MisesWiki:Featured article/Democracy

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A ballot being cast.

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. (more...)