Minxin Pei (â€œIs CCP rule fragile or resilient?â€) suggests that â€œa simple and persuasive explanation for authoritariansâ€™ longevity is that they are ready, willing, and able to use the coercive power necessary to suppress any societal challengeâ€. But is repression the most important factor for maintaining autocratic power? If yes, why so? If no, what other factors should we consider? Use at least 2 cases to discuss.
PART II: Reading Analysis (40%)Read the following excerpted sections of Przeworski, “Democracy: A Never-Ending Quest” and answer the three questions below. (The original article is available for reference in the Modules section for those interested)Adam Przeworski, â€œDemocracy: A Never-Ending Quest,â€ Annual Review of Political Science, 2016Put yourself in the place of someone who believes that peaceful political order cannot be maintained unless it is regulated by an authoritarian state, that democracy must be â€œguided,â€ â€œtutored,â€ or â€œled,â€ and examine from his point of view the experience of the country that heralds itself as the cradle and
the prototype of modern democracy [edit note: Przeworksi is talking about the United States]. You will see a society in which almost half of citizens do not vote even in presidential elections, in which money unabashedly permeates politics. You will see a society that has the highest income inequality in the developed world and the largest prison population in the entire world1. This picture is self-serving, but it cannot be easily dismissed. Most people around the world evaluate democracy not only by political criteria but also by material welfare and socioeconomic equality. The challenge of China is particularly profound. The Chinese claim that their system is in several aspects superior to democracy: It generates superior economic growth, in fact the fastest in history; it meritocratically selects better political leaders, who are accountable for their performance to higher levels through yardstick competition; it chooses better policies by local experimentation; it is responsive to local conditions by allowing expressions of decentralized protest; and it maintains moral order, which has collapsed in the West, as well as â€œsocial harmony.â€ Moreover, although widespread corruption and increasing inequality are selectively admitted, the Chinese leaders insist that their system is being continually perfected whereas democracies are institutionally stagnant. But democracies are not all the same. â€œDemocracyâ€ cannot mean resemblance to the United States, â€œthe best system of government in the world,â€ as all kinds of rating agencies would have it. According to the Freedom House, for example, citizens of the United States are free. They are free to vote, to express their views in public, to form associations and political parties. But almost half do not vote even in presidential elections, public speech is not free but sponsored by private interests, and they never form new parties. Are they free? Should we expect democracies to generate more equality in economic and social realms? Should we expect that decisions will be more rational in a democracy? Should we expect competitive elections to generate better-quality leaders than other means of selection? Should we expect elected leaders to be more motivated by the welfare of their constituents than appointed ones? All these questions must be answered if we are to meet the authoritarian challenge.There is one answer about which I feel quite confident, namely that democracy is the only system that allows people to live in freedom and peace. Democracy is a system in which whatever conflicts emerge in a society are processed by periodic elections. Between elections, the losers wait to get their chance the next time around, or the one after that. Even if one thinks that people care about outcomes rather than procedures, the prospect that parties sympathetic to their interests may gain the reins of government generates hope and induces patience. For many, the American election of 2000 was a disaster, but we knew that there would be another one in 2004. When the 2004 election ended up even worse, we still hoped for 2008. And, as unbelievable as it still appears, the country that elected and re-elected Bush and Cheney voted for Obama. Elections are the Sirens of democracy. They incessantly rekindle our hopes. We are repeatedly eager to be lured by promises, to put our stakes on electoral bets. Hence, we obey and wait.1. (15%) What should be the main criteria for identifying a democracy? List at least 3 criteria and provide short description justifying your selection.1Strikingly, both the Chinese and the Russian ideologues accept the United Statesâ€™ claim to be the model democracy. I have participated in debates with such people, and invariably the very first mention of the word democracy was immediately followed by an attack on the United States, as if it were the only democracy in the world.
2. (15%) Following the conditions that you have listed in question 1, how would you rank the following cases weâ€™ve studied this semester, from most democratic to least democratic? (pick five cases from the following 10 options, and give a short explanation using your criteria. Note that there are no â€˜right answersâ€™ â€“ we just want to see your logic.)CasesRepublican China (1911-1949), Japan (under SCAP 1945-1952, or contemporary), South Korea (1988-1998), Taiwan (1987-2000), Cultural Revolution Era China (1966-1976), Post reform China (1978-), North Korea (contemporary), Singapore (contemporary), and Hong Kong (contemporary)3. (10%) In light of Przeworskiâ€™s emphasis on the current â€˜authoritarian challengeâ€™ (see especially second paragraph), how does this complicate prospects for democratization around the world? (short paragraph, around 5 sentences)