Democracy and Human Rights in Developing Countries

By Zehra F. Arat | Go to book overview

5
Structural Determinants
and Policy Causes of Decline

Equality breeds no revolution.—Solon

Democracy and violence can ill go together. The States that are today nominally
democratic have either to become frankly totalitarian or if they are to become
truly democratic, they must become courageously non-violent. It is a blasphemy
to say that nonviolence can be practiced by individuals and never by nations
which are composed of individuals
.— Mahatma Gandhi


THE LEGITIMACY CRISIS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

As discussed in Chapter 1, the criteria for government legitimacy have changed over time. The new criteria of social and political equality that require governments to play a positive role in meeting basic human needs and establishing justice, and the capacity of governments to fulfill them, pose major dilemmas for governments in the modern world—and even more so for the governments of developing countries, because the sequence of the changes is as important as the changes themselves. 1 Early developers in the West experienced social and political problems sequentially and enjoyed the opportunity of resolving them gradually as highly autonomous political entities. In contrast, developing countries today confront more complex and intricate problems that occur not sequentially but simultaneously. 2 In the wake of emerging as new nation-states and facing worldwide pressure to adopt democratic political institutions, the late developers lack the resources or willingness to provide material security or a more egalitarian distribution of wealth. By setting a strategy that aims at fast and immediate economic growth and that usually lacks the egalitarian distribution of benefits, leaders in developing countries expose themselves to a chain of problems, and these eventually result in democratic governments evolving into or being replaced by more authoritarian ones. An illustration of this transformation of regime in developing countries is provided by the conceptual model in Figure 5.1.

The two-stage policy construct suggests that certain socioeconomic conditions (system demand and input) lead to certain policies being formulated and implemented. The impact of these policies results in another set of social con

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