The Future of Freedom
In his book, The Future of Freedom, Fareed Zakaria writes that we must make democracy safe for the world. The American democracy sets the standard around the world for liberal democracies, but transitions across for other countries across the world toward a liberal democracy is often difficult and with poor decision making, close to impossible. Liberal democracies are the systems in which people choose their government and live in an environment of freedom. In Zakaria's book, he warns the readers of several telltale signs that their process toward a liberal democracy is in trouble. He uses examples of different countries doing it right and doing it wrong- the ones discussed in this essay will be Russia and China.
After the communist collapse in Russia, Zakaria writes that Russia concentrated too much on a quick fix. The leaders wanted to mimic the American democracy an instituted "free and fair elections," but they forgot about establishing a stable economy. Robert Kaplan writes in his essay, "Was Democracy Just a Moment?" that countries need to establish a stable economic system before they try to institute a political system or else that political system will fail. Specifically, Kaplan thinks that there should be a strong and large middle class in the nation before it leaders think democracy will work. Kaplan was not the only intellectual to say this; Aristotle believed that a strong middle class bred a strong society. The idea about this is that democracy cannot work if the majority of a country is poor and starving while a small minority has all the money. The poor will be too preoccupied with trying to survive than maintaining the government. Russia relied too much on its natural resources instead of trying to build a functioning economy (Zakaria, 92). Zakaria writes, "Russia's fundamental problem is not that it is a poor country struggling to modernize, but rather that it is a rich country struggling to modernize"...
Cited: Kaplan, Robert D. "Was Democracy Just a Moment?" The Atlantic Monthly. Boston: December, 1997.
Zakaria, Fareed. The Future of Freedom. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: New York, 2004.
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