Is Democracy in Decline?
By Marc F. Plattner
To understand the condition of democracy in the world today, one must begin by situating it in the context of its global fortunes over the past two centuries. The most illuminating account of democracy’s historical trajectory was put
forward by Samuel P. Huntington in his 1991 book The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Huntington finds that democracy’s advances have occurred primarily in three waves —periods in which the number of democratic countries in the world has risen substantially, with transitions to democracy considerably outpacing breakdowns of democracy.
Huntington chooses as the starting date of modern democracy the year 1828, when it is estimated that suffrage in the United States was extended to fifty percent of all adult males. Beginning in 1828, the first wave slowly but steadily gathered force and did not come to an end until 1926. This “long wave” really comprises two different subgroups of countries. The first is the dozen or so European and European -settler countries that had, by the nineteenth century, succeeded in establishing a fair degree of freedom and rule of law, and then later moved into….
To Democracy Through Anocracy
By Josep M. Colomer, David Banerjea, & Fernando B. de Mello
Democratization has been associated with relatively short “transitions” from autocratic regimes. Yet 40 out of 89 currently existing democracies have not been established by means of a direct or short transition from an autocratic regime, but
by a process of opening from a long-lasting intermediate or “hybrid” regime, also called “anocracy” or “partly free” regime in the literature. This type of regime typically involves significant freedom together with either limited suffrage rights,
restrictions on electoral competition or constrained accountability of elected rulers. An anocracy is not a brief transitional situation, but a type of regime that tends to be as long living as democracies or autocratic dictatorships.
Intrigued by this finding against the odds of conventional wisdom, we revisit the classic topic of regime types and regime changes. Based on well-grounded conceptual discussion, we use a trichotomous classification of regime types, including the intermediate anocratic category between democracy and autocracy, and the subsequent six-fold typology of regime changes. We have…
Is Democracy in Retreat?
A conversation with Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy since its inception
A graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Carl Gershman served as Senior Counselor to President Ronald Reagan’s United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick prior to assuming his current position at NED in 1984.
GAZETA WYBORCZA: Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain in June 1982, when President Ronald Reagan, in his address to the British Parliament, proposed that the United States undertake a bi-partisan global campaign for democracy.
GERSHMAN: In the Westminster Address, which was one of the most important speeches of Reagan’s presidency, the President recalled a marker in the center of Warsaw, showing that the distances from Warsaw to Moscow and Warsaw to Brussels are equal. The sign, he said, makes this point: Poland is not East or West. Poland is at the center of European civilization. Remember that the speech was given only months after the imposition of martial law, when Solidarity’s struggle for democracy and against totalitarianism was on everyone’s mind. When the President said that “optimism comes less easily today, not because democracy is less vigorous, but because democracy’s enemies have refined their instruments of repression,” his point of reference was martial law and the suppression of Solidarity. He added that optimism is still “in order, because day by day democracy is proving itself to be a not-at-all-fragile flower.” But it needs cultivating, he emphasized, and that’s why America must take actions to assist the struggle for democracy.
…CONTINUE (vía )
How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’