The Beginning of History: Advanced Aging and the Liberalness of Democracy

Read “The Beginning of History: Advanced Aging and the Liberalness of Democracy” by Richard Cincotta, originally published in the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 blog in August, 2012.

Are the combined effects of population aging and immigration powerful enough to place at risk the liberal content of Europe’s democratic regimes? In this essay I’ve argue that it could; that today’s confident clusters of European and East Asian liberal democracies (states rated as “FREE” in Freedom House’s annual survey) will, as they age beyond the median age of 45 years, incur greater risks of losing elements of the political rights and civil liberties that previous generations of their citizens and political leaders worked hard to attain.

Download “The Beginning of History” here …

 

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Myanmar’s Inability to Ascend to Liberal Democracy

See the New Security Beat essay by Rachel Blomquist and Richard Cincotta on Myanmar’s long-term inability to integrate minorities and to ascend to liberal democracy (FREE in Freedom House’s annual assessment).

According to political demographers, who study the relationship between population dynamics and politics, two characteristics when observed together provide a rather good indication that a state is about to shed its authoritarian regime, rise to a high level of democracy, and stay there. Myanmar has both.

So why, despite an impressive succession of social reforms and political reversals, including the recent victory of the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the first elected civilian president, U Htin Kyaw, should analysts remain somewhat skeptical of Myanmar’s ability to make the leap to liberal democracy? The answer can be found in Myanmar’s dismal record of managing inter-ethnic politics, particularly the systematically disenfranchised Muslim Rohingya minority.
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Venezuela’s Turn? Age Structure and Liberal Democracy in South America

View the article, “Venezuela’s Turn?”, originally published on New Security Beat.

Over the coming months, political demographers will be closely watching the evolution of events in Venezuela. Why? Theorists in this field expect states to rise to stable levels of liberal democracy when they meet two criteria. One is demographic, the other political. For the first time, Venezuela meets both. Nonetheless, the lead choice for a new liberal democracy in South America is Colombia, which (according to Freedom House’s most recent assessment) is on the verge of entering its “Free” category — at 3.0 and trending upward. Next year’s assessment will hinge on the success or failure of the government’s FARC demobilization process.

For those following the “2008 prediction” made in the Wilson Center publication “Half a Chance“, Colombia’s climb to liberal democracy would mean the fulfillment of both predictions (at least one FREE in North Africa, at least one in the northwest corner of South America by 2020).

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Will Tunisia’s Democracy Survive? A View from Political Demography

View the article, Will Tunisia’s Democracy Survive? A View from Political Demography, originally published on The New Security Beat.

What chance does Tunisia’s democracy have of withstanding the formidable challenges that periodically arise? Surprisingly, a good chance, according to recent research in political demography, a field that is focused on a limited yet robust set of relationships between demography and political outcomes.

Read the rest of “Will Tunisia’s Democracy Survive?” A View from Political Demography” here …  

Pakistan’s Health and Demography

View the post, Pakistan’s Health and Demography, originally published on Arms Control Wonk. Another version of this review and commentary is published on The New Security Beat, entitled Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey Shows Slow Progress.

How well did Islamabad measure up in its latest Demographic and Health Survey? Not well, at all. The PDHS results are a disappointment for Pakistan’s public health professionals and women’s health advocates, and they warn of increasingly difficult conditions for rural service delivery. To some health program analysts, the results reflect the low priority given to public health and family planning for decades by Pakistan’s central government.

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