Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics

Synopsis

Paul Brooker's text provides a comprehensive assessment of the nature of authoritarian regimes, their changing character in the post-Cold War world, and the main theoretical explanations of their incidence, character and performance.

Excerpt

Although the world has entered an 'age of democracy', non- democratic regimes continue to be of more than just historical interest to students of comparative government and politics. One reason is simply that the global wave of democratisation lost momentum in the early 1990s and left some important non-democratic regimes in place. They still govern a significant proportion of the world's population, with the Chinese communist regime alone ruling a quarter of humanity, and they are still a source of international tension, as in the case of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. A second reason is that there may be a revival of non-democratic rule, on a regional or even global scale, in the twenty-first century. It is therefore as well to be forewarned and forearmed by past experiences of how and why non-democratic regimes emerge.

Thirdly, non-democratic regimes have played a very influential role in the history and development of politics and government. Non-democratic government, whether by elders, chiefs, monarchs, aristocrats, empires, military regimes or one-party states, has been the norm for most of human history. As late as the 1970s non-democratic government was more common than democracy, and for a large part of the twentieth century first fascism and then communism seemed to have replaced democracy as the 'wave of the future'. Furthermore, the era of non-democratic rule has had an important influence on the development of government and politics. In particular, many newly emerged democracies are still experiencing the after-effects of dictatorship, as in formerly military-ruled Latin America and formerly communist Eastern Europe.

Fourthly, the prominent role that non-democratic regimes . . .

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