The New Generation: Democracy in Theory and Practice. (Editor's Note)

Harvard International Review, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

The New Generation: Democracy in Theory and Practice. (Editor's Note)


There is a temptation to think that democracy has triumphed as the world's dominant governmental paradigm. In one sense this is undoubtedly true. The world's strongest and most stable nations tend to be democratic, and the influence of their practices and ideas has helped produce broad democratization in recent years. But democracy's success as practiced varies widely around the world, and the fate of the so-called "third wave" of democracy is uncertain. This issue's symposium evaluates the state of democracy today and identifies its main challenges.

Our conversation with Newsweek international Editor Fareed Zakaria develops some of these challenges by high lighting the distinction between democratic governance and constitutional liberalism. According to Zakaria, established democracies should facilitate the spread of capitalism, which leads to the growth of basic liberal institutions. Continuing this theme of democratic cooperation, Adrian Karatnycky, president of Freedom House, considers policies appropriate for the different challenges confronting troubled democracies. Frequently, he argues, the key to democracy's success is the cultivation of civil society.

Robert Hayden, director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, offers a pointed critique of democratic assistance. …

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The New Generation: Democracy in Theory and Practice. (Editor's Note)
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