The articles I reviewed both were concerned with the theme of what makes democracy, and what factors are thrown into a democracy to make it so stable. I found commonality between both of the articles, but I favored the position taken by the authors of “What Makes Democracies Endure”. This is simply because of the way they arranged their data leading to why Democracies endure, while using Dahl’s definition of a democracy as a guide. I also felt that the parallels they drew between Lipset’s main point of view and their own, helped reinforce the differences they held separate from Lipset.
Their central finding had parallels to Lipset’s article on the social requisites of a democracy. This is because the author’s main point was that “economic factors” have a significant influence on the lifespan of a democracy, much like Lipset’s point of view. However, unlike Lipset, they took the time to disprove some well-known false beliefs about modern democracy. This is where they draw the line between their article and Lipset’s. The authors of “What Makes Democracies Endure” prove that even though a country is well established and wealthy where democracy is “certain to survive”, a dictatorship attempting to transition to a democracy will fail no matter their economic standing is. They also disprove the belief that democracy cannot thrive in a poor country. Although it is shown that a democracy can’t thrive in a “declining economy”, a democracy can thrive in a nation that’s baseline per-capita income is only $1,000. The only conditions needed for the democracy to grow is “generating development, reduction of inequality, (a prosperous) international climate, and if they have parliamentary institutions.”
While using the definition given by Dahl the authors were also able to fashion rules that help define if a regime is a dictatorship. This includes the right to free and fair elections of a leader, the difference between an elected and not-elected legislature, and the difference between a one party or multiple party system. I found this to be very helpful as their can be some grey area on the subject of a dictatorship. Although these rules are not an end all be all, much like Dahl’s rules for a Democracy, they give a good outline to what a Dictatorship is.
-Sermour Martin Lipset. 1959. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy.” The American Political Science Review, 53(1):69-86. *
-Cheibub, Jose Antonio, Adam Przewoprski, Fernando Papaterra Limongi Neto, Micheal Alvarez. 1996. “What Makes Democracies Endure” Journal of Democracy 7(1): 39-55. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jod/