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Not Every Country Is Ready For Democracy

 
 
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 10:43 am
I apologize for stating the obvious.

Recent news about nations experimenting with democracy has been discouraging. Not only "third world" nations -- government in the U.S. is paralyzed by gridlock and democracy in Russia has turned into dictatorship.

Certain conditions are necessary for a democratic government to be successful. The cultural history of a country may hinder democratic efforts (as in China). Also, certain institutions need to be in place (a court system that guarantees equal treatment, a free news media). A free-market economy also seems to be a necessity.

I hope to examine recent news stories that highlight problems with democracy.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 4,009 • Replies: 48
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Kristina-white
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 10:46 am
@wandeljw,
hey @ wandeljw

Democracy have a lot of meaning independed from whish country we are talking Smile
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 10:49 am
@Kristina-white,
Kristina-white wrote:

hey @ wandeljw

Democracy have a lot of meaning independed from whish country we are talking Smile


That is true, but many people claim that their government is democratic or at least experimenting with democracy. Also, people fighting against their current leaders are doing so in the name of democracy.
Kristina-white
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 11:13 am
@wandeljw,
hey again @ wandeljw

Democracy true when we respect the majority rules in our country by the goverment but we see that all goverment dosen't respect it Wink
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 11:15 am
@wandeljw,
Democracies are not especially efficient. That said, I want to live in as democratic a nation as possible. But I realize that "democracy" does not mean "unlimited license."

Some countries obviously fared better (in various ways) under dictatorships than with more freedom. It seems that Iraq, for instance, was a more stable nation under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein than many of us are willing to acknowledge. Libya seems to be deteriorating with Qaddafi gone. There are others.

For those of us living in relative freedom...it would be horrible to live in a dictatorship.

I don't necessarily agree with your comment, "...government in the U.S. is paralyzed by gridlock and democracy in Russia has turned into dictatorship." I think that may be over-stating the case. I think the people of both the US and the people of Russia enjoy much, much more freedom than people who lived under Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin and such.

How ya been, Wandel? Haven't seen you for a while.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 11:29 am
@wandeljw,
I just finished reading an enlightening (to me) article about Mikhail Khodorkovsky. That somewhat flattened my earlier sunnier view of him and possible changes in Russia. I did learn a lot I didn't know before.

January 12, 2015
Remote Control
Can an exiled oligarch persuade Russia that Putin must go?
BY JULIA IOFFE

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/12/remote-control-2
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2015 11:47 am
Hi, Frank and Osso!

I have been okay, Frank. I am not as eager to discuss politics as I used to be. That is probably why you have not been seeing much of me.

Thank you for referring us to that interesting article, Osso
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2015 07:23 pm
@wandeljw,
Right now, I would say the historical trend seems backing away from democracy. I hope it is temporary, but I am less optimistic these days.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2015 08:13 am
Quote:
Insecure democracy
(By Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, The Express Tribune, January 26, 2015)

A large section of the politically aware and active populace of Pakistan expresses disappointment at the performance of the elected government, especially when it comes to the delivery of basic services to people. Such discontent was expressed during the PPP rule (2008-2013) but it seemed to have deepened during the PML-N rule. The non-availability of petrol on top of electricity and gas shortages has increased frustration and anger at the societal level. If these trends are not reversed, the long-term sustainability of democracy will be jeopardised in Pakistan.

This alienation is in sharp contrast to the pro-democracy disposition of the politically aware and active population in 2007-08. By 2007, the civilianised military regime of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf had run aground in terms of governance and political management. General (retd) Musharraf’s political blunders, like the attempt to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan (March 2007), securing his re-election in October 2007 and, above all, the imposition of the state of emergency on November 3, 2007, shocked the legal community, political parties and other activists. They launched a major protest in support of constitutional and civilian rule, civil, political and economic rights, and participatory governance. There was much optimism about the future of democracy in Pakistan when the elected PPP government assumed power at the federal level in March 2008.

The current disenchantment with elected civilian rule represents a typical dilemma of societies where democratic aspirations repeatedly get frustrated by the poor performance of political leadership. The rulers view their electoral mandate as a licence to advance their self-articulated agendas rather than for addressing the issues that hurt the common person in daily life. Another problem common with such rulers is that they create a personalised and patrimonial governance system, where loyalty is valued more than professionalism and merit.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/827430/insecure-democracy/
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2015 08:20 am
perhaps some day America (and probably Canada too) will be ready

0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2015 08:25 am
@wandeljw,
Democracy is used too loosely.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2015 11:26 am
This morning I managed to read another article that made me grit my teeth. The article is generally about corruption around the world, and then specifically about certain books discussing corruption, and more specifically about Afghanistan and our role in the strong fostering of it there, in what is essentially not a democracy but a kleptocracy.
Oof!

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/19/corruption-revolt
Corruption and Revolt
by Patrick Radden Keefe
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2015 02:04 am
The North Korean refugees I tutor sure do seem to be happier now that they're living in a democracy. The bad-blood politics down here pale in comparison to what it's like up there.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2015 01:46 pm
In my opinion democracy is not possible unless there is equality before the law, the right to peaceful protest, freedom of the press, a system of public education, and probably some other things that we take for granted.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2015 12:24 pm
@wandeljw,
Quote:
In my opinion democracy is not possible unless there is equality before the law, the right to peaceful protest, freedom of the press, a system of public education, and probably some other things that we take for granted.

Yes but people need to start somewhere. There's no perfect democracy anyway.

I see the problem not in terms of readiness. The US was once a great democracy, but like other democratic systems in this world, it is under attack by lobbies and other forces. Who attack precisely the pre-conditions you listed: a fee press and a good public education system in particular.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2015 12:30 pm



0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2015 01:02 pm
@Olivier5,
I know that was a typo, fee instead of free, but it reminds me that a lot of the press I read voraciously not so long ago is now behind paywalls. This has been true for a long time in that newspapers and magazines have always charged since they cost money to produce - with the exception of a portion that survive by other means like advertising. My long list of news sites to scan over has been getting a lot shorter because of paywalls, and I'm seeing that as class (financial) highly affecting the information available to the masses of us. While charging was always in the mix, to me it seems more of a class cutoff than before. Before, one could buy a newspaper once in a while at a news stand if you had the money that day.

True that there blogs, good bad and indifferent, but even those require possessing a computer or similar apparatus that costs money too.

Not that I have solutions: I'm not looking for an electronic news stream across the blue sky - just that I wish there were more outlets for in depth news writing. My nearest library (oh, four miles or so) has an amazingly lousy newspaper/magazine archive and very few computers for someone who doesn't own one.

Lack of knowledge of what is going on in one's area or country or the whole world can affect democracy in a kind of isolation.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2015 05:39 pm
The US is a Federal presidential constitutional republic. I read that some people use this fact to deny that it's a democracy, but I don't see why it can't be both. Just throwing that out there.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2015 07:19 pm
@ossobuco,
Late addition to last post - not so long ago there were newspapers left in coffee shops or buses. I remember being part of some kind of leave-the-book-you-finished for others "group", in that I did that.

Anyway, I see the u.s. getting more strictly stratified, besides the 1% business.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2015 07:26 pm
@wandeljw,
Yes on that, re having it putter along. I see Olivier's point re the start up.
0 Replies
 
 

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