Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tanzania: A Case of Democracy Destroying Itself?

The great Austrian Economist Friedrich von Hayek once warned about the perils of democratic government,
And if a democratic people comes under the sway of an anti-capitalistic creed, this means that democracy will inevitably destroy itself.
Could this be the evolving case in Tanzania? 

Writes Lauren Bishop at the NYU Development Research
Tanzania looks an awful lot like a democracy. The East African nation has been holding multi-party elections since 1995, which international observers have deemed free and competitive. In Tanzania, votes are not miscounted, opposition parties compete actively, and the ruling party—the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has controlled the government since independence—seems to play by the rules.

But according to Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, NYU politics professor and DRI affiliated faculty member, Tanzania is in fact sliding down a slippery slope to autocracy, even as it maintains the trappings of a “transitioning” democracy. A working paper with Alastair Smith describes how Tanzania’s completely legal and institutionalized electoral laws are placing power in the hands of a small and increasingly entrenched elite.
Read the rest here.

Democracy has ushered in various despots like Adolf Hitler, the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos, or even modern day contemporaries as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela as well as Argentina’s Cristina Elisabet Fern├índez de Kirchner.

The populist idea that the "majority knows best" has simply been a fraud.

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