Democracy in Pakistan is more 'satisfactory' than USA: Cambridge University Report  

The report has listed Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela in the category of ‘No Longer Democratic’ countries. Whereas people in Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and Luxembourg have shown the highest degree of satisfaction and trust in the democratic institutions of their countries.

Siddheshwar  ShuklaSiddheshwar Shukla | Updated: 28-02-2020 11:57 IST | Created: 27-02-2020 23:15 IST
Democracy in Pakistan is more 'satisfactory' than USA: Cambridge University Report  
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The big and established democracies of the Europe and Americas are fast losing the trust of their population particularly the younger generation while the trust is an all-time high in smaller democracies. Besides, the newer democracies in Asian and African nations have shown faith and increasing trust in democratic institutions.

These conclusions have been presented in a recent report of the Global Satisfaction with Democracy 2020 prepared by the Centre for the Future of Democracy at Bennet Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge (USA). In addition to presenting the current situation of the ‘trust in democracy’ by the people of that country, the report also presents an insight for the nation-states to improve the strengthening and functioning of their democratic institutions. The research has presented a comparison of the ‘satisfaction of democracies in the 1990s’ with 2020. 

No Longer Democratic

The report has divided the countries into six categories based on ‘satisfaction with democracy’ – No Data or Never Democratic, No Longer Democratic, Satisfaction less than 20 percent, 20-50 percent, 50 to 60 percent and above 60 percent.

According to the report, the satisfaction level in Russia in the 1990s was less than 20 percent which now falls under the category of ‘No Longer Democratic’. The report has also listed Venezuela as ‘No Longer Democratic’ where the level of contentment was between 20-50 percent in the 1990s. Besides, Turkey has also been listed as a non-democratic country. Interestingly, all these countries have most of the features of democracy such as political parties, elections, separation of powers between the three organs of the political system – Legislature, Judiciary, and Executive. Chian, the biggest competitor of the USA has been put under 'No Data or Never Democratic'. 

Pakistan more democratic than the USA

Interestingly, the satisfaction level of democracy in the USA is lower in comparison to Pakistan. With about 47 percent of dissatisfaction, the USA and Japan are in the category of ‘20 to 50 percent’ satisfaction. The level of satisfaction in Pakistan is 50 to 60 percent. However, countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and Ukraine, etc. have been marked as ‘crisis’ i.e. where democracy is in crisis. 

“Across the globe, democracy is in a state of malaise. The share of individuals who are “dissatisfied” with democracy has risen by around +10 percent points, from 47.9 to 57.5 percent. This is the highest level of global dissatisfaction since the start of the series in 1995,” said the report. The rise in democratic dissatisfaction has been especially sharp since 2005, concluded the report. The report has also concluded the followings:

  1. Many of the world’s most populous democracies – including the United States, Brazil, Nigeria, and Mexico – have led the downward trend.
  2. In the United States, levels of dissatisfaction with democracy have risen by over a third of the population in one generation.
  3. The United States, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Colombia, and Australia have recorded their highest-ever level for democratic dissatisfaction.
  4. Citizens of developed democracies have also experienced a large increase in democratic dissatisfaction.
  5. Comparison by region shows several other bright spots, above all in Asia. In democracies in South Asia, Northeast Asia, and above all in Southeast Asia, levels of civic contentment are significantly higher than in other regions.
  6. Among the emerging democracies of Southeast Asia, the developed democracies of northeast Asia, or in the world’s longest established major developing democracy –India – satisfaction with democratic governance in the East seems higher than in other parts of the world.
  7. On average almost two-thirds of Asians are satisfied with the performance of democracy in their countries, compared to just two-fifths of individuals elsewhere.
  8. US respondents had been regularly expressing their “satisfaction” with the state of democracy in America. But, following the 2008 financial crisis that has begun to change. Rising political polarization, government shutdowns, the widespread use of public office for private gain, a costly war in Iraq, and growing spatial and intergenerational inequality have all weighed against Americans’ view of the ability of their democracy to deliver.
  9. Now, for the first time on record, polls show most Americans dissatisfied with their system of government – a system of which they were once famously proud.
  10. Rise in dissatisfaction against democracy in the USA is a reflection of just how remarkable this shift in sentiment has been that a presidential candidate – Donald Trump – could arrive at the White House after a presidential campaign that denounced American political institutions as corrupt, and promised to step back from promoting democracy abroad in favor of putting “America First”, treating all countries transactionally based on a spirit of realism, regardless of their adherence to or deviation from democratic norms.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

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