On Democracy (I)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Alain Touraine says that the euphoria caused by the democratization of the political systems in Eastern Europe was due more to the disappearance of the vestiges of a totalitarian power than to its comparison with other more solid European democracies. On the other hand, the existence of more democracies should not make us forget the challenges they faced at the turn of the century.
In the case of the transitions to democracy that arose after the fall of the Soviet Union, politics is determined to a great extent by the return of the market economy and by the exclusionary problems of nationalism, while in Western democracies, politics is influenced by the economy, globalization, new technologies and the great difference between cultures. So the current unanimity on the legitimacy of democracy as a political system coexists with the diversity of meanings of democracy given the new problems it faces today.
Years ago, Robert P Dahl noted that democracy is both an idea and a series of institutional practices established from ancient Greece to the present where there is a convergence of various traditions of political thought that in many cases are inconsistent with each other and reveal problems for which there is no definitive answer.
Dahl's latest book on democracy is subtitled “A Guide for Citizens.” and is a cohesive, systematic compilation of the tradition of political thought. It is a kind of university manual that makes us understand the historical evolution of democracy through classical authors.
Addendum: I will continue with this notion in the next article.