USEM 171: POLITICAL REFORM IN THE MATURE DEMOCRACIES (Spring 1998)
Wednesday 3-5 Pavillion VIII, 108
web version at http://wsrv.clas.virginia.edu/~ljs2k/usem.html
Prof. Len Schoppa
Office: Cabell 148 (tel: 924-3211)
Hrs: M Tu 3:30 - 4:30 (or appt)
Even as formerly communist and authoritarian countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Latin America struggle to establish democratic government, citizens in nations with much longer democratic traditions have been frustrated with the way democracy is functioning in their societies. Recent corruption scandals in Japan and Italy have led voters in those nations to throw out long-ruling political parties and demand drastic political reform--leading to the adoption of electoral reform and campaign finance reform legislation in both countries. While problems have not reached such crisis proportions elsewhere, even in Britain and the United States, with their centuries-old traditions of democratic government, and in Germany, with its well- established system of public funding for political parties, citizens have reacted against the influence of monied special interest groups and demanded reforms.
This course examines the efforts of these "mature democracies" to improve the way their democratic institutions work, going back to the efforts of the founders of the American government to get the institutions right in the 18th century, to the British attempt to fix things through institutional tinkering in the 19th century, and finally to the most recent attempts at political reform in all of the mature democracies. Have these efforts to "engineer" a better democracy worked? If so, which ones have worked best? Finally, what can a study of these efforts tell us about the role of political institutions--relative to other factors like political culture and social structure--in influencing the degree to which democracy "works."
The bulk of students' grades for this seminar will be based on their level of participation in weekly discussions. Because students can only participate in a meaningful way if they have done the reading ahead of time and reflected on it, students are expected to come to class prepared every week. In addition, to make sure at least half of the class is extra prepared, students are asked to write short papers of 3-4 pages about every other week reacting to the assigned readings--a total of seven short papers each. These papers, due by 10 a.m. each Wednesday, will account for 50% of students' final grades. The other 50% of students' grades will be based on their weekly oral participation in discussions, where I will be grading each student's performace as "good" (A), "average" (B), "weak" (C), or "absent" (F). Obviously, attendence is a must. No research paper or final is required.
BOOKS (the following books will be available in the book store):
Jonathan Rauch, Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government (New York: Times
Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1993).
WEEKLY TOPICS AND READINGS
Readings marked with an (*) will be available in a pair of course packets from the Copy Shop at 5b Elliewood Avenue.
I. General Introduction (1/14)
II. Problems With American Democracy Today (1/21) (Essays Due From Everyone)
Jonathan Rauch, Demosclerosis, 3-154.
*David Broder, "News of the Weak," Washington Post, January 5, 1997.
III. How the Founders Tried Their Best (1/28) (First Half of Alphabet Essays Due)
*James Madison, "Federalist No. 10: Securing the Public Good and Private Rights Against the
Dangers of Faction," and "Federalist 51: The Federal Republic of America," in Michael Loyd
Chedwisk, ed., The Federalist.
*James Savage, "Corruption and Virtue at the Constitutional Convention," The Journal of
Political Science 56:1 (February 1994).
IV. How Progressive Reformers Tried to Clean Up Urban Politics 100 Years Ago (2/4)
(Second Half of Alphabet Essays Due)
*Susan Welch and Timothy Bledsoe, Urban Reform and Its Consequences (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1988), 1-17, 104-120.
*Theodore Lowi, "Machine Politics--Old and New," The Public Interest 9 (Fall 1967), 83-92.
V. How the British Tried to Eliminate Corruption 100 Years Ago (2/11) (First Half Essays)
*Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, British Political Finance, 1830-1980 (Washington, D.C.: AEI,
1981), pp. 15-30, 247-272.
Additional Sources: Gary Cox, The Efficient Secret (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Norman Gash, Politics in the Age of Peel (London: Longman, 1953); Cornelius O'Leary, The Elimination of Corrupt Practices in British Elections, 1868-1911 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962).
VI. The Limits to Fixing Democracy Through Institutional Reform (2/18) (Essays from All)
Putnam, Making Democracy Work, pp. 3-26, 63-185.
*Robert Putnam, "Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in
America." PS: Political Science and Politics 27:4 (1995), pp. 664-667.
VII. Recent Attempts to Fix Democracy in Japan (2/25) (Second Half)
*J.A.A. Stockwin, "Reforming Japanese Politics: Highway to Change or Road to Nowhere?"
In Purnendra Jain and Takashi Inoguchi, eds., Japanese Politics Today: Beyond Karaoke
Democracy? (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997): 75-91.
*Sato Seizaburo, "LDP Redivivus: The Failure of Electoral Reform," Japan Echo 24:1 (Spring
Additional Sources: Rei Shiratori, "The Politics of Electoral Reform in Japan," International Political Science Review 16:1 (1995), pp. 79-94; Rei Shiratori, "Political Finance and Scandal in Japan," in Herbert Alexander and Rei Shiratori, eds., Comparative Political Finance Among the Democracies (Boulder: CO: Westview Press, 1994); Ozawa Ichiro, Blueprint for a New Japan (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994), pp. 21-29& 62-75; Raymond Christensen, "Electoral Reform in Japan: How it Was Enacted and Changes it May Bring," Asian Survey 34:7 (July 1994).
VIII. Recent Attempts to Fix Democracy in Italy (3/4) (First Half)
*Gianfranco Pasquino, "Italy: Systemic Corruption, Discontent, and Electoral Reform," future
chapter for inclusion in Leonard Schoppa and Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, eds., Political
Reform in the Mature Democracies.
IX. Germany's Attempt to Fix Democracy w/ Public Funding of Parties (3/18) (Second Half)
*Dick Leonard, "Contrasts in Selected Western Democracies: Germany, Sweden, Britain,"
Herbert Alexander, ed., Political Finance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp.
*Peter Losche, "Problems of Party and Campaign Financing in Germany and the United States-
Some Comparative Reflections," Arthur Gulicks, ed. Campaign and Party Finance in North
America and Western Europe (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993).
X. The French Attempt to Fix Democracy in 1958 (3/25) (First Half)
*Vincent Wright, The Government and Politics of France, 3rd ed. (New York: Holmes and
Meier Publishers, inc., 1989), pp. 1-7, 336-355.
*Michael Curtis, ed., Introduction to Comparative Government, 4th ed. (NewYork: Longman,
1997), pp. 117-146.
XI. The Canadian Reforms (4/1) (Second Half)
*F. Leslie Seidle, "Canadian Political Finance Regulation and the Democratic Process:
Established Rules in a Dynamic System," future chapter for inclusion in Schoppa and Pinto-
Duschinsky, eds., Political Reform in the Mature Democracies.
XII. Reform Attempts in the United States (4/8) (Essays From All)
*Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Dollar Politics 3rd ed. (Washington, D.C.: CQ, 1982), pp. 1-27.
*Paul Herrnson, "The High Finance of American Politics: Campaign Spending and Reform in
Federal Elections," in Arthur B. Gunlicks, ed., Campaign and Party Finance in North America
and Western Europe (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993).
XIII. Guest Speaker: Larry Sabato (4/15--at 7:30!!)
*Brooks Jackson, "Financing the 1996 Campaign: The Law of the Jungle," in Larry Sabato, ed.,
Toward the Millenium: The Elections of 1996 (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997), pp. 225-260.
NO ESSAY DUE
XIV. Can American Democracy Be Improved with Institutional Reform? (4/22)
*Jonathan Rauch, Demosclerosis, 155-257.
*Anthony King, "Running Scared," Atlantic, January 1997, pp. 41-61.
NO ESSAY DUE