how effective is cialis in treating bph cruz ortodoxa donde comprar viagra 5mg propecia india how long does it take 4 viagra to work cialis mail order uk zovirax xarope dosagem finasteride generico vs propecia is it advisable to take clomid what is female viagra used for best shampoo to use will on propecia is the purchase of generic viagra illegal flex generics for viagra viagra us sales dose normale viagra pvp cialis 10 mg inderal for intermittent explosive disorder cialis e andropausa se necesita receta para comprar finasteride brand cialis for sale in us paxil 30 mg zoloft reviews cipla sildenafil anyone in malaysia sells viagra can you take 20 mg cialis ciprobay 500 mg beipackzettel ciprofloxacin zoloft maximum 300 mg clomid to treat pcos can i take accutane once a week buy cheao cgeap kamagra uk viagra how long till it takes effect cialis 80 mg viagra online australia pfizer viagra bangkok buying cialis is lasix a brand name donde comprar generico de cialis over the counter when to take viagra for best results mirtazapine hexal 30 mg nebenwirkungen viagra how many mg of sildenafil citrate should i take prednisone 5 mg canine country uk viagra cheap diflucan not working doc q lax generic viagra can u buy clomid ttc in uk viagra generic off patent cialis in arizona cialis 5 mg grapefruit juice intentional viagra cialis uk paypal salon hits 11 benefits donde comprar viagra does metformin cause problems in pregnancy turnerae diffusae folium et herbal viagra wer hat schon cialis bei121doc.de bestellt cialis 20 mg puolittaminen buy viagra generic in luxembourg can i split cialis 20 mg in halves or quarters viagra storage temperature can you take two viagra in the same night viprogra sildenafil 100 mg where to buy cialis in macau accutane worth taking sildenafil jelly brands cialis bulario anvisa can u buy viagra in walmart ciprofloxacin 1000 mg tablets what not to take while on clomid prednisone numbness in legs harga obat metformin 850 mg metformin hcl 500 mg high school quel est le prix du cialis 20mg en pharmacie lowet price on generic viagra modafinil generic manufacturers of metformin is there a over the counter version of ciprodex viagra selling in singapore onde posso comprar viagra em portugal viagra girls fucked in boy metformin hcl 500 mg diabetes comprar efedrina farmacia online viagra how to purchase accutane online fertility drugs clomid for sale cialis shorten refractory period in psychology ovaio policistico e gravidanza con clomid for sale generic propecia 5mg socialist party of great britain in time zone accutane negative review para q sirve ciprofloxacino 500 mg should clomid be taken before or after meals ciprofloxacin al 250 mg prezzo cialis once a day prices best place to buy viagra online australian cialis online 24h viagra tablets in india for men cheap cialis pills australia cost of month supply 5mg cialis whats something similar to viagra that over the counter sildenafil 50 mg low dosage 10 pills reviews zoloft anxiety viagra montreal walkin average cost per pill for viagra blepharitis doxycycline 20 mg real online pharmacy viagra doxycycline 40 mg kill what para sirve propranolol clorhidrato 40 mg viagra license expiration uk prednisone 5 mg weight gain esempio prescrizione cialis generic metformin hereisthebestin reviews donde comprar cytotec en honduras solaraze gel 3 generic cialis how long does propecia stay in your blood how do i get nolvadex in the uk cost of cialis per pill c20 not genetic propecia tablets price in ireland vietnam usage of viagra ampicillin rezeptfrei kaufen propecia thailand kaufen cialis coupon for canada counterfeit chinese cialis tadalafil buy now macrodantin 100mg generic viagra viagra online canada overnight camps prednisone treatment for poison ivy real pharmacy.co discount code viagra cialis si vende in farmacia metformin muscle pain does zoloft 50 mg make you tired online viagra pills how to buy prednisolone sildenafil teva 25 mg precious zithromax at walmart otc buy doxycycline hyclate online can clomid cause bleeding between periods cipla cialis reviews can 16 year olds take viagra can you buy viagra in canada online can u take viagra when pregnant how soon will i get pregnant with clomid wal mart prices for cialis is lasix safe to take during pregnancy viagra prescription online australian generieke cialis bestellen calmylin generic viagra does zoloft cause increase in cholesterol online viagra mastercard how often to use cialis 5 mg does clomid cause pms top viagra for sale buy cialis brand on line prednisolone 40 mg day zoloft safety risk pregancy buy viagra tiger estriol ovulos generico de cialis propecia prices will go down why do bodybuilders use viagra how does clomid 100mg work doxycycline dose for chalazion socialism in america original publication metformin 500 mg bula price comparison cialis viagra order online uk cheap female viagra pink pill ciprofloxacin in soft tissue infections are over the counter propecia effective esomeprazole sandoz 20 mg bijsluiter viagra finasteride use in alopecia buying viagra otc in hong kong cialis with paypal canada viagra kaufen online caught ordering viagra online bad taste in mouth prednisone eye drops took 25 mg zoloft generic name for zoloft medication best water pills lasix viagra over counter now accutane generic pills how much dies viagra cost at walmart do you have to use propecia after hair transplant pharmacokinetics of metformin in rats alley efectos secundarios de ciprofloxacina 500 mg viagra store in edmonton clomid vs metformin ciprofloxacin safety during lactation can you take antacids with doxycycline is metformin hcl 1000 mg used for pcos precio cialis generico farmacias cialis viagra combination usage dictionary pill burning in throat zoloft viagra long does take work metformin lich 500 mg flexresan 10 mg prednisone viagra online pharmacy utah 200mg clomid pregnancy is generic viagra the same as real viagra metformin er 1000 mg manufacturer buy viagra for next day delivery inegy 10mg 20 mg prednisone how much does it cost for cialis daily use ciprofloxacin with dairy buy viagra in philippines is there a mg cialis costo del sildenafil en mexico generic viagra from north carolina proscar finasteride 5mg uk arava tem generico do viagra max dose viagra buy cipla doxycycline propranolol eg 40 mg stress lasix water retention causes in men did he take viagra flamen cialis discogs reviews on clomid when will i get my period viagra canada otc codeine prescription viagra online what time should i take my accutane where do you get viagra in stores cialis 20 mg break 5mg prednisone guercmorteo canada ciprofloxacin 750 mg alkohol generic of glucophage xr natural female viagra information in hindi allegra pediatrico generico do viagra does cialis come in 80mg where to buy viagra cialis in pakistan doxycycline capsule 100 mg notice en francais next day deliveries viagra in australia propecia hair loss in woman where can i buy i buy viagra in sydney propecia sperm liquide is elegel to by nolvadex in canada safe take generic viagra where can i buy a viagra onde comprar cytotec com garantia propranolol in pregnancy three year prospective study accutane 20 mg twice a day workouts qualitest prednisone 5 mg regaliz de palo donde comprar viagra online pharmacy dapoxetine minoxidil tadalafil vimpat 200 mg beipackzettel ciprofloxacin i have mild acne should i take accutane taking viagra through customs usa accutane initial breakout low dose cost of zithromax at walgreens buy zithromax injectable 500 mg cheap generic viagra is zithromax an over the counter drug canadian superstore cialis generic finasteride from canada use of injection lasix how to take doxycycline for gonorrhea buy cialis daily in hong kong price of metformin in mexico sildenafil products over the counter reviews on metformin cost of cialis at sams club metformin stada 1000 mg cialis generic good tadalafil 20 mg costochondral tadalafil tablets really help cialis 10 mg price at walmart switching brands of clomid during pct nombre generico de la ciprofloxacino how often you can use viagra where we get viagra tabs in bangalore what country can i buy viagra lasix surgeons in rock hill sc szetalo 20 mg cialis ureaplasma urealyticum traitement zithromax dosage price for propecia walgreens zoloft helped me tremendously in a sentence viagra tablets in bd accutane sale canada prednisone 20 mg ingredients in gatorade how much ampicillin to add to lb broth ciproxin xr 1000 mg does your erection go down after coming in viagra found viagra in husbands wallet india viagra penegra online prescription drugs cipro cialis 40 mg 3 working days how much does ciprofloxacin oral suspension cost zoloft wellbutrin combo reviews buy cialis 2.5mg online cialis 5 mg once a day prezzo online herbal club viagra alternative prednisolone acetate ophthalmic suspension reviews is it illegal to purchase clomid and nolvadex cialis 5 mg keine wirkung 20 mg accutane first days initial breakout cialis argentina comprar zoloft and maxalt methocarbamol zoloft interaction sitio fiable comprar viagra metformin review nature made prednisone safe drug can you buy clomid in uk ist viagra in holland rezeptfrei socialist economics articles in camb j econ can ovulation take place while taking clomid ciprofloxacin heumann 500 mg farmaci generici equivalent viagra for sale spine specialist uk lexington ky doxycycline online medicine zefix 200 mg of zoloft donde comprar priligy mexico difference entre doxycycline 500 mg et 200 mg.pdf metformin passing in stool zovirax in ssw socialist markets prednisone taper from 30 mg online cialis mexico viagra available in karachi patency of viagra in uae why does propecia not work in temples is there an over the counter medicine like clomid s like viagra over the counter sarafem paxil cr and zoloft generic zovirax breastfeeding safe will viagra counter balance propecia 100 50 best mg net price viagra how to get the best price on viagra buy bulk sildenafil powder quiero comprar viagra sin receta en chile palo why prednisone in chemotherapy generico cialis dr simi vancise can you buy viagra in new zeeland viagra use in saudi tescos viagra price propecia cost in ontario buy accutane illegally how we get viagra in india order cipro uk ambasciata di cipro in italia where i can get viagra easily in bangladesh ciprofloxacin dosierung 250 mg 12 5 mg zoloft for depression 10mg prednisone daily safe is viagra vrij te koop in nederland doxycycline ocular rosacea watermelon liquid viagra for men viagra liquid black market viagra fast in seattle ratn ciprofloxhcl 500 mg buy cialis very cheap buy viagra c.o.d can you take doxycycline with wellbutrin generic sildenafil 100mg uk is taking metformin for weight loss safe ratiopharm sildenafil kaufen oder how to purchase zithromax will cipro 500 mg knock out uti infection doxycycline and differin for acne reviews zoloft 50 mg price in pakistan where can i buy viagra in chennai zithromax suspension buy se puede comprar cialis en cualquier farmacia 1000 mg zithromax chlamydia recovery delaware caverta generic viagra veega where to buy unprescribed clomid in south africa nursing consideration in administration for cialis zoloft half life 40 mg prednisone low grade fever best online purchase for viagra in united states comprar viagra pagar con paypal price of viagra in greece nursing responsibilities in giving metformin consecuencias de la viagra en jovenes zinc sulfate monohydrate 20 mg prednisone cialis how long until it takes effect cialis in nl glucophage xr 500 mg weight loss ciprofloxacin 1000 mg generic finasteride 5mg uk top how much accutane cost safe exercise while taking propranolol with food best day to take clomid for twins cialis and prostate how many hours before to take viagra is it safe to take clomid in which countries can you buy viagra venta de viagra en monterrey can doxycycline treat swollen glands tadalafil 20mg kaufen zovirax tabletten kaufen price of zoloft 100mg can you take azithromycin with accutane cialis help last longer in bed can i buy viagra over the counter in india doxycycline hyclate 20mg price prednisone is it safe generic tadalafil cheap which works the best cialis or viagra generic viagra no prescription australia cipro no rx effect of sildenafil in girls se puede comprar cialis en la farmacia sin receta price viagra edmonton cheap deal pill viagra viagra prednisone in pregnancy safe treating heartworms doxycycline use of ampicillin capsules que es tadalafil generico how often can i take cialis 20 mg herbal viagra for women where to get it in scotland london golden tours or viagra which is better finasteride tablets ip 5 mg lexapro daily viagra safe buy lasix overnight without prescription diflucan 150 mg adalah chocolate can buy nolvadex how to taper off of 40 mg of prednisone anavar for sale 50 mg viagra metformin and bipolar disorder viagra pakistan online cytotec pills in ghana cialis in gum cena viagra online how long to use propecia what is the name of female viagra buy dapoxetine in india online where do i buy viagra over the counter viagra mit paypal betazhlen costo del sildenafil generico paypal womens viagra buying viagra in bandung prednisone tablets 20 mg cost for 100 adderall and accutane 3to 5 day delivery viagra accutane treatment photos best age start accutane viagra generika sildenafil citrat 100mg glucophage 850 mg reviews what happens if take clomid while pregnant pfizer discount card viagra case in vendita a cipro grecia medicament aliviar 50 mg viagra where to get viagra in cambodia who makes the best generic zoloft cipro va in black list como comprar viagra por internet clomid to buy uk brand viagra singapore what if you do ovulate and take clomid viagra available in rohini cialis 10 mg paypal canada ciproxin quanto costa cialis 20mg in south africa lilly tadalafil 20 mg nedir az viagra super active plus 100 mg zithromax monodose prix de lausanne african viagra brand can clomid be taken on day 2 about viagra medicine in telugu script does kaiser have generic viagra buying viagra at boots in edinburgh cialis 5 mg indications propecia indian shops to buy viagra in kuala lumpur astrazeneca nolvadex reviews viagra in cabo san lucas prednisone 40 mg jour price viagra 100mg asda para que sirve ciprofloxacin 500 mg cost of cytotec in south africa zoloft the rock and roll destroyer ciprofloxacino 500 mg hormona purpose of prednisone in chop buy accutane in south africa sildenafil effervescent tablets alivher use viagra for sale east london pioglitazone metformin generic drug clomiphene or clomid spierx tadalafil review propecia 5 mg sweden when can i not take viagra what is socialism in america most popular written work como se usa la sildenafil amoxil price australia buying ciprofloxacin uk buying cialis safely online where can i buy pfizer viagra with paypal online viagra in london where can i buy doxycycline for my cat doxycycline monohydrate cap 100mg price of viagra in karachi viagra pfizer achat viagra 50mg 1 4 is doxycycline safe for sore throat is viagra a testosterone booster what are the active ingredients in prednisone how long in advance should cialis be taken where can you get over the counter viagra ciprofloxacin dosage 1000 mg metformin and pioglitazone 500 mg real results from finasteride si puo comprare cialis senza ricetta speedy delivery viagra in ontario where does generic viagra come from how viagra is taken para que se usa cytotec 200 oral quetros 50 mg viagra doxycycline online nz purchas viagra from india acyclovir buy generic online zovirax viagra non prescription uk map pfizer viagra prescription Kiwipolitico » Blog Archive » Managing Expectations.

Managing Expectations.

datePosted on 15:08, July 16th, 2013 by Pablo

A while back I wrote a series of posts on deconstructing democracy in which I noted that this form of rule ultimately rests on the consent of the majority, and that consent is not given once, forever, but instead is the contingent outcome of repeated conflict resolution efforts made at the political, social and economic levels. Because they are contingent, the three dimensions of consent are the subject of regular re-negotiation leading to collective compromises, the terms of which serve as the threshold of consent to which the majority must agree if democracy is to be consolidated and maintained over time.

The need for majority contingent consent in order to successfully reproduce democracy as both a political and social construct leads to self-limiting, incremental gains approaches on the part of groups and factions. The strategy is to advance sectoral fortunes via institutional means that ameliorate open conflict and facilitate the type of material and political compromises that reproduce mass contingent consent over time. Self-limiting and incremental gains approaches to realizing collective and individual interests are used in pursuit of mutual second best outcomes whereby all groups accept that attempts to maximize unilateral opportunities leads to collectively sub-optimal outcomes for the society at large.

Ideological and redistributive conflicts are denatured by the pursuit of the mutual second best, which in turn facilitates the achievement of material and political compromises that are reproducible over time. When that occurs, contingent compromises on matters of material and political interest frame public expectations of what are reasonable demands and achievable objectives on and by governments of the day.

That is why democracies are replete with calls for ideological moderation and centrist voting, and why they utilize institutions such as collective bargaining and compulsory arbitration when it comes to sectoral conflict.

In another series of posts I noted the problems inherent in transitional dynamics, which are the processes by which political regime change occurs. I wrote the posts early in the advent of the so-called Arab Spring, and I noted that bottom up transitions are not always revolutionary nor do they lead to democracy, and that top down transitions are more likely to result in negotiated and relatively peaceful devolution of political authority even if these too are not always, or even likely to be democratic. For those who may remember, I repeated the view that the interplay between opposition moderates and militants and regime hardliners and soft liners would most significantly influence the immediate outcome of a given transition, and that there would likely be a purgative phase following the transitional moment in which adherents of the old regime would be ostracized or victimized by supporters of the new one (if not the new regime itself). The latter is particularly true for countries with no historical experience with democratic forms of rule.

Needless to say, the Arab Spring and its sequels have tested these propositions and added a few new chapters to the regime transitions literature. But what continues to get relative short shrift, and which is a topic pertinent to any form of government that relies on majority support for its continuance in power, is the subject of managing expectations.

Achieving and maintaining the threshold of contingent majority consent requires management of public expectations of what is reasonable in terms of demands and what is achievable given the socio-economic and political context of the times. Resource availability, trade dependency, labor force skill base, nature of political representation and a host of other factors influence what are considered to be “reasonable” demands and “achievable” goals at any given point in time.

If individuals and groups concur on what is generally reasonable and achievable, mass contingent consent based upon self-limiting and incremental gains strategies leading to mutual second best outcomes is possible. Sectoral agreement on specific issues does not have to be uniform or absolute, and instead is the subject of institutionalized conflict resolution mechanisms involving debate and negotiation.

In democracies the key element in determining what is reasonable and achievable in a particular historical moment is government framing of the issues that condition individual and group approaches to making demands on political authority. Issue framing not only allows the government of the day to define the terms of debate about the specifics on which reasonable demands and achievable objectives are construed. It also allows the government to manage popular expectations as to what is and is not reasonable or achievable.

I mention this because one major problem for nascent regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere is and has been managing popular expectations of what can be delivered by a sudden move to electoral rule. “Democracy” means a lot of things to a lot of people, from unfettered freedom of expression to free blue jeans and TV sets. Many envision democracy as being a panoply of rights unencumbered by responsibility, to include the need for tolerance of others whose views, persuasion or traits are not congruent with one’s preferred world view.

The rush away from authoritarianism also has a tendency to encourage demagogic promise-making on the part of political contenders that has little relation to (or bearing on) what can be reasonably demanded on or achieved by the new regime. The syndrome is compounded when the incoming elite has little knowledge of, much less training or skills in the complexities of macroeconomic management, social policy, international diplomacy and trade or a myriad of other areas of government responsibility. Sometimes the best opposition leaders are the least qualified to govern.

The combination sets up the scenario of failed expectations: new political regimes based on popular support often fail to adequately manage expectations so as to give themselves time to learn the intricacies of their position and to establish priorities as to what can be reasonably demanded and achieved. Popular demands for short-term remedies and immediate material gains outweigh the regime’s capacity to deliver on what was promised, much less what was implicitly expected at the moment of transition. That produces a withdrawal of mass consent and a reversion to first-best or maximalist group strategies that lead to non-institutionalized mass collective conflict. This has been evident in Egypt and, with some significant differences in terms of the specifics of what is being debated and the intensity with which it is being contested, is also apparent in Turkey.

In established democracies the issue of managing expectations has roots not so much in what is immediately promised but in what has been historically delivered. The longer and more deeply embedded the concepts of reasonable and achievable are in the public consciousness, the more difficult it is to significantly alter downwards the threshold of mass contingent consent. Should democratic governments move to redraw the concepts of reasonable and achievable in order to downgrade or reduce the combined threshold of consent, the more likely it will be the non-institutionalized collective conflict will result. That has been the case in Greece and Spain.

In light of all of this, the National government in New Zealand has a challenge on its hands. Since the late 1990s the move to narrow the definition of citizenship rights and entitlements (the subject of yet another earlier post) has responded to incrementally applied corporate logics on the subject of collective demands in market driven climates of fiscal austerity in which reduction in state-provided public goods is seen as a basic requisite for economic competitiveness. The objective is to diminish public expectations of what is reasonably achievable and what can be reasonably demanded in a small open market economy.

The effort to reforge collective identities, at least with regards to public expectations of what is reasonable and achievable, has been largely successful. That has help lower the threshold of mass contingent consent in contemporary Aotearoa to levels that more closely approximate those of Asia than those of Europe or the Americas, and which are a far cry from those that existed before Rogernomics was imposed.

Even so, there is a limit to the downgrading of the threshold of consent and National appears to be approaching it. Be it the non-response to the Pike River or Rena disasters, the third world response to the Christchurch earthquake, the passing of legislation under urgency, the attempts to intimidate the media on both large and small issues (such as the Tea Cup affair or the personal denigration of Jon Stephenson because of his critical writing about the NZDF in Afghanistan), the focus on maximizing trade opportunities rather than affordable domestic consumption, the penchant for secrecy rather than transparency in policy-making, or even the arrogance and indifference of the PM when it comes to important questions about his leadership (epitomized by his repeated brain fades and his holidaying in the US rather than attending the funeral of NZ war dead), the combined effect may be that there comes a point where he and his government can no longer manage public expectations with a smile and a wave.

I am not sure when it will come or what that tipping point may be precipitated by, but it seems that we are well down the path towards a public withdrawal of consent to this government. It certainly will not look like the events in Athens, Cairo, Istanbul or Madrid, and the opposition may not have the ability to capitalize on the moment of opportunity provided it by public repudiation of the narrow definition of what is reasonable, achievable and expected of government, but it seems to me that the debased threshold of mass contingent consent has reached its limits in New Zealand.

The question is whether, should it eventuate, the withdrawal of consent in New Zealand will be confined to “manageable” institutional channels focused on specific aspects of the three dimensions on which it is given, or whether it will evolve into something more.

 

18 Responses to “Managing Expectations.”

  1. Roy on July 16th, 2013 at 20:15

    Would be nice if this was written in middle class english
    ie use a simple word rather than corporate/gummint ese
    eg
    The effort to reforge collective identities, at least with regards to public expectations of what is reasonable and achievable, has been largely successful.
    equals???
    Make organisations live up to their values.

    or are you intentionally taking the piss?

  2. Pablo on July 16th, 2013 at 20:21

    Sorry Roy, but I write for people with a bit more than high school grammar and comprehension skills. No piss take intended.

  3. […] on Kiwipolitico looks Managing Expectations   within democracy; consent by the people; and when governments ultimately fail.  As Pablo […]

  4. Galeandra on July 17th, 2013 at 16:55

    Sorry Pablo, but I read for ideas that are not authenticated merely by being loaded with academic jargon. Your style lends itself to the suspicion that you’re using it in search of false authority. I have a Masters, btw, and I have adequate comprehension skills. No reference to grammatical competency was made by Roy.

  5. Pablo on July 17th, 2013 at 17:45

    Galeandra.

    Again, sorry if you think I am using academic jargon to boost my supposed authority. I simply think that some complex ideas are not reducible to “making organizations live up to their values.” Even for an institutionalist that type of statement does not suffice by way of an explanation or analysis.

    Such reductionism is part of the problem of much contemporary political argument. I understand the need to cut to the chase and cut out the bs, but I also think that there are processes and phenomena that need to be thought through analytically and conceptually in their full dimensions. Somethings have more depth than is immediately apparent, something that cannot be captured in a pithy phrase or a simple form of English.

    Of course, my writing is clearly influenced by long years in academia. Even so, it is not so much the language but the literature on the subject in question that orients how I think about and phrase things.

    Needless to say my posts are not for everyone. They are not intended to be. The good news is that one is spoiled for choice when it comes to political blogs, NZ political blogs, and NZ leftist political blogs, so if my writing style gets up a reader’s nose, s/he can find solace elsewhere.

  6. Hugh on July 18th, 2013 at 21:49

    It’s possible to use complex academic jargon and -still- be reductionist, ironically.

  7. Pablo on July 18th, 2013 at 22:00

    Hugh: Good insult, even if you took a few days to think of it.

    The trouble with the KISS principle, especially the way you use it, is that the last two letters define the acronym: simple and stupid.

  8. Hugh on July 18th, 2013 at 22:48

    Pablo, I’ve not made personal insults part of my discourse since primary school, and I don’t intend to restart now.

    It was just what I felt was a needed qualifier to your prior post, which seemed to posit academic language and reductionism as opposites, which they aren’t. Academic language and simplicity, maybe, but that’s a different matter.

  9. Pablo on July 19th, 2013 at 00:57

    OK, I’ll take your point.

  10. huckleberry fin on July 22nd, 2013 at 04:58

    garbage Pablo, utter garbage, even worser than usual

  11. Pablo on July 22nd, 2013 at 09:22

    Thanks Roy/Huck, for that useful contribution and grammar lesson. Is “worser” a word used by your Thai rent mates to describe your performance?

  12. rimu on July 22nd, 2013 at 13:55

    Jeez, tough crowd.

    As well as reasonable expectations, democracy requires:

    * effective rule of law (credible, independent courts which in addition to fairly enforcing laws also defend democratic institutions and processes)

    * freedom – political rights, civil rights, security, freedom of expression association and organisation, employment rights

    * responsiveness – political choices on offer reflect what people want, electoral choices roughly translating into parliamentary representation, backed up by a skilled and honest public service

    * accountability to the public – justification, information and punishment/compensation

    * accountability to other govt agencies – legislative opposition, audit agencies, central bank, anti-corruption commission, various ombudsmen,

    * equality – political and legal equality (rule of law, again), low level of discrimination based on gender, race, etc, some level of economic equality.

    In an authoritarian regime most of the above processes, institutions, etc are weak, fused with the ruling elite or absent. I don’t know enough about Egypt to know what the situation is with the supporting environment that democracy needs but my feeling is that democracy is having a hard time there because of several of the above factors. So parallels with NZ seem a bit tenuous, to me – we have quite good rule of law, freedom, responsiveness, etc.

    That’s not to say National hasn’t pushed the neo-liberal agenda as far as they can this time around, though. I look forward to finding out, in 2014.

  13. Hugh on July 22nd, 2013 at 14:47

    @rimu: I think you may be expanding your definition of democracy there. There’s a tendency among western commentators to use ‘democracy’ to mean ‘everything desirable in a political system’, but that’s not really what it is. Democracy is a method of choosing governments, it doesn’t describe the wider characteristics of a society.

    It is theoretically possible, for example, for a democratic society to experience economic inequality and discrimination. In practice, democratic governments are usually better on these fronts than non-democratic ones, but that has more to do with electoral incentives than anything else.

    If people democratically vote for policies that create discrimination or inequality, that’s not anti-democratic, although it is of course regrettable.

  14. Pablo on July 22nd, 2013 at 17:27

    Rimu: I agree that equate the National government’s failure to meet expectations with the plight of Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere is a bit of conceptual stretch. TBH, I did it more for effect and to bring the point about consent and expectations home to a (mostly disinterested) NZ audience. I do agree with your expanded definition of democracy and then some (see citation below).

    Hugh: You are referring to the procedural level of democracy, which is only one level in a democratic society. The others are institutional, social and economic, which is what Rimu is alluding to.

    Rather than debate the issue here it might be worthwhile for both of you to read Chapter One of State, Labor, Capital: Institutionalizing Democratic Labor Relations in the Southern Cone. Pittsburgh University Press, 1995 (assuming that you can find a library that carries it). It addresses this issue at some length.

  15. Hugh on July 22nd, 2013 at 20:55

    Well, I probably shouldn’t comment until I’ve read the book in question, but I think the concept of ‘economic democracy’ in particular is quite contested.

  16. Pablo on July 22nd, 2013 at 21:39

    Indeed, that is why you should read that chapter, if nothing else, when you feel the need to comment about democracy.

  17. Hugh on July 23rd, 2013 at 11:10

    Do you really feel nobody can comment about what democracy is without being familiar with your chapter? Because I have to say, when I was studying the subject, it wasn’t required reading.

  18. Pablo on July 23rd, 2013 at 11:41

    Without getting into the mediocre quality of your NZ education, which is amply evident in your argumentation, the point of referring you to that chapter is that it outlines in detail the procedural and substantive bases of democracy. It follows a long line of theorizing about democracy (which is amply referenced in that chapter). The book is designed for post grad and professional audiences in political science so of course you would not have read it.

    The point being that if you are going to make silly statements like “economic democracy is a contested concept” and “democracy is only a method of choosing government and not a wider characteristic in society” then at a minimum you should have a friggin’ clue about the pertinent literature.

    I guess it was a bit too much to ask as you have a habit of jumping into subjects about which you have little knowledge or grounding. It is irritating for people like me who do have some background writing about the subject in question. I take consolation in the fact that you do this on other blogs, so you are an equal opportunity ignoramus.

    Here is a question: Have you ever heard of the notion of “democratic culture?” If so, how do you reconcile that concept with your procedurally minimalist definition of democracy? Do you even understand what “procedural minimum” means?

    Here is a hint: Elections are a means of choosing incumbents of political decision-making positions. As a procedural minimum they are a necessary but not sufficient condition for democracy to obtain. Democracy is therefore not synonymous with or reducible to elections. Instead, democracy is the ensemble of institutions, norms, mores, rules and behaviors that collectively define a political community within a given geographic territory. This includes economic as well as social life outside of production, and when reproduced over time becomes what as known as a democratic culture unique to the polity involved.

    That is why your simplistic claim that democracy is merely a means of choosing government is wrong, and why you should have read that chapter before pontificating on the subject.

Leave a Reply

Name: (required)
Email: (required) (will not be published)
Website:
Comment: