Helen Thompson
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This chapter draws some conclusions about the central dilemmas of representative democracy. Governments in all developed countries were forced to adjust their welfare states and some also their patronage strategies to the deflationary bias created by the new foreign-exchange markets. Representative democracy eventually proved astonishingly robust in the international economy shaped by the United States after the end of Bretton Woods. The capacity for representative democracy to disappoint remains endless, and the exercise of power to contain that will always open up the possibility of conflict, because human beings do not like submitting to the will of others. In the post-Bretton Woods international economy, representative democracy is clearly not the only form of government compatible with economic success. The power of the United States, and the market dynamics and power relations of the international economy, do much to make that task exceptionally difficult, just as they punish failures of state-building.

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Might, right, prosperity and consent

Representative democracy and the international economy 1919–2001


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