Adam Przeworski

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Adam Przeworski
Born (1940-05-05) 5 May 1940 (age 81)
Warsaw, Poland
NationalityPolish, American
AwardsJohan Skytte Prize in Political Science (2010)
Woodrow Wilson Prize (2001) National Academy of Sciences (2021)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw
Northwestern University
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Institutions
Doctoral studentsFernando Limongi

Adam Przeworski (Polish: [pʂɛˈvɔrskʲi]; born May 5, 1940) is a Polish-American professor of political science specializing in comparative politics. He is professor at the Wilf Family Department of Politics of New York University. He is an influential scholar of democratic societies, theory of democracy, social democracy and political economy, as well as an early proponent of rational choice theory in political science.[1]

Life[edit]

He was born in 1940 in Warsaw, Poland when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany. His parents were physicians. His father, whom he never met, was conscripted in the Polish army in 1939 and killed in the 1940 Katyn massacre by Soviet troops.[2]

Przeworski graduated from Warsaw University in 1961 with a MA. In Warsaw, Przeworski met a Northwestern University political science professor, R. Barry Farrell. Farrell persuaded Przeworski to move to the United States to study political science. According to Przeworski, "I don’t remember if I had the smarts to ask him what political science was: I did not know what it was. But even if he had asked me if I wanted to work on a ship sailing around the world, I would have said ‘‘yes.’’ I was twenty years old, and I would have gone anywhere to do anything."[3]

Przeworski received his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 1966. He taught at the University of Chicago, where he was awarded with the title of Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor.[4] He also held visiting appointments in India, Chile, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain (Juan March Institute), and Switzerland.

Przeworski was a member of the September Group of analytical Marxists but left the group in 1993.[5]

His uncle Andrzej Przeworski was a Polish footballer, referee and manager. Przeworski is a fan of the English football club Arsenal.[6]

Awards[edit]

Przeworski has been the recipient of many awards.[7]

1991 Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

1998 Gregory M. Luebbert Article Award.

2001 Woodrow Wilson Prize of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for the book Democracy and Development.

2002 Best data set, from the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA)

2018 Juan Linz Prize of the International Political Science Association (IPSA)

2010 The Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science for "raising the scientific standards regarding the analysis of the relations between democracy, capitalism and economic development."

2021 Elected member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences.[8]

Other awards include the 1985 Socialist Review Book Award, Honorary Professor of Chongqing University 2012, a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Nacional de Tucuman 2016, the Sakip Sabanci International Research Award 2018, and the 2020 Lawrence Longley Article Award,

Academic research[edit]

Przeworski has published widely in a variety of fields. One of this early works, The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry (1970), [9] is "an important influence on methodological practices in comparative politics."[10]

His two books in the 1980s, Capitalism and Social Democracy (1985) and the coauthored Paper Stones (1986), turned to the question of why leftist parties "abandon socialism and adopt instead a reformist agenda within the parameters of capitalism."[11]

Thereafter he wrote several works on various aspects of democracy: Democracy and the Market (1991), Democracy and Development (2000), Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government (2010), Why Bother with Elections? (2018), and Crises of Democracy (2019). Among other things, in these works on democracy Przeworski has defended a minimalist conception of democracy in which "democracy is just a system in which rulers are selected by competitive elections."[12]

Przeworski also published two broad overviews of theories of the state and political economy: The State and the Economy Under Capitalism (1990) and States and Markets (2003).

Capitalism and Social Democracy[edit]

In Capitalism and Social Democracy (1985), Przeworski argues that European socialist parties in the first half of the 20th century faced a sequence of electoral dilemmas. The first dilemma was whether or not to participate in bourgeois elections, when universal suffrage was progressively established in Europe. The question was whether or not participation would contribute to the struggle for socialism or strengthen the capitalist order.[13] According to Przeworski, most socialist parties have opted to get involved in elections, since it was a means to advance some of the interests of workers in the short run and, as references to Friedrich Engels and Eduard Bernstein illustrate in Przeworski's book, to move toward socialism.[14]

According to Przeworski, the decision to participate in bourgeois elections led to another dilemma. Given that manual workers were not the numerical majority in any European country, to win elections they had to choose whether or not to compromise their socialist principles and adopt a social democratic agenda to attract the support of allies, especially the middle class.[15] Such compromise had major consequences for socialist parties, including the withdrawal of support of workers,[16] the abandoning of extra-parliamentary tactics,[17] and progressively the defection from socialist policies when in power.[18]

Criticism to Przeworski's account of the dilemmas of social democratic parties have been at least twofold. First, it has been shown that numerical majority is not necessary for social democratic parties to control governments,[19] which implies that social democratic parties do not necessarily need to sacrifice workers’ votes to win elections.[20] Second, Gøsta Esping-Andersen argues that Przeworski is mistaken in attempting to differentiate reformist and revolutionary policies, since "we have no accepted criteria for deciding which actions will merely reflect the status quo and which will accelerate historical transformation."[21]Esping-Andersen suggests that policies that leftist parties adopt should be compared based on how they aid the process of class unity.[22]

Democracy and the Market[edit]

In Democracy and the Market (1991),[23] Przeworski analyzes events in Eastern Europe and Latin America, focusing on transitions to democracy and market-oriented economic reforms. Przeworski presents a minimalist view of democracy: "Democracy is a system in which parties lose elections."[24]. He analyzes transitions to democracy using rudimentary game theory, and he emphasizes the interdependence of political and economic transformations.

Democracy and Development[edit]

In Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990 (2000),[25] Przeworski provides a statistical analysis of the causes and consequences of democracy across the globe.

On the causes of democracy, Przeworski assesses Seymour Martin Lipset’s thesis about the impact of economic development on political regimes and finds that Lipset’s argument regarding the association between a high level of economic development and the stability of democracy is supported. However, Przeworski "challenged the view that increases in the level of development are associated with increased prospects of transitions to democracy."[26]

On the consequences of democracy, Przeworski argued, against authors such as Samuel P. Huntington, that "democracies perform as well economically as do authoritarian regimes."[27]

Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government[edit]

Przeworski argues that that democracy has historically faced four challenges: "(1) the incapacity to generate equality in the socioeconomic realm, (2) the incapacity to make people feel that their political participation is effective, (3) the incapacity to ensure that governments do what they are supposed to do and not do what they are not mandated to do, and (4) the incapacity to balance order and noninterference."[28]

Throughout the book, Przeworski offers a sober assessment of the potential of democracy to revert these challenges. One of his central arguments is that, counter to the hope of many, "democracy does not generate more economic equality."[29] However, he cautions that, even though "democracy faces limits to the extent of possible economic equality, effective participation, perfect agency, and liberty", it is important (1) to recognize these limits so as to better elucidate "directions for reforms that are feasible" and (2) "not to criticize democracy for not achieving what no political arrangement can achieve" [30]

Why Bother with Elections?[edit]

In this book, Adam Przeworski addresses a classical question, why should democracy be valued? Przeworski considers that democracy is a "method of processing conflicts."[31] He poses the question in the following terms: “Are there good reasons to think that if rulers are selected through contested elections their decisions will be rational, that governments will be representative, the economy will perform well, the distribution of income will be egalitarian, and people will live in liberty and peace?"[32] And he concludes that the strongest rationale for supporting democracy is that it generates civil peace.

His reasoning is worth quoting at length. Przeworski holds that “In the end, the miracle of democracy is that conflicting political forces obey the results of voting. People who have guns obey those without them. Incumbents risk their control of governmental offices by holding elections. Losers wait for their chance to win office. Conflicts are regulated, processed according to rules, and thus limited. This is not consensus, yet not mayhem either. Just regulated conflict; conflict without killing. Ballots are “paper stones.”[33]

Crises of Democracy[edit]

Przeworski's Crises of Democracy (2019)[34] analyzes the threats to democracy in the twenty-first century in established democracies and argues that the problems are not just of a political nature. He holds that the problems have deep economic, social, and cultural roots.

Major works[edit]

  • Adam Przeworski, and Henry Teune. 1970. The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry. New York: Wiley.
  • Cortés, Fernando, Adam Przeworski, and John Sprague. 1974. Systems Analysis for Social Scientists. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Adam Przeworski. 1985. Capitalism and Social Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Adam Przeworski, and John Sprague. 1986. Paper Stones: A History of Electoral Socialism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Adam Przeworski, and Michael Wallerstein. 1988. "Structural Dependence of the State on Capital." American Political Science Review 82(1): 11-29.
  • Adam Przeworski. 1990. The State and the Economy Under Capitalism. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers.
  • Adam Przeworski. 1991. Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira, José María Maravall, and Adam Przeworski (eds.). 1993. Economic Reforms in New Democracies: A Social-Democratic Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Przeworski, Adam, and Fernando Limongi. 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth." Journal of Economic Perspectives 7(3): 51-69.
  • Adam Przeworski et al. 1995. Sustainable Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Przeworski, Adam, and Fernando Limongi. 1997. "Modernization: Theories and Facts." World Politics 49(2): 155-83.
  • Adam Przeworski, Susan C. Stokes and Bernard Manin (eds.) 1999. Democracy, Accountability and. Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Adam Przeworski, with Michael E. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi. 2000. Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Adam Przeworski and José María Maravall (eds.) 2003. Democracy and the Rule of Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Adam Przeworski. 2003. States and Markets: A Primer in Political Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gandhi J, and Adam Przeworski. 2007. "Authoritarian Institutions and the Survival of Autocrats." Comparative Political Studies 40(11): 1279-1301.
  • Adam Przeworski. 2010. Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Adam Przeworski. 2018. Why Bother with Elections? London: Polity Press.
  • Adam Przeworski. 2019. Crises of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Resources on Przeworski and his research[edit]

  • Burawoy, Michael. 1989. “Marxism without Micro-Foundations.” Socialist Review 19: 53–86.
  • Higgins, Winton, and Nixon Apple. 1983. "How Limited Is Reformism?: A Critique of Przeworski and Panitch." Theory and Society 12,5: 603-30.
  • Kitschelt, Herbert. 1993. “Comparative Historical Research and Rational Choice Theory: The Case of Transitions to Democracy.” Theory and Society 22(3): 413-27. [Review of Przeworski’s 1991 Democracy and the Market.]
  • Munck, Gerardo L., and Richard Snyder. 2007. "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press. [Interview with Adam Przeworski]
  • Munck, Gerardo L. 2011. “Democratic Theory After Transitions From Authoritarian Rule,” Perspectives on Politics 9(2): 333-43.
  • Przeworski, Adam. 2016. "Democracy: A Never-Ending Quest." Annual Review of Political Science Vol. 19: 1-12. [1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
  2. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, pp 457-58.
  3. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, pp 459-60.
  4. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, pp 457.
  5. ^ G. A. Cohen, Marx's Theory of History, expanded edition (Oxford, 2000), p. xix.
  6. ^ Adam Przeworski "Democracy: A Never-Ending Quest." Annual Review of Political Science Vol. 19 (2016): 1-12, p. 2.
  7. ^ The information comes from the jacket of Adam Przeworski, Crises of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019; Przeworski's CV - https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=bnl1LmVkdXxhZGFtLXByemV3b3Jza2l8Z3g6NzUzZTdmMTA4MDFmNjU2MA ; and https://www.ipsa.org/page/awards-juan-linz-prize
  8. ^ "News from the National Academy of Sciences". April 26, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021. Newly elected members and their affiliations at the time of election are: … Przeworski, Adam; Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Politics, department of politics, New York University, New York City, entry in member directory:"Member Directory". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  9. ^ Adam Przeworski and Henry Teune, The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry.New York: Wiley, 1970)
  10. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, p. 457.
  11. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, p. 456.
  12. ^ Adam Przeworski, “Minimalist Conception of Democracy: A Defense,” pp. 23-55, in Ian Shapiro and Casiano Hacker-Cordón (eds.), Democracy’s Value (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 23.
  13. ^ Adam Przeworski, Capitalism and Social Democracy, p. 13.
  14. ^ Adam Przeworski, Capitalism and Social Democracy, p. 13, 17, 30–1.
  15. ^ Adam Przeworski, “Capitalism and Social Democracy”, pp. 23–9.
  16. ^ Adam Przeworski, Capitalism and Social Democracy, p. 106.
  17. ^ Adam Przeworski, Capitalism and Social Democracy, p. 15.
  18. ^ Adam Przeworski, “Capitalism and Social Democracy”, pp. 30–5.
  19. ^ Leif Lewin, Ideology and Strategy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
  20. ^ King, Desmond S.; Wickham-Jones, Mark (1990). "Social Democracy and Rational Workers". British Journal of Political Science. 20 (3): 387–413. doi:10.1017/s0007123400005895. JSTOR 193916.
  21. ^ Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Politics against Markets (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), p. 9.
  22. ^ Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Politics against Markets (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), p. 10.
  23. ^ Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  24. ^ Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 10.
  25. ^ Adam Przeworski, with Michael E. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi, Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  26. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, p 457.
  27. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, "Adam Przeworski: Capitalism, Democracy, and Science,” pp. 456-503, in Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, p 457.
  28. ^ Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 1-2.
  29. ^ Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 14.
  30. ^ Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 16.
  31. ^ Adam Przeworski, Why Bother with Elections? London: Polity Press, 2018, p. 113.
  32. ^ Adam Przeworski, Why Bother with Elections? London: Polity Press, 2018, p. 79.
  33. ^ Adam Przeworski, Why Bother with Elections? London: Polity Press, 2018, p. 118.
  34. ^ Adam Przeworski, Crises of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

References[edit]