RELEASE EMBARGO DATE: April 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM
Virtually every social system now accepts democracy as the preferred means of government within the nation-state. Democracy permits the individual citizen to participate in the process (self-government) and to be “free to choose” alternatives for that person’s well-being and success however (s)he defines it.
In my opinion, there are four pre-conditions for a successful democracy. If any of them are missing, the entire system will realize less than its potential:
1. The “space” in which the individual citizen can act must be as open as possible. (More private property is better than less.)
2. The rule of law must undergird the entire society for all its citizens in every category.
3. There must be alternative institutions: the government cannot hold a monopoly on the sources of ideas, alternatives, and projections for the society.
4. Transparency for governmental actors is essential, and must be enshrined in law, and enforced by independent institutions (e.g., an independent judiciary).
When these four conditions are met, the opportunity for individuals to flourish will be maximized in a democracy.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.