The evolution of democracy is not simply an alteration of a country’s or a state’s political structure. Democratization involves long-term processes that is based on a given policy and creates the demand for changes in the manner people are governed. The gradual evolution of democracy or democratization is not an unavoidable process that varies from realm to realm and from region to region. Democracy is referred to as the way of managing relationships and governmental structure of governments. Democratization also applies to a variety of smaller communities and institutions through the provision of the room to make informed choices and decisions to people. For example, Nepal decided to remain unchanged for many years until that moment when its monarchy was pushed to recognize a new constitution. In other countries such as Taiwan, change has been said to be evolutionary instead of being radical (Stuart & Beetham 99). This paper therefore highlights on the evolution of democracy throughout the world.
Evolution of Democracy throughout the World
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To begin with, we must admit that democratization or evolution of democracy have suffered setbacks in many countries in the past and at present. States that have already accepted democratic can still regress or move through cycles of varied degrees of egalitarianism. In order to illustrate this, we look at the declaration of emergency rule in India by Indira Gandhi's in the mid 1970s which greatly posed a restriction to its democracy (William & John 23). Even though the movements geared towards democracy have not been a smooth evolution, there is a clear trend towards more democracy globally.
Even though democracy traces its roots to ancient Greece, the manner in which democracy is applied can be termed as reasonably a new phenomenon. Historically, evolution of democracy or democratic development has not been smooth. Democratization has moved forward in “waves,” accompanied by a reaction period.
The First Wave is said to have lasted for roughly a century (1820-1910). This was because of a desire for change after people acquired education; following the growth of capitalism that was based on effectiveness and demands for limited government intercession; and finally the attempts by the governing bodies to control change and maintain order. In other words, the major impetus to change was the domestic forces. In spite of the fact that there were no entirely autonomous regimes by 1900, there were almost 25 restricted states which were mostly democratic. However, such states still did not allow various groups to exercise their rights. This comprises of 12.5% of the world's entire populace.
The Second Wave
The Second Wave which lasted between the periods of (1945-1960) pursuant to the defeat of fascism. Barbara (252) contends that although this process was cut short by the Cold War, by 1950, a total of 22 states with 31% of the world's populace became democratic and 21 states with 11.9% of the world’s populace were restricted democracies. There are various areas in which democratization took place during this second wave such as: changes in the international system of governance, Catholic Church changing from defender of the status quo to active opponent of authoritarianism, discrediting of fascism and communism, unprecedented economic growth that raised the living standards of living and education of many, and lastly, the growing appeal for democracy (Meredith 24).
The Latest/Third Wave
This most recent wave of evolution of democracy is said to have affected larger part of the Latin Americans, Central and Eastern Europe. Both Asia and Africa have also witnessed very limited progress. The question is: Are people ready for a period of large-scale autonomous regression? This is likely to be less as compared to the previous periods of democratization. As an illustration, Stephan and Kaufman (267) affirm that with Latin American states many oppose the move due to growing poverty, inequality, and lack of the rule of law. Conversely in Africa, the South Africans prefer democracy as the best form of government just like in South America.
Notably, following the end of the Cold War, the Third Wave began. Even though the 20th century witnessed a bloody struggle between ideologies, a number of scholars held a belief that the 21st century will be “Democracy's Century.” Why? This is because the very fabric of humanity is in turmoil as a result of the birth of new structures and processes aimed at taking us through the next stage of social development. The most important is that the evolving structures include democracy itself. Democratic system can advance, and in that spirit it evolves toward a more participatory, anticipatory, synergistic, form of autonomy (Green 201).
Emergent forms of Self-governance
After looking at the waves of democracy, we might as well look at what is referred to as the emergent form of self-governance that includes: Synergistic Democracy (Bader 193). This marks the point whereby every individual is given the chance to express his/her vision and inventiveness for the interest of individual and society. The final wave marked the form of governance that allowed and facilitated everyone to find their unique potential and utilize them. It leads toward a co-creative society where everyone is entitled to be responsible.
For instance when we talk of Synocracy referring to the vision growing out of Abraham Maslow’s discovery that states that “every self-actualizing person, every joyful, beneficent and productive person, has one trait in common - chosen work, imaginative articulateness that is essentially self-rewarding and of service to at least one other individual.” In other words, we must offer ourselves to others. For us to be satisfied, we must insist on Benjamin Franklin’s great phrase that we must find our mysticism in our compassion. The divinity is vital Self that is God given.
Generally, very few individual usually enjoy the opportunity of deciding on what they want and express their wants democratically. Moreover, the development of tools for synergistic democracy is likely to open up greatest unused resource on Earth. This is likely to look at issues such as underemployed, jobless, aptitude, lost inspiration, and genius of human race itself. The context of democratization is considered as a cosmogenesis or a new story of creation, this is to say that the universe is an interconnected whole system that has taken billions of years to transform (Francis 120). This process of transformation is usually towards higher realization and freedom by way of a more complex order which is brought down from generations to generations. It vital to note that it will take multi-billions of years for people to come together from different governmental systems to form one unifying system accepted by everyone.
For example, evolutionary biologist John (16) contends that Type X ecosystems are usually inhabited by aggressive species. Species ready to establish their niches through intense and hostile competition for resources and rapid populace growth. Conversely, the species in Type Y ecosystems insist on a system that encourages cooperation and ready to support one another for their mutual benefits. Finally, both the two types commonly lump together various “transitional” ecosystems. This enables them to build a stable community. Plausibly, it is true that at some point, there were only pioneer species in existence, hitherto by some means evolution contributed to the subsistence of mature, supportive/ mutual species (John 19).
Democratization is a long-term process that goes through a variety of waves. However, not all people are always willing to support this process and some countries it has faced regress ((John 20). This is because of the growing threat of self-destruction through domination, self-centeredness, and domination which all are mighty evolutionary drivers that awakens millions of people to move from immature species to cooperative species. In that regard, our fundamental effort towards democratization is to develop processes aimed at cultivating social synergy
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