Success Nonetheless: Making public utilities work in small-scale democracies despite difficult social capital conditions
Author(s)Douglas, S. (Scott)
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AbstractINTRODUCTION: The fate of societies and their governments intertwined. Academics and policy makers have long sought to understand how the attributes of a people translate to the form of government that arises and survives. In particular, they have explored which key social levers can increase the success rates of democracies. One branch of this research focussed on which societal conditions are conducive to the flourishing of democracy. Prominent scholars such as Huntington, Fukuyama and Sen explored whether formerly authoritarian societies could be remade into democratic communities, and how democracy could be maintained in societies where it was already established. This concern also extended to countries that have been longstanding members of the club of democracies, and asked whether on-going societal changes would have an impact on the endurance and effectiveness of democratic government. These efforts generated a long list of conditions that are deemed essential to the prosperity of democracy; ranging from social cohesion and civic traditions to stocks of interpersonal trust and active civil societies. This thesis does not aim to identify further conditions for democratic success. Rather it wants to document how democratic governments can perform well even if their societies do not meet the ideal requirements. Specifically, it investigates how democratic governments can be effective in delivering public services, even if the socio-cultural circumstances are adverse to democracy itself.