Chapter 8Comparative Politics I Governmental Systems: Democracy and Nondemocracy
Comparative PoliticsThe study of how governments, political groups, political procedures, and citizenship vary across countries or time periods.
Democracy and Nondemocracy
Spectrum of Government Power• Perfect democracy - Power in hands of the people• Democracy• Limited democracy• Authoritarianism• Totalitarianism• Perfect totalitarianism - All power held by government
Democracy• From the Greek demokratía - demos = “people” - kratía = “government”• Democracy does not always equal freedom.• Democracy needs • Thoughtful citizens • Limits on power • Rule of law • Human and civil rights
Democracy:Definition and Presuppositions• Participatory • Protective Democracy Democracy • Government not • People free to participate tyrannical and oppressive• Pluralist Democracy • Performance • All people free to Democracy participate • Governmental outputs• Developmental reflective of the people’s desires Democracy • People aware of their role in process
Democracy• “True” democracy • A system in which all citizens meet periodically to elect officials and personally enact laws. Representative democracy – One in which the people do not rule directly but through elected and accountable representatives.
Elements of Democracy• Popular accountability of government• Political competition• Alternation in power• Popular representation• Majority decision• Right of dissent and disobedience• Political equality• Popular consultation• Free press
Democracy in Practice• Even if all the democratic criteria are met, political power will still not be evenly distributed • Few will have a lot • And many will have little
Elites• The “top” or most influential people• Those who govern• Elites make the actual decisions, and ordinary citizens generally go along with these decisions• Key dispute: • How much elites are accountable to masses. • Elite theorists vs. pluralists
Nondemocracy:Definition and Characteristics• Antiparticipatory • Diverse in Leadership • Governments deny • Family leadership freedom of participation • Party leadership by the people. • Military leadership• May suppress various • Individual leadership groups • Unclear lines of• May produce laws and succession policies not reflective of the peoples’ desires
Totalitarianism• All-encompassing ideology• A single party• Organized terror• Monopoly of communications• Monopoly of weapons• Controlled economy
Right-Wing Totalitarianism• Aims to strengthen the existing social order and to glorify the state.• Citizens directed toward national glory and war
Authoritarianism• Diluted totalitarianism• Governed by small group• Does not attempt to control everything• Rarely has firm ideology to sell• Institutes command, obedience, order• Has strict, hierarchical chain-of-command• Allows little to no voice for citizens• Has some trappings of democracy, with little function
Latest Wave of Democracy• Authoritarian regimes that enjoyed strong economic growth • Chile, South Korea, Taiwan• Why? • Middle class grows • Have stake in system • Want modification, not collapse of system • Education levels rise • Pluralism – citizens express interests • Market teaches attitudes of democracy
China’s 1989 student protest in Tiananmen Square
Latest Wave of Democracy• Collapsed Communist regimes whose economic growth lagged• Why? • Poor economic growth • Hard to reform totalitarian systems • System can’t bend • If they admit system needs changing, they admit that the ideology was wrong, etc.
Theory of Democratic Peace• No two democracies have ever fought each other.• If true, a more democratic world means a more peaceful world.