An illustration of liberal democracy was in the US during the presidency of Bill Clinton. One more version of democracy, more popular in the European nations like France, Sweden, and Germany is known as Social Democracy. Social democrats believe in achieving socialism by democratic means. But social democracy seems to be on the verge of decline due to shift in focus. “In a democratic system, the citizens’ concerns are reflected in political opinion.
This is conveyed into governmental regulations, which can in turn affect the way an international business markets itself abroad.”
A TOTALITARIAN state denies public rights and civil liberties. Political repression of the opponents is a common phenomenon. One of the major forms of totalitarianism is communist totalitarian government is China. Communism owes its origin to Karl Marx theory of social change to create a classless society through ownership of all the major factors of production by the state.
Recent disintegration of USSR point to the declining influence of communism worldwide as it has failed to deliver economic progress. Another form of totalitarianism is theocratic totalitarianism, where political power is monopolised by an individual, group, or party following religious principles to govern.
Saudi Arabia is a good example. A third form is tribal totalitarianism found mostly in African countries such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Such countries have a mix of many tribes and the party in power representing interests of one tribe monopolizes power. Fascist totalitarianism is another form of totalitarianism.
Currently Myanmar (Burma) is an example of the same. In the past Germany under Hitler, Portugal under Salazar, and Spain under Franco are the other good examples of fascist totalitarianism. Mussolini (the Italian dictator) defined fascism as “the fascist conception of the state is all-embracing: outside of it no human or spiritual value may exist, much less have any value. Thus understood Fascism is totalitarian and the Fascist state, as a synthesis and a unit which includes all values, interests, develops and lends additional power to the whole life of a people”.
DEMOCRACY versus TOTALITARIANISM. A glance over the world affairs during the last three decades reveals that the democracy is gaining more and more space and totalitarianism is getting squeezed. The USSR disintegrated as it neglected production of consumer goods against the military production apart from political regimentation.
Other reasons responsible for demise of authoritarianism and spread of democracy are the emergence of new information and communication technologies which have reduced the power of state to access to information (a feature of democracy). Emergence of increasingly prosperous middle and working classes has put pressure for democratic reforms. Globalisation has also contributed a lot in favor of democracy.
Is democracy the answer to economic prosperity? It is difficult to answer the question in affirmative. The four tiger states of Asia – South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong had undemocratic or at best qualified democratic governments. Another tiger – Malaysia was a ‘directed’ democracy under Mahatir. India, with a stable democracy, had a sluggish growth. China despite having a totalitarian government has made great strides.
From these examples, it is clear that market reforms and discipline are a greater requirement for growth than democracy. A social scientist has remarked that “too much of democracy kills the market, and too much market kills democracy – commodities seem to rule citizens.” Democracies, by their nature, debate and dither. Good non-democracies, like good corporate, deliver.
Many people feel that once a market economy comes into place, democracy follows. The spread of democracy in the world during the last few decades is significant. Governments that are elected by their people are better than those that are not.
Also, democratic governments are more likely to act collectively in defense of global norms of human rights and democracy.
Democracies are based on the decisions of a heterogeneous many-often at cross purposes among themselves-dictate policies which willy-nilly – more nilly than Willy – have to be executed by public functionaries and holders of political office.
Democracy has its own problems of stability and loss of faith in politicians and the governments. Individual feels neglected being part of no pressure group. Despite waning of confidence people still believe that democracy is the best form of government. MNCs, while making choice for location, go in for a democratic country, other things being equal. Intel, the chipmaker, opted for Costa Rica instead of Mexico. The decisive factor was strong democracy.
Democracy has grown in waves. The earliest democracies were established in the nineteenth century. Here the democratic institutions are well settled and hence, such democracies are ‘consolidated’. After Second World War came the second wave of, a result of decolonisation of empires.
The third wave got the momentum in 1970s. Disintegration of the Soviet Union resulted into 17 new democracies. But the new ones are in transition as they have to simultaneously work on two fronts – creating democratic institutions and market economy.
Instruments of Democracy:
Democracy in broader terms refers to rule by the people, for the people and of the people. That means rule by the people through elected representatives.
Democracy is based upon:
i. Freedom of expression
ii. Free, Fair and regular Elections
iii. Independent Judiciary
iv. Non-political Bureaucracy
v. Free Media