Democratic Socialism in Britain and Sweden by Malcolm B. Hamilton (auth.)

By Malcolm B. Hamilton (auth.)

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Such expectations may be created by parties themselves, which in this way can take advantage of popular disaffection and increase the basis of their potential support. They are aided by the prevalence of ideologies which may have some influence among those affected by, for example, economic recession. The idea that economic problems should not mean pressure on the living standards and well-being of working people, for example, may be stimulated by certain ideologies which state that such people have rights to certain minimum standards, or that the more vulnerable should be protected to some degree from the effects of economic downturns, and so on.

The problem with the approach stems in many ways 30 The Socialist Party in Capitalist Democracy from the fact that it tends to leave out of account the problem of what determines the actual policies and behaviour of parties, taking this for granted in its concern to illuminate how structural factors will promote socialist advance. 5 A MODEL OF THE DETERMINANTS OF SOCIALIST PARTY RADICALISM: AN INTRODUCTION The factors which determine the policies of a political party are many and complex. To enumerate them all would be a task beyond the scope of a single volume.

Many of the assuptions of the Downsian model are unrealistic. As far as this study is concerned there are several points that make the approach less useful than at first it might appear. The first is that it assumes a given distribution of voter preferences, but since it does not explain this distribution, as Downs himself acknowledges, it cannot account for the actual position of parties on the scale of radicalism and moderation. An even more serious criticism of this assumption of a given distribution of voter preference is that parties, to some considerable extent, create their own support and shape the distribution of voter preference by their own activities.

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