23 Mar 2015
To understand democratization and its effect on the third world countries let us first understand the meaning of democracy. Democracy originates from two Greek words; demos which mean people and kratos which mean rule. In Greece, it meant some form of government, a government by the people. In modern world, the definition of democracy has widened and includes many other concepts such as constitutional government, sovereignty and participatory government (Przeworski, 2004). The new definition takes into account certain concepts such social and economic democracy and political and civil liberties (Easterly, 2006). . Democratization refers to the process of building a more democratic world i.e. a social process to bring political reform to make a more democratic world.
A very modern definition of democratization explains that it is a process of change in the political system of any given society to a government that offers civil and political liberties El-(Affendi et al, 2006). Democratization as a concept encapsulates the changing nature of a nation especially developing nation undergoing democratic evolution. It is also evident that at any particular point of time, every society captures a position on the political spectrum which has democracy and dictatorship at its extreme ends. However the transition from dictatorship to democracy is of nonlinear nature.
The assessment of the history of many individual countries from the third world has shown many factors that affect the durability and construction of reliable and durable democratic government in terms of both liberal and electoral policies (Al-Ghannoushi, 2008). The development of democratization solely depends upon the nationâ€™s intention and capacity to do so.
The factors that affect a developing nationâ€™s democratization can be external or internal. Democratization in itself is case-sensitive. Any factor that affects democratization also affects each other in a complicated algorithm that and when analyzed in isolation can retard, obstruct or promote democratization (Easterly, 2006). The process of democratization is unique and different in every nation and it cannot be assumed the democracy can be achieved everywhere.
The non-economic factors that affect the process of democratization can be understood on the basis of various examples. In countries such as Sir Lanka, India and Botswana in Africa, the democratic system was inherited from the former rulers (Bichara, 2007). The countries such as Spain, Greece and Portugal specifically the Latin American nations were comparatively rich income societies than countries like Bangladesh which were extremely poor (Waterbury, 1994). The development of democracy in traditional societies such as Asia and Africa faces challenges from very deep rooted caste, tribal and ethnic alliances. For democratization the countries would have to be reasonably free of these alliances.
All these factors stated above can be generalized as the internal factors affecting the process of democratization. These factors majorly include economic and political crisis. These factors greatly affect the democratic movement of the society and differ from nation to nation. The basic internal factors include-:
1. The economy of the nation.
2 The strength, framework and the transparency of the government bodies.
3. The civil society and structure.
4. The demography of the region.
5. The geographical placement of the region.
Though the principal driving factors of democratization are internal a few external factors also affect the development of democratization. These factors include-:
1. The promotion of democracy by developed nations.
2. The promotion and aid by various international and national organizations.
3. The state of global markets and finance mechanisms.
4. The influence and power of non-democratic nation.
Democracy by its definitions seems to be a very positive and optimistic theory (Waterbury, 1994). But, in my opinion the notion of democracy has seen a steep decline globally. Lesser and lesser countries are making the transition to being a complete, strong and reliable democracy. In fact, according to me by extrapolating the current trends we find that most of the already democratic nations are also backsliding (Bichara, 2007). Let us understand the outcome of democratization by analyzing the situations in various countries.
Russia-: After the fall of Soviet Union, Russia was declared a democratic republic. Till today the type of democracy followed in Russia does not adhere to the accepted definition of democracy and not recognized as a democracy around the world. Despite elections, the Russian government does not practice any liberal or electoral democracy. â€œSovereign Democracyâ€Â is the new term given to its type of government. Russia is a complete autocracy without any capacity and intention to become a democracy and is also actively promoting autocracy to its neighboring countries (Berkowitz, 2008).
Asia-: Though the continent has some of the best democracies across the world some of the worst democracies and worst autocracies are also a part of this continent. Pakistan and Afghanistan are two biggest examples of the faulty outcome of democratization.
The Northern Africa and the Middle East-: The abysmal and sorry state of democratization the Middle East and Northern Africa has become a concern for everyone. Only one of the countries in Middle East i.e. Israel has shown any transition towards democracy, which too is backsliding (Al-Ghannoushi,2008). In fact, not one of the nations of the Arab League can truly be called a democracy. This sorry state of affairs is a matter of alert because some these nations did witness some economic growth but all of it has now completely reversed which has led to very high destabilization.
On the one hand where the notion of democracy has been accepted as a universal value, the reputation and belief in complete democracy has been fast declining (Bichara, 2007). The brand of democracy has diluted because powerful autocrats across the world have adopted the mask of being democrats but in essence fail to truly practice either liberal or electoral democracy. The world is witnessing the apparently democratic election of masked autocrats. These authoritarian leaders have a consolidated power over these so-called democracies (El-Affendi et al, 2006). The ignorance of developed nations like the US towards the positive promotion of democracy in its true sense adds up to the gravity of the situation.
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