Democracy Publications

308. Framing the Gap between International and Local Perspectives on Addressing Organized Crime and Corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jul 07, 2011
December 2004 - A careful look at the nature of the ongoing discussions about organized crime and corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) between internationals and locals forces the observer to ask why there appears to be such a marked difference between the ways each side describes and understands the problems. The international community (IC) talks about BiH's organized crime and corruption problems in terms of institutional weakness and failure. International approaches separate organized crime and corruption from larger society as illicit, parasitic predators on an otherwise democratic state. In response, the international community conceives aggressive institutional solutions, which appear ineffective and land on deaf ears in the local communities affected by them. Local professionals—opinion makers, legal personnel, and business persons—describe the problems in terms of their connectedness to larger structural issues. They talk about how organized crime and corruption are part of a broader set of social, political and economic circumstances, in which the international community is a part. In the course of interviewing 266 local professionals, I discovered some important characteristics of the shape and scope of this discontinuity. The following is a short discussion about these findings. more

152. The 1997 Parliamentary Elections In Poland: How Much DÉJA VU?

Jul 07, 2011
February 1997 - Observers of Polish Politics may feel a strong sense of déja vu. Like the historic election of 1989 which precipitated the collapse of Communist regimes across Eastern Europe, Solidarity emerged victorious from the parliamentary elections of September 1997, a showdown between the former Communists and the Electoral Action Solidarity (AWS). The AWS, a coalition of the trade union "Solidarity" and several minor parties, won decidedly, with 33.8% of the votes and 201 of the 460 seats in the Sejm. The post-Communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) finished second with 27.1% of the votes and 164 seats. A distant third was the Freedom Union (UW) party, dominated by the former Solidarity intellectual elite, with 13.4% of the votes and 60 seats. It was followed by the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the 1993-97 coalition partner of the SLD (7.3% and 27 seats), and the Movement for the Rebirth of Poland, another party with Solidarity roots (5.6% and 6 seats). The remaining two seats were won by the Silesian Germans, exempt from the 5% threshold as a national minority. Among those who didn't clear the threshold was the leftist Labor Union (UP) with 4.7%. more

22. Eastern Europe: Back to the Future?

Jul 07, 2011
Fidelity to traditional values has generated a peculiar approach to politics as such throughout Eastern Europe. The author found in Poland that the criteria people used to judge political excellence, or political leadership, had little to do with programs and performance, and almost everything to do with morals and ethics. Poles tended to judge leaders not by whether they were or were likely to be effective at moving the country in a given direction, but by whether they were good or bad men: decent or indecent, strong or weak, kind or brutal, loyal or disloyal. The author's conclusion was that this moralization of politics made swinstwo--swinishness--the primary category for political condemnation. This paper then analyzes this phenomenon throughout the region as a whole. more

New Voices in the Study of Democracy in Latin America

Jul 07, 2011
This publication contains papers from the two years of a competition which gave grants to PhDs to write papers on democracy. Chapters in this book shift the focus of studies on institutions to questions of efficiency and accountability, examine how democracy functions at subnational levels, and explore how concerns over gender and race affect our understanding of democratic governance. more

306. The End of Postcommunism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism. more

149. Why Some Succeed and Others Fail: Eight Years of Transition In Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
January 1998 - The spectacular collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe in 1989 was greeted by social scientists and regional experts with considerable caution. The tasks facing the region in order to create liberal democracies and market economies seemed enormous. In the past, Eastern Europe functioned as the continent's unstable and backward periphery, and then it had been reshaped by decades of communist domination. By 1989, the region was experiencing fast economic decline. Any change was bound to be slow and difficult. more

9. Debating the Nature of Dissent in Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
In the past generation so much has happened in this region that many of the old categories of description and analysis were sterile, perhaps redundant. Not only had new issues arisen about which little had been written in the West, but the very terms in which social debate in Eastern Europe is now undertaken have undergone radical transformation. Some fresh overall assessment of these changes is called for. This paper has been confined to one theme, albeit central; the emergence of new forms of opposition and dissent in this region over the past decade. more

Repensando la Argentina: Antes de diciembre de 2001 y más allá de mayo de 2003

Jul 07, 2011
On April 3, 2003, meeting participants discussed economic policies, Argentina's position in world affairs, Argentine democracy and political parties, culture, education, human rights and civil society. The open discussion led to this publication. more

303. Lessons Learned: from Nationalism to State Building after Communism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - The latest challenges to a world order based on liberalism seem to render the Communist and post-Communist experiences obsolete. Some believe that Communism was so exceptional that, at the end of day, its lessons can teach us little. But I disagree. An enormous wealth of experience can be gained from the communist experiment, its rise, its reign and its fall. Perhaps the most important one is in the field of state and nation building, since no regime before communism had both the drive and the coercive power to impose institutions upon people that were so far from the organic development of both the state and the nation. Although the initial conditions for transformation vary greatly, some clear lessons do emerge out of a comparison between the successful and unsuccessful state-building projects in postcommunist Europe. more

144. Bulgaria After The Elections: Reform Process Underway

Jul 07, 2011
October 1997 - Over the course of 1996, economic collapse and prolonged political malfeasance seriously shook the integrity of the Bulgarian body politic. As a result, the government of the "new democratic majority," elected in April 1997, has taken a number of extraordinary measures to recapture the confidence of the population and the international community. Top priorities for the new cabinet of Ivan Kostov have been to attempt to liquidate organized crime, to rebuild the macro-economic and the state institutional frameworks, and to aid the population, which has been battered by economic decay. Public perceptions have made these tasks all the more difficult. The government has had to push for reforms before a population that for years has been exposed to the schemes of many previous "reformers." more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.