Democracy: A Conflict Extinguisher or a Fuel for Terror?

24 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2014

See all articles by Konstantin Yanovskiy

Konstantin Yanovskiy

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy

Sergei Zhavoronkov

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy

Ilia Zatcovetsky

Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology

Date Written: June 25, 2014

Abstract

Today’s exaggerated, deferent focus on democracy (the ability of voters by means of elections to change the government, to cause power rotation) has led to some overvaluations of the institutions associated with this type of government and their ability to cure society of all ills.

Thus, some people recommend resolving acute violent conflicts (civil wars) by holding free elections. The present article studies two instances when attempts were made to entrench free elections in the absence of institutions formed in advance to protect persons and property. We have shown that in situations of violent conflict free elections may improve the position of the violence perpetrators – the roving bandits – at the cost of worsening the predicament of the population whom the bandits control. The instances considered lead to the question of the possibility in principle of constructing an effective democratic mechanism in the absence of minimal guarantees provided in advance to protect the lives and property of the voters.

Keywords: Democracy, violent conflict, bandit competition, basic individual rights

JEL Classification: D74, D78

Suggested Citation

Yanovskiy, Konstantin and Zhavoronkov, Sergei and Zatcovetsky, Ilia, Democracy: A Conflict Extinguisher or a Fuel for Terror? (June 25, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2458837 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2458837

Konstantin Yanovskiy (Contact Author)

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy ( email )

Gazetny pereulok, 3-5
Moscow, 125993
Russia

Sergei Zhavoronkov

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy ( email )

3-5 Gazetny Lane
Moscow, 125009
Russia

Ilia Zatcovetsky

Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology ( email )

Technion, Haifa 32000
Israel

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