Comparative Government Democratization Questions Essay Sample

Comparative Government Democratization Questions Pages
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Democratic Regime
The government in place is elected by the people in free elections. Procedural Democracy  Procedural democracies have free and fair elections. Substantive Democracy  Citizens are free and they have certain rights in addition to having a procedural democracy. Democratization  It is the process of a government becoming more democratic. Level of Economic Development Level of economic development refers to the stage of the economy of a country. Democratization from Above.This is when the current ruler introduces democratic reforms. Democratization from Below This is when the public demand democratic changes, so the government is forced to democratize. Military Dictatorships The military tightly rules the country. Democratic Consolidation This refers to when the democracy of a country has been ingrained into the institutions of a country. Military Coup  A military coup is when the military forcibly takes over the government. Illiberal Democracy  Illiberal democracies have a procedural democracy, but some rights have been limited. Rule of Law Each citizen of the country, no matter what role they play, is given equal treatment under rule of law.

Reading Questions
1. Which of the following comes first, substantive or procedural democracy? Why? Explain the difference between the two. Procedural democracies come first and are followed by substantive democracies. Substantive democracies have a procedural democracy in place, with some rights added. A procedural democracy is a democracy that has free and fair elections. Procedural democracies do not have to have those rights.

2. What are some of the major characteristics of a substantive democracy? A substantive democracy must contain a procedural democracy. The citizens should have rights such as freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, etc. They should be free from corruption and abuses of power by the government.

3. Explain the three waves of democratization. Do you think democratization is continuing to expand in the 21st century or has it stagnated? The first wave is carried out by the educated and urbanized people who know the benefits of democracy. The second wave occurred after WW2 when the Allies achieved victory and new countries were formed. Many new countries attempted to install democracies and many old democracies got stronger. The third wave happened when the Soviet Union collapsed and democracies replaced authoritarian rule in Latin American, South American and African countries. I believe that democratization has somewhat plateaued as many countries around the world can see the benefits of having a democracy. There is no other political idea that is nearly as prevalent as democracies.

4. Why are most economically developed societies, democratic societies? Use 2 examples from the reading. Democracies usually provide citizens with more education which leads to more development. The more development a country undergoes, the more efficient the economy becomes. Nigeria’s economy is very unstable because it is underdeveloped. On the other hand, Britain, a very educated country, generates 10 times as much per capita as Nigeria does.

5. How does the international environment of democracy impact the democratic direction of a country in transition? Provide historical examples. If the environment allows for growth, then the democracy will most like grow successfully otherwise it will fail. The USA helped West Germany go from Hitler’s rule to a democratic country.

6. Why did the prestige of democracy go up and down during the 20th century? Provide examples. What is the prestige of democracy in the 21st century?

Democracy did not have as much support during some decades because of the
success of other types of governments such as fascism in Italy and communism in Soviet Union. Then after the Soviet Union collapsed, democracy became widely accepted as one of the few viable forms of government. The prestige currently is very high as most countries strive for an American-like democracy.

7. Explain the difference between top down democracy and bottom up democracy. Top down democracies are when the current ruler decides to democratize the country whereas a bottom up democracy is when the people decide to democratize.

8. What is the key to democratization in single-party authoritarian regimes? Give 2 examples. The key in these regimes is to not be united and lose confidence. The PRI party in Mexico controlled the country for majority of the 20th century, but once they failed a couple of times, they opened up the government to democratization. In the Soviet Union, the ruling party lost sight of their long term goal, so divisions within the party led to the breakup of the government.

9. Must a country have a high level of economic development and modernization in order to have a democracy? Give 2 examples. While a high level of economic development is very helpful to having a successful democracy, it is not a requisite. India is a very poor nation, but they remain democratic. Currently, Nigeria has a democracy that is running even though the nation is not yet developed.

10. Give two features of illiberal democracies. What aspects allow Russia to be considered an illiberal democracy? Illiberal democracies can inhibit certain rights and the government can be corrupt. Russia is considered illiberal because it censors the media and it abuses other rights of its citizens. The government also suffers from corruption.

11. What are two economic advantages of Democracies?
Democracies have never suffered from famine because the media would alert the whole world and help would be inevitable. More education in democracies can
lead to more efficient production in economies.

12. Using the information from the reading, place each of our 6 countries into the following categories.
-Fully Democratized: Great Britain, Mexico
-Partially Democratized: Russia, Nigeria
-Not Democratized: China, Iran

13. Why was Mexico only partially democratized prior to 2000? Do you agree with the briefing’s suggestion about Mexico’s level of democracy? I disagree because Mexico suffers from an immense amount of corruption from the cartels, taking away from its status as fully democratized. Before 2000, it was still transitioning away from the reign of the PRI.

14. What has caused Nigeria’s Freedom House score continue to swing down rapidly? The efforts at democracy are interrupted by military coups, so the democracies can never deepen their roots. The government also suffers from corruption.

15. According to the briefing what area of the world is the least democratic? Why do you think this might be the case? The Middle East remains undemocratic because of the connotation that democracy might have. Democracies may be considered too Western for some of the people’s liking.

16. What positive changes did Gorbachev make for the Soviet Union that would help in its transition toward a democracy? He allowed for an increase in openness and freedom. He allowed the Berlin Wall to fall.

17. How does Russia’s level of democracy compare to the other nations of the former Soviet Union? How does Russia’s level of democracy compare to European Union countries? After the Soviet Union disbanded, Russia’s democracy spiked while the other former Soviet countries’ democracies fell. However, now the scores are almost equal as Russia has stagnated. The other EU nations have a much higher level of democracy than Russia.

18. When did Iran’s democracy peak? Why was the peak of Iranian democracy so short lived? The peak of Iranian democracy was directly after the Shah was exiled. It was so short because radical Islamists gained control of the government.

19. What was the impact of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to China? He was less repressive than many past leaders. He implemented some of the requests that were on the democracy wall.

20. How might major issues of the 21st century, such as terrorism, threat of nuclear war, and economic instability impact democratization? Democratic freedoms may be threatened by such conflicts because the people must be kept safe. However, democratization should remain steady. Some countries like Syria and other Arab Spring nations will become democracies while there may be democratic overthrow in countries such as Nigeria or Russia.

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