Democracy: A Conflict Extinguisher or a Fuel for Terror?
24 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 25, 2014
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: Suggested Citation