The Dying Democracy
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel controlled the executive branch to the point that the most important ministerial roles he took for himself. He is accused of bribing the media to support him politically and is trying to control the judiciary system starting with the Supreme Court.
In Serbia, President Vučić, I am told, totally controls not only the executive branch but the media, the legislative and the judicial system by appointing judges he wants and dismissing those that do not heel.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico and his Morena party control the Congress and Senate, and, by extension, the judiciary system.
Modi of India is also accused of being too authoritarian.
Trump tries to bypass congress with executive orders, dismisses the media as communicating fake news and by doing so tries to reduce its power.
Ukraine elected President Volodymyr Zelensky controls now all three branches of government as well as the media.
Political leaders that seek total control will try to control the intellectuals too, those that speak and influence public opinion. Milosevic of Serbia controlled who gets promoted in the academic world. Communist and fascist dictators went one step further to control the arts: paintings, music, theater, etc. They controlled what books can be read.
What is going on?
They are all trying to build CAPI, ( See: Ichak Adizes: Mastering Change ) which gives them control. (The legislative, executive and judiciary systems are the A of CAPI. The media and the business establishment provide the P, and the intellectuals and the arts the I.)
When you have CAPI, you control the country.
Why this global phenomenon of authoritarian, almost dictatorial regimes, reach this kind of control democratically? Either people chose to elect authoritarian leaders or allow democratic leaders to become dictatorial. Which one is it? I suggest both, and for a reason.
My belief is that it is caused by the rate, intensity and complexity of the change we are experiencing globally.
Change causes problems.
Everything, including a country, is a system. A system, by definition, is composed of subsystems. When there is change, the subsystems do not change in synchronicity: some change faster, some slower. For example, the economic subsystem in China changed faster and more dramatically than the political subsystem. It created cracks in the total system manifested in political unrest like the Tiananmen Square Massacre and now the Hong Kong turmoil. There will be more pressures in China for political change; I do not believe they can bring back the central planned economy.
Problems require solutions. The democratic process is too slow in solving problems. People lose patience. They want faster solutions to their problems. They start demonstrations. They pressure for faster, more effective governance which calls for CAPI and elect someone who projects an authoritarian style or make promises to act swiftly in solving countries problems. Those not projecting that image and democratically elected drift towards authoritarian leadership too. Even president Obama, who projected a non authoritarian image used more executive orders than his predecessors……
People want democracy, true, but when they have it, they want it to be efficient. Democracy is not an efficient system. Authoritarian regime is.
The democratic system was designed in a small town with a low rate of change, Athens. It was further elaborated 250 years ago during the French revolution and in the American constitution.
The world is much more complex now. The rate of change and the flood of problems that it creates are incomparable to the realities of 200 or 1000 years ago. The challenge of governing cannot be compared.
It is time to redesign democracy or it will die.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes