July 15, 2010

The Civil Prerequisites for Democracy

The Economist has a really good article about likely upcoming changes in leadership in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Good analysis, but what I found to be really interesting was a part at the end detailing things both countries needed before they could even become well-functioning democracies. I think that it's actually a good idea in general, and the article's list can be used as a kind of functional guideline to what democracy needs. Below is the paragraph reproduced in list form.

Prerequisites for Democracy
  • Rule of law
  • Independent courts
  • Free media
  • Women's rights
  • Worker's rights
  • Free market
  • Professional civil service
  • Educational system not bound to the central government
I'd add to that list probably some form of fair regulations, though since both countries would be coming from state control of the economy, it wouldn't be bad to go light on the regulations for a while.

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