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Jonathan Hopkin , "The Problem with Party Finance: Theoretical Perspectives on the Funding of Party Politics," Party Politics, 10 (November, 2004), 627-651.

First Paragraph:
A growing body of literature has identified a 'democratic disaffection' in advanced industrial nations, characterized by increasing mistrust of political institutions, a decline in traditional forms of political participation (most notably voting and party membership) and ever greater distance between political leaders and the citizens they purport to represent (Dalton and Wattenberg, 2000; Katz and Mair, 1995; Pharr and Putnam, 2000; Webb, 1995; for a contrary view, see Kitschelt, 2000). Although these patterns are not necessarily presented as a threat to modern party democracy, this body of research provides plenty of evidence to suggest that parties in western democracies 'are not what they once were' (Schmitter, 2001). Citizens in many western democracies are disengaged with the political process, and levels of confidence in political leaders, their parties and the democratic institutions are in decline (Newton and Norris, 2000). In some countries politicians are widely perceived to be self-serving and corrupt (della Porta, 2000). The increasing unpredictability of elections, the growth in electoral abstention and the strong growth of new (often extremist) parties in Western Europe (see Mair, 2003) are consistent with these claims of widespread voter disillusionment in established democracies.

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Last Paragraph:
In sum, the most broadly accepted democratic theories do not point unambiguously in the direction of any one model of party finance. This is not surprising. On the one hand, it is axiomatic in democratic theory that politics should be taken out of the market and that individual citizens should have equal political influence (even Buckley advocated limits on political contributions to prevent policy being 'bought'). On the other, the importance of money for electoral politics in mass society brings market mechanisms straight back into the political arena. The former implies 'one person one vote', the latter risks implying 'one dollar one vote'. In the midst of such complexity, some degree of state finance can be defended on practical, 'satisficing' grounds. The much-criticized 'cartelization' of party finance seems to perform rather better, on some understandings of democracy, than the most feasible alternative in present conditions - the externally (or perhaps even internally) financed elite party. But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the least troubling way for parties to finance their activities would be some form of mass-based, voluntary subscription on the stylized model of the mass party. At the same time, the persistence of the free-rider dilemma, overcome sporadically at particular times and places in the history of electoral democracy, makes such a solution appear utopian in the current climate.