Final Blog 4/1

The most interesting thing I learned in this class was the layers needed to get a solid democracy. I did not realize the steps, challenges, and routes there were to achieve such. Going into this class wide eyed and not truly ready for what I would learn was a learning experience. I never knew the value I had living in America under a strong democratic government until I learned the problems others were facing. It is true what they say someone else always has it worse. Learning more in depth about China, the Global South, all my countries for our index project truly make you see a different perspective and one that I hope made me a better person for the way I handle my opinions on democratic issues at home. Aside from the positives this class also taught me that I need to be more productive in time management skills. My paper could of used more time and that ultimately falls in the lesson learned category. Along with that I see that having a journal to manage the details of the paper is a strong investment. As much as I learned in the democratic field I did as well as the dictator field, trust me no soft lining would be coming from my platform! On that light hearted note I would like to thank you for teaching an enjoyable class and helping evolve into a more democratic minded individual.

Blog Post Week 4/3

Key developments across the Arab world that made development according to Lynch were several different movements. He states that the previous two waves of mobilization needed to occur to try the ropes at an uprising. Also the popular movements in the 1950’s and late 80’s helped to get more people politically active and involved in the agenda. Both these combined efforts started the ground work. Lynch then states that the uprising sprung from the third wave of mobilization. Revolutionary activist in Egypt turned inward on the regimes that caused so many failures to begin. These began a change of movements into a civil war that eventually caused more participants.
These resemble those of the ideals in the Color Revolutions due to the similarity of having a few voices to expanding in mass appeal. The use of waves through both of these uprising helped to change the government in place.

Blog Post 3/27

If I was Assad there would a few steps needed to maintain my power. First being to maintain fear within my people so they know to stay in order. Eventually though their disposition will grow and protest can begin. This is when I remain again with force to quiet them. If I begin to see a fall ahead I start to look into what Schmitter and O’Donnell guide. The first is to give some things to the people to satisfy their problems. Examples could be grain or any basic necessities that can not really hurt me in the process. If this did not work then we move into what they refer to as “pacting” and soft liners. Here you begin to not focus on money and commitment by ideology but take a turn into where losing power does not mean you lose everything. Start to transition into agreements with the people, elections, coalitions, more allowance, etc. Here is the pivotal point where you must maintain enough force where you are not turned into a democracy and enough “softness” to keep the people happy to have you. Once you get this your power position can be held.

Blog Post 3/20

To begin, I don’t know if I fully by into the larger the coalition the lower the corruption. To support my doubts an example that comes to mind is the classic ‘secret passing’. In a class room you start with one person saying “my name is Phil and I wore blue socks today”, each student passes this secret on to the person behind them. By the end of the rows you ask what the secret is. It’s amazing that Phil is now Paul and wearing blue underwear. The more people the secret went thru the greater the chance of not having the right story. This is similar in a large coalition. The more people involved in government the more corruption can occur because of there is so many roles. Corruption could happen when there is a larger coalition. It would be far easier to spot too when there is only person in power as to several holding those positions.

Even so from class lecture Monday I am swayed in the argument, ‘bigger is better’ when it comes to less corruption. There are more outlets to allowance in government that could prevent needing corruption in the first place. The there is more people that will know if you are partaking in these wrong doings who essentially can call you out. With an expansion in the coalition, the harder it is to as we said buy votes, pay off toll workers, and do these things without getting caught.

All that being said I think too big is bad and too small is also. In the middle is just right and the authoritarian regimes should follow that example. That giving one person all the power can lead to more corruption to maintain his position. Expanding to a large government can also have corruption from not being able watch everything when there are so many things happening.

Blog Post 2/20

When you look at America, England, and several other countries violence was needed to get the ball of democracy rolling. These forms of violence whether it being revolutions, uprising, or even gorilla unrest, allow communities to be formed around a common cause. Violence while can provide a unstable start to democracy, can also provide basic democratic ideals such as unity. Giving up some individual ideals to form a collective goal is common in armies. That is a basic fundamental of what is needed in democracies. Sure, you can achieve this through institutions but violence provides a deeper relation with being tolerable of others to reach a “win”.
Both Moore and Robinson argue that economic distribution and democratic success go hand in hand. That being said the next step in a split class system cause revolutions, riots, and uprising. Moore states that many elite leaders see unrest and have to make on point decisions; 1- deal with the problem at face value. Providing “bandaids” that fix the unrest for a while. (ex.- passing a bill, lowering taxes, etc.) or 2. quit authoritarian rule and move to a democratic society. Both of these options spring from uneasy citizens who either use violence to get to democratic ideals or as stated in the question “the threat of violence” to produce democracies.
I agree with both authors that economic redistribution is not enough to make people ‘smile’ in authoritarian rule. Bottom wealth countries could be swayed to be content with wealth distribution because it is providing basic necessities that were nonexistent before. As for wealthier countries who have yet to move into democracies, money is just money. These citizens want something beyond redistribution such as individual rights or economic freedom with the money they have. Therefore redistribution isn’t enough to end their hunger for democracies thus leading back into violence to achieve democracies.

Blog Post 2/13

There are a lot of ways you could look at this question. For me, it is necessary to have democratic values before democracy. America is great example of this. At the start of the revolution, the founding fathers all had similar instill ideals of what democracy should. You need these values to form a common goal of what the country should achieve under democracy. Without the compromise of these ideals there would be no chance for a working democracy to exist. The flip side of having a democracy before having democratic values is having a “half ass” democracy to put it nicely. Even tho the plan is in motion without, there is no consent from the people as to what should be achieved under democracy. I see having democracy first before values only will cause problems in the long run which could eventually tear down the democracy. Especially is the citizen do not agree with the values, it could ultimately cause the people to be against having a democratic society in general.
In the second part of this prompt I tend to agree with countries democratize after gaining these values. For example in the US where values are being learned through participation yet you hear all the time “I can not stand the president, he sucks”. Many of those people when asked why does he suck have no informed decision yet still vote. This supports that even though there is participation there can still be a lack of values. Some say they do not have the time to vote, they have other matters to fulfill, or even I just voted for who my parents vote for. If there was a common set of democratic ideals (ex. education) (ex. true participation) then there is a better chance to have less disputes and a more successful democracy.

Blog Post 2/6

When we state “participation” as one of the driving players in the index for democracy of course the first measure that comes to mind is voting. Many countries as stated in class use voting to start the wave democratic ideals and to allow people to have a hand in the choices. Participation can be measured statistically through outsiders polling citizens or even by tallied results of the percent who voted. Yet as mentioned in class we can not always say that voter “participation” truly is always good for a democratic index when in these 3rd world countries fraud, fines if you do not vote, and even lack of parties limit true citizen participation.
The second form of participation that would be useful in an index would be institutions. How many normal or “average” citizens actually participate in these institutions. Many states can not form a solid democracy based on the lack of knowledge in what a democracy should be or how to get involved. This is why I say that institutions need to be measured. If the only people participating in these are elites who already have power rather than the average citizen participating and spreading the ideals of true democracy, how can any progress happen? Institutions could be measured by seeing who is in charge, asking locals of which institutions they participate in or know of. Once again using stats of surveys.
These differ from one another in the sense that voting can be straight tallied while figuring out who participates in institutions could be based on surveying.