Vol. 13, No. 2


Pedro Mendonça Groundwork for a New Theory of Democracy and Protectionism

Recent protectionist tendencies in affluent democracies challenge the mainstream consensus of democracy and free trade as a virtuous relationship. Attempts to pin this protectionism on the undemocratic nature of accompanying populism cannot really be backed by existing theory. This article argues there is a theoretical void concerning the nexus of political regimes and international trade that is clearly exposed by ongoing populistic protectionism. The central theory on the political economy of democracy and trade liberalization, here dubbed the Stolper-Samuelson-Meltzer-Richards theory (SSMR) is critically examined. The SSMR has been used to explain both causal directions of the democracy/trade nexus. Each direction is explained by its own version of the SSMR, and these versions are mutually exclusive. An extensive review of empirical studies is presented to show that the predictions of the SSMR are met with a mix of support and rejection. The paper then explores the weaknesses of the SSMR and how it can be refashioned to accommodate an endogenous relationship between regime change and trade liberalization. A coupling of theory inspired by Stolper and Samuelson with the selectorate theory (Mesquita, 2003) is proposed as an avenue of future theory-building that mitigates the weaknesses of the SSMR and potentially explains populist protectionism.

Milan Školník Korupce v České republice – dosavadní stav bádání

Corruption is one of the phenomena that is a frequent subject of research due to its diverse manifestations and impacts on society. In the Czech Republic, there has been interest in this topic from the scientific community over the last twenty years. This first state of the discipline offers an insight into what the Czech authors have examined. The article first focuses on how publications can be divided based on a topic. Secondly, the studies are divided according to the methods used. Thirdly, the article focuses on the data used in the statistical analyses. In conclusion, the article highlights the strengths and weaknesses based on the literature review and recommends other possible directions of research.

Jaroslav Bílek Za jakých okolností plní (vládní) politické strany své sliby: Přehled stavu poznání

Political parties seeking reelection should try to fulfill their election pledges. A number of studies trying to confirm this assumption were written in the last three decades. Existing studies have also identified a number of factors that increase or decrease the probability of pledge fulfillment. The goal of this review is to apprise the reader with the most important findings of these research attempts. To achieve this, the author have analyzed 44 studies focused on the topic of pledge fulfillment. The results clearly show that a political pledge has a better chance of fulfillment if it doesn‘t seek to change the status quo, its passing is agreed upon in the government coalition, and its fulfillment is not obstructed by the economical situation. The analyzed studies, however, also show that controlling the specific portfolio and issue saliency do not, contrary to the prevailing theoretical assumptions, increase the chance of fulfilling political pledges.

Matouš Mencl, Pavel Dufek Ideální konsenzus, reálná diverzita a výzva veřejného ospravedlnění: k limitům idealizace v liberální politické teorii

The paper deals with the methodological clash between idealism and anti-idealism in political philosophy, and highlights its importance for public reason (PR) and public justification (PJ) theorising. Upon reviewing the broader context which harks back to Rawls’s notion of a realistic utopia, we focus on two major recent contributions to the debate in the work of David Estlund (the prototypical utopian) and Gerald Gaus (the cautious anti-utopian). While Estlund presents a powerful case on behalf of ideal theorising, claiming that motivational incapacity and other non-ideal features of “human nature” – the so-called bad facts – do not normally refute the desirability of highly utopian theories of justice, we show that Gaus is correct in stressing the importance of feasibility considerations, including empirical knowledge about human societies. Because moral disagreement is to be expected even among cognitively and morally excellent reasoners, we argue that Estlund’s search for Truth about justice must idealise away normative diversity as just another bad fact. This methodological dispute has important ramifications for current debates about PR and PJ as the grounds of liberal legitimacy. Because consensual approaches rely on strong idealisation which results in exclusion of numerous comprehensive doctrines from consideration, we conclude that convergence-based liberal political theory has distinct advantage as regards exploiting normative diversity to the advantage of everyone.