Authoritarian Impermanence.doc

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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Authoritarian Impermanence - authoritarian systems have been with us longer, have ruled more people , and for all we know may rule more people in the future than democratic systems - authoritarianism is the residual category of a type of regime that is narrowly defined - historically new, and often unconsolidated-namely, democracy is inevitably vast and encompasses many different subtypes of regimes - prospects for the regime have changed because of rapid economic growth and polarization, social turbulence, a rising middle class, and the new freedom of the internet China since Tiananmen - Chinese system as an authoritarianism of a still poorly understood new type - Mixes statism with entrepreneurship, political monopoly with individual liberty, personalist power with legal procedure, repression has remained vigorous for twenty years - Study of its dynamics will help spark a revival in the analysis of comparative authoritarian systems The Shadow of the Future - the Chinese system suffers from a defect that it cannot cure; an alternative form of government is by common consent more legitimate - the regime admits its authority has never been subject to popular review and is never intended to be - the regime is branded as an expedient, something temporary and transitional - democratic regimes, by contrast, often elicit disappointment and frustration, but
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