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Rank of Four Countries by Various Democracy Rankings Essay Sample

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The democratic ranking of countries can be attained through a number of various techniques depending on the dimensions that are available. Existing democracy ranking measures have certain shortcomings but each has various attributes that enable them to be usable in the ranking of democratic countries.

Dahl's Measure of Demography

 Dahl’s measure of democracy is based on two dimensions. The first dimension is the participation which is the right of all adults to either contest or vote to hold positions in offices.  The second dimension is opposition which involves organized competition through frequent, free and just elections. These first two dimensions however cannot be applicable without the presence of the third dimension which is civil liberty. Polyarchy entails both the freedom to voice and publish personal views and also the freedom to contest and vote for office. The original Dahl’s measure of democracy takes greater consideration of dimensions that are non-electoral (Dahl, Shapiro & Cheibub, pg 32). Polyarchy is a dimensional quality associated with political systems. Polyarchy ranges from absence of polyarchy to full polyarchy, thus using measure of polyarchy as a criteria for comparing the democracy states is odd. This is mainly due to the fact that measure of polyarchy considers more of the changes in the failure to obtain full polyarchy as opposed to considering extreme democracy (Inkeles, pg 48). The dimensions of democracy are measured on a scale of 1 and 7 for the rights and liberties. Theoretical scores are achieved by adding the values of these two dimensions of democracy and will range from 2 to 14. Dahl presents the cut-point for being polyarchial as 7 with those values above 7 being democratic and those below being undemocratic. 

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Polity project ranking approach enables the identification of the characteristics of various formal regimes shared by most study cases. This identification is will aid in the standardization and measuring of the characteristics through quantification of the characteristics. The ratings of a democratic scale are based on four sub scales which are competitiveness, political participation, restrictions on the chief executive and transparency. The autocratic scale is based on restriction of political participation, poor competition, limited constraints, and low competitiveness. Analysis of these characteristics involves variables that fulfill identical characteristics and possessing similar structures in most of the countries under study.  These characteristics are then followed up to establish the changes that occur over long periods of even up to 200 years, so as to determine the trends of evolutions in the political arenas of different countries in the international scale. The polity project ranking offer consideration to alterations in the political regimes and the external and internal conflicts that play a role in the shaping of political evolutions. A polity is ranked in a scale depending on the degrees of autocracy and democracy with -10 and +10 denoting the maximum autocracy and maximum democracy respectively. The polity project ranking has earned great approval because of the opportunity it presents for the analysis of various political regimes in most independent countries globally. Conclusions drawn from the polity project ranking are straightforward, unambiguous and can be proofed and they portray the properties of the formal institutions. Democracy and autocracy are quantified components that used in the calculation of final scaling of the polity. Analysis over long periods of time say two centuries presents information that are crucial in understanding long term cycles and trends of regional, global and national political systems and it moreover offers the possibility of making unbiased conclusions. Most researchers in the global scale can have access to the polity database which avails much content. It is however noted that the concepts of democracy and autocracy are in most cases too broad and varied to be obtain adequate attention in most studies (Melville et al, 2011). Furthermore the polity project ranking is subjective in that it focuses much on the executive and the civil society since it is based greatly on the freedom house rankings.

Vanhanen Democracy Measure

Vanhanen democracy measure pays too much attention to the measure of participation. Vanhanen acknowledges that there are independent variables that determine why there are variations in the extent of democratization from place to place. However the premise that he built most of his projects on is that there is a single determinant that offers the reason as to these variations in the extent of democracies in different regions. Stating the basic hypothesis, “the democratization level is related to the measures of resource distribution” (Melville et al, 2011). The second hypothesis believes that most countries cross the democracy thresholds at approximately the same index level of power resources that targets the measure of the distribution of resources. Complications related to data collection necessitated the requirement of the research to cover independent countries with population greater than 100,000. Vanhanen believes that the reason for the thirst for power is to get hold of the resources, increase in the power the people posses simplifies their access to scarce resources. Vanhanen democracy ranking offers an unconventional interpretation of democracy and autocracy. Autocracy is considered as the state where concentration of resources is higher in a single group. Democracy is achieved in situations where distribution of resources is among different groups. The conditions favorable for democracy are those which the spread of resources is broad and no individual group is neither able to retain its hold of the available resources over a long time nor is it able suppress the competitors. Variables indicating democratization level include competition (C) and participation (P). Competition and participation measures are combined into the democratization index through the use of the formula ID= (P×C)/100. This formula is applicable in most countries independent of the civilization, economic, cultural, and geographic among other features that may be subordinate to the logic of evolution in political studies. Threshold qualifications for democracy are 10% for P, 30% for C, and 5% for the ID.  (Melville et al, 2011). 

The human development index meets the wide concept of developments of the society and economy. From another perspective, although sometimes questioned the human development index is used as an indications of democracy. It is agreeable to say that the human development index offers the capability representing a greater measure of democracy. Although it is realized that the human development index considers life expectancy, GDP and other factors but fails to accommodate political structures. Democracy and political systems are correlated with democracy ranking placing great emphasis on the position of political structures on democracy In most cases a number of factors affect the democratic ranking of a country and they are politics 50%, gender 10%, economy 10%, knowledge 10% and health 10%(Campbell, 2008).

According to polity project ranking the France system has a democracy of -8. This is because France in the recent years has witnessed political trends that have had the consequences of the country being downgraded and considered a flawed democracy state. Participation of public in politics has reduced and this has led to declined confidence of the public in political parties. With the nature of the French political system the president possesses great power and this is indicting a threatened democratic tradition. The current president, Nicholas Sarkozy uses an autocratic style, and this has seen the rise in anti-Muslim feelings and increased pressure on the media and journalist which has seen a decrease in the freedoms of the media (Liotier, 2011). Political parties are relatively few in France, worker’s unions are weak and the police system t is constantly accused with increased brutality the France government is highly undemocratic (Petzinger, 2011).  

With the justifications provided thereafter, the ranking of the United Kingdom using Dahl’s polyarchy measure is 5. Gender equity was already attained in the United Kingdom in the year 1928.The United Kingdom is believed to hold the reputation of being “the mother of all parliaments” but its system has complications that are mainly centered in key three areas. The ranking of the United Kingdom is downgraded by the fact that majority of its representation in parliament is distorted in that the actual seats in parliament is not solely determined by the votes. Other factors that reduce the ranking of democracy are; a media that mostly favors the interests of the private sector and the trust in the police force that is constantly declining (Petzinger, 2011).

Basing on the Vanhanen index of democracy, Germany ranks at 10% in the ID. Germany accounts its high ranking in the democratic ranking to the comparatively large number of parliamentarians who are women and an impeccable separation between the arms of government that is the executive, the legislature and the judiciary with Bavaria being the most developed state. In most federal states a participation quorum of approximately 25% exists in any local referendum (Petzinger, 2011).

Because of the suppressed political opposition and rights of the public, Russia ranks at 3 according to Dahl’s polyarchy measure. The trend in Russia system of government is that of unfair elections, intolerance of political oppositions, and courts that are characterized by high dependence. Currently Russia works on bribes and the opposition is literally invisible to the public, they cannot be allowed on television. Though there are constant demonstrations favoring democracy, they are largely ignored and authoritarian form of government presided over by Vladimir Putin is the order of the day (Lally & Englund 2011). 

Out of the four democracy rankings considered in this essay, none of them is adequate enough to be satisfactory in the ranking of democracy. It is also noted that none of the democracy ranking measures includes (economic democracy) face four of Sodaro’s 4 faces which are: “popular sovereignty, rights and liberties, democratic values, and economic democracy” (Campbell, 2008). A number of factors have been found to contribute to democracy and as such must be included in the elements that are considered in the measure of democracy.

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