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02 09 Lecture Notes - Democracy.docx

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Geography 3312A/B
Haroon Akram Lodhi

Democracy, civil society & development The promise  kleptocrats: poorer developing countries –dictators with little regard for the people they control  The truth, of course, is more complex: there have been kleptocrats, to be sure: o Suharto, former Indonesian president: US$15 – US$35 billion o Ferdinand Marcos, former Philippines president: US$5 – US$10 billion o Mobutu Sese Seko, former Zaire president: US$5 billion o Sani Abacha, former Nigerian president: US$2 – US$5 billion o Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Yugoslavia and Serbia: US$1 billion o Jean-Claude Duvalier, former Haitian president: US$300 – US$800 million  There is a strong correspondence between being wealthy and being relatively less corrupt  The world is far freer now than it was 25 years ago—if freedom is defined politically to mean the right to speak & write without fear of persecution, to assemble, multiparty elections, and due process in law. The world is becoming more democratic Consider: the Arab Spring  Across the Arab world, people have been struggling for more open, pluralist, democratic society  We cannot know whether and if so how they will get there: the path is not clear, and they face special challenges  Nonetheless, they seek to radically alter the balance between citizen and state – for citizens to have more control over the state 1. What is democracy?  Athens = democracy: where forums of citizens (males born in Athens) decided policy. It was: o majoritarian: the will of the majority of those present ruled o direct: the will of citizens was expressed without intermediary representatives  But Athenian democracy had little to do with civil liberties and human rights – it was shallow  So according to Amartya Sen a modern democracy must meet 4 conditions: 1. universal suffrage 2. the protection of liberties and freedoms 3. respect for legal entitlements 4. guarantees respecting free discussion and uncensored distribution of news and comment  Not direct but representative democracy: the election of leaders to speak & decide for citizens o Constitutional democracy: When the terms and conditions of representative democracy are laid out in rules enshrined in a constitution that the government must uphold  So: there are varieties of democracy, and varieties of political regimes 3 general types of political regimes can be identified:  liberal democracy (i.e. Canada)  partial democracy (i.e. Uganda)  authoritarian: o communist party authoritarian regime (i.e. China) o capitalist authoritarian regime (i.e. Pakistan)  The regime type depends upon the breadth and depth of the characteristics of democratization 2. What is democratization?  Democratization is a political movement from: o less accountable to more accountable government o less competitive (or non-existent) elections to fuller and fairer elections o severely restricted to better protected civil and political rights o weak (or non-existent) autonomous associations to more autonomous and more numerous associations in civil society  Some people believe that certain cultures, ethnicities, and social groups are incompatible with democracy—this is a fallacy(myth)  Example: Some in the Islamic world view secular democracy as blasphemy—and this neatly converges with Northern sceptics who view Islam as fundamentally theocratic  However, there are many Islamic democracies in the world today o Turkey is ruled by the Justice and Development (AK) Party: winners of 3 consecutive elections o Malaysia, a partially democratic country, is ruled by the United National Malay Organization (UMNO) o Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic-majority country, is a thriving liberal democracy  Islamic countries can have political parties that are respect public opinion & thrive in open political contests  Remember that Roman Catholic thinking took a long time to merge its belief in human sinfulness with popular sovereignty: the result was European Christian Democracy (important) Patterns of democratization  Specific classifications of regimes are problematic, but: o between 1975 and 1995 there has been an overall trend towards greater democratization, with 68.7% being authoritarian in 1975 to only 26.2% being authoritarian in 1995 o particularly significant changes occurred in Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and the USSR: from 82% authoritarian in 1975 to 25% in 1995  Samuel Huntington referred to this as the ‘third wave’ of democratization o the first wave: the creation of some democratic institutions in colonial states by colonial powers o the second wave: when the word democracy and its ideas were tools of struggle between competing Cold War blocs Explaining the ‘third wave’  increased levels and rates of socio-economic development  reduced social divisions  the transcendence of historical legacies  reductions in the relative power of the state and political institutions within society  increased relative power of civil society  the development of political culture and ideas  the rise of transnational and international power What is the relationship between democracy and development?  Four approaches in the literature: 1. democratization stimulates development 2. democratization can impede development in poor societies 3. authoritarian regimes are better than liberal democracies at stimulating economic development in poor countries 4. democratization in poor countries is unrelated to subsequent economic growth  Cases can be made for each Example 1: India  a liberal democracy for 60+ years  despite a recent record of economic achievement 40% of India’s total population was th desperately poor at the end of the 20 century  most rural poor were landless and this was a major cause of their poverty  there has been an inability to achieve land reform through the democratic political process Example 2: China  an authoritarian communist state for 60+ years  double-digit growth rates for 20 years has led to significant poverty reduction (although widespread poverty remains)  Former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao: o China is ‘still far from advancing out of the primary stage of socialism. We must adhere to the party’s basic guidelines of the primary stage of socialism for 100 years’ o ‘a highly developed democracy and a complete legal system are inherent requirements of the socialist system and important symbols of a mature socialist system’ o therefore, no democracy for 100 years Example 3: Vietnam  an authoritarian communist state for over 50 years  double-digit growth rates for 20 years has led to significant poverty reduction  a remarkably consensual political culture, with broad agreement within society about the pace and direction of economic and political change  a country that may not be democratic, but is governed through social consensus in civil society 3. What is civil society?  ‘An intermediate associational realm between state and household, populated by groups or associations which are separate from the state, enjoy some autonomy in relations with the state, and are formed voluntarily by members of society to protect or extend their interests, values or identities.’ - (Manor, Robinson, and White)  The role of civil society is important for the discussion of democracy and democratization as it raises questions about the role of social forces in defining, controlling & legitimating state power ‘Types’ or ‘sectors’ of civil society  ‘modern’ interest groups (e.g. trade unions or professional associations) vs. ‘traditional’ ascriptive organizations based on kinship, ethnicity, culture or religion  formal organizations vs. informal social networks based on patrimonial/clientalistic allegiances  those with political roles (e.g. pressure or advocacy groups) vs. those whose activities are outside the political system  legal or open associations vs. secret or illegal organizations (e.g. Freemasons, the Mafia)  associations that accept the political status quo vs. those who seek to challenge political regime What is the relationship between civil society and democratization?  Multilateral and bilateral donors have broad expectations of the possible role of civil society in promoting democracy: civil society organizations (CSOs) can o undermine authoritarian governments o foster a democratic culture and polity o improve the quality of governance within that polity How can CSOs improve governance? They can:  alter balance of power between state and society in favour of society  play a disciplinary role in relation to the state, facilitating the enforcement of o standards of public morality and performance o accountability of politicians and administrators  serve as an intermediary between state and society, and thus o articulate the interests of sectors of population o facilitate political communication between state and society by providing an alternative form of representation o provide a forum for debate of competing interests, which can be both stabilizing and destabilizing  redefine the roles of the political game alon
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