November, 2016

Public Debt within Systems of Monopolistic Democracy

  • Richard Wagner

    Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Giuseppe Eusepi

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Read the full working paper at SSRN.

This paper is the penultimate draft of the fifth of six chapters of a book titled Public Debt: An Illusion of Democratic Political Economy. This paper modifies the benchmark condition of a cooperative democracy to incorporate a realistic treatment of democracy where there exist islands of political power within a relatively passive sea of generally modest democratic participation. This essay explains that descriptions of democracy as entailing self-governance are typically mythical or ideological formulations that promote the purposes of those who work with such notions. Public debt becomes a form of shell game, the success of which depends on most people looking somewhere other than where the real action occurs, and which entails a shifting of cost from dominant to subordinate groups as covered by an ideology of self-governance.