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Transition to and Breakdown of Democracy
Instructor: NHEM Boraden
This week’s Objectives
Define Democracy
History of Democratic Wave
Main factors determining democratic transition
Definition: What is democracy?
Before we learn about transition to democracy or
breakdown of democracy, we need to know w...
Definitions of Democracy
If, for example, we define democracy as one where
opposition party must have a chance of forming...
Definitions of Democracy
The book gives a vague guidelines as to how to define
democracy.
Among the elements identified ...
Definitions of Democracy: Polity Score
Currently, one of the frequently used measures of
democracy is called “Polity Scor...
World Political System according to the Polity Project
Definitions of Democracy: Different Dimensions
In sum, the definition of democracy can take many
forms and cover many dim...
History of Democratic Shift
Causes of Democratic Transition: International Factors
First, it is about American foreign policy associated
with moralis...
Causes of Democratic Transition: Domestic Forces
First, after WWII, most regimes that came to power
were weak and unpopul...
Causes of Democratic Transition: Domestic Forces
Fourth, partially related to the rise in education,
people, especially t...
Thank You!
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Dis is307 democratic transition

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Transcript of "Dis is307 democratic transition"

  1. 1. Transition to and Breakdown of Democracy Instructor: NHEM Boraden
  2. 2. This week’s Objectives Define Democracy History of Democratic Wave Main factors determining democratic transition
  3. 3. Definition: What is democracy? Before we learn about transition to democracy or breakdown of democracy, we need to know what we mean by “democracy”. Without a proper definition, we risk calling “window-dressing” as a new regime. There are many simple definitions of what a democracy is: free and fair election, people have freedom of expression and other freedoms, inclusive citizenry (people can vote and run for election)… But those definitions might be insufficient in some cases to provide a clear measure of democracy.
  4. 4. Definitions of Democracy If, for example, we define democracy as one where opposition party must have a chance of forming a government, then Japan was an autocracy until a few years ago according to that measure. If we use election as measure, then every country is democratic. If we use perfectly free and fair election as a measure for democracy, then no country is democratic. Defining democracy is a challenge. One needs to find an appropriate example, yet able to capture a large number of similar countries.
  5. 5. Definitions of Democracy The book gives a vague guidelines as to how to define democracy. Among the elements identified by the book include: regular, free and fair election, strong institutions (parliament, court, civil society, political parties) acting as counterbalance to the executive, and civic culture (the respect of different points of view and basic freedoms). Implicit in the definition is one ambiguity: is democracy a static or dynamic process. A country “is” democratic or does it “become” democratic over time. For example, how do we characterize a political system with regular free election, but no strong institutions like Russia? What is a system like Thailand where the is election and respect of human rights to a certain degree but no strong institutions?
  6. 6. Definitions of Democracy: Polity Score Currently, one of the frequently used measures of democracy is called “Polity Score” calculated by political scientists part of the Polity Project. Democracy is defined using a combination of measures including: how executive power is acquired, how is it changed, how often, how is it exercised and constrained, how is social order maintained, how much influence does civil society or special interests have in the decision-making process. Each country is then given a score by experts and then ranked from -10 (Full autocracy) to 10 (Democracy). The score can change from time to time as some countries might democratize while others might break down into authoritarianism.
  7. 7. World Political System according to the Polity Project
  8. 8. Definitions of Democracy: Different Dimensions In sum, the definition of democracy can take many forms and cover many dimensions: Do the institutions have check and balance (the book)? How much freedom is respected (Freedom House)? Who exercise power and how power is exercised (Polity measure)?
  9. 9. History of Democratic Shift
  10. 10. Causes of Democratic Transition: International Factors First, it is about American foreign policy associated with moralism. When President Carter came to office, he vowed to make human rights promotion his main foreign policy objective. This involved cutting aid to authoritarian countries and supporting democracy. This trend was somewhat reversed under Reagan (although the book suggested otherwise) Second, the end of the Cold War made Eastern European countries rushing to democratize to escape any future Russian sphere of influence. Third, the trend might simply be caused by the fact that democracy has become the norm, the best of the available political regime that has ever been tried, just as Winston Churchill said.
  11. 11. Causes of Democratic Transition: Domestic Forces First, after WWII, most regimes that came to power were weak and unpopular. Military regimes were seen to be the most appropriate substitute. However, the results were usually worse. Second, economic crisis (crisis of import substitution, state-controlled economy, and oil shock of the 1970s) exposed the inability of military regime to solve economic problems, thus leading to unrest. Third, communication technology led to social changes: because of urbanization people became more literate, more politically aware and more mobilized. More importantly, they were aware of what happened in the rest of the world.
  12. 12. Causes of Democratic Transition: Domestic Forces Fourth, partially related to the rise in education, people, especially the intellectuals, began to organize social and political groups despite severe crackdown by the authority. Fifth, the military had made a new calculation. The book wondered if the military has grown tired of governing. While that may explain what happened in Latin America, it did not explain regime of perpetual military rule like in Myanmar or Thailand. One can ask if the transition is because the military had made a new calculation and realized that it is not worth it. Discussion: Which one is the most important?
  13. 13. Thank You! Last session completed
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