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|عنوان فارسی مقاله
|چرا دموکراسی اینقدر ضعیف عمل می کند؟
|عنوان انگلیسی مقاله
|Why is Democracy Performing so Poorly?
|رشته های مرتبط
|علوم سیاسی، جامعه شناسی سیاسی
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|مجله دموکراسی – Journal of Democracy
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Some Definitions Modern liberal democracies combine three basic institutions: the state, rule of law, and democratic accountability. The first of these, the state, is a legitimate monopoly of coercive power that exercises its authority over a defined territory. States concentrate and employ power to keep the peace, defend communities from external enemies, enforce laws, and provide basic public goods. The rule of law is a set of rules, reflecting community values, that are binding not just on citizens, but also on the elites who wield coercive power. If law does not constrain the powerful, it amounts to commands of the executive and constitutes merely rule by law. Finally, democratic accountability seeks to ensure that government acts in the interests of the whole community, rather than simply in the self-interest of the rulers. It is usually achieved through procedures such as free and fair multiparty elections, though procedural accountability is not always coincident with substantive accountability. A liberal democracy balances these potentially contradictory institutions. The state generates and employs power, while rule of law and democratic accountability seek to constrain power and ensure that it is used in the public interest. A state without constraining institutions is a dictatorship. And a polity that is all constraint and no power is anarchic. As Samuel Huntington used to argue, before a polity can constrain power, it must be able to employ it. In the words of Alexander Hamilton, “A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.”۳ There is a further critical distinction to be made between patrimonial and modern states. A modern state aspires to be impersonal, treating people equally on the basis of citizenship rather than on whether they have a personal relationship to the ruler. By contrast, patrimonial states are ones in which the polity is regarded as a species of personal property, and in which there is no distinction between the public interest and the ruler’s private interest. Today there are no fully patrimonial societies, since no one dares any longer to claim ownership of an entire country, as kings and queens did in ages past. There are, however, many neopatrimonial states that pretend to be modern polities, but these in fact constitute rent-sharing kleptocracies run for the private benefit of the insiders. Neopatrimonialism can coexist with democracy, producing widespread patronage and clientelism in which politicians share state resources with networks of political supporters. In such societies, individuals go into politics not to pursue a vision of public good, but rather to enrich themselves. Coercion remains central to the functioning of the state, which is why state power so often generates fear and hatred. Michael Mann has famously distinguished between “despotic” and “infrastructural” power, the former related to coercion and the latter to the ability to provide public goods and look after the public interest.4 This distinction might tempt us to say that “good” states have infrastructural power, while “bad” states make use of despotic power. But, in fact, coercion is important to all states. Successful states convert power into authority—that is, into voluntary compliance by citizens based on the belief that the state’s actions are legitimate. But not all citizens agree to obey the law, and even the most legitimate democracies require police power to enforce the law. It is impossible to control corruption, for example, or to collect taxes if nobody goes to jail for violating the law. Enforcement capacity does not emerge simply through passing laws; it also requires investment in manpower and training, and in establishing the institutional rules that govern its exercise. If there is anything that the experience of the past 25 years should have taught us, it is that the democratic leg of this tripod is much easier to construct than the rule of law or the modern state. Or to put it slightly differently, the development of modern states has not kept pace with the development of democratic institutions, leading to unbalanced situations in which new (and sometimes even well-established) democracies have not been able to keep up with their citizens’ demand for highquality government services. This has led, in turn, to the delegitima-tion of democracy as such. Conversely, the fact that authoritarian states like China and Singapore have been able to provide such services has increased their prestige relative to that of democracy in many parts of the world. The recent experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq illustrate this problem. After the U.S. invasion and occupation of these countries in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the United States was able, with some international help, to organize democratic elections that led to the seating of new governments in both countries. The quality of democracy in both places—especially in Afghanistan, where the presidential elections of 2009 and 2014 were marred by serious allegations of fraud5 —was questioned by many, but at least a democratic process was in place to provide leadership that had some semblance of legitimacy. What did not occur in either place was the development of a modern state that could defend the country’s territory from internal and external enemies and deliver public services in a fair and impartial manner. Both countries were beset by internal insurgencies, and in 2014 the U.S.-trained Iraqi army collapsed in the north under the onslaught of ISIS. Both countries were plagued by extremely high levels of corruption, which in turn undermined their ability to deliver government services and undercut their legitimacy. The huge investments in statebuilding in both places by the United States and its coalition partners seem to have had limited effect. State-building failures also played a key role in events in Ukraine. Western friends of democracy cheered when the Orange Revolution forced a new presidential election in 2004, leading to the defeat of incumbent prime minister Viktor Yanukovych by Viktor Yushchenko. But the new Orange Coalition proved feckless and corrupt, and did nothing to improve the overall quality of governance in Ukraine. As a result, Yanukovych defeated Yushchenko in 2010 in what most observers credited as a free and fair election. Yanukovych’s presidency was marked by even higher levels of predatory behavior, generating a new round of protests in Kyiv after his announcement in late 2013 that he would pursue association with Vladimir Putin’s Eurasian Union rather than with the European Union. In the meantime, Putin had consolidated his increasingly illiberal rule in Russia and strengthened his state’s position vis-`a-vis the outside world, making possible the outright annexation of Crimea following Yanukovych’s ouster in February 2014. I would argue that the current conflict pitting Russia against the new Ukrainian government and its Western backers is less one over democracy per se than over modern versus neopatrimonial political orders. There is little question that, in the wake of the Crimean annexation, Vladimir Putin has become very popular in Russia and would be likely to win overwhelmingly if a new election were to be held. The real choice facing people in this region is a different one—whether their societies are to be based on governments seeking to serve the public interest in an impersonal manner, or are to be ruled by a corrupt coalition of elites who seek to use the state as a route to personal enrichment. The legitimacy of many democracies around the world depends less on the deepening of their democratic institutions than on their ability to provide high-quality governance. The new Ukrainian state will not survive if it does not address the problem of pervasive corruption that brought down its Orange Coalition predecessor. Democracy has become deeply entrenched in most of Latin America over the past generation; what is lacking now in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico is the capacity to deliver basic public goods like education, infrastructure, and citizen security. The same can be said of the world’s largest democracy, India, which suffers from pervasive clientelism and corruption. In 2014, it decisively turned to the BJP’s Narendra Modi in hopes that he would provide decisive leadership and strong government in place of the feckless and corrupt Congress-led coalition that had been in power for the past decade.