The Democracy Abridged: Factors in Restricting Political Competition
31 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2013 Last revised: 4 Feb 2014
Date Written: November 23, 2013
“Improvements” in the mechanisms of democracy for making decisions about providing taxpayer-financed public goods can lead the economy in the same direction as authoritarianism. Such a by-product may be insignificant, but, even if so, a tradition of abridging democracy, similarly to an authoritarian tradition of long standing, can lend itself to correction only with great difficulty.
There is a series of countries in which the dominance of one party during certain historical periods seemed quite obvious: Japan (1955-1993, but in fact, after a brief break, until 2009), Mexico (1929-2000), Italy (1947-1993), Sweden (1932-1976, as well as 20 out of the 23 years between 1982-2005), Israel (1948-1977), India (until 1977, 1980-1989, 1991-1998, i.e., for practically 46 out of 50 years the country was ruled by a single group), Botswana, and others. Tendencies of placing constraints on competition in the mass media by means of taxpayer financing of propaganda in favor of the position of very certain groups and coalitions are international. Today they have spread throughout most democratic countries of the world. This is a situation in which words about “protecting” the competition may imply eliminating it (as, for example, in Israel).
Weakening of political and media competition causes weakening of guarantees for property rights; lowering of the transparency of the state, its responsibility and accountability to the electorate and to the taxpayers; Increase in opportunities for deriving revenues for interests groups, and limiting of opportunities (increase in costs) for coordination of steps to be taken by the population so as to protect their own rights and legal interests.
Keywords: media market, public TV, political competition, property rights
JEL Classification: D72, D73, D78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation