sábado, 1 de marzo de 2014

Democracy's weakening

emocracy, as conceived in the English, French, and U.S. models, seems to be in crisis. To my mind there are several evident reasons for this, and I'll mention four of them:

a) The core notion of rule of law is difficult. In countries such as Venezuela and Egypt, elected presidents are able to subordinate the legislative and judicial instances of power and convert government into something very similar to dictatorships even though they may be elected in relatively free and fair voting processes. It may be, as in Venezuela, that the president has been repeatedly elected, even though -while proclaiming the preeminence of the constitution-, he consistently violates it. Hugo Chávez became something between a hero and a minor deity: his somewhat inconsistent word was law to his adoring followers.

It is not, furthermore, just that the “first citizen” in his or her role as president or prime minister must obey the dictates of law, everyone has to. There are many ways of undermining law: offering and accepting bribes to accomplish the basic bureaucratic business of state and commerce is therefore seditious for democracy.  

b) The development of huge economic interests, such as many modern-day, international corporations, weakens the authority of elected officials.

c) Elected officials may chose it ignore the needs of the people that voted for them. Also their lack of economic expertise –or their ideological commitments- may ruin the financial health of their countries. This happened both in Egypt and in Venezuela and one of the major complaints of opposition forces is the cost of living and the scarcity of products legally on sale.

d) The very worst challenge is indifference: electoral abstention shows that people either distrust politics or simply don't care.

I wrote these reflections before reading the article "What's wrong with democracy" printed in The Economist. I do not agree with everying the author wrote, but his/her analysis of the weakening of democracy is much better than mine. The reference is below.


a) "What's wrong with democracy". The Economist. Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21596796-democracy-was-most-successful-political-idea-20th-century-why-has-it-run-trouble-and-what-can-be-do?frsc=dg%7Ca&fsrc=scn%2Ffb_app_ipad
b) Ornate letter: Available at: http://retrokat.com/medieval/leil.htm

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