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Democratic Careening: Accountability Dynamics Across Asia. Dan Slater Associate Professor Department of Political Science University of Chicago slater@uchicago.edu http://home.uchicago.edu/~slater/ Prepared for delivery at Stanford University

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slide1

Democratic Careening:

Accountability Dynamics Across Asia

Dan Slater

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

University of Chicago

slater@uchicago.edu

http://home.uchicago.edu/~slater/

Prepared for delivery at

Stanford University

Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

June 2012

slide2

Works Being Reviewed

* Larry Diamond, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World (Henry Holt, 2008)

* Nathan Converse and Ethan Kapstein, The Fate of Young Democracies (Cambridge, 2008)

* Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker, Thaksin (Silkworm, 2009)

* Mikael Mattlin, Politicized Society: The Long Shadow of Taiwan’s One- Party Legacy (NIAS Press, 2011)

* Christophe Jaffrelot, Religion, Caste, and Politics in India (Columbia, 2011)

* Harold Crouch, Political Reform in Indonesia after Soeharto (ISEAS, 2010)

slide3

Thailand as a Motivating Case

“[T]he democratically elected regime of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand was overthrown by a military coup in September 2006 (representing the fourth time that democracy had collapsed there)….”

Converse and Kapstein (2008: xiii, emphasis in original)

“In many respects, Thaksin was an efficient and responsive prime minister – but with a dark side. He did not tolerate criticism or opposition, or even the ponderous constraints of the rule of law, and he set about systematically trying to eliminate them….More or less like Sharif in Pakistan, Chavez in Venezuela, Obasanjo in Nigeria, and Putin in Russia, Thaksin was undermining the rule of law, dismantling constitutional checks and balances, stifling dissent, delegitimizing opposition, and polarizing the country. Strikingly, in each of these cases, a once popular elected ruler attempted to diminish or eliminate all countervailing sources of power in a bid to remain in power indefinitely.”

Diamond (2008: 80, 82)

slide4

Is Democratic Collapse an Obsolescing Worry?

“Our research shows that newly democratic states are especially at risk of reversal during their first five years of existence….Democratizations that took place before 1980 appear to have faced a substantially larger chance of reversal than those in subsequent decades….Recent power grabs by the leaders of such countries as Russia, Georgia, Venezuela, and Bolivia have all set back the cause of democracy in those nations.”

Converse and Kapstein (2008: xviii, 64, xiv)

“The overall number of democracies more or less stabilized after 1995,” as “the democratic boom has given way to democratic recession.” Commencing with Pervez Musharraf’s 1999 coup in Pakistan, “there have been setbacks to democracy in highly influential states such as Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Thailand, and democracy is seriously deteriorating in other big, important countries like the Philippines and Bangladesh.”

Diamond (2008: 6, 12)

slide5

From Democratic Survival to Democratic Substance

  • “For democratic structures to endure – and to be worthy of endurance – they must be more than a shell.”
  • Diamond (2008: 292)
  • “In short, when political arrangements encourage politicians to concentrate power, or induce them to target specific groups at the expense of broader social welfare, then democracy is less likely to take root.”
  • Kapstein and Converse (2008: 36)
  • But do effective constraints on arbitrary power and substantive inclusivity of the populace sustain democracy, or define it?
  • Does a weakening of constraints and/or the withering of inclusion predict democratic failure, or signal it?
  • In sum, if a democracy lacks substance, does it make much sense to obsess over whether it has survived?
slide6

Substantive Democracy = Vertical + Horizontal Accountability

“[Democracy] means building institutions of vertical and horizontal accountability. The premier institution of vertical accountability is a genuinely democratic election….Other effective agencies of vertical accountability include public hearings, citizen audits, and a freedom of information act. In complement, horizontal accountability invests some agencies of the state with the power and responsibility to monitor the conduct of other agencies, officials, or branches of government….These include judiciaries, parliamentary committees, public audits, ombudsmen, electoral commissions, and not least, countercorruption bodies.

“…[P]oorly performing democracies need better, stronger, and more democratic institutions linking citizens not just to another but also to the political process…..[In poorly performing democracies] the people are largely excluded from effective participation and representation of their interests. Power and resources are narrowly held, either by a dominant party….or by multiple elite-based parties that either contest bitterly or, as they did in Venezuela before the Chavez revolution, collude but do not include.”

Diamond (2008: 300-301)

slide7

Advancing Accountability as State-Building

  • Effective state institutions are essential if rulers are to be held accountable by fellow elites (i.e. horizontal accountability) and to act accountably toward the general populace (i.e. vertical accountability)
  • Horizontal: professional and autonomous state agencies for monitoring, investigating, and punishing malfeasance (e.g. judiciaries and police)
  • Vertical: socially embedded state institutions for receiving signals of public concern, perceiving incipient governance challenges, and providing locally valued public goods (e.g. Ministries of Agriculture, Health, and Education)
  • Periodic selection and sanctioning are necessary but insufficient for vertical accountability in a substantive sense: ongoing mutual engagement and information-sharing between state and society are of the essence
  • Jane Mansbridge, “A ‘Selection’ Model of Political Representation” (2009)
  • Workable state as scope condition (Asia > Africa): political parties shape accountability dynamics in profound – and profoundly divergent – ways
slide8

From Quality of Democracy to Accountability Dynamics

  • Even among self-proclaimed “proceduralists,” the focus of contemporary research has definitively turned toward considering how to build “a democracy of maximal quality.”
  • D. Levine and J. Molina, The Quality of Democracy in Latin America (2011: 7)
  • “[A]ccountability or, better, the two accountabilities are the key mechanisms that make the goal of popular sovereignty something other than largely illusory.”
  • Leonardo Morlino, Changes to Democracy (2012: 224)
  • Key Shortcomings
  • Lack of Parsimony (Morlino’s “pentagon”: adding rule of law, participation, and competition to “the two accountabilities”)
  • Lack of Dimensionality (Levine/Molina’s “multidimensional continuum”)
  • Lack of Tension and Tradeoffs (Morlino’s “funnel of causality”)
slide9

Accountability Types, the Democratic-Authoritarian Divide,

and the Collapse-Consolidation Axis

Horizontal

Accountability

(Constraints)

Weak

Strong

Strong

Democracy

Democratic Consolidation

Collapse-

Consolidation

Axis

Democratic- Authoritarian Divide

Vertical

Accountability

(Inclusivity)

Democratic

Collapse

Authoritarianism

Weak

slide10

Democratic Collapse and Consolidation vs.

Careening Between Oligarchy and Populism

Horizontal

Accountability

(Constraints)

Strong

Weak

Strong

Democratic

Populist

Democratic Consolidation

Populist Domineering

Vertical

Accountability

(Inclusivity)

Oligarchic Assertion

Oligarchic

Democratic

Collapse

Authoritarian

Weak

slide11

Accountability Dynamics from the Perspective of Democratic Theory

Horizontal

Accountability

(Constraints)

Strong

Weak

Strong

Madison

Democratic

Populist

Rousseau

Machiavelli

Vertical

Accountability

(Inclusivity)

Oligarchic

Schmitt

Authoritarian

Weak

slide12

Machiavellian Democratic Careening: Thailand

PASUK AND BAKER, THAKSIN

* Authoritarian Backdrop: “bureaucratic polity” allied with monarchy and military

* “Rise of Business”: Electoral oligarchy as post-authoritarian starting point (1980, 1992)

* 1997 Constitution: Formally advances both vertical and horizontal accountability

* Thaksin’s 1st Term (2001-04): attacking constraints more than advancing inclusivity

* Thaksin’s Inclusivist Turn (2004-06): consequence and cause of oligarchic resistance

* Populism Light: Modest levels of urban-rural redistribution, but extreme power abuses

* Yellow vs. Red (2006- ): Warring visions of accountability and democracy are pervasive

* Democracy “Capsizes”: Coup and crackdown aimed to restore constrained electoralism

-- Democrat Party too elitist, regionalist, and ethnic to meet Thaksin’s challenge

* Interpretive Battles: Monarchy as agency of constraint, or feudalistic authoritarianism?

slide13

Madisonian Democratic Careening: Taiwan

MATTLIN, POLITICIZED SOCIETY

* Parallels with Thailand: Blue vs. Green street battles instead of Yellow vs. Red (2000-08)

* Historical Argument: Authoritarian legacies key to “politicized society” (polarization)

* Authoritarian Party Formation: Intense KMT-DPP polarization over “regime cleavage”

* Unlike Thailand: KMT as cross-class/ethnic juggernaut across national territory

* Socially Suffusing Parties: Problematic for Mattlin, partisanship poisons social life

* Felicitous Authoritarian Legacies: Land reform (1949-53) and Taiwanization (1970s - )

* Nature of Transition: Taiwan truly democratizes, avoids Thai-style oligarchic electoralism

* DPP rule (2000-08): Populism stymied by cross-class, cross-ethnic rival in KMT

* Madisonian Conflict: DPP-style presidentialism against KMT-backed parliament, courts

* KMT Restoration: Cross-class party can return to power through elections, not a coup

slide14

Rousseauian Accountability Struggles: India

  • JAFFRELOT, RELIGION, CASTE AND POLITICS IN INDIA
  • * Puzzle: Why has the “silent revolution” of the lower classes (1990 - ) been so silent?
  • -- Mandal Commission on caste (1990s-) and NREGA on rural poverty (2006-)
  • * Oligarchic Origins: Congress dependent on rural, upper-caste notables (1940s – 1970s)
  • * Mixed Legacies: Little land reform (Thailand), but cross-class national party (Taiwan)
  • * Nationalism and Ambedkarism: Inclusive impulse unlike Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan
  • * “Plebeianization”: Congress’ increased inclusion of OBCs, a la KMT’s Taiwanization  
  • -- “votebank politics” includes the poor but alienates upper classes (Thailand)
  • * Historic Regional Differences: “Hindi Belt” a latecomer to “silent revolution”
  • * National Scale and Complexity: Populism harder to organize as majoritarian movement
  • * Variation Across Time: Indira as Schmitt-style authoritarian, or Machiavellian democrat?
  • * Variation Across Space: Modi’s populism in Gujarat, Mayawati’s populism in UP
slide15

Rousseauian Accountability Struggles: Indonesia

CROUCH, POLITICAL REFORM IN INDONESIA AFTER SOEHARTO

* Puzzle: Surprising reform headway despite weak institutions and inclusivity (1998 - )

-- direct presidential elections and anti-corruption institutions as key reforms

* Inclusive Legacies: Nationalist revolution, “Marhaenisme,” cleavage-based mass parties

* Oligarchic Tendencies: Patronage-based Golkar party, “money politics” ubiquitous

* Contingent Collusion: “Party cartel” threatens vertical accountability (1999-2004)

* Wahid’s Quixotic Domineering: (2000-01): An informative Machiavellian moment 

* “Accountability activism”: Advances in constraints contingent upon protest, pressure 

* India Lesson: National scale and social complexity help prevent majoritarian populism

-- but elitist “vote-buying” alienates the masses from democracy (contra India) 

* Thailand Lesson: Oligarchic elites spawn populist backlashes, possibly in 2014

* Taiwan Lesson: “Regime cleavage” tumultuous, but its absence can stymie inclusivity

slide16

The Origins of Accountability Dynamics:

Toward a Comparative-Historical Framework

Displacement of

Feudal Oligarchies

Colonial and

Authoritarian

State-Building

Limited

Thorough

Partial

Type of Transition from Authoritarianism

Democratic

(Taiwan, Korea)

Contested

(India, Indonesia)

Oligarchic

(Thailand, Philippines)

Narrowly

Clientilistic and Weakly Rooted

Strongly

Programmatic,

Socially Rooted

Character of

Initial Democratic Party System

Intermediate

Rootedness;

Clientilism > Cleavages

Predominant Mode of Democratic Careening

Machiavellian

(Oligarchic-

Populist)

Rousseauian

(Democratic-

Oligarchic)

Madisonian

(Democratic-Populist)

slide17

Democratic Careening:

Accountability Dynamics Across Asia

Dan Slater

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

University of Chicago

slater@uchicago.edu

http://home.uchicago.edu/~slater/

Prepared for delivery at

Stanford University

Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

June 2012