Power, Authority, Legitimacy. Power = ability to get people to do things they would not have chosen to do on their own (overt and concealed) Authority = form of power accepted as right and proper by those who submit/comply Why do citizens comply?
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Barrington Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (classic formulation)
Key to democracy is independent, self-confident, vigorous commercial middle class; “No bourgeois, no democracy”
Size, independence, and vigor of middle class is key variable
Where middle class is weak, it exchanges right to rule for right to make money
Weak middle classes support authoritarianism in coalition with landlords, military, fascists, or royalists to promote interests
Where urban, moneyed middle class is strong, it does not need to support antidemocratic elites; instead, it allies itself with lower orders in favor of democracy, which it believes it will be able to control to advance interests
Curse of oil: all countries not democracies at time of riches through oil exports have taken path of authoritarianism
Democracy/demokratia: demos (people) and kratos (rule) – a state in which the people rule; authority rests on popular consent
In large, complex societies, democracy is through representatives
Which is better – authoritarianism or democracy – at promoting citizens’ capability?
Democracies enhance capability of citizens more than authoritarianism across every dimension
Physical well-being (health care, food, shelter) as indicated by life expectancy and infant mortality, democracies outperform authoritarian regimes at all income levels
Safety, as indicated by political violence, democracies better protect their citizens from harm than do authoritarian regimes, which are more likely to be involved in civil conflicts and instigate wars with other countries
Informed decision-making, as measured by literacy rates and secondary school enrollment, democracies do far better at all income levels
Democracies do a better job of increasing citizen capability than authoritarian regimes. Why might this be?
Policy makers are held accountable; rulers need to gain support of people and are therefore more likely to meet their needs
Dispersion of power more likely to prevent abuse, catastrophic policies
Openness of democracies contributes to better governance and adaptability