Title of paper

Is Democracy Necessary for Good Governance

Presenter's country

United States

Start Date

28-5-2016 8:30 AM

End Date

28-5-2016 9:30 AM

Submission type

Keynote

Abstract

In this presentation, I examine the relationship between democracy and “good governance” Although there are certainly a number of ways to conceptualize “good governance”, there is a tendency to equate “good governance” with democracy. For instance, the United Nations, European Commission and OECD, all highlight democratic governance and human rights as part of “good governance.” Often, good governance is equated with fair and competitive elections, transparency, human rights, and independent judiciaries. This would suggest that only democracies can exhibit characteristics of good governance—but can non-democracies exhibit characteristics of good governance? For instance, whether one likes it or not, the People’s Republic of China is often held up by other non-democratic regimes (particularly in Africa) as a model of “good governance”. So is democracy a necessary condition for good governance? I argue that in the short run, in transitions from authoritarian rule, the imperative is on building or rebuilding the state. In this transition period, there develops first a “rule by law” where regime elites, although not limited by laws, instill some degree of predictability in the political process. However, in the long run, for good governance and the “rule of law” to emerge (where regime elites are held accountable by law), democratic institutions must be developed.

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May 28th, 8:30 AM May 28th, 9:30 AM

Is Democracy Necessary for Good Governance

In this presentation, I examine the relationship between democracy and “good governance” Although there are certainly a number of ways to conceptualize “good governance”, there is a tendency to equate “good governance” with democracy. For instance, the United Nations, European Commission and OECD, all highlight democratic governance and human rights as part of “good governance.” Often, good governance is equated with fair and competitive elections, transparency, human rights, and independent judiciaries. This would suggest that only democracies can exhibit characteristics of good governance—but can non-democracies exhibit characteristics of good governance? For instance, whether one likes it or not, the People’s Republic of China is often held up by other non-democratic regimes (particularly in Africa) as a model of “good governance”. So is democracy a necessary condition for good governance? I argue that in the short run, in transitions from authoritarian rule, the imperative is on building or rebuilding the state. In this transition period, there develops first a “rule by law” where regime elites, although not limited by laws, instill some degree of predictability in the political process. However, in the long run, for good governance and the “rule of law” to emerge (where regime elites are held accountable by law), democratic institutions must be developed.