Archive for May, 2014

Is Democracy for Everyone?

Larry Diamond

The number of democratic states around the world has been steadily climbing over the last few decades, including countries that were previously deemed unlikely candidates for achieving democratic transitions: former communist states in Eastern Europe, Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia, or poor African countries like Mali. In recent years, this optimistic trend has seen some serious reversals: Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria to name a few. In the past, the key question of democratic development was whether the whole world could one day be democratic. Today we know that, in principle, the answer is yes. But a more consequential question arises: How can countries that became democracies stay democratic?


Transcript available in English, Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish


Universal Values of Democracy and the Market Economy

Anwar Ibrahim

Samuel Huntington’s famous book talking about the clash of civilizations prompted global debate on the increasing threat of conflicts between countries and cultures due to their differing traditional beliefs and ways of life. An inference that has commonly been made from this argument is that values held by people of different cultures, and especially religions, are inherently incompatible. Such attitudes have frequently focused on the alleged incompatibility of the Western and Muslim values concerning democracy and received a significant boost after the terrorist attacks of September 11. But contrary to those views, freedom underlying both democracy and market economy is not just a Western value. Instead, the ideal of political and economic freedom remains a universal value shared and sought by people of various cultures, religions, and national origins.


Transcript available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish