist experiences, 113; modernization theory and democratic transition, 49 industrialization, populism as a consequence of delay in, 126(n2) inequality: balance of class power in Latin America, 48; coexistence of oligarchic and democratic power, 31; co-existing with democratic politics, 189(n13); contextualizing through polity, 179–180; democratic politics failing to eradicate, 43(n28); globalization theory and, 24–25; good government and, 92– 97, 101–104; good government in unequal societies, 9; insulating public politics from, 176–177; modern democratic government failing to address, 37; neoliberal policies increasing extremely poor numbers, 115; nonmaterial elements in social inequality, 105(n1); oligarchy and, 23–25; the political challenge of constitutional design,

216

Index

62; political equality and social inequality, 88; populism as response to, 106(n19); republicanism and good government, 101– 104; segmented strategies of addressing, 178–179, 189– 190(n14); social equality and political inequality, 88; social extremes in Latin America, 8, 89–91; stability of income distributions, 105(n2); structured, 91–92 infant mortality, democracy and, 88–89 informal rules: accountability and, 28– 30; combining with formal rules in polity, 104, 124, 126; democratic legitimacy and, 80, 140; linkages between democratic and oligarchic power, 132, 178–179; patrimonial state formation, 75–76 infrastructural power, 54 insecurity, 80, 94, 105(n10) institutional democracy, 40(n4), 190(n17) institutional theory: fundamental role of the state, 53–54; the growth of infrastructural power, 54; state autonomy, 70 institutions, political: context for populism, 109–110; defining democracy through, 39(n1); defining polity, 1–3; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 141–142; democratic transition, 65(n9); particularism in peripheral democracies, 28–30. See also constitutional design; elections interest groups: democratic transition, 64(n6) International Bill of Human Rights, 169 international financial institutions: good and bad government, 92–93 interrupted presidencies, 107(n22), 162–163 Italy, populism in, 127(n11)

Japan: one-party democracy, 41(n12)

labor mobilization, 153–155, 157, 160

land ownership: agrarian reform, 145 landed estates, 47, 69 landowning class: constructing a popular identity, 113 Lasch, Christopher, 190(n23) late democratization, 191–192(n30) latifundia, 47 Latin America: civil society and democratic legitimacy, 80; constitutional design, 59–60; democratic performance, 141–146; democratic theory and, 13–14; early populist experiences, 112–114; inequality and good government, 93–94; inequality co-existing with democratic politics, 189(n13); the making of social mobilization, 157– 160; path to democracy, 63; patrimonialism persisting beyond, 185–186; the political challenge of constitutional design, 61–63; polity globally and in Latin America, 184–188; populism and constitutional reform, 124–126; populism and the polity, 122–124; populism as bad democracy, 96–97; populism challenging the party systems, 117; recent populism and oligarchy in, 114–116; republicanism, inequality, and good government, 101–104; social extremes, 89–91; social mobilization in defense of rights, 152–154; state capacity and regime type, 70–71; state formation process, 72–73; structured inequality, 91–92. See also specific countries and individuals Le Pen, Jean-Marie, 127(n11) left, populism of the, 114–118. See also populism legal systems: boundaries between private and public spheres, 26; constitutions, state formation and state autonomy, 69 legal-bureaucratic state, 81, 156, 185 legislative branch: constitutional design, 135; executive-legislative relations in a patrimonial state, 75–76

Index legitimacy, state: balancing democratic legitimacy with elite effectiveness, 122; civil society and democratic legitimacy, 77–80; coalitional politics, 116–117; international dimension of, 86(n17); political equality and, 87–88; state formation in Latin America, 8; Weber’s ideal state, 72 LGBT community: crimes against homosexuals and transsexuals, 166–168 liberal constitutionalism: Latin America’s state formation, 72–73. See also constitutionalism liberal democracy, 57; foundational principles, 40(n4); ideal role of constitutions, 65(n10). See also democracy liberal traditions: political and social equality, 88 liberalism: populism and the polity in Latin America, 122–123 liberty, freedom and, 103 life expectancy, democracy and, 88–89 Locke, John, 40(n4), 77, 88 López Obrador, Andrés Manuel, 97

Machiavelli, 36 Madison, James, 37 Madisonian republicanism, 102 majoritarian legislative systems, 135 Mann, Michael, 13 markets. See capitalism Marxist theory: distinguishing between state and regime, 21–23; fundamental role of the state, 52– 53; role of the state in civil society, 69–70; social perspective on democracy, 46–48, 64(n1); state autonomy, 68–69, 85(n4), 189(n12) mass mobilization. See social mobilization Mazzuca, Sebastián, 177–178, 189(n9) Menem, Carlos, 114, 116, 118, 127(n8) Mexico: human rights abuses, 166– 169; nationalist projects legitimizing the regime, 85(n10); populism

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and good governance, 96; populism and neoliberalism, 115, 127(n7); populism of Cárdenas, 113; populist process, 128(n14) Michels, Robert, 13–14, 187 middle class: social perspective on democracy, 46–48 middle-polity, 31–32 Miliband, Ralph, 85(n1) military: guerrilla action against, 157; violation of citizens’ civil rights, 144–145 Mill, James, 85(n7) Mill, John Stuart, 85(n7) Mills, C. Wright, 85(n4), 96 minorities and minority rights: constitutional constraints on suffrage, 56; crimes against homosexuals and transsexuals, 166–168; in the criminal justice system, 18–19; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143; disenfranchisement of, 41(n10); infringement of rights of, 159–160 mixed constitutionalism, 36–37 modernization theory: competing explanations for Latin American policy, 7; democratic performance, 138; democratic transition, 49–52; good and bad behavior of civil society, 82–83; path to democracy in Latin America, 63; social perspective on democracy, 46, 64(n1) Moore, Barrington, 13, 47–48 Morales, Evo, 114; constitutional reform, 128(n15); outsider candidates challenging elites, 117–118 mutual class attrition, 53

national popular model, 153–154 national security regimes, 30, 85– 86(n11) nationalism: state formation in Latin America, 73–74; state legitimacy through, 85(n10) natural rights theory, 37 neofascist politics, 127(n11) neoliberal economic policy: as good government, 93; increasing

218

Index

inequalities, 62, 105(n9); internal linkages and inequality, 178; labor mobilization, 160; populism as political vehicle for, 115 neopopulism, 115 new institutionalism, 94, 133–134 Nicaragua: national-popular movements, 86(n11) nondomination, state as agent of, 102–104, 183 normativism, defining democracy through, 17

O’Donnell, Guillermo, 13, 50–51, 70–71 oligarchy: Aristotle on good government, 3–4, 40(n6); Aristotle’s view of democracy and, 92; clientelism and power, 29–30; control over human rights, 168–169; culture of dependency, 86(n12); defining polity, 1–3; defining populism as distrust of elites, 110–111; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143–144; democratic theory ignoring the democratic-oligarchic linkage, 30–33; democratic-oligarchic power linkage, 32–35, 37–39, 178; early Latin American populist experiences, 112–114; economic and social extremes in Latin America, 91; economic inequality, 23–24; empirical democratic theory and, 14; government role in insulating public politics from inequalities, 176– 177; high oligarchy, 186–187, 188(n4); indicators of the political weight of, 188(n3); inequality and, 23–25; military violation of citizens’ human rights, 144–146; oligarchic power and clientist controls in Latin America, 100–101; patrimonialism persisting beyond democratic transition, 185–186; political challenge of constitutional design, 62–63; political context of social movements, 156; polity and oligarchy-democracy struggles,

180–183; polity as contradictory political system, 33; polity as political system, 4; populism and the polity in Latin America, 123; populism challenging, 9; populism reproducing the challenged oligarchy, 121–122; private power and public sphere, 26–27; questioning the dangers of, 182; recent populism and oligarchy in Latin America, 114–116; republicanism, inequality, and good government, 104; role of representative democracy, 37; social mobilization and constitutional reform, 161–163; state formation in Latin America, 7–8, 72–74; structured inequality in Latin America, 92; threatening good governance, 8–9; US and Britain, 41(n13) one-party democracy, 41(n12) outsider candidates, 43(n31), 117–119

Pareto, Vilfredo, 13–14, 187, 191(n27) Pareto’s Law, 88, 121, 128(n16), 191(n27) parliamentarianism: constitutional design in Latin America, 60–61; democratic performance, 134, 140 participation, political: modernization theory and democratic transition, 49–50; pluralist political theory of power, 65(n7); political equality and, 87–88; populism emerging from a swelling informal sector, 120; through social mobilization, 154–157 particularism, 28 partidocracia, 115, 124–125, 162 party systems: democratic transition and civil society, 83; electoral rules and party system composition, 136–137; outsider candidates challenging, 117; populism and populist leaders challenging, 117– 120; recent populism and oligarchy in Latin America targeting, 114; segmented strategies utilizing

Index clientelism and ideology, 178–179, 189–190(n14) patrimonialism and patrimonial states: analyzing the Latin American polity, 4–5; caudillo rule, 85(n9); construction of polity, 83–84; defining polity, 2; good governance and, 97–101; informal rules governing political interactions, 75–76; linking oligarchic and democratic systems, 35; mixed constitutionalism, 36; non-dominating government, 103–104; patrimonialism persisting beyond democratic transition, 185– 186; populism as response to, 9; private and public spheres, 26; regime autonomy and state reach, 174–175; social mobilization targeting, 11; state autonomy and, 177– 178; state capacity and regime type, 70–71; state formation emblematic of Latin America, 184; state formation in Latin America, 7–9, 74–75; US election of 2000, 19, 186; weak state democratization trajectory, 191(n24) patronage: Japan’s one-party democracy, 41(n12); promoting the survival of democracy, 99–100; state formation in Latin America, 73 Pérez, Carlos Andrés, 115–116 peripheral democracies: democratic theory ignoring the democratic-oligarchic, 30–31; informality and accountability, 28–30 Perón, Juan, 113, 127(nn7,8) personality, politics of, 110, 114 Peru: populism and good governance, 96; populism as bad democracy, 96; populism of Haya de la Torre, 113; populism of the right, 115– 116; recent populism targeting elites and the party system, 114 Pinochet regime, 164–167 plural autonomy, 36–37 pluralism: civil society and democratic legitimacy, 78–79; democracy as self-regulating system, 20–21; state autonomy, 70, 85(n4)

219

pluralist theory: democratic transition, 64(n6); fundamental role of the state, 52–53; modernization and democratic transition, 65(n7) plurality system of constitutional design, 135–136, 140 plutocracy, 24 polarization, political: populism creating, 111–112, 127(n6); populism reproducing the challenged oligarchy, 121–122 police forces: Mexico’s crimes against homosexuals and transsexuals, 167; violation of citizens’ civil rights, 144–145 policymaking: good governance agenda, 93–94 political asylum: Mexico’s homosexuals and transsexuals, 167–168 political class, 12 political economy: emergence of a power elite, 96; societal perspective on democracy, 48–49 political instability: context for populism, 109–110; defining democracy, 15–20 political lags, 59 political performance: political outcomes of constitutional design, 133–138. See also democratic performance political rationalism, 59 political rights and liberties: democratic legitimacy and, 79; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143; functionalist approach to democracy, 46; rise of social movements, 154– 155; social movements demanding, 83; state formation in Latin America, 76. See also rights and liberties political society, 26 political sphere: Gramscian civil society, 77 political systems: polity as, 4, 33–35; Third Wave of democratization, 153–154 politics of difference, 121

220

Index

polity: conceptual construction of, 5– 6; defining, 1–5, 37–38; democratic progress and, 63–64; human rights abuses, 168–169; institutional constraints, 83–84; oligarchy-democracy struggles, 180– 183; political context of social movements, 156; as political system, 33–35; populism and the polity in Latin America, 122–124, 128(n21); reframing Tilly’s work through the context of, 175–177; variations across institutional dimensions, 38–39; variations in maturity, legitimacy, and democratic function, 173–175. See also democracy; oligarchy Polity index, 18 polyarchy, 18; procedural concept, 40(n8) popular sovereignty: clientelism in the US, 186–187; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 142–143, 146; populist insurgencies failing to restore, 181; populist myth of, 35; public debate and, 57; republicanism and, 101– 102; US myth of, 186–187. See also populism populism: as bad democracy, 95–97; causes and characteristics, 9–10; coinciding with periods of high oligarchy, 186–187; as consequence of political crisis, 128(n20); constitutional reform and normal politics, 124–126; democratic theory and, 121–122; difficulty in defining, 109–111, 126(n1); as a dimension of political culture, 127(n4); early Latin American experiences, 112–114; in Europe, 127(n11), 128(n12); inequality and good governance, 95; institutional incapacity and, 126(n2); linkages between democratic and oligarchic power, 178; Mexico’s political process, 128(n14); national security regimes, 86(n11); political ambiguities in the outcomes of, 119–120,

123; political and ideological frontiers and switching of political signs, 127(n5); political context of populism right and left, 116–118; political logic of, 111–112; recent populism and oligarchy in Latin America, 114–116; as response to oligarchic power and protective democracy, 35; state formation in Latin America, 73–74, 85–86(n11). See also social mobilization postmodernization: democratic performance, 138 Poulantzas, Nicos, 85(n1) poverty, 89–91, 93, 115 power: access to and exercise of political power, 177–178, 189(n10); balancing democracy and oligarchy, 182–183; coexistence of oligarchic and democratic power, 31; constitutional design for power concentration and power diffusion, 58; contextualizing inequality through polity, 179–180; defining clientelism, 28–30; defining polity, 1–3; defining populism as distrust of elites, 110–111; democratic legitimacy and, 77–79; democratic theory ignoring the democratic-oligarchic, 30–33; empowerment through social mobilization, 154– 157; the growth of intrastructural power, 54; inequality and, 23; links between oligarchic and democratic power, 178; oligarchy’s collection and use of, 3–4; power structures constraining constitutional design, 132–133; state autonomy and, 68–69 presidentialism, 66(n18); coalitional, 76, 116–117; constitutional design in Latin America, 60–61; democratic performance, 134; interrupted presidencies, 107(n22), 162–163; measures of democratic performance, 140 private interests: in an idealized democracy, 81; informality and accountability, 28–30; private

Index power and public sphere, 25–27; state formation in Latin America, 72; Weber’s ideal state, 72. See also oligarchy privatization of state assets, 115, 128(n13), 178 privileging polity, 37–38 property rights: constitutional design and, 43(n29); degradation of civil rights, 145; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143; economic and social extremes in Latin America, 91; as element in authoritarian regimes, 105(n6); inequality and good governance, 11; linkages between democratic and oligarchic power, 178; oligarchy and democracy as individual rights, 34–35; Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 105(n5) proportional representation (PR): consensus systems of constitutional design, 135; constitutional design and regime endurance, 58, 135– 136; failure to reduce clientelism, 191(n25); measures of democratic performance, 140; political outcomes of, 86(n15); populism emerging from, 116–117 protective democracy, 32, 34, 37 protest: populism challenging policies and parties, 117–118 Przeworski, Adam, 180 public policy: achieving good governance in patrimonial systems, 99– 100; economic inequality and democratic imperfection, 23 public sphere: informality and accountability, 28–30; private power and public sphere, 25–27; state formation in Latin America, 74; Weber’s ideal state, 72 puntofijismo, 116, 127(n9)

quality of democracy, 132

redistributive justice, 88–89 redistributive policies: Fujimori’s populist project, 128(n13); pop-

221

ulism challenging traditional systems, 119–120 regime: defining, 41(n11); pattern of state formation influencing regime type, 20–22; role in society, 67. See also democracy; patrimonialism and patrimonial states regime endurance, 134–141 Renaissance politics, 36, 101 rent seeking, 115 representation, political: constitutional design and regime endurance, 135–136; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143. See also proportional representation republicanism: balancing democracy and oligarchy, 12, 182–183; good governance in unequal societies, 9; ideal purpose of constitutions, 65(n10); inequality and good government, 101–104; mixed constitutionalism, 36–37; normative and empirical experiences of democracy, 6; US government-society relations, 74–75 res publica, 74–75, 105(n7) retributive justice: Chile, 164–166 right, populism of the, 114–118, 127(n11), 128(n12). See also populism rights and liberties: contribution of democratization, 10–11; democratic legitimacy and, 78–79; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 142–143; democratic struggles with clientelist politics, 182; human rights agenda, 163–169; international human rights project, 169–171; political context of social mobilization, 154–157; protective democracy, 37; social mobilization and constitutional reform, 160–163; underpinning social mobilization, 152– 154; variations in politics, 39. See also suffrage Rome, republican, 101 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 88

222

Index

rule of law: boundaries between private and public spheres, 26; democratic imperfections through rights violations, 159–160; democratic legitimacy, 78; democratic performance in Latin American polity, 143–144; inequality and good governance, 11; Weber’s ideal state, 72 ruling class, 32

Salinas, Carlos, 115–116, 118 Sarney, José, 115 Schumpeter, Joseph, 13–15, 32, 122, 187 Second Treatise (Locke), 40(n4) segmented electoral strategies, 178– 179, 189–190(n14) self interest: Aristotle on oligarchy, 3–4; the political challenge of constitutional design, 61–63 service sector: modernization theory and democratic transition, 49 Sinaloa cartel, 166 Skocpol, Theda, 13, 46–47, 85(n2) Smith, Adam, 77 social capital, 81 social contract theory, 37 social democratic theory: social perspective on democracy, 46 social distribution: political challenge of constitutional design, 62–63 social indicators, democracy and, 88– 89 social mobilization: as circulation of elites, 161–162, 190(n23); constitutional reform, 160–163; context of rights, 152–154; contribution to democratization, 10–11; defining populism, 109, 126–127(n3); early Latin American populist experiences, 113; growth in Latin America, 157–160; human rights agenda and, 163–164; the political context of collective action, 154–157; populism emerging from a swelling informal sector, 120; rights-based approach, 182; segmented strategies utilizing clientelism and ideology, 178–179, 189–190(n14)

social movements: defining, 154; the resurrection of civil society, 82–83 social peace, 89 social rights, 79 social spending for poverty and inequality, 88–90 socialism: role of class structures in state formation, 68–69; social equality, 89. See also Marxist theory societal genesis of democracy, 7 societal perspective on democracy, 45–49 special interests, 32 spoliation of the people, 191(n27) state: civil society, democratization and, 81–83; democratic theory ignoring the democratic-oligarchic, 30–33; democratic transition and the capitalist class, 64(n3); distinguishing from a democratic regime, 173–175; frameworks for social movement activity, 155; modernization theory and democratic transition, 51–52; monitoring the public-private boundaries, 27; political inequality and, 23; populist leaders challenging economic policies, 119–120; relationship between a democratic regime and its citizens, 176; role in democratic transition, 52–53; role in market capitalism, 85(n3); role in society, 67; role of class structures in the form of, 68–69; social mobilization moving towards, 157; state formation in Latin America, 72–74; Third Wave of democratization, 153–154; Weber’s ideal state, 71– 72. See also autonomy, state state administrative capacity, 27 state capacity. See capacity, state state failure: emerging constitutions, 65(n14) state formation: comparative inquiry into polity, 6, 184–185; defining polity, 1–3; democratic regimes, 71–76; pattern of state formation influencing regime type, 20–22

Index state legitimacy. See legitimacy, state state theory, 13–14; distinguishing between state and regime, 21–23 state-regime relations, 2 structural change, 6–7 structural egalitarianism, 103 structuralism: state autonomy, 85(n1) structure: modernization theory and democratic transition, 51–52 structured inequality: good governance agenda, 94; integration into democratic politics, 179–180; oligarchic power and, 91–92; political outcomes of constitutional design, 10; securing oligarchic power, 101–102 style, populism as, 110 suffrage: constitutional constraints, 56; disenfranchised minorities, 41(n10); early Latin American populist experiences, 113; landowners’ control of the vote, 85(n8); reconciling oligarchy and democracy, 34; social perspective on democracy, 46; state formation in Latin America, 73–74 Supreme Court, US, 19 syncretic political systems, 6

taxation, 54 territorial control, 71–73 Third Wave of democratization, 50– 51, 143, 153–154 Tilly, Charles, 13, 154–155, 175–177, 189(n7) Tocqueville, Alexis de, 77 transsexuals, crimes against, 166–168 truth commissions, 164–165, 170–171

United Kingdom: defining democracy through political institutions, 15; populism in modern Germany, 127(n11) United States: defining democracy through political institutions, 15;

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demographics of voter turnout, 191(n29); late democratization, 191–192(n30); minorities in the criminal justice system, 18–19; republican tradition, 74–75; resemblance to Latin American model of polity, 186; social perspective on democracy, 64(n2) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), 105(n5), 169–170 universal suffrage. See suffrage Uruguay: populism and good governance, 96

values, defining democracy in terms of, 16 Vargas, Getulio, 113 Venezuela: economic recovery and inequality, 94; populism and neoliberalism, 115; populism as bad democracy, 96; populism challenging the party system, 117; populism of the left, 116; populism targeting economic elites, 114–115 vertical accountability: democratic performance in Latin American polity, 142; electoral processes, 30, 99, 142; US and UK, 15–16. See also accountability voluntary associations, 81 voting rights. See suffrage

Washington consensus, 93 weak states, 191(n24) Weber, Max, 71–72 Western Europe: modernization theory and democratic transition, 50 working class: right-wing populism in Europe, 128(n12); social perspective on democracy, 46, 64(n2) World Bank, 93, 105(n9)

Zeta cartel, 166

About the Book Amidst the many lamentations about the problems of democracy, Joe Foweraker turns his attention to specific questions: Is democracy incompatible with stark social inequalities? Why are so many democratic governments deemed unaccountable and beset by populist pressures? Perhaps most fundamentally, why does democratic theory have no answers to these questions? Foweraker argues that finding answers requires a root-andbranch revision of our thinking about democracy—a revision that asks us to stop talking about “democracy” and start talking about “polity.” Drawing on the political realities of Latin America, he describes polity as a system encompassing the distinct but conjoined domains of oligarchy and democracy; and he offers a conceptual framework that identifies the key components and logic of polity. His innovative analysis affords a better understanding not only of democracy in Latin America, but also of democratic regimes around the world. Joe Foweraker is an honorary and visiting professor at the Uni-

versity of Exeter and emeritus fellow of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, where he was the first professor of Latin American politics. At Oxford, he served as director of the Latin American Centre, and subsequently as head of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. Previously, he was professor of government at the University of Essex and then executive director of the European Consortium for Political Research. He has been a visiting professor at the universities of Pará, Florida, London, and Colorado, as well as at Hawaii Pacific University, and a visiting research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Center for US-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Latterly, he was invited back to the University of Florida as the Bacardi Family Distinguished Visiting Scholar. 224