Direct Democracy in Switzerland

Direct Democracy in Switzerland

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Description

The Cold War is over, communism is dead, and all the world is a democracy in ascendance. But one country in the world - Switzerland - is a direct democracy, in which, to an extent, the people pass their own laws, judge the constitutionality of statutes, and even have written, in effect, their own constitution. In this propitious volume, Gregory Fossedal reports on the politics and social fabric of what James Bryce has called "the nation that has taken the democratic idea to its furthest extent." The lessons Fossedal presents, at a time of dissatisfaction with the role of money and privileged elites in many Western democracies, are at once timely and urgent. In most Western democracies the people make only a small number of decisions about economic or social policy for themselves. They hire experts and elect representatives to make many of these decisions. Every two, four, six years they hold another election to review the last 10,000 or so decisions by those leaders and vote for one or two alternatives who will handle the next cluster of thousands of decisions. Switzerland uses some of these devices, too, but, to a much greater extent than other democracies, Swiss voters make dozens and even hundreds of the particular decisions themselves. A different spirit animates Swiss democracy and this different spirit produces different results. In Direct Democracy in Switzerland, Fossedal has developed a shrewd, sensitive overview of Switzerland's high notion of statecraft. He details the reasons for studying Switzerland's distinctive institutions, and explores the origins and development of the ancient Swiss democracy, which reaches back a thousand years. He then elucidates the working parts of Swiss democracy today, its constitution, executive branch, judiciary, parliament, referendums, and communities. Fossedal shows how Switzerland handles the polltical questions common to all modern societies, such as education, taxes, crime, welfare, the Holocaust. He concludes with the ongoing debate over two very different visions of democracy, direct versus representative. This thorough report on Switzerland's unique political system will be of particular interest to political scientists, scholars, executives taking assignment in Switzerland, tourists, and general readers with an interest in political reform.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 169.2 x 227.1 x 24.9mm | 576.07g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 0765800780
  • 9780765800787

Review quote

-The book offers many valuable insights into Swiss political life and is written in a light, refreshing journalistic style. . . . It thus makes interesting reading.- --Paolo Dardanelli, Regional and Federal Studies -Fossedal surveys Swiss governmental institutions and political issues in order to make the case that the Swiss have developed a unique and perhaps superior model of democratic governance... [T]he argument that Swiss democracy is worth a close look [is] persuasive... [Good for] undergraduates and general readers with little prior knowledge of Swiss politics.- --P. V. Warwick, Choice "The book offers many valuable insights into Swiss political life and is written in a light, refreshing journalistic style. . . . It thus makes interesting reading." --Paolo Dardanelli, Regional and Federal Studies "Fossedal surveys Swiss governmental institutions and political issues in order to make the case that the Swiss have developed a unique and perhaps superior model of democratic governance... [T]he argument that Swiss democracy is worth a close look [is] persuasive... [Good for] undergraduates and general readers with little prior knowledge of Swiss politics." --P. V. Warwick, Choice "The book offers many valuable insights into Swiss political life and is written in a light, refreshing journalistic style. . . . It thus makes interesting reading." --Paolo Dardanelli, Regional and Federal Studies "Fossedal surveys Swiss governmental institutions and political issues in order to make the case that the Swiss have developed a unique and perhaps superior model of democratic governance... [T]he argument that Swiss democracy is worth a close look [is] persuasive... [Good for] undergraduates and general readers with little prior knowledge of Swiss politics." --P. V. Warwick, Choiceshow more

About Gregory A. Fossedal

Gregory A. Fossedal is Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a research foundation based near Washington, DC. He is also president and chief investment officer of the Democratic Century Fund and its management company, the Emerging Markets Group. He is author of The Democratic Imperative. Alfred R. Berkeley III is president of the Nasdaq stock market.show more

Rating details

7 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 29% (2)
4 57% (4)
3 14% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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