Democracy in Iraq

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Nov 21 2008 14 mins   5
Why has democracy failed in Iraq? Here are some potential theories, with their originators in parentheses:
  • Modernization (Rostow, Lipset): Iraq is not wealthy, urban, modern, or secular enough to support democracy. It has not followed the same path to development that Western democracies have set out, and thus, it is not yet ready.
  • Cultural (Huntington, Weber): Iraqis are not inherently suitable for democracy, simply because their culture favors an authoritarian style of government.
  • Marxist (Moore, Marx): Iraq still has a strong landed elite and a weak bourgeoisie, meaning that it is not ripe for class conflict and thus, it is not ripe for social and political development
  • Voluntarist (Di Palma): Iraq lacks the strong leadership needed to usher the country into a democratic phase.
Each of these theories has its flaws and counterexamples, which will be discussed in this episode. This is not meant to define one theory as better than the is simply meant to put all ideas on the table.

For more information, read:
Huntington's Third Wave
Di Palma's To Craft Democracies
Bellin's Authoritarianism in the Middle East
Colton's Putin and Democratization
Johnson's Political Institutions and Economic Performance
Lipset's Political Man
Marx's Communist Manifesto
Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy
Rostow's Stages of Economic Growth
Selbin's Revolution in the Real World
Skocpol's Social Revolutions in the Modern World
Varshney's India Defies the Odds
Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism