In Class Topics November 16, 2006
- What is democracy? There are several elements
- A system of political action where all citizens either participate directly in running their government or participate in the selection of their representatives in government.
- Elections occur at regular intervals that are known by all citizens.
- Leadership change occurs peacefully.
- The losers understand that they will not be punished for the opposition in the election process.
- The losers have faith that their interests will be recognized by the winners.
- The losers have faith that they will have a fair chance to change the voters’ minds at the next election.
- Democratic participation is open to all citizens. Citizenship is not restricted because of race, religion, gender or ethnic beliefs
- What is democratization? It’s the effort to spread democracy to countries that do not have traditions of democratic government or to restore democracy to countries that have experienced some form of non-democratic government.
- What is “democratic peace theory?” The idea that democracies do not engage in wars with each other. This is often a justification for democratization. Theorists often advocate that the statistics bear out the argument. Opponents argue that until the past 20-30 years there haven’t been enough democracies in the world to provide a valid test to this argument.
- Why does the United States try to spread democracy?
- The idea that the democratic peace works.
- Democracy is the best form of government for people and everyone should have it.
- Democracy helps protect commercial interests of Americans
- The U.S. can control democratic governments more effectively than secretive dictatorships.
- It’s the morally correct thing to do.
- Democracies allow the people (workers) to protect their own interests from autocrats or dictators.
- How can democracies best be developed?
- By force?
- Why do democracies fail?
- Economic failure?
- Cultural characteristics?