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The Third Wave Paul Bacon SILS, Waseda University
Three Waves of Democracy • In his book The Third Wave, Samuel Huntington argues that there have been three waves of democratization in modern history.
Samuel P. Huntington
The Three Waves: When? 70
65 Third Wave of Democratization (1974-?)
Second, Short Wave of Democratization (1943-1962)
30 First, Long Wave of Democratization (1828-1926)
First Reverse Wave (1922-1942)
Second Reverse Wave (1958-1975)
Huntington’s Definition of Democracy • Huntington offers two definitions of democracy that apply to different periods of time. • Definition 1 • -Applies to 19th Century. – 50% of adult males can vote. – There is an executive that either maintains majority support in an elected parliament, or is chosen in periodic popular elections.
Huntington’s Definition of Democracy • Definition 2 • - Applies to 20th Century. – Virtually all adults can vote. – Leaders are selected through fair, honest and periodic elections.
The First Wave: Why? •
Occurred mostly in Northern Europe and white settler countries. The causes are: 1. Economic Factors: – First countries to experience economic development, industrialization and urbanization. – Emergence of middle class. – Decrease in economic inequality.
The First Wave: Why? 2. Historical events and intellectual developments: – – – – –
French Revolution. American Revolution. John Locke. Montesquieu. John Stuart Mill.
The First Wave: Why? 3. Religious Factors – Over 75% of the countries that democratized in the first wave had majority Protestant populations.
4. World War One – Democratic countries defeated two large authoritarian empires, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. – This produced snowballing, or a demonstration effect, that encouraged the development of democracy.
The Second Wave: Why? • The second wave is largely related to WW2. 1. Imposition of Democracy. –
Allied powers imposed democracy on certain defeated countries, such as Japan and Germany.
2. Snowballing (demonstration) effect. –
Some countries independently chose to be democratic.
The Second Wave: Why? 3. Decolonization. – Countries that had a number of colonies (e.g. Britain, France, Holland and Portugal) were severely weakened after WW2. – The United States pressured these countries to give up their colonies. – Many former colonies became independent and democratic.
The Third Wave: Why? • Some 30 countries became democratic. 1. Legitimacy. – Democratic ideas became widely accepted. – Authoritarian regimes could not solve economic problems as efficiently as democratic countries.
2. Economic Growth. – Higher standards of living and education contributed to the expansion of the urban middle class.
The Third Wave: Why? 3. Change in the Catholic church. –
The Catholic church, which used to be a supporter of authoritarian regimes, changed its doctrine and practice and supported democracy.
4. Foreign Policy. – – –
Expansion of the EU. Promotion of democracy and human rights by the United States. Fall of the Soviet Union.
The Third Wave: Why? 5. Snowball (or demonstration effect). – Early third wave transitions received great media attention, which later stimulated transitions in other countries.
Democratic Transition •
Democratic transition requires three components. 1. The end of an authoritarian regime. 2. The installation of a new democratic regime (through elections). 3. The consolidation of this democratic regime.
Democratic Transition A/a-d-D
A/a-d-D A = stable, long-lasting authoritarian regime. D = stable, long-lasting democratic regime. a = unstable, short-lived authoritarian regime. d = unstable, short-lived democratic regime. Stable Authoritarianism
Processes of Democratization •
Huntington identifies three different types of democratization process. 1. Democratic transformation. – takes place when powerholders take the lead in bringing about democracy.
2. Democratic replacement. – takes place when opposition groups take the lead in bringing about democracy. Old authoritarian regime is overthrown.
3. Democratic transplacement. – takes place when there is joint action by the government and opposition groups to promote democratization.
Prospects for Democratic Consolidation •
The following conditions facilitate democratic consolidation. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Previous experience of democracy. Relatively high GNP per capita. Favorable external environment. Democratic transition at an earlier, rather than later, stage in the third wave. 5. Democratization via transplacement, rather than transformation or replacement.
The following slides discuss each of these conditions more in detail.
1. Previous Democratic Experience • Huntington argues that: – Some experience of democracy is better than none. – Longer experience of democracy is better than shorter experience. – The more recent the democratic experience, the better.
Chart: Years of Democratic Experience More than 20 years
Uruguay, The Philippines, India, Turkey, Chile
Greece, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Korea, Pakistan, Brazil
Argentina, Honduras, Guatemala, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Grenada, Nigeria
Less than one year
Spain, Portugal, El Salvador, Poland, Romania, East Germany, Bulgaria, Nicaragua, Sudan, Mongolia
2. Level of Economic Development • The higher level of economic development, the greater the likelihood of stable democracy. • Economically developed countries have: – – – –
More industrialized economies. More modern economies. More complex societies. Better educated populations.
• These factors all help consolidate democracy.
Chart: Democracy and GNP per capita Higher than $5, 000 $2, 000 – $4, 999 $1, 000 – $1, 999
Spain, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria
Greece, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Poland, Romania, Korea Ecuador, Peru, Turkey, Grenada, Chile
$500 – $999
Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, The Philippines
Less than $500
India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan
3. The External Environment • A foreign country can have a positive influence on democratic consolidation, if the relevant foreign government: – is itself democratic. – promotes democracy in other countries. – has close relations with the third wave country in question. – is able to exercise influence in the third wave country in question.
Chart: External Environment and Democracy Extremely favorable
East Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, The Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Grenada Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Korea, Chile
Argentina, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Sudan, Romania, Bulgaria, Mongolia
4. The Timing of the Democratic Transition • Early = Indigenous – Earlier democratizations are more likely to be the result of indigenous causes, rather than a snowball effect.
• Indigenous = Consolidation – Democratic transitions caused by indigenous factors are more likely to lead to consolidated democracies.
• Therefore, Early = Consolidation – The earlier a country democratizes within the third wave, the more likely it is to become a consolidated democracy.
First Dates of Elections and Democracy Before 1980
Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ecuador, India, Nigeria,
1980 – 1983
Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, Turkey
1984 – 1987
Uruguay, Brazil, The Philippines, El Salvador, Guatemala, Korea, Grenada, Sudan
1988 – 1990
Pakistan, Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Chile
Possible after 1990
Mexico, Soviet Union, South Africa, Taiwan, Nepal, Panama
5. Process of Democratic Transition • •
Huntington identified three processes of democratic transition; transformation, replacement and transplacement. Huntington argues: 1. There is more chance of a successful democratic consolidation if elites from the previous nondemocratic regime are satisfied. 2. There is less chance of democratic consolidation if the transition involved violence.
If the above statements are true, it follows that transplacement is most likely to lead to consolidated democracy.
Chart: Transition Process and Democracy Type of Old Regime Transition Process
Poland Czechoslovakia Nicaragua Mongolia
Uruguay Bolivia Honduras El Salvador Korea
Hungary Bulgaria (Taiwan) (USSR) (Taiwan)
Spain India Chile
Turkey Brazil Peru Guatemala Ecuador Nigeria Pakistan Sudan
Portugal The Philippines Romania
Chart: Overall Prospects for Democracy Most Favorable Greece, Portugal, Spain, East Germany, Uruguay, Turkey
Less Favorable Czechoslovakia, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, but Supportive Honduras, India, Argentina, Brazil, The Philippines, Poland, Hungary, (Korea)
Less Favorable Guatemala, Grenada, Nigeria, El Salavador, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Mongolia
Chart: Freedom Classification by Freedom House (2003) Free
Partly Free Not Free
Greece, Portugal, Spain, East Germany, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, The Philippines, India, Poland, Hungary, Grenada, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Mongolia, Romania, Korea Turkey, Ecuador, Honduras, Argentina, Guatemala, Nigeria, Nicaragua Pakistan, Sudan
Further Democratization? • Most currently authoritarian governments do not have any previous democratic experience. • Huntington is not sure whether the third wave will continue or not. • Huntington raises the possibility that some cultures may not be amenable to democracy. He suggests two versions of this “cultural obstacle” argument.
Cultural Obstacles to Democracy? • The two versions of the “cultural obstacle” argument. • Version 1 – Only Western cultures are amenable to democracy. Non-western countries are not.
• Version 2 – Not all non-western cultures are amenable to democracy. But there are certain cultures which are resistant to democratic transition, such as Islamic and Confucian culture.
Democracy as Western Culture •
There is evidence to suggest that the first argument is true. 1. Modern democracy originated in the West. 2. Since the early 19th century, most democratic countries have been western countries. 3. Outside of the North Atlantic, democratic transition has been most likely in; • • •
Former British colonies. Countries heavily influenced by the United States. Former colonies of Spain and Portugal in Latin America.
Democracy as Western Culture 4. In 1973, at the lowest point in the second reverse wave, there were only 29 democracies. Among them: • • •
20 were west European or European settler countries or Latin American countries. 8 were former British colonies. Japan.
5. Of the 30 third wave countries, 23 were western countries, or countries where there had been substantial western influence.
Electoral and Liberal Democracy • There are two kinds of democracies (as suggested by Larry Diamond). – Electoral Democracies hold free, fair and periodic elections but civil rights are not well protected. – Liberal Democracies protect and promote a significant range of civil liberties in addition to free and fair elections.
• In recent years, the number of electoral democracies has increased, but the number of liberal democracies has not.
Elections are Not Enough • •
Elections do not necessarily guarantee democratic or liberal outcomes. This can happen in the following ways: 1. Elections in non-Western societies can lead to the victory of anti-democratic groups. 2. Politicians can often win elections by making appeals to voters based on nationalism, ethnicity or religion.
Religion challenges to Secularism • Also, religiously-oriented parties have challenged Western secularism. – E.g. Turkey, India, Israel, countries in the former Yugoslavia, and Algeria.
• In Muslim countries, the choice is often between anti-Western democracy and non-democratic secularism.
Culture and Democracy • It is sometimes argued that democracy is not compatible with non-western culture. • However, almost every civilization contains at least one liberal democracy. • Therefore, liberal democracy is not incompatible with major non-Western cultures.
Culture and Democracy • Yet, many non-western countries are still electoral democracies, and are not obviously heading towards liberal democracy. • Examples of this trend can be found in: – – – –
10 Latin American countries; 8 African countries; 5 Orthodox Christian countries; 5 Muslim countries.
Culture and Democracy • Some cultures have significant similarities with Western culture, while some cultures are very different. Latin America Africa Islam China
Similar to West
Political Strategy and Democracy Promotion •
There are two different strategies through which to promote democracy. 1. Promote democracy in countries which are not currently democratic. 2. Promote the consolidation of liberal democracy in existing electoral democracies.
Although both strategies are desirable, Huntington argues that the second option provides a greater chance of success.
Political Strategy and Democracy Promotion • Civilizations similar to the West have a greater chance of democratic consolidation. • Therefore, the first target should be Latin America, followed by Orthodox Christian countries. • Also, the cooperative promotion of democracy amongst existing democracies is important.
The End of the ‘Transition’ Paradigm? • Huntington is rather optimistic about the future consolidation of democracy. • On the contrary, Thomas Carothers is much more pessimistic about the future of democracy.
Transition Paradigm No Longer Appropriate • In the last quarter of the twentieth century, many countries moved away from authoritarian regime towards more liberal and democratic governance.
Outdated Paradigm • Many scholars and policy-makers, especially in the US, recognized the three waves of democracy, and further argued that many third wave democracies were in a process of transition towards democracy. They regarded this trend as universal. • Carothers argues that this way of thinking is no longer useful. In other words, even though a country embraces some democratic elements, this does not mean it will become a consolidated democracy.
Assumptions of the ‘Transition Paradigm’ •
Carothers identifies 5 core assumptions in this ‘Transition Paradigm’. • Importantly, he thinks these 5 core assumptions are mistaken. 1. Any country going away from democracy is considered to be moving towards democracy. 2. Democratization occurs in three processes. – – –
Opening (crack in authoritarian regime) Breakthrough (collapse of authoritarian regime) Consolidation (becomes more stable and liberal)
Assumptions of the Transition Paradigm 3. In the transition to democracy, elections will be not just a foundation stone but a key generator over time of further democratic reforms. 4. There are no-pre-conditions for democracy. All that is needed is a decision by political elites to move towards democracy.
Assumptions of the Transition Paradigm 5. Third wave democratic transitions are being built on functioning, coherent states.
The end of the transition paradigm? • Carothers argues that it is time to assess the performance of the transition paradigm. • Only 20 out of 100 countries identified as in transition are on the path to functioning democracy. • Some regressed to authoritarianism, and many are neither dictatorial nor heading towards democracy. Tier One (Very successful)
Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Chile, Uruguay, Taiwan
Tier Two (Successful)
Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Mexico, Brazil, Ghana The Philippines, South Korea
The Grey Zone • Carothers characterizes the transitional countries as in a “Grey Zone” • Countries in the grey zone have some important elements of democracy, but also suffer from serious democratic deficits.
Qualified Democracy • A number of ‘qualified democracy’ terms (such as semi- and electoral) have been coined to describe the countries in the grey zone . • The problem is that analysts are trying to apply the transition paradigm by describing grey zone countries as “~ democracy”, when they might actually be heading towards something other than democracy.
Types of regime in the Grey Zone • Feckless Pluralism – Frequent political alternation, causing political instability and postponing serious problems. – Most common in Latin America.
• Dominant Power Politics – One group dominates politics and its replacement is unlikely. – Common in Sub-Saharan Africa, Former Soviet Union countries, and Middle East.
• Both types of regime, feckless plural and dominant power political, can move to other categories, such as liberal democratic and authoritarian. Feckless Pluralism
Authoritarianism Dominant Power Politics
Carothers’ Opinion • Carothers is suggesting that the transition paradigm does not apply to most developing countries. • “what is often thought of as an uneasy, precarious middle ground between fullfledged democracy and outright dictatorship is actually the most common political condition today of countries in the developing world and the post-communist world.”