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The Endurance Of Autocrats Essay

2349 words - 10 pages

According to Lipset’s modernization theory the more economically developed a country is, the more likely that democratization will occur as Lipset’s theory states that “Democracy is secreted out of dictatorship by economic development” (Prezweorski & Limongi, 1997:157). This is explained by the thought that economic development brings complexity to social structures making them harder to control; in addition, technological advancement has allowed autonomy and privacy when information is concerned and the role played by (Prezweorski &Limongi, 1997:157). When there is room for autonomy varies groups whether their elitists or not begin to feel like they can challenge autocratic rule thus prompting political reform (Prezweorski &Limongi, 1997:157). This theory ultimately insinuates that authoritarian regimes that have endured have done so because of the lack of development in that particular state. Written during the second wave of democracy, Lipset’s modernization theory is not a phenomenon that would adequately explain what causes democratization nor would it explain why authoritarian regimes endure in contemporary politics. States such as Russia and Egypt exhibit characteristics and traits associated with economic development yet it autocracy is still deeply entrenched in those nationms. Jason Brownlee’s book Authoritarianism in an Age of Democracy aims to explain why and how regimes in countries like Russia and Egypt have managed to retain autocratic rule in an era where information, ideas and philosophies of liberation have led to great political reform over the past 25 years. This review will be using concepts by various authors that try to explain why authoritarian regimes endure in light of Brownlee’s book. Findings will conclude that most scholars agree on the important roles that the military and elites play in the endurance of the authoritarian regime; in addition, one key factor that resurfaced in the various literatures is the use of economic gain as a mechanism of retaining cooperation.
Before discussing the intricacies of the endurance displayed by authoritarian regimes, one needs to understand what authoritarianism is. A regime defined as authoritarian when “the rulers seek to maintain their control (and increase their wealth) by limiting mass participation, rather than by mobilizing the population” (Hague & Harrop, 2013:59). Authoritarian regimes seldom get directly involved in the suppression of the ruled; rather, these regimes make allies of other bodies that have power in order to retain political support (Hague & Harrop, 2013:59). In this literature review it will become clear that authoritarian regimes rarely exist alone, authoritarian regimes often consists of elites. States lead by an autocratic regime has no ideology nor does it have laws that reprimand the brutality with which various minority groups are treated (Hague & Harrop, 2013:59). Authoritarian rule can take six forms: personal despotism, monarchy, ruling parties,...

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