Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 24th, 2021

Why Democracy is not Successful in Third World Countries


Why Democracy is not Successful in  Third World Countries

Undoubtedly democracy is the most important factor in stabilization and development of third world countries, but it has not produced a good result in Afghanistan. Afghan citizens eagerly want move towards peace, prosperity and an efficient democratic system, but now after nearly two decades of hopes and optimism everyone is disappointed about its functionality in Afghanistan. In fact, democracy has not brought stability to Afghanistan in the almost two decades, but it would be wrong to conclude that the soil of Afghanistan is not conducive to the tree of democracy. Instead, we should doubt whether we planted the tree of democracy with its prerequisites, or not. So, this supposition seems more scientific to say democracy did not fail in Afghanistan, but it has not properly tried. Democracy is not only election and neither is it a gift to be tried regardless of appropriate social bed. Given the similar ups and downs of democratic systems in 1970 and 1980, Huntington has raised a question whether the number of democratic countries is increasing or decreasing? During his research, he mentioned a number of preconditions for the realization and successful functionality of democracy in third world countries.
The first and most important precondition to realization of democracy is having a level of economic development in a country. The more economically developed the more chances to democratization. Economic welfare can promote the standard of literacy, education, and public media and eventually pave the way for meaningful political participation. Economic welfare can also mitigate the political tensions as it provide a good tool for the failed political elites to increase their legitimacy through providing privileges to the citizens in certain political conditions. In the other word, most of the public dissatisfactions are rooted in scarcity of economic resources, but if a country has a good economic capacity then the hand of political leaders are open to satisfy all the citizens.
Moreover, the political decision making process are more decentralized in industrialized and complicated economies. This feature can enhance public participation in political decision making as their life is more affected by politics and this way, the power of ruling system is limited. In the other word, a complicated economy cannot be managed by imperious method. As a result, the distribution process of wealth is more satisfactory and fair in rich countries than poor countries. The level of public satisfaction is also high in wealthy countries. Thus, in rich countries, the people are more independent than poor countries and so their political participation will be more meaningful and effective. 
According to Huntington, the second precondition for promotion of democracy is social structure. If the social structure such as political parties, civil society, trade association, professional unions, religious groups, women groups, and labor unions and so on are relatively active and independent, they can play active role for control of power and can pave the ground for political and democratic institutions. One of the main reasons of dynamism of democracy in United State is the mobility of these middle groups. But if there is no middle group, the society is more vulnerable to go under domination of political power. Thus, one of the main problems of democracy in third world countries is lack of active middle group and lack of powerful bourgeoisie. As a result of these issues, the political power will be more centralized and more autocratic in third world countries.
According to Huntington, another element of social structure is free market economy. A powerful free market can play effective role in decentralization of political and economic power in a country. It can also facilitate the people to monitor and limit the power as there are numerous tools to be used for such purposes. In free market system, government has more monitoring role rather than operational role.  In free market system, there will be more creativities, competition and productions. Most often, it will be controlled by the invisible hand except few cases which is beyond the ability of individuals and free markets. Overall, in free market system, the government will be small but society will be big and more active.
The third precondition of democracy is foreign factors. In Second World War, wherever the US army went, they carry democracy with themselves, and wherever the Russian army went, they carry communism with themselves. Therefore, the progress and retrogress of democracy largely subject to influence of democratic power. For example, the failure of democracy in eastern Asia and Latin America in 1970s was greatly linked to withdrawal of the US from these areas. Overall, the domination and role of democratic power is important in promotion of democracy in third world countries.
The forth precondition of democracy is availability of a flexible cultural while the most important element of cultural precondition is religion. Among numerous religions in the world, Protestantism, Shinto and Buddhism are more compatible to democracy, but Catholic, Confucianism and also Talibanist interpretation of Islam is incompatible to democracy. According to many Muslim scholars, there is no serious opposition between Islam and democracy though there are some extremist Muslim followers who are inflexible against modern values. For example, Salafi followers of Islam has a very inflexible interpretation from Islam that neither compatible with moderate Islam and nor with modernization. Fortunately, majority of Afghan people belong to Hanafi and Shia who both are moderate and compatible with democracy in Afghanistan.
Eventually, the last precondition for democracy is oneness of national identity. We cannot reach democracy unless everyone feel free and equal regardless of traditional belongings such as race, religion, language, gender, color of skin and other differences. According to Huntington, no nation will reach real democracy unless cross from identity crisis. The most important principle of democracy is meritocracy and free completion. Therefore, the national oneness cannot be obtained unless everyone is judged on the basis of meritocracy and free completion principle.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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