aware saga – singapore’s fling with democracy.

mature issues were sanctimoniously discussed, briefly if at all, but at the core of everything that happened, it looked more like an emotional and personal assault on the management of a non-profit, non-governmental organisation than anything, the only thing in this country singaporeans can truly call their own.

anyways, on the issue of democracy, i recall how a friend once quipped about how the most promising key to democratisation would be to place economic sanctions on the country so that the starving population, though they may be at the brunt of such a policy-choice, will starve further and eventually this dis-satisfaction will cumulate into a revolt that will cause regime-change, likely to be one that favours the people. 

besides the fact that that sounded largely marxist and thus inevitably likely to suffer the same fate of all attempted marxist governments (cuba at it’s best, maoist china at its worst), it also sounded, unfairly cruel, though my friend rightly pointed out that the alternative could be worse. 

anyways, interestingly, i stumbled across this: 

“Acemoglu and Robinson argued that the relationship between social equality and democratic transition should be nonlinear: People have less incentive to revolt in an egalitarian society (Singapore), so the likelihood of democratization is lower. In a highly unequal society (South Africa under the Apartheid), the redistribution of wealth and power in a democracy would be so harmful to elites that these would do everything to prevent democratization. Democratization is more likely to emerge somewhere in the middle, in the countries, whose elites offer concessions because (1) they consider the threat of a revolution credible and (2) the cost of the concessions is not too high. This expectation is in line with the empirical research showing that democracy is more stable in egalitarian societies.”

it looks like the future of asian democracy (at least singapore and china) looks set to follow the placatory model of giving tokenistic power through organistaions like aware. that may or may not be a bad thing.


~ by moz on May 6, 2009.

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