The Democratic Rollback? Democracy in East-Asia


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  • The Democratic Rollback? Democracy in East-Asia

    1. 1. The Democratic Rollback? With reference to … The Resurgence of the Predatory State, Larry Diamond, From Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008 By FILI AN
    2. 2. Larry Diamond <ul><li>Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Stanford University. </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. </li></ul><ul><li>Founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy. </li></ul><ul><li>Related Books: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Spirit of Democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting Democracy in the 1990s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Culture and Democracy in developing Countries ed. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Reference : Prof. Diamond’s website at Stanford) </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Democratization Wave <ul><li>By 2000 – 60% of the world’s independent counties democratic. </li></ul><ul><li>East-Asia : South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia. </li></ul><ul><li>(Reference : Following data and charts are from the Freedom House 2008 report) </li></ul>
    4. 4. What’s Democracy about? <ul><li>Not sure there is one “definition”… </li></ul><ul><li>Majority rule (/representative). </li></ul><ul><li>Rule of Law / Equality before law. </li></ul><ul><li>Civil liberties & human rights – speech, press, religion, privacy, own property, fair trail etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Balanced separated powers – government, parliament, judiciary, press... </li></ul><ul><li>What else? </li></ul>
    5. 5. Freedom House – the definition of “Free” <ul><li>“ Freedom is the opportunity to act spontaneously … outside the control of the government … “ </li></ul><ul><li>Political rights - “Participate freely in the political process through the right to … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vote. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compete for public office. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elect representatives who have a decisive impact on public policies and are accountable to the electorate” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civil liberties – “Freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy without interference from the state“ </li></ul>
    6. 6. Freedom – Who’s Free in East Asia? <ul><li>Country - (PR, CL) </li></ul><ul><li>Japan - 1, 2 </li></ul><ul><li>South Korea - 1, 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Taiwan - 2, 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Mongolia - 2, 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Indonesia - 2, 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Philippines - 4, 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Malaysia - 4, 4 (down) </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore - 5, 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Thailand - 6, 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Cambodia - 6, 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Brunei - 6, 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Vietnam - 7, 5 </li></ul><ul><li>China - 7, 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Laos - 7, 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Burma - 7,7 (down) </li></ul><ul><li>North Korea - 7, 7 </li></ul><ul><li>The report ranks every country on a seven point scale in two categories ( 1 highest, 7 lowest) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Political Rights&quot; (PR) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Civil Liberties&quot; (CL) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Freedom - What’s happening in East Asia – 2007-8 <ul><li>“ A number of Asia’s most important countries suffered freedom setbacks during 2007”-8 </li></ul><ul><li>Burma – Violence against peaceful demonstrations. </li></ul><ul><li>China </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Crack down: Political activists, online journalists, human-rights lawyers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Olympics : “Antidemocratic environment”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing pressure on Tibet. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Malaysia – Tighter control : online media crackdown, suppression of opposition-led protests. </li></ul><ul><li>Philippines - High-level corruption allegations. </li></ul><ul><li>Thailand – Recovering from a military cope. Re-electing the Thaksin’s party allies. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Perception of Democracy -> Negative trend <ul><li>Decreasing faith in the democratic political system – Politicians, parties, government officials. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples : </li></ul><ul><li>Asian Barometer – Philippines (2001 -> 2005) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Democracy is Best” : 64% -> 51%. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfaction with Democracy : 54% -> 39%. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejection of Authoritarian Rule : 70% -> 59%. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Afrobarometer – Nigeria (2000 -> 2005) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Government is fighting corruption” : 64% -> 36% </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. World-wide “Democratic Recession” <ul><li>Nigeria, Russia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expansion of executive power, intimidation of the opposition, rigging the electoral process. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The people embrace stronger authoritarian leader (Vlademir Potin) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Venezuela </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The people embrace stronger authoritarian leader President Hugo Chavez almost passing a referendum to give him unlimited power. Control. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kenya </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnic violence regarding Electoral Fraud (2007). </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. What’s the core problem? - Elections <ul><li>Elections </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Fallacy of Electoralism” : Democracy isn’t all about elections. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential “Electoral Authoritarianism” : Elections aren’t always democratic. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other strong democracies (US, Europe) accept “superficial democracies”, often mixing economics and politics. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Elections - Democracy requires… <ul><li>Freedom to advocate, associate, contest, and campaign. </li></ul><ul><li>Fair and neutral electoral administration. </li></ul><ul><li>A widely credible system of dispute resolution. </li></ul><ul><li>Balanced access to mass media. </li></ul><ul><li>Independent vote monitoring. </li></ul>
    12. 12. What’s the core problem? - Governance <ul><li>“ Monopoly of Power ” - Rule of the Elite - nearly everyone feels powerless, exploited, and unhappy. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Predatory societies ” – Use any means necessary and break any rules possible to gain power and wealth. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Social distrust” - Thin line between police and criminals. </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Putnam, Douglass North, John Wallis, and Barry Weingast – Problem is … “Bad governance is not an aberration or an illness to be cured, but rather a natural condition ”. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Governance - Democracy requires … <ul><li>Freedom, justice, and a fairer society through : </li></ul><ul><li>It takes time to make it work - ongoing commitment to the principles of democracy. </li></ul><ul><li>Democratic Balance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountable Government. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Judicial system and Rule of Law : Law enforcement, crime and corruption containment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent organizations, mass media, and think tanks. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Generating steady solid economic growth while ensuring economic equality. </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalism & open market economy? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Governance - Transforming Predator Societies… <ul><li>Civic involvement and consciousness. </li></ul><ul><li>Forming impartial rules and democratic institutions (political parties, parliaments, and local governments). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>better, stronger, and more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>transparency and accessibility . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accountability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vertical (by the public) : G enuine democratic election with strict integrity and neutrality, public hearings, citizen audits, the regulation of campaign finance, and a freedom-of-information act </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Horizontal (by the counterpart agencies) : Independent with resources - Legal authority, professional staffs, public audits, parliamentary oversight committees, etc. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. My take on things - Maslow on a social scale <ul><li>Human needs -> Social needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Physiological and Safety should be satisfied in order to allow a confident long-lasting Social-actualization. </li></ul>
    16. 16. My take on things - Democracy <ul><li>Democracy – least worst . It’s not near perfect, but it’s the best we have. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s essentially working - People in strong enduring democracies – see and constantly complain about the weaknesses, but wouldn’t trade it for anything else. </li></ul><ul><li>The main democratic strength </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A work in process for the whole society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A self-evolving political system. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focusing on rights and liberties. </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. My take on things - World’s Democratic Recession <ul><li>I’m optimistic . </li></ul><ul><li>Up to the people - There’s no such thing “cultural tendencies to freedom or democracy”, yet it’s up to the people in different nations to figure out what’s right for them. Democracy can take many forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy can’t be rushed into - It took Europe and the US hundreds of years and it’s still in process. </li></ul><ul><li>People’s Democracy - Democracy has to come from the people. It can not be forced upon. People need to want it. </li></ul>