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International Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy

International Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    International Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy
    Book Description:

    Democracy enjoys unparalleled prestige at the beginning of the twenty-first century as a form of government. Some of the world's most prosperous nations are democracies, and an array of nations in Europe, Africa, and South America have adopted the system. This globalization has also met resistance and provoked concerns about international power exerted by institutions and elites that are beyond the control of existing democratic institutions. In this volume, leading scholars of democracy engage the key questions about how far and how fast democracy can spread, and how international agencies and international cooperation uneasily affect national democracies. At first glance, the efforts of intergovernmental organizations to intervene in a nation's governance seem anything but democratic to that nation. The contributors demonstrate why democracy has been so attractive and so successful, but are also candid about what limits it may reach, and why._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Lisa Anderson, Larry Diamond, Zachary Elkins, John R. Freeman, Brian J. Gaines, James H. Kuklinski, Peter F. Nardulli, Melissa A. Orlie, Buddy Peyton, Paul J. Quirk, Wendy Rahn, Bruce Russett, and Beth Simmons._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09196-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. 1 International Perspectives on Democracy in the Twenty-first Century
    (pp. 1-10)

    This volume touches some truly profound and fundamental questions about the future of democratic governance in the upcoming century. One subset of questions derives from matters that cloud the prospects for continued democratization (i.e., Will a fourth wave of democratization emerge?). The nations yet to embrace democracy include some of the poorest and socially most heterogeneous nations in the world (i.e., those in Central Asia and Africa). Others have cultures and traditions that will make the emergence of democracy challenging, to say the least (i.e., Arab states in the Middle East, China). If democracy is to spread beyond the reaches...

  5. I. Democratization on the Frontiers of the Third Wave

    • 2 Democratization in the Twenty-first Century: The Prospects for the Global Diffusion of Democracy
      (pp. 13-41)

      One of the most important developments of the late twentieth century was the emergence of democratic forms of government throughout most of the world. Indeed, the last quarter of the century has been heralded as the age of democracy, and the diffusion of these democracies has been labeled democracy’s third wave. Democratization is a noteworthy global development primarily because of its beneficial effect on the lives of those who have embraced it. More than any other form of government, democracy provides the structure, stability, and dynamism needed to unleash human potential and to harness human and natural resources for the...

    • 3 Is Democracy Contagious? Diffusion and the Dynamics of Regime Transition
      (pp. 42-62)

      Transitions to democracy tend to cluster both temporally and spatially, leading many to employ a wave metaphor in describing democratization. Widespread use of the wave metaphor implies the intriguing possibility that a democratic transition in one country increases the probability of a transition in a neighboring country, a useful definition of diffusion. That democracy diffuses seems almost axiomatic. Nonetheless, democratization scholars are only now beginning to develop hypotheses and marshal the evidence needed to understand the causal processes underlying such interdependence.¹ Foot-dragging on the part of social scientists, however, does not seem to have affected foreign-policy makers, many of whom...

    • 4 A Fourth Wave? The Role of International Actors in Democratization
      (pp. 63-87)

      The “third wave” of democratization (Huntington 1991) may have begun to crest in the mid 1990s, but it certainly has not ebbed. In 1995, Freedom House rated the world’s countries as 40 percent free, 32 percent partly free, and 28 percent not free on political and civil liberties. In 2005, the respective groupings were 46 percent free, 30 percent partly free, and 24 percent not free. The proportionate increase in free countries thus came from both the partly free and not free categories. Similarly, using Freedom House’s somewhat generous definition of “electoral democracy” (free elections, though perhaps with some irregularities...

    • 5 “Western Institutions” and “Universal Values”: Barriers to the Adoption of Democracy
      (pp. 88-112)

      To virtually all Americans and many Europeans¹, the failure of other societies to embrace liberal democratic political institutions is inexplicable. Democracy is not only self-evidently desirable, for many it is the natural or “default” political arrangement, its absence signaling some kind of social impediment or cultural defect. Much of the triumphalist rhetoric that attended the end of the cold war exhibited this perspective: Once communist ideas and agents no longer subvert the natural order of things, liberal democracy should flourish everywhere since it embodies universal values.² As President George W. Bush said in his November 2003 speech to the National...

  6. II. Globalization and Democracy

    • 6 Issues, Information Flows, and Cognitive Capacities: Democratic Citizenship in a Global Era
      (pp. 115-133)

      Globalization’s presence and importance grow daily. Proponents point to concrete manifestations such as improved standards of living, increasingly uniform standards of justice, and technological breakthroughs that no country alone could have achieved. By their accounts, people throughout the world live better lives than they would live in globalization’s absence.

      Globalization also poses problems, as various authors in this volume attest. Beth Simmons (chapter 8) notes, for example, that much of it occurs outside the public purview. She raises especially serious concerns about the generally unnoticed internationalization—what John Freeman (chapter 9) calls migration—of political authority. The growth of international...

    • 7 Globalization, the Decline of Civic Commitments, and the Future of Democracy
      (pp. 134-157)

      According to a substantial number of people, the nation-state is under assault from both external and internal pressures.¹ The kinds of changes that have occurred in the global political economy in the last two decades are said to threaten the centrality of the nation-state as the primary unit of political organization. Collectively captured with the term “globalization,” these forces are said to impinge on the capabilities—indeed, the very sovereignty—of even the strongest states, with perhaps problematic consequences for democracy as we have known it (see Simmons, chapter 8, and Freeman, chapter 9). My goal in this chapter is...

    • 8 Globalization, Sovereignty, and Democracy: The Role of International Organizations in a Globalizing World
      (pp. 158-182)

      An important part of the globalization process has been the internationalization of political authority. International organizations are an attempt to respond to, as well as to further, the development of transnational relationships, private and public. Democracies have been the most ardent participants in international organizations, which raises some intriguing issues: What does the transfer of authority imply for democratic governance? Are citizens losing control as decision making becomes more and more removed from local control? Or are threats of an impending democratic deficit greatly exaggerated?

      The first section of this chapter documents the growth of international organizations over time, with...

    • 9 Democracy and Markets in the Twenty-first Century: An Agenda
      (pp. 183-220)

      The direction of global economic change in this century is relatively clear. State-owned enterprises are being privatized and new capital markets are emerging in many countries. These and existing markets are becoming increasingly liberalized and interconnected. A truly global financial system is emerging, one in which huge sums of money and capital are continuously and rapidly transferred from one location to another. This system is composed, in part, of large, privately owned financial institutions. These institutions construct and rapidly adjust portfolios composed of assets from many locations with the aim of maximizing a worldwide rate of return. They and the...

    • 10 Economic Globalization and Democracy
      (pp. 221-248)

      Upon reading the advocates and critics of economic globalization, it does not take long to begin wondering whether they live in the same world.

      Advocates of economic globalization claim that the liberalization of markets and expansion of global trade are the best way to foster robust economic growth, and that the resulting rise in national income reduces poverty. Critics claim that economic globalization increases poverty and inequality both within nations and between the global north and south. Advocates of economic globalization argue that the promotion of better labor conditions and wages, improvement in the social position of women, the reduction...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 249-254)
  8. Index
    (pp. 255-264)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-267)