"Economic factors have significant impact on democratization but they are not determinative." (Huntington 1991: 59). To Huntington, there is a clear link between economy and democracy as a form of regime, bond that few people could deny nowadays. Actually, this bond can be shown by the expression "free market democracy", which is used very often by different newspapers. By using this expression, people tend to bring democracy and liberalism, as free market economic policies, together, almost inseparable. No matter what country is studied, economy is always the most important point on the political scene. Everything is conditioned by economic policies, from social policies to military strategy, and "GNP is the dominant explanatory variable" (Huntington 1991: 60). That is why it is not surprising to see that both Polish and Venezuelan leaders have recently taken major decisions regarding economy in their own country.
[...] Nevertheless, Balcerowicz had enough time to implement his free market economic policies and in two years, benefits were concrete: economic basket case of Eastern Europe in the 1980s, after 1992 Poland began to recover, posting 5.0 and 5.5 percent GDP growth rates in 1994 and 1995, respectively, and reducing the inflation rate to under 30 percent by 1995.” (Davisha and Parrott 1997: 66). Another reform led to the privatization of the media. This decision may appear only economical, but by setting competition into the media, the government gave more freedom to them and help the spread of democratic values into the Polish society. [...]
[...] Nationalisations, agrarian reforms, missiones (missions) which are a series of governmental democratic initiatives aiming at radically altering the socio-economic environment of Venezuela, all of these policies are opposite to free market economic policies represented by Punto Fijo. Chavez assumes he is leading Venezuela to a new form of democracy, rejecting globalization and neoliberalism. However, the reality is different: Venezuela is completely dependent of globalization because all the policies are financed by oil, which prices are very high thanks to globalization. [...]
[...] What Venezuela needed during Punto Fijo was a regional organisation able to limit the drawbacks of globalization in order to set free market economic policies without risking a crisis each time oil prices get lower. Nowadays, MERCOSUR seems to be the organisation able to be a protection for Latin American countries, but there are too many divergences between states to make it the equivalent of the European Union in Latin America. Moreover, Hugo Chavez is using this fear of globalization and neo liberalism in order to strengthen his power: according to him, because globalization can be dangerous for Venezuela and because there is no protection in Latin America such as the European Union, the State needs to be more powerful, more protective: completely socialist. [...]
[...] It will be shown in the first part that the adoption of free market economic policies is crucial to the development and the strengthening of a long term democracy, joining what Huntington claimed. However, external factors will be developed in the second part as a way to deal with the limits of globalization, which can create inequality and submission to a more powerful country. Globalization, as a worldwide phenomenon, can't be avoided by any country. Maybe North Korea is the only country totally disconnected from it, but North Korea is also known for being a very repressive dictatorship. [...]
[...] Thanks to these positive external actors, free market economic policies can be implemented in order to transform a country in democratic transition, in a strong and long term democracy. Bibliography Castle, M. & Taras, R Democracy in Poland. 2nd edn. Oxford: Westview Press. Coppedge, M Venezuela: popular sovereignty versus liberal democracy, in Dominguez, J. & Shifter, M., Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America. 2nd edn. Johns Hopkins University Press. Dawisha, K. & Parrott, B. et al (eds) The consolidation of democracy in East-Central Europe. [...]
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