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Democratic transition

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Lawrence W.
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  1. Introduction
  2. The Driven by Growth Model
  3. The political conflict
  4. Japan's period of economic growth
    1. The favorable conditions of economic growth in postwar Japan
  5. Crouch and Moley's theory: An analysis
  6. Identifying the conditional obstacles to democratic reform in China
  7. Japan's democratization
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

On 9 March, 2009, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that ?China will never adopt Western-style democracy with a multi-party system,? referring to comments made by Parliament chief Wu Banggou that ?Communist party leadership should be strengthened and ?the correct political orientation' maintained? [?China ?will not have democracy,' par. 1-3]. The unprecedented economic growth in the People's Republic of China (PRC), and its maintenance of a one-party totalitarian government, challenges the hypothesis that advanced structural, socio-economic development is correlated with the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic state.

In fact, since the late 1970s and early 1980s, rather than produce political reform, economic growth has resulted in the consolidation of authority by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the expense of the democratic protest-movements of 1987 and 1989. Foreign-investment, the growth of an educated middle-class, urbanization, and a burgeoning free-market have not produced a democratic state in China. As such, the aforementioned hypothesis requires re-evaluation. The essay will focus a comparative analysis on the successful conditions of political transition in Japan, and the authoritarian, one-party situation contrasted by the PRC, to determine whether structural forces enable a multi-party, liberal democratic state.

[...] By further researching and exploring the factors hampering such change, nations wishing to topple dictatorships and positively affect democratic transition could adjust their foreign policy to confront these obstacles. It must be noted that such measure do not necessarily equate to hard or military policy, as was the underlying condition for the creation and imposition of democratic rule in Japan, but could include trade embargoes and diplomatic sanctions consistent with soft policy initiatives. The overthrow of authoritarian, state-driven government in Eastern Europe, as exemplified by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), in the latter decades of the twentieth century provides such an account for these foreign policy procedures. [...]


[...] Coupled with Marxist- Leninist ideology, obedience to the autocratic state is a traditional idea at odds with the principles of individuality and humanistic liberties at the root of democratic ideals. The ideological power of nationalism and obedience to the state, manifest by the CCP, presents a conditional obstacle to democratic transition. Identifying the conditional obstacles to democratic reform in China provides an insight as to why the country remains gripped by dictatorship. Unfortunately, when placed against Crouch and Morley's theorem, no single and clear answer is readily available. [...]


[...] Unfortunately, the scope of this essay is not adequate to consider and to investigate the contingencies blocking reform in China, and it has only been able to offer several observations on possible impediments to effective transition. In following Crouch and Morley, the conclusions provided by their ?Driven by Growth Model? reveal that the foreign policies of unregulated and open economic investment in an authoritarian nation (China, for instance) do not necessarily cause its transition to a free and democratic society. [...]

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