Democracy entails the mass participation of residents in their country’s political affairs, especially on the issues related to voting and access to information (Chapter 18 1, par. 1). At the same time, human dignity is an essential characteristic of democracy (Chapter 18 1, par. 1). Dignity implies that the government must respect all people and treat them in a rational manner. Moreover, citizens must also coexist and embrace each other as part of their country. European colonialism was the origin of democracy in many areas of the world as the White imperialists had come to abolish traditional societies of various countries to create colonies under their rule. Even though the European rule was not democratic, the exit of the European colonialists had laid the foundation for the establishment of modern or democratic governments in the respective colonies, and these ended the traditional political entities. This essay seeks to examine the barriers to the effective establishment of democracy in developing countries with the focus on the failure/partial failure of the capitalist development, persistent of traditional politics as well as the cultural barriers.
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Persistence of Traditional Politics
The Third World countries have got populations consisting of traditional societies that have experienced little or no impact of modernization (Chapter 15 3, par. 8). Traditional cultures have a social and economic structure that does not support democracy as these communities are mainly agricultural in nature; thus, the land is the basis of their economic structure and its own forms the basis of power (Chapter 15 3, par. 8). People live in villages that are under lesser control of the national government. In these communities, between 80% and 90% of the population work in agriculture while lands are owned by the minority aristocrats (Chapter 15 3, par. 8). Thus, here, the government appears as a tool for managing peasants. Furthermore, aristocrats greatly oppose the spread of capitalism in their countries as they want the poor to remain under their control (Chapter 15 3, par. 8). At the same time, peasants also accept the situation because they feel that their dependency on their aristocrats benefits them (Chapter 15 4, par. 1). However, the advantage of the poor is not in the form of material gains but in social welfare such as housing and quality health care among others (Chapter 15 4, par. 1). The above situation implies that people here have no freedom as one must either belong to aristocrats or peasants. Bringing capitalism to such countries means liberalizing people’s way of life and breaking the village system. Thus, because the two groups do not like that, they will continue opposing capitalism as it will promote the democratization of their society.
Partial Failure of Capitalism
Capitalism entails economic rivalry as each person in a community seeks to bolster self-economic gains. Thus, the trend widens the gap between the wealthy and the poor as the former exploit the latter by trying to obtain maximum labor output while paying less. Moreover, the political leaders in the Third World countries face a dilemma regarding capitalism and, in particular, the issue of inequality. The disparity gaps in these countries are wider as compared to their developed counterparts as they have higher levels of unemployment. Concerning the above situation, capitalism that promotes democracy has been a major problem for these leaders; thus, they seek to come up with firm control policies to encourage the wellbeing of all citizens (Chapter 16 4, par. 1). In developing countries, many people cannot afford essential needs such as decent housing, food, and shelter among others. This problem has necessitated the adoption of measures to redistribute wealth (Chapter 16 4, par. 1). Thus, they often deny the wealthy some freedoms regarding their capitalist actions and interests, which amounts to obstacles towards the realization of democracy. Consequently, capitalism appears to have failed in these countries as it does not address the plight of the poor population. Therefore, the respective governments of the Third World countries must take strict control measures to contain the problem, and these problems frustrate their democratic efforts.
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Culture is a major factor that influences change in society as it may either promote or hinder the changing of the way people live. According to Chapter 17, the mode of thinking, attitude, and interpersonal relations are essential as they may promote or frustrate the attempts to democratize society (1, par. 1). People’s personalities develop as a result of childhood experiences as well as the kind of community, in which people grow (Chapter 17 3, par. 2). Thus, it is hard for an individual to change after reaching adolescence. People in traditional societies are less open to change (Chapter 17 3, par. 3). Moreover, they are always skeptical about the significance of the change, and thus, they will always try to avoid risks. Therefore, a traditional person may not like to abandon the traditional leadership for democracy. At the same time, the majority of the individuals in the Third World Countries have a bad attitude towards change as they detest any phenomenon that is new to them; consequently, they will always lack interest in new things (Chapter 17 5, par. 4). Therefore, this problem acts as a barrier to these developing countries.
Furthermore, the Third World countries are characterized by large populations of uneducated people (Chapter 17 6, par. 3). The cognition of these populations is low as they do not know more about the world. Thus, it is very hard for them to have political opinions. These people will fail to embrace the idea of democracy quickly because they do not have anything to stand for in their country. The flow of information in the uneducated population is hindered as they do not have access to the mass media or they ignore the current affairs, which makes democracy meaningless to them. Therefore, illiteracy will pose an obstacle to democratization.
In developing countries, people are enslaved by the traditional way of thinking as well as behaviors (Chapter 17 11, par. 3). Such a development has significantly contributed to religious fundamentalism in Asia (Chapter 17 11, par. 3), for instance, in Mauritania, where the government seeks to propagate universal adherence to the Islamic religion. According to Chapter 17, in the Philippines, a group known as the Moro National Liberation Front has continuously fought against the national government as well as Christians (12, par. 1). In Egypt, the extremism of rivaling Muslims and Christians is a barrier to democracy as the two groups struggle for dominance/political power. Thus, they go to the extent of fighting against each other. Consequently, such a primitive way of thinking makes it hard for democracy to thrive.
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Democracy involves having the citizens of a country participating in the issues related to politics and political life. Several problems prevent democracy to propagate itself in developing countries, and these include cultural barriers, a continuation of traditional politics, and the partial failure of capitalism. The continuation of old politics is evident in many countries, whereby agricultural societies exist with a high number of peasants and a few aristocrats who own land, and the two groups are contented with the social structure. Capitalism also appears as a problem as it worsens the gap between the rich and the poor; thus, the leaders have to increase control by imposing too many regulations. Cultural barriers also frustrate the democratization of countries for instance illiteracy while religious fundamentalism also hinders the efforts of democratizing countries. Therefore, it is important that countries address their structural problems before trying to promote democracy.