Regimes of the modern world - Modern systems of political rule - Western liberal democracies

6 important questions on Regimes of the modern world - Modern systems of political rule - Western liberal democracies

Where do western liberal democracies come from?

They are a product of the first two waves of democratization:
1st: between 1828 and 1926 (involved USA, France, UK etc).
2nd: between 1943 and and 1962 (involved West Germany, Italy, Japan, India)

Why is the word polyarchy sometimes preferred to liberal democracy?

1. Liberal democracy often treated as a political ideal (thus invested with broader normative implications).
2. Polyarchy acknowledges that these regimes fall short of the goal of democracy.

What are two general features of polyarchical liberal democratic regimes?

1. There is a relatively high tolerance of opposition that is sufficient at least to check the arbitrary inclinations of government (competitive party system, protected civil liberties etc).
2. Opportunities of participating in politics should be sufficiently widespread to guarantee a reliable level of popular responsiveness. (necessary: existence of regular and competitive elections, so people can control and displace rulers).

What is the difference between liberal democracy and Western liberal democracy?

All states that hold multiparty elections have liberal democratic features.

Western liberal democracies: marked not only by representative democracy and a capitalist economic organization, nut also by cultural and ideological orientation that is largely derived from Western liberalism (crucial aspect: widespread acceptance of liberal individualism).
--> leads to heightened sensitivity to individual rights, choice and competition are healthy, and tendency to regard the state as a potential threat to liberty.

What is the difference between majority democracies and consensus democracies?

- Majority democracies: organized along parliamentary lines according to the Westminster model; government in which executive is drawn from, and accountable to the assembly or parliament. Example: UK (also NZ, Australia, Canada etc).

- Consensual (pluralistic) democracies:
> in US: based on institutional fragmentation enshrined in the provisions of the constitution itself.
> In continental europe: consensus is underpinned by the party system, and a tendency towards bargaining and power sharing (Belgium, Austria, Switzerland)

When did the third wave of democratization start?

In 1974.
The fall of communism ensured that 63% of states displayed some of the key features of liberal-democratic governance. 
+ this process was characterized by the adoption of multiparty elections and market based economic reforms.

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