Short Response #1: What are the differences between democracy and dictatorship?
According to Przeworski, the fundamental difference between democracy and dictatorship is that in democracy, leaders are selected through competitive elections. While there exists this fundamental difference between democracy and dictatorship, democracy has also been proved to be related to the state of economic development. According to evidence presented by Seymour Lipset, economic development is much higher for the more democratic countries compared to those characterized as ‘less democratic’ or authoritarian. Although the fundamental difference between democracy and dictatorship that Przeworski presents is competitive elections, the discrepancy is more extensive, as there are also certain characteristics that are associated more so with democratic regimes, including economic development, high education rates, and an element of moderation.
Przeworski provides a minimalist view of democracy, stating that in a democracy, “rulers are selected by competitive elections” . These competitive elections elicit compliance through showing the distribution of power, revealing the coercive force that society has over the parties in power. In order for a system to be democratic, elections that provide this peaceful transfer of power “without bloodshed” need to be structured in a way that parties can lose. In the cases that parties lose elections, they gain higher utility by accepting the results rather than by challenging the system. Similarly, the victorious party is better off holding the next scheduled election rather than postponing it. The mere prospect that governments can alternate induces conflicting parties to comply ...
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...ealth in democracies contributes to maintaining democratic institutions because as per capita income increases, the middle class shifts from having a large lower-class base to a smaller lower-class base with a growing middle-class. This larger middle class moderates conflict because “it can reward moderate and democratic parties and penalize extremist groups” . On the contrary, while democracy endures when no single political force dominates the government, authoritarian regimes are more stable when more power lies in the single force ruling over the nation. Thus, while the fundamental difference between democracy and dictatorship is that democracies have competitive elections, there are certain elements, such as economic development, education and moderation, which have tended to be more present in democracies compared to dictatorships.
Sources Cited (Endnotes)
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