Democracy and the Rule of Law

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Adam Przeworski, José María Maravall
Cambridge University Press, Jul 21, 2003 - Law - 321 pages
This book addresses the question of why governments sometimes follow the law and other times choose to evade the law. The traditional answer of jurists has been that laws have an autonomous causal efficacy: law rules when actions follow anterior norms; the relation between laws and actions is one of obedience, obligation, or compliance. Contrary to this conception, the authors defend a positive interpretation where the rule of law results from the strategic choices of relevant actors. Rule of law is just one possible outcome in which political actors process their conflicts using whatever resources they can muster: only when these actors seek to resolve their conflicts by recourse to law, does law rule. What distinguishes 'rule-of-law' as an institutional equilibrium from 'rule-by-law' is the distribution of power. The former emerges when no one group is strong enough to dominate the others and when the many use institutions to promote their interest.

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This is a well written, engaging book where the reader is introduced to various concepts of the rule of law. As one of the authors said, laws cannot "rule" because to rule needs action, and it is only humans who can act. Hence the term "rule of law" is a paradox.
The numerous examples provide sufficient explanation on how the rule of law can be molded to suit a ruler's goal.
The book is very insightful and filled with rich ideas. It is not stuffy at all because the language is simple and has none of the legalese found in some books on law.
It is quite a good read.


Lineages of the Rule of Law
Power Rules and Compliance
Obedience and Obligation in the Rechtsstaat
A Postscript to Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of Law
Why Do Political Parties Obey Results of Elections?
Part III
The Majoritarian Reading of the Rule of Law
How Can the Rule of Law Rule? Cost Imposition through Decentralized Mechanisms
Part III
Courts as an Instrument of Horizontal Accountability The Case of Latin Europe
Rule of Democracy and Rule of Law
The Rule of Law as a Political Weapon
The Rule of Law and the Problem of Legal Reform in Michel de Montaignes Essais
Author Index
Subject Index

Dictatorship and the Rule of Law Rules and Military Power in Pinochets Chile

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