Is democracy a relic of the past?

There is a significant part of the world, that has never experienced democracy and never will


Is democracy a relic of the past?
by oktaby

Liberal democracy has long since been pronounced dead by many, correctly or not. The reality in the post Soviet, post U.S. world entering BRIC (Br, In, China) and G-XX era is that there is little room for ideology or rights. Indeed if you look at the latest G-20 press release, it is a listing that has very little to do with ideology or rights issues. It stands out for its blandness, lack of creativity and any material substance for that matter. The only noticeable item is the one we did not need any G-20 show. That they will do their utmost (wink wink) to ensure global recovery is supported or continued.

This is good if you believe that economic well being of the masses (that essentially is about 1/2 the population of the Earth) should be the main objective. Regardless of the 'moral' implications of this approach, that is bad news if you are Iranian (inside Iran), Burmese (Myanmar), Iraqi and a few other countries and regions, albeit for different reasons. The world will no longer support you based on human rights or any other well defined non-economic consideration.

Welcommmmmme... to the machine. Pinning hopes on a 'better' world because of this emerging 'order' led by BRIC and G-XX makes for a warm fuzzy feeling but as the Chinese say, be careful what you wish for. Look at the track records of each of those nations in many ways in their best light today and you realize the grass is not so much greener on the other side.

Meanwhile, whether U.S. sees it that way or not, it is no longer the loudest or most potent voice in the room, and that will have its side effects. The overplay of U.S. military might exemplified by Bush Jr. is now balanced by a relatively quiet underplay of U.S. that is not exerting itself in any material way. Europeans have no interest in pushing democratic agenda and are glad to have their own relatively stable setup for now.

The net effect is a world that has and only understands pure economic contexts as it has moved passed isms. Of course, one could argue that has always been the case but now this is the case without any umbrellas and guises of Human Rights, democracy and so on. Certainly, there is a significant part of the world, that has never experienced democracy and never will. One could further argue that here in America we barely have a democracy as most choices are limited or dictated by circumstance (economic oppression some say).

Look at the G-XX, BRIC, U.S. Russia and the rest and soon you recognize that most if not all are driven by internal economic interests, controlled by fewer and fewer individuals and entities representing a smaller percentage of their populations.

Post global financial crisis, we have all inherited a world that is run by essentially the same institutions as before but fewer of them (never mind the Keynesian vs. Friedman sideshow). Sound familiar?

Alas, the Iranians will need to fight to the bitter end if we are to see a resemblance of normalcy in Khake Pake Iran as we don't seem to have the Feng Shui and odds are stacked heavily against us.

Do you hold hope for Democracy?


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Democracy is a large topic to cover

by oktaby on

as are the intricacies of global economy or alliances. I used it in its generally accepted form. I certainly have my opinion that generally revolves around peaceful and sustainable coexistence. Certainly not on any G or X agenda that I'm aware of except a few non-governmentals. The 'dynamism of history and that of ideas' have not proven too kind to most througout the history. They are just variables to be managed if the intent is to consolidate power and control. And the technologies of control have advanced to levels that are not easy for majority to keep up with. What have you found positive with G-20, G-8 before it and G-7 etc before that? How did they help you or people you know? UNs job is not to defend human rights nor it ever has done so with any significant effect or success. Recall Rwanda, Myanmar just last year, Zimbabwe or Rodesia before it, Iraq, Chechnia, Ivory coast, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia.....and Iran?

Here is a supporting article on the money and power dynamics I have on my blog //

I did not suggest reaching democracy is impossible. Rather I indirectly questioned the path the globe is being led and the consequences to democratic aspirations and expectations. hence, the question mark at the end.

What do you see around in economic, political or social terms that makes you so hopeful? And how do you see that promise helping Iran today or in near future?


Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

very interesting and thought-provoking piece. but let me take a critical approach, as i certainly hold hope for democracy:

your analysis underestimates the dynamism of history and that of ideas. you paint a static picture as if democracy appeared out of thin air into some specific locations, and it is - for reasons not clarified - destined to die.

your depiction of the G20 as some bad omen comes without much evidence. the G8 has grown into the G20. that immediately looks like greater democracy among nations in pure mathematical terms. the UN is still there for defence of human rights. imperfect as ever, and just like her member states.

i would also suggest to you that leading by example is a far more effective mechanism for spreading ideas than international institutions combined with brutal projection of power. the US failed because of poor strategy. and perhaps also because it never believed in or practiced what it preached.

what is so impossible about the idea that the east and the south can become beacons for human rights despite their history? the more established democracies of today emerged from all kinds of absolutist, oppressive states.

in saying all this, we haven't even discussed what 'democracy' means. which textbooks do we learn our definitions from? it is talked about like some panacea, but i suspect it has as many definitions as the other revered yet totally disputed term: 'good'.

the greeks who came up with the term (demokratia) at the time apparently meant it as 'popular government'. but many of their citizens owned slaves.

what exactly makes the situation so despaerate today?