psephocracy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

pseph- +‎ -o- +‎ -cracy

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

psephocracy (usually uncountable, plural psephocracies)

  1. Government by ballot-elected representatives; representative democracy. Often contrasted with democracy, with which it is unfavourably compared for its lack of demotic participation in the political process outside of elections.
    • 1966 April 15, New Statesman, 531/1 and 531/2:
      How then did Britain [] become a democracy? [] It never did... What we do have is representative government, or the rule of the ballot-box, or (in one word) psephocracy.
      []
      Psephocracy on the British model has been extended, thanks to the advice of British psephocrats, to a couple of dozen nations.
    • 1966, Illustrated Weekly of Pakistan, pages 15 and 16:
      For, true democracy — the acme of good government — and not psephocracy, has its exemplar in all traditional governments of different regions of Black Africa. Our ancestors had ever gone through the charades of resisting unusual dictatorial system of authority asserted by any chief over the community.
      []
      An example of our fathers’ democracy was Kgotla which was recently dispensed with few months ago in Bechuanaland to be replaced with the old fashioned pantomime psephocracy.
    • 1967, Antony Jay, Management and Machiavelli: An Inquiry into the Politics of Corporate Life, pages 219 and 222 (Holt, Rinehart and Winston):
      Technically, democracy is a form of government in which ultimate power rests with the governed. Or something. If you try to define it more closely you get more and more involved, and when you try to clear your mind by going back to Athens where it all began, you find the whole system was supported by a vast voteless slave population and you give up in despair. So let us leave it at that. But, in a popular sense, “democratic” means something else: an attitude, an instinct, a way of doing things, which consults people in advance, and takes account of their views and wishes and ideas before making final decisions. The former, technical democracy, the democracy of the ballot box, is sometimes called psephocracy, and because I want to treat them separately here, I will keep the distinction.
      []
      Then, on the principle of no taxation without representation, democracy becomes psephocracy, and those who contribute the money demand the right to vote on the method of spending it. [¶] It is interesting to watch the growth of psephocracy []
    • 1970, February: Science Journal, 27/1:
      The present system is more of a leadership than a referred system — the so called ‘psephocracy’.
    • 1971, Ivor John Carnegie Brown, Random Words, page 48 (Bodley Head):
      Nor do I see much future for mesocracy, the rule of the middle-class. Small is their voting power, psephocracy, if []
    • 1994, Modern Law Review, volume 57, page 226:
      The people are not the government; what they do is elect it; and so the pedant would say we have in this country not democracy, but psephocracy.
    • 1995, John Aneurin Grey Griffith, Public Law, page 90 (Stevens & Sons):
      I do not of course suggest that there are circumstances presently foreseeable in which an elected government might seek to prolong its own existence by subverting the people’s right to vote, or otherwise to effect fundamental and undemocratic changes in the nature of our governmental institutions. My thesis is that the citizen’s democratic rights go hand in hand with other fundamental rights; the latter, certainly, may in reality be more imaginably at risk, in any given set of political circumstances, than the former. The point is that both are or should be off limits for our elected representatives. They are not matters upon which, in a delegated democracy — a psephocracy — the authority of the ballot-box is any authority at all. It is a premise of elective government, where free people are the voters, that these principles be observed by whoever is elected.
    • 1999, Ashis Nandy, The Secret Politics of our Desires: Innocence, Culpability and Indian Popular Cinema, page 4 (Palgrave Macmillan; ISBN 1856495167):
      In a plebiscitary democracy threatening to become a psephocracy, numbers count; and though in the last six decades rural India has arrived politically, even the cause of rural India has now to be processed through the urban middle-class consciousness.
    • 2008, June 24th–30th: Ashis Nandy and Sheela Reddy, “Democracy is now psephocracy”, in Outlook, volume 48, number 26, page 89:
      Indian democracy is fast degenerating into a psephocracy — a system totally dominated by electoral victories and defeats. The moment you enter office, you begin to think of the next election.

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