democracy

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    Why political disagreements over how the world works may be easier to solve than those over goals

Why political disagreements over how the world works may be easier to solve than those over goals

Politics is all about disagreement: disagreement over what governments should be trying to achieve, but also about how the world works and how that affects the pursuit of shared goals. But what makes disagreements over beliefs different from disagreements over goals? In a new study drawing on evidence from the United States, Alexander V. Hirsch writes that beliefs may […]

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Should economics be democratised?

When it comes to managing an economy should policymakers act on the basis of technical expertise or in accordance with the views of voters? Simon Wren-Lewis writes that economists need to act more as a collective, and do a much better job of articulating consensus viewpoints to the public when it comes to important questions of economic policy.

In the […]

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    Hungary and Poland’s anti-democratic turn: a new era or more of the same?

Hungary and Poland’s anti-democratic turn: a new era or more of the same?

Reforms affecting the independence of courts and the media in Hungary and Poland have received significant attention in recent months. But to what extent do these developments constitute a genuine shift in the nature of Hungarian and Polish politics? Jan Rovny writes that while both countries have witnessed a rise in support for parties with anti-democratic tendencies, the dynamics […]

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    Yanis Varoufakis’ new DiEM25 movement should be welcomed by progressive pro-Europeans

Yanis Varoufakis’ new DiEM25 movement should be welcomed by progressive pro-Europeans

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has launched a new pan-European initiative, the ‘Democracy in Europe Movement 2025’ (DiEM25), which brings together parties and grassroots organisations across the continent with the aim of ‘democratising Europe’. Sophie Heine argues that the new initiative should be viewed as a positive development by progressive pro-Europeans who would like to see a more democratic […]

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    Book Review: Global Democratic Theory: A Critical Introduction

Book Review: Global Democratic Theory: A Critical Introduction

Global Democratic Theory analyses a number of theories related to democracy at different levels of government. Issues of representation of different civil society groups and government accountability are among the main themes. Mehmet Kerem Coban recommends the book “for all readers because we are all affected by ‘democratic deficits’ at various levels of the policy-making process.”

Global Democratic Theory : A Critical […]

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January 24th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Turkish elections: Why Turkey’s opposition should remain hopeful despite Erdoğan’s victory

Turkish elections: Why Turkey’s opposition should remain hopeful despite Erdoğan’s victory

Turkey held a parliamentary election on 1 November, with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan winning back the absolute majority of seats in parliament that it had lost in elections earlier this year. Firat Cengiz writes that while the results appear a substantial blow for the Turkish opposition, there remain reasons for […]

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    Conflicting objectives, neglected relationships, and authoritarian backlash: the crisis of EU democracy promotion

Conflicting objectives, neglected relationships, and authoritarian backlash: the crisis of EU democracy promotion

Democracy promotion is an integral component of EU foreign policy, however the EU has not always been successful in its efforts to foster democracy in external countries. Sonja Grimm offers several explanations for these failures, including the absence of a consensus among democracy promoters about policy objectives, and the interference of hidden agendas.

Democracy promotion was and still is an […]

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    Exploring the medieval roots of democracy and state building in Europe

Exploring the medieval roots of democracy and state building in Europe

Contemporary democracy is often thought to have its roots in ancient Greece. However as Jørgen Møller writes, many of the key aspects of modern representative democracy can be traced to the medieval period. He argues that while genuine democratisation was a feature of the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe, this transition took place against the backdrop of medieval […]

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    Rather than abandoning integration, the Greek crisis should be the impetus for improving European democracy

Rather than abandoning integration, the Greek crisis should be the impetus for improving European democracy

Does the Greek crisis prove the limitations of European integration? Cristina Ares Castro-Conde writes that the real question facing Europe is not whether integration should be rolled back, but how European democracy can be improved. She suggests that a first step could be to create a parallel European Parliament composed of MEPs from Eurozone states which has the power […]

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    Peaceful transitions of power have been rare in modern states, but once the habit has been acquired it sticks

Peaceful transitions of power have been rare in modern states, but once the habit has been acquired it sticks

What incentives are there for non-democratic governments to agree to risk losing power in elections? Based on an analysis of over 3,000 elections which have taken place across the world since 1788, Adam Przeworski writes that the practice of peacefully changing governments via the ballot box has been a relatively rare occurrence in modern history. Nevertheless, he notes that […]

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Why democracy doesn’t always improve human rights

The promotion of democracy has often formed a key component of strategies for improving human rights across the world. Courtenay R. Conrad writes that while this relationship between democracy and human rights is well established, in practice democratic institutions are not always capable of constraining human rights violations and in some cases may even make them worse. She argues […]

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    Strengthening the role of citizens and national parliaments in decision-making is key to solving the EU’s democratic deficit

Strengthening the role of citizens and national parliaments in decision-making is key to solving the EU’s democratic deficit

The European Union has often been accused of having a ‘democratic deficit’. Ahead of the European elections on 22-25 May, Chris Terry outlines proposals put forward by the Electoral Reform Society in the UK for improving EU democracy. Among other reforms, he suggests that improving the representativeness of MEPs by using open-list voting systems, increasing the accountability of the […]

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April 30th, 2014|Chris Terry|0 Comments|
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    A lack of ‘real democracy’ is the key reason driving the spread of protests across the world

A lack of ‘real democracy’ is the key reason driving the spread of protests across the world

The world has seen a number of high profile protests in recent years, from the Arab Spring to the “Indignados”, or the Euromaidan in Kyiv. Hernán Cortés Saenz looks at data from more than 800 protests across the world since 2006, finding that protests are increasing, especially in developing regions such as Latin America. He writes that these protests […]

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    Turkey’s Twitter ban is easily bypassed, but there are no easy answers to Erdoğan’s abuse of power

Turkey’s Twitter ban is easily bypassed, but there are no easy answers to Erdoğan’s abuse of power

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced a block on the use of Twitter in the country. Burcu Baykurt writes that while the actual ban on Twitter is largely unworkable from a technical standpoint, the move is aimed at stabilising Erdoğan’s political support base ahead of local elections. More importantly, the fact that the prime minister can implement […]

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    International organisations must take the lead on reducing income inequality

International organisations must take the lead on reducing income inequality

Is income inequality always bad for society? Francesc Trillas writes on the impact of inequality on democracy. Taking issue with the perspectives of economists such as Gregory Mankiw, he argues that a growing income gap between the wealthy and the rest of society can pose a fundamental challenge for a country’s political system. He notes that the effects of […]

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    Persistent unemployment poses a substantive threat to democracy in Southern European countries

Persistent unemployment poses a substantive threat to democracy in Southern European countries

The purpose of competitive elections is to reward good politicians and punish bad ones, but what happens if elections can no longer fulfil this role? Diego Muro and Guillem Vidal write that developments in Southern European countries since the start of the financial crisis have undermined the legitimising role of elections. Suffering from persistent unemployment rates, citizens’ frustration has […]

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    While voters might blame the EU for policy failures, it is extremely difficult for them to effectively hold it to account

While voters might blame the EU for policy failures, it is extremely difficult for them to effectively hold it to account

European integration necessitates that there is a division of competences between the national and European levels, but how do voters assign responsibility when things go wrong? Sara Hobolt and James Tilley argue that while plenty of voters hold the EU responsible for bad outcomes, it is difficult for them to translate this blame into punishment for political actors at the […]

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Why the world needs more globalisation, not less

The perceived negative effects of globalisation have frequently been the subject of criticism and political opposition. Jason Sorens writes that much of this scepticism toward globalisation is misplaced. He argues that social scientists have a responsibility to tackle the ‘anti-foreign’ and ‘anti-market’ biases that underpin many of these perspectives, and that removing trade restrictions such as agricultural subsidies should be […]

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Five minutes with Angus Deaton: “If the rich can write the rules then we have a real problem”

What are the origins of inequality? In an interview with Joel Suss, Managing Editor of the British Politics and Policy at LSE blog, Angus Deaton, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, discusses his latest book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality. He outlines his approach to the development of inequality, and the implications of […]

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National politicians are more likely to base their EU policy on the interests of party followers and big business, rather than the electorate as a whole

The EU is frequently charged with lacking legitimacy, particularly in cases where national politicians make important decisions outside of national political frameworks in Brussels. David Sanders and Gabor Toka use a pair of identical surveys to highlight the EU preferences of ‘elites’ and national electorates. They argue that while citizens generally take their lead on EU issues from national leaders, […]

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