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Liberal Democracy in Non-Western States

Liberal Democracy in Non-Western States
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Edited book , Notes
$24.95 (18.71)
How greatly the world has changed! Less than fifty years ago, Western democracy was threatened by totalitarian regimes exerting their influence. Today the reverse is true. Since the demise of communist rule in Russia and the weakening of Marxist-Leninist beliefs across the world, Western democracies have been flattered by imitation, and have been willing to believe they can be imitated. But can Western democracy take root in non-Western states?

The tide of democracy is running strong in non-Western states. Military men are uneasy in office. Single-party presidents are defensive. Revolutionary leaders are on the run. Theocracies still exist but the emirs, ayatollahs and sheiks of the Middle East are not wholly at ease, even within the Islamic world. The elderly leaders in Beijing, at least to outsiders, look something of an anachronism. Monopoly control is seen as inefficient. Who can doubt that the attraction of western wealth has added immeasurably to the imitative value of western politics?

Can liberal parliamentary democracy adapt to local needs and work to advantage under conditions very dissimilar from those in the countries of its origins? Are the values of Western civilization a prerequisite for democracy to work? Does democracy create or follow economic development? Can democracy work when there are ethnic rivalry, urban poverty, political corruption, and entrenched social hierarchies? How many politicians only pretend to favor democracy because of its current popularity? What will be the fate of liberal democracy in a world where the economic gravity is shifting from the West to Asia?

The desire for democracy is evident from Mongolia to Ghana, from Papua New Guinea to Ecuador. It is urgent that the West do what it can to help those willing to introduce democracy, rather than dwell on internal problems or ransack the resources of the globe. Assisting other countries ought to be a matter of self-interest as the enlargement of the community of democratic states can make the world safer and more pleasant.

Liberal Democracy in Non-Western States addresses the attempts and the possibilities for democracy in the Caribbean and Pacific islands, in Latin America, in Africa, in India, and in Asia, in areas where the majority of the world’s population resides with indigenous cultures far removed from Aristotle or monotheism.

Seasoned experts discuss the attempts to bring democracy to the populous and the remote areas of the world. They make it abundantly clear that to achieve a genuine democracy with prosperity, we must advocate more than free elections and a free press. Democracy, if it does take hold, will manifest in new cultural expressions, quite different from those in the West.

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Foreword
Roger Michener and Edward Shils
Dennis Austin
Chapter 1 O Brave New World?
Dennis Austin
Chapter 2. Islands of Democracy in the Carribean and the Pacific
Anthony Payne
Chapter 3. The Revival of Democracy in Latin America
Paul Cammack
Chapter 4. Liberal Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa
Keith Panter-Brick
Chapter 5. Liberal Democracy for South Africa?
Sam C. Nolutshungu
Chapter 6. Democracy in South Asia
Anirudha Gupta
Chapter 7. The Prospects for Democracy in Southeast Asia
W. Scott Thompson
Chapter 8. The Possibility of Liberal Democracy in East Asian Societies
Benjamin I. Schwartz
Notes on Contributors

DENNIS AUSTIN is Professor of Government Emeritus at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has been lecturer at the University of Ghana, Reader in Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, and Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. He has written widely on African and Commonwealth affairs

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