Democracy is a government in which the majority of people exercise sovereignty either directly, through ballot measures or town hall-style meetings, or indirectly, through elected representatives. Ludwig von Mises favored democracy because he believed that a minority would, in the long run, be unable to rule over a majority that refused to acquiesce. Mises viewed democracy as a means of avoiding needless bloodshed and destruction by allowing the majority to peacefully take the reins of power, without resort to violent revolution. Some later economists in the Austrian school, such as Hans-Hermann Hoppe, author of Democracy: The God That Failed, have argued against this view. Murray Rothbard points out in Power and Market that there are many factors besides numerical strength of the participants that decide civil wars. For example, the participants' physical strength, military training, enthusiasm and bravery would factor into the outcome. One might even use money as a shorthand for military victory, since the side with the most wealth can afford the best equipment and training and to pay high enough salaries to attract high-quality professional, volunteer soldiers rather than conscripting illiterate, destitute peasants; and thereby prevail even against a numerically superior enemy.
Democracy does not necessarily reduce the amount of violence that occurs. A liberal dictator, uninterested in enforcing laws against victimless crimes or engaging in aggression against other countries, might actually wreak less violence than the officials chosen by an electorate. Even if the police are efficient enough to deter crime so effectively that few actual enforcement actions are required, the threat of government-imposed violence will still be present. The resulting curtailment of freedom can produce some of the same negative effects on productivity as actual violence.
Further, there is no guarantee that the minority faction in a democracy will accept the rule of the majority; if it rebels, there could still be killings and property damage (if the rebels use force) or disruption of economic production (no matter what form of resistance the insurgents use). For example, even if the rebels peacefully refuse to obey orders, their incarceration could hinder economic productivity by removing them from the labor market. The alternative would be to allow disruption of government activities; depending on how vital those activities are to the economy, that could also cause economic disruption. In Israel, for example, Palestinians are allowed representation in the Knesset, but many of them still rebel against the government.
Dissident individuals and groups could be allowed to secede, rather than submit to majority rule. This could have potentially wide-ranging implications; as Rothbard asks, "how can there be a logical stopping-point to the secession? May not a small district secede, and then a city, and then a borough of that city, and then a block, and then finally a particular individual? Once admit any right of secession whatever, and there is no logical stopping-point short of the right of individual secession, which logically entails anarchism, since then individuals may secede and patronize their own defense agencies, and the State has crumbled." Citizens of different sovereign nations currently engage in trade, which suggests that even under such "anarchy" as Rothbard describes, a global division of labor could continue.
- 1 Definition
- 2 Analysis
- 3 Alternatives to democracy
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Links
There are many very different political and economic systems that style themselves as "democratic." Communists have called their countries "democratic republics," despite the fact that intelligent choice among candidates and policies depends upon free speech, which in turn depends upon the existence of private property in printing presses, protest venues, and so on. The ruling party of a government that owned all of these resources could choose to make them available for government propaganda and refrain from allocating their use to political minorities, making democracy a sham. This has been seen in many communist countries that maintained state-owned media such as Pravda and Xinhua, which did not devote much newsprint to presenting dissident viewpoints in a positive light. Ludwig von Mises distinguishes between "economic democracy" and "consumer democracy":
|Capitalist society is the realization of what we should call economic democracy, had not the term—according I believe, to the terminology of Lord Passfield and Mrs. Webb—come into use and been applied exclusively to a system in which the workers, as producers, and not the consumers themselves, would decide what was to be produced and how. This state of affairs would be as little democratic as, say, a political constitution under which the government officials and not the whole people decided how the state was to be governed—surely the opposite of what we are accustomed to call democracy. When we call a capitalist society a consumers' democracy we mean that the power to dispose of the means of production, which belongs to the entrepreneurs and capitalists, can only be acquired by means of the consumers' ballot, held daily in the market-place. Every child who prefers one toy to another puts its voting paper in the ballot-box, which eventually decides who shall be elected captain of industry. True, there is no equality of vote in this democracy; some have plural votes. But the greater voting power which the disposal of a greater income implies can only be acquired and maintained by the test of election. That the consumption of the rich weighs more heavily in the balance than the consumption of the poor—though there is a strong tendency to overestimate considerably the amount consumed by the well-to-do classes in proportion to the consumption of the masses—is in itself an 'election result', since in a capitalist society wealth can be acquired and maintained only by a response corresponding to the consumers' requirements. Thus the wealth of successful business men is always the result of a consumers' plebiscite, and, once acquired, this wealth can be retained only if it is employed in the way regarded by consumers as most beneficial to them.
|It is consumers who make poor people rich and rich people poor. It is the consumers who fix the wages of a movie star and an opera singer at a higher level than those of a welder or an accountant. Every individual is free to disagree with the outcome of an election campaign or of the market process. But in a democracy he has no other means to alter things than persuasion. If a man were to say: "I do not like the mayor elected by majority vote; therefore I ask the government to replace him by the man I prefer," one would hardly call him a democrat. But if the same claims are raised with regard to the market, most people are too dull to discover the dictatorial aspirations involved.
However, actors in the economy also exercise individual sovereignty in their roles as investors, since saving is, after all, merely another form of spending. Briggs Armstrong explains the concept of "investor democracy":
In an investor democracy, those in the minority have far more control over their circumstances and those holding office. The minority shareholder need not convince scores of other shareholders that a particular company policy or executive should be changed. Any unhappy shareholder, who finds himself or herself in opposition to even the most trivial of corporate policies, can be freed from the imposition of the will of others by simply selling their shares. It is certainly easier and cheaper to free oneself from the tyranny of the majority by clicking "sell" than by packing up one's belongings and seeking residence elsewhere.
"Organizational democracy" has become a trendy corporate idea, emphasizing transparency, dialogue, listening, choice, accountability and decentralization, fairness, and integrity. This term may be a misnomer, since an organization can practice all these principles without actually giving employees the right to vote on policy.
Connection, or lack thereof, to liberty
Democracy is often conflated with liberty. The conventional wisdom is that democratic states are free states because the electoral system provides the citizen a means of safeguarding his rights by voting to expel a tyrannical elected official from office. There are many flaws in this argument. Most fundamentally, the citizen requires the assistance of his fellow voters to secure his rights; his own efforts, by themselves, will not suffice. Sometimes one's fellow voters can be an enemy, rather than a friend, to one's liberty. It was perhaps of little consolation to the ethnic and religious minorities of Germany that they were allowed to cast votes in the German federal election of March 1933, because the Nazi Party and its fellow coalition parties still won enough seats in the Reichstag to secure passage of the Enabling Act giving Adolf Hitler the power of a dictator. The concept of "consent of the governed" was exploded by Murray Rothbard, who pointed out, "Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have 'committed suicide,' since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part."
The people may sometimes even vote against their own interests due to lack of understanding. Thomas Gordon argues that "popularity is often but the price which the people pay to their chiefs, for deceiving and selling them" and asks:
Who was better beloved at Rome than Spurius Melius, while he was meditating the slavery of the Roman people? Who could ever boast such potent parties, such numerous followers, such high applause and regard, such trophies and statues, as Marius and Sulla, Pompey and Caesar, Augustus and Anthony could boast; while they were overturning the state, oppressing mankind, butchering one half of the world, and putting shackles upon the other? And, in fine, who was ever a greater impostor, and more admired prophet, than Mahomet was? All these men were enemies to liberty, truth, and peace; the plagues and scourges of the earth: But they deceived and destroyed their people with their own consent, and by the highest wickedness gained the highest popularity.
Karel Beckman argues that "the freedom and wealth people enjoy in most western countries are not due to the fact that they are democracies, but to the fact that their democratic systems were built on a classical-liberal foundation," and that the freedoms of private property, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, independent courts, and limited powers of the rulers were established before the advent of democracy in America and the other western countries. The national democratic state followed, and brought with it rising taxes, more regulations and more government power in general. She argues that in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and China, where there is no tradition of classical-liberalism, there is reason to expect that the advent of democracy will lead to socialist, nationalist and religious dictatorships rather than more freedom, as the electorate demands that the State take action to grant their wishes.
Perverse incentives and public choice
The advent of sophisticated internet collaboration tools and ubiquitous access enables a practical citizen constructed constitution. This is a new development. In the past, it was impractical to have every citizen vote on the individual components of a governing system. Representatives of the people have classically been used to construct such systems. Even today, it is still quite costly for the people to do what is necessary to exercise their franchise intelligently. As Morris and Linda Tannehill point out in The Market for Liberty, "It has been said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. But such vigilance is a constant non-productive expenditure of energy, and it is grossly unreasonable to expect men to keep expending their energy non-productively out of 'unselfish idealism.' There is no area of the free market which requires the constant vigilance of the entire population to keep it from going awry." Members of the populace, being for the most part aware of the economic realities involved in the paradox of voting, often engage in rational ignorance.
The behavior of individuals as consumers and investors may be totally different than their behavior as voters, because the incentive structures are entirely different. In a free market, a consumer's decision to purchase or not purchase a particular product at a particular price is subject to approval by the producer/seller, but does not require the permission of the majority of people or their representatives. The effects of that purchasing decision are likely to have a much greater impact on the consumer's life than his decision to vote a particular way in an election.
In a market economy, both the producer and consumer can experiment with different products and determine through trial and error what the consumer likes best. Both the producer and consumer put their own money on the line in conducting such experiments, and those who do not wish to participate in the experiment are free to refrain from making any financial investment in it. Those naysayers have no power or need to veto the product, except by withholding their own money from it.
Within the sphere of decisions made by a democratic government, experiments cannot be conducted without the consent of a majority. Virginia Postrel argues in The Future and Its Enemies for dynamism, a concept with close connections to libertarianism that calls for allowing individuals and groups of individuals freedom to pursue their own experiments with only minimal centralized control over their activities. She argues that this organic process will allow for faster innovation.
The insistence that all citizens in an area live under the jurisdiction of one democratic government produces creates strife among its participants, who often are working at cross-purposes. They get into arguments as to what "services" (e.g. investigation of drug dealing or investigation of homicide) the government should provide and how much. It is very different from consumers with different preferences peaceably going their separate ways, one to a McDonald's and the other to a Burger King; or of producers cooperating within a company to make money, with those who disagree with company policy or management finding or creating another firm to work for or invest in.
Lack of safeguards against mismanagement
Many of the safeguards against abusive and incompetent leadership that are present in the business world are absent in democracy. In the corporate world, stock prices play an important role in deterring and stopping mismanagement. The owners of a company have a strong incentive to vote for good corporate and policies, not only because profits are needed to fund dividend payments to them, but because potential investors are also concerned about receiving dividends. Current and anticipated profitability therefore has a strong effect on the demand for a company's stock, and hence the stock price. The owners will not be able to sell their shares for as much money if potential investors believe that the company will not have enough money to pay out dividends.
If the stock price falls low enough, a hostile takeover may occur under some circumstances. Investors may perceive that a company would be worth much more than its current stock price if it were placed under new management. A low stock price makes it relatively inexpensive to buy large numbers of shares, possibly enough to take control or at least exert significance influence over the company. Those investors may, therefore, seek to buy up shares, vote out the current management, and put in place leaders they believe will run the company better. A company that is managed well will tend to have a higher stock price and thus be less vulnerable to hostile takeovers, because it would be costly to buy up enough shares to obtain control of the company, and because investors will perceive that there is little profitability to be gained from putting new management in place.
Management teams have adopted a number of countermeasures against attempted hostile takeovers, many with colorful names, such as the Pac-Man defense, crown jewel defense, Jonestown defense, and scorched-earth defense. In some companies, the majority shareholders may be unwilling to part with their shares, making a hostile takeover impossible. Nonetheless, a corporation whose majority stockholders vote for an unprofitable business strategy or an incompetent CEO may still go bankrupt, leaving those investors with less money with which to buy other companies' stock. In such cases, those investors lose some of their power over the allocation of society's economic resources, and will therefore have less potential to contribute to other companies' mismanagement. Meanwhile, those minority shareholders who had enough foresight to recognize the danger and dump their stock in time may emerge relatively unscathed. The fact that one's personal consumption is closely tied to making good investment decisions also provides an incentive to make good decisions.
A voter in a democracy who votes for a bad law or an incompetent leader has just as much voting power in the next election. The same is true for the voter who voted for better laws and relatively competent leaders. There is no mechanism to individually reward wise voters or punish foolish ones. The rewards and punishments are, in many cases, imposed on all those who are subject to the government's jurisdiction. The voter who is in the minority can only exit the system by leaving the country, an option with potentially high switching costs. Despite having paid into the system, he cannot cash in his investment when he leaves, as the minority shareholder in a corporation can.
Rent seeking is also a problematic issue, due in large part to most democracies not enforcing a proportionate relationship between voting power and contributions to the system. The majority of voters can use their franchise to tax the relatively wealthy minority. This is in contrast to how international organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and most private corporations, are set up. Those institutions allocate voting power and dividends in a way that is linked to how much the voter invested in the system. Thus, it is not possible, in a corporation of 100 shareholders, for the 99 who own one share apiece to vote that the company disburse to each of them one ninety-ninth of all the proceeds from the sale of stock to the investor who owns 500 shares. Nor, for that matter, could the shareholder with 500 shares vote to disburse all the company assets solely to him, without giving any to the minority shareholders.
Any activity that a government carries on is, by definition, socialistic. A fundamental flaw with any form of socialism is that there are no market-determined prices for the services rendered and therefore no means of accurate economic calculation. This makes difficult the process of economizing — i.e. allocating resources in such a way that satisfaction is maximized. A corporation, in contrast, has a stock price influenced by investors' transactions resulting from their perceptions of the present value of the company's future cash flows. Because investors are subject to the rigorous weeding-out process of investment success and failure, which rewards wise investment and punishes unwise investment by altering the investors' amount of wealth and resulting economic power, those stock prices will tend to be an accurate valuation, providing a useful measure of how well or poorly the company is being run relative to its competitors; whether and how much its services are valued by its consumers, as reflected by their purchasing decisions; and so on.
Lack of flexibility with regard to governance and voting methods
Another way in which corporate-style governance is superior to most governmental democracies that exist today is in the aspect of voting methods. The corporate system is much more organic and flexible, allowing for the founders of each corporation to create articles of incorporation setting up governance structures and methods that they believe will best suit their purposes, without obtaining the consent of the rest of the populace. Some corporations are deliberately structured in an antidemocratic manner that temporarily gives some shares supervoting status. This is used, for example, by the founders of some tech firms such as Google and News Corporation who wish to retain control for several years while relinquishing majority ownership for the sake of raising funds by selling large numbers of shares. In this way, the founders get some of the benefits of debt financing while the other shareholders get some of the benefits of equity ownership.
It has been noted that "insider supermajority voting control can add value, if an insider can make decisions that may be unpopular to short-term-oriented public shareholders but beneficial for the long-term interests of the company" but that other times, "supermajority voting shares by insiders can substantially destroy value for public shareholders." Any concerns pertaining to the dangers of separating ownership from control will tend to be incorporated into the stock price. Those who are uncomfortable with the arrangement can simply refuse to buy those shares, which will diminish the demand and hence their price in the market. For this reason, insiders will have an incentive to avoid using supervoting shares unless they can convince potential investors of the need for them.
The method by which shareholders exercise their voting rights in corporations can be modified by a variety of contractual methods, as the individual shareholders see fit. It is possible, for example, for shareholders to delegate their votes to trusted proxies via a power of attorney; to set up voting trusts; or to make binding voting agreements with other shareholders pursuant to whatever terms the parties desire. Cumulative voting for board members, which is the rule rather than the exception in corporations, helps minority shareholders obtain representation. In many cases, no such arrangements are possible in governmental elections. Voting contracts are often regarded as falling within the scope of bribery laws pertaining to elections, and any changes to the voting method require the consent of a majority, or even a supermajority, of the electorate or its representatives.
The centralization of power has overwhelmingly resulted in political systems that do not operate as advertised. Attention is rarely paid to effective mechanisms of oversight, and in many cases independent agencies are deliberately constructed to insulate them from political pressure. The inevitability of politicians' delegating some power to bureaucrats, and the implications of this, is analyzed in Mises' Bureaucracy. Mises, a former bureaucrat, argues that totalitarian policies, not the method of their implementation, are the problem: "It would make little difference if Congress had not endowed these agencies with quasi-legislative functions and had reserved to itself the right to issue all decrees required for the conduct of their functions."
The concept of an independent judiciary has also been widely accepted as a fundamental necessity in a constitutional republic. Rothbard has pointed out that judiciaries appointed by the political branches, or elected by the public, are not really independent; and even if they were, they would then constitute an oligarchic dictatorship whose exercise of power would be incompatible with the existence of democracy, at least within the judiciary's sphere of action. The lifetime tenure that U.S. Supreme Court justices enjoy has not prevented the high court from abrogating many constitutional protections against federal encroachment on prerogatives that had customarily been reserved to the states and to the people. See wikipedia:The Dirty Dozen (book).
Bureaucrats are not only government employees, but voters who may seek to preserve their positions by re-electing incumbents. Mises notes, "Representative democracy cannot subsist if a great part of the voters are on the government pay roll. If the members of parliament no longer consider themselves mandatories of the taxpayers but deputies of those receiving salaries, wages, subsidies, doles, and other benefits from the treasury, democracy is done for."
Lack of true democracies
Democracy is based on a philosophical belief that the ideal form of government for a set of people is the government that a majority of them collaborate to construct. It is based on the concept of majoritarian popular sovereignty rather than individual sovereignty, which would require unanimous consent of the governed. In a democracy, majorities of the people theoretically maintain the absolute right to partially or completely alter or abolish the theocracy, state committee or ruling council. In practice, barriers are sometimes erected to make it difficult or impossible for the majority to exercise its sovereignty. Examples might include supermajority voting requirements needed to amend a constitution, or campaign finance legislation that impedes the economic transactions needed for members of the majority to communicate freely concerning candidates and ballot initiatives.
Though the term democracy has been used by many governments, there are no true democracies. Most governments fail to be true democracies because they fail one of the following tests.
- Enfranchisement — The governed must have the ability to influence the government. Athens gave the right to vote to a subset of the people governed, notably omitting slaves and non-citizens. Many countries disenfranchise large groups of the governed, such as prisoners, minors, people who have not lived the required length of time in an electoral district, and so on.
- Implied Consent — A true democracy emerges from the will of the governed. Current governments do not ratify their constitutions as new members are added to the contract. The vote of landowners in 1776 to enact a system only applies to them. Children are not bound by the contracts of their parents, although property bequeathed to them can be so encumbered.
- Referendum — Majorities of the people must have the final say, and must be able to override the actions of their government according to a process they choose. There is currently one country in the world which allows the people to have the final say, and even there, it is limited. Switzerland stands alone as the only country where the people can vote down a war. Coincidentally, perhaps, it is the only country to stay completely out of war in the 20th century.
It is common to label some form of government as a "Democracy" and to analyze the principle, democracy, on those grounds. Democracy has only one inherent characteristic to analyze. It is the will of the majority of the people, for better or worse. The will of the people may be suffocating rules, flexible rules, or no rules at all.
Lew Rockwell notes, "Democracy has turned out to be not majority rule but rule by well-organized and well-connected minority groups who steal from the majority. It has also spawned exactly what Woodrow Wilson desired most: autocratic and centrally consolidated government. It is not a coincidence that government has grown as the franchise has been extended: more and more groups have been given the opportunity to help themselves to the liberty and property of others."
The following example may be illustrative of the differences between liberty and democracy. Seven friends sit down at a table at a pizza parlor. One of them says, "I think we should all get the same pizza toppings. Let's do it democratically."
The next step is not a vote on toppings. Liberty demands that each member of the group be consulted to decide individually if he wishes to submit to some set of rules intended to benefit him. While the suggestion was intended to bring the group closer together through shared pizza flavor, and perhaps achieve some benefits dependent on economies of scale, every person is free to choose until he has agreed to some ruleset that provides to the contrary.
This is the same concept embodied in (immutable) rules 109 and 113 of Peter Suber's democracy simulation, Nomic. Rule 109 states, "Rule-changes that transmute immutable rules into mutable rules may be adopted if and only if the vote is unanimous among the eligible voters." Rule 113 states: "A player always has the option to forfeit the game rather than continue to play or incur a game penalty. No penalty worse than losing, in the judgment of the player to incur it, may be imposed." Thus, the rules that shield players from unwanted infringements of their liberty by other players are contained in immutable rules requiring unanimous consent for amendment; if it were otherwise, tyranny could result, as "[c]hildren often invent games that provide game-penalties for declining invitations to play, or that extend game-jurisdiction to all of 'real life' and end only when the children tire or forget."
The key difference between the democracy simulated in that game and the democracy practiced by national governments is that in the latter, there is no equivalent to rules 109 and 113. As Suber points out, one cannot "choose not to play tax law. These choices are not recognized by the rules of the 'law game' as valid moves; one is liable anyway." In real-world democracies, the government will not allow individuals to secede and live their lives free of the taxation and regulation approved by the majority; the state would, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, "think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men." In nomic, the ability of players to choose whether or not to participate, and with whom they wish to play, greatly affects the dynamics of the game. It avoids or eliminates a great deal of strife and oppression.
Alternatives to democracy
Various methods of regime change other than elections have been suggested. Emigration can be a means by which people vote with their feet and thereby encourage states to engage in tax competition, regulatory competition, and other methods of competing to offer conditions that will attract immigrants. A nation may amend its policies out of reluctance to see a brain drain occur that robs it of prestige, economic power, and the know-how needed to establish and maintain a well-equipped and well-led military.
Governments can also be partly or completely privatized — i.e. their assets and functions can be turned over to privately-owned, for-profit firms — introducing a set of incentives and safeguards more conducive to good management, assuming consumer choice and a competitive marketplace for governance exist. If government becomes a corporation owned by private citizens with fully divestible shares, control of the government will tend to fall into the hands of those whose comparative advantage is governance. For example, if a person feels he is more competent at bricklaying, and that the market price for his bricklaying labor is higher than what he could get for investing his labor in the running of government, he will be inclined to sell his shares of that government, either for personal consumption or to buy bricklaying equipment. But he will still influence governments in his capacity as consumer, by choosing a provider of government services that he believes suits his needs best. In such a situation, government becomes essentially a "super-landlord" managing a certain territory for profit, and perhaps allowing them to sublet to others. The taxes paid by residents of the territory to the government are similar to rent payments.
The ethics of such an arrangement have been debated by libertarians. Rothbard viewed natural law as the only means by which one could determine legitimate control over a territory, arguing that "only those libertarians who have a theory of justice in property titles that does not depend on government decree, could be in a position to scoff at the new rulers' claims to have private property in the territory of the country, and to rebuff these claims as invalid." Mises rebuts this by arguing, "That all rights derive from violence, all ownership from appropriation or robbery, we may freely admit to those who oppose ownership on considerations of natural law. But this offers not the slightest proof that the abolition of ownership is necessary, advisable, or morally justified."
Another possibility is that government could be abolished and the current property owners would become the new sovereigns. Companies would then serve as contractors to property owners, much like present-day private security firms (handing the enforcement of property rights defined by law); mediation firms and arbitration associations (resolving disputes between parties); or lawyers (helping parties determine what rules it would be in their interests to voluntarily agree to be bound by). Thus, whether a person lives under a government or is a sovereign unto himself, he will incur expenses if he wishes to receive some of the services presently provided by government. However, it is possible that, just as governments provide some services (such as education) free of charge to the indigent, poverty-stricken sovereigns will also receive some assistance from donors or contractors who provide services on a sliding scale. This already occurs, to some extent, in our present international system; for example, Germany is helping to bail out insolvent Greece.
For those who, for one reason or another, are unwilling or unable to emigrate, civil disobedience can be an effective nonviolent method of revolution that does not require elections. Rothbard also points out, in For a New Liberty, that violent revolution need not be very destructive. He argues that guerrilla warfare can be ethical as long as it consists of (a) weapons limited so that no civilians are injured in their persons or property; (b) volunteer rather than conscript armies; and (c) financing by voluntary methods instead of taxation. He cites the Bangladesh Liberation War as an example of a just war in which the innocent were spared by the rebels and "[o]nly Punjabi soldiers were on the receiving end of Indian bullets."
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Might". Human Action. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap9sec3.asp.
- von Mises, Ludwig (1985). "Democracy". Liberalism. Foundation for Economic Freedom. http://mises.org/liberal/ch1sec8.asp.
- Rothbard, Murray. "Democracy". Power and Market. http://mises.org/rothbard/mes/chap17b.asp#5._Democracy.
- von Mises, Ludwig. "War and the Market Economy". Human Action. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap34sec2.asp. "The most important thing in war is not to avoid the emergence of high profits, but to give the best equipment to one's own country's soldiers and sailors."
- von Mises, Ludwig. "The Limitation of Offspring". Human Action. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap24sec2.asp. "These miserable masses of paupers will certainly not be a serious menace to the independence of the Western nations. As long as there is a need for weapons, the entrepreneurs of the market society will never stop producing more efficient weapons and thus securing to their countrymen a superiority of equipment over the merely imitative noncapitalistic Orientals. The military events of both World Wars have proved anew that the capitalistic countries are paramount also in armaments production. No foreign aggressor can destroy capitalist civilization if it does not destroy itself. Where capitalistic entrepreneurship is allowed to function freely, the fighting forces will always be so well equipped that the biggest armies of the backward peoples will be no match for them."
- Rothbard, Murray. "The Inner Contradictions of the State". The Ethics of Liberty. http://mises.org/resources.aspx?Id=065489a0-ccb5-4aba-b83a-13cecdd3a721.
- Rothbard, Murray. "Property Rights and "Human Rights"". For a New Liberty. http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "The Dictatorial, Anti-Democratic and Socialist Character of Interventionism". Planned Chaos. http://mises.org/page/1431.
- Patton, Judd. "Better to Save or Spend? The Ants Still Have It Right". Bellevue University Economics Department. http://jpatton.bellevue.edu/ants.html.
- "Is Obama Really "Our Nation's CEO"?" by Armstrong, Briggs, 13 October 2010
- "Principles of Organizational Democracy". WorldBlu. http://worldblu.com/democratic-design/principles.php.
- Rothbard, Murray. "The Anatomy of the State". http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard62.html.
- Gordon, Thomas (4 November 1721). "Cato's Letter No. 51, Popularity no Proof of Merit". http://classicliberal.tripod.com/cato/letter051.html.
- Beckman, Karel. "The False Promise of Democracy". LewRockwell.Com. http://lewrockwell.com/orig13/beckman1.1.1.html. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Preface to the Second German Edition". Socialism. http://mises.org/books/socialism/preface_second_german_edition.aspx. "The average man is both better informed and less corruptible in the decisions he makes as a consumer than as a voter at political elections. There are said to be voters who, faced with a decision between Free Trade and Protection, the Gold Standard and Inflation, are unable to keep in view all that their decision implies. The buyer who has to choose between different sorts of beer or makes of chocolate has certainly an easier job of it."
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Economics and Public Opinion". Human Action. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap37sec2.asp. "In the market economy the realization of technological innovations does not require anything more than the cognizance of their reasonableness by one or a few enlightened spirits. No dullness and clumsiness on the part of the masses can stop the pioneers of improvement. There is no need for them to win the approval of inert people beforehand. They are free to embark upon their projects even if everyone else laughs at them. Later, when the new, better and cheaper products appear on the market, these scoffers will scramble for them. However dull a man may be, he knows how to tell the difference between a cheaper shoe and a more expensive one, and to appreciate the usefulness of new products. But it is different in the field of social organization and economic policies. Here the best theories are useless if not supported by public opinion."
- Postrel, Virginia (1998). The Future and Its Enemies. pp. 7. ISBN 978-0-684-86269-9.
- Bhide, Amar (January 1989). "In Praise of Corporate Raiders: Junking Three Fallacies about Hostile Takeovers". Policy Review: 21-23. http://www.unz.org/Pub/PolicyRev-1989q1-00021.
- Mises, Ludwig. Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. http://mises.org/econcalc.asp.
- Foster, Mike (19 Apr 2012). "Google 'supervoting' shares meet opposition". Financial News.
- Valdmanis, Thor (16 May 2004). "Google IPO's two classes of stock raise questions". USA Today. "Does Google embrace democracy or dictatorship?"
- "Last of the Moguls". The Economist. 21 July 2011. "News Corporation is not a normal firm. It is a family-run public company, controlled by means of super-voting shares."
- "MI Developments: The Menace of the Super-Voting Shareholder". Seeking Alpha. 29 May 2011. http://seekingalpha.com/article/272351-mi-developments-the-menace-of-the-super-voting-shareholder.
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Introduction". Bureaucracy. http://mises.org/etexts/mises/bureaucracy/introduction.asp. "It makes sense if the citizens vote for President, for Governor, or for Mayor. It would be nonsensical to let them vote for the hundreds and thousands of minor clerks. In such elections the voters would have no choice but to endorse the list proposed by their party."
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Bureaucracy". http://mises.org/etexts/mises/bureaucracy/section5.asp.
- Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. (August 2001). "Why Hate Monarchs?". The Free Market 19 (8). http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=366.
- Suber, Peter. "Nomic Initial Set of Rules". Nomic: A Game of Self-Amendment. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/nomic.htm#initial%20set.
- Suber, Peter. "Introduction". Nomic: A Game of Self-Amendment. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/nomic.htm#intro.
- Thoreau, Henry David (1849). "Resistance to Civil Government". http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Aesthetic_Papers/Resistance_to_Civil_Government.
- Rothbard, Murray. "Property Rights". For a New Liberty. http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp.
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Violence and Contract". Socialism. http://mises.org/books/socialism/part1_ch.1.aspx.
- Rothbard, Murray. "Limiting Government". For a New Liberty. http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp.
- Democracy’s Most Critical Defect by Robert Higgs, October 2009
- Democracy and Faits Accomplis by Robert Higgs, December 2009
- How to Win an Election by Mark Brandly, February 2011
- The Paradox of Imperialism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, November 2006
- A Libertarian Case for Monarchy by Leland B. Yeager, 2004
- World in the Grip of an Idea: 17. Sweden: Tightening the Screws by Clarence B. Carson, May 1978
- Democracy at Wikipedia