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Democracy Index 2016 (eiu.com)
67 points by DyslexicAtheist 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

For their 2018 report, Freedom House gave the U.S. three points less:


Even that bastion of conservatism admits there was fishiness in the previous elections.

> ... because of a further erosion of trust in government and elected officials there.

Is that a sign that the US is becoming less Democratic or a sign that Americans are becoming wiser?

Are politicians in higher ranked countries more trustworthy, or are their misdeeds less well known?

There will always be some kind of corruption. The question is, if they are paying the toll/price for it.

In Europe ( mostly ) yes ( you see a lot of politicians fall because they handed themselves too much money for some case). I think in America, that's not the case now.

Being too cynical and pleasantly surprised is not more sophisticated than being too idealistic and disappointed.


As a cynic I'm rarely pleasantly surprised, unfortunately.

Note that this predates the current presidency.

Am I the only one surprised they ever made it to full democracy?

First-past-the-post voting and the dysfunctional 2 party states it engenders would be enough for me to mark it down, never mind the new Jim crow, gerrymandering, funding model, popular vote not counting etc.

Are you kidding? Your preferred candidate doesn't win and suddenly the system is rigged?

It's the "suddenly" part that I'm taking issue with. The problems with American democracy are well documented and yes "rigged" is term that objectively applies to it over many decades in many different ways.

Electoral reform is underrated, I think people can't quite imagine how different things would be under voting regimes where every voter can help you, even if you're their 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice. This means that people work on projects with broad appeal, and have less incentive to demonise the people that will never vote for them. Just the fact that you can assume I'm on "the other team" from my comment is part of the problem.

That’s missing the point. With proportional representation you often get representatives in government even if the party you wanted to ‘win’ didn’t. You get a government that has to work with alternative views and represents a greater portion of the country’s voters.

Are you kidding? "Any political criticism" = "rigged?" "Any political criticism" = "my guy didn't win?"

No you're not the only one.

Was still probabably influenced by the rise of Donald Trump though, since he was making waves (or maybe had already won?) in the primaries at that point.

What is the definition of a "Flawed Democracy" versus "Full Democracy" (as defined by The Economist)? I can't view the paper because I don't have an account.

"Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement). Nonetheless, these nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance."


>> I can’t view the paper because I don’t have an account

Therein lies the flaw in the democracy.

I think we are (in 2018) rubbing up against the link limitations of our current democratic systems, or maybe republic systems.

Our current democracies generally meet the 19th century definitions of liberalism, in that the people select the government. But I think that in the modern mind, democratic systems (eg the elected people) are supposed to conduct the pure will of the people. We don't really like the idea of representative democracy, where representatives have minds (and interests) of their own. It doesn't help that democratic political systems are very mature, with well established and understood political dynamics (parties, etc.) driving most things.

Imo, what people have in mind as a genuinely democratic system is more like direct democracy. Frighteningly, we still have strong modernist mentalities when it comes to politics. Most people argue from abstract justice, and assume efficacy (if they consider it at all) to be a byproduct of justice. IE if the system directly conducted the will of the people, stuff would also work better.

Realistically, we have the technology now for direct democracy but almost no experience with it. I suspect we'll see attempts made in the next couple of decades.

Anyway... I wonder if the Economist is influenced by the same sentiments, and have altered their view of what democracy is (or should be, idealistically).

TL;DR: democracy is „full” when elections are won by politicians The Economist supports, and „flawed” otherwise.

Prove it

Gotta love that polite British understatement of things...


Jesus, that woman is one of the reasons why I've become so cynical about politics. It's just about scoring points now.

What that article should say is"woman chooses to be disruptive at public hearing, gets kicked out."

If I decide to a public hearing and play rap music really loud as a protest and I get kicked out, it doesn't mean the system is broken. It actually means it works.

So publicly enumerating all of the little venalities surrounding a bill is the same as playing "rap music really loud as a protest"?

edit: original post title was The US has been downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy”

Going into a meeting to be disruptive is not "participating in democracy". She went there to get arrested. She succeeded.

If you don't like "Register or log in to download this free report", it's available in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index#Democracy_Inde...

I'm not especially looking forward to sitting through recaps of this article with the Economist readers I know.

Random observation, one nice thing about the Economist is that its readers are super handy about identifying themselves.

I used to read every issue of the economist. I stopped when I realized I already knew what they were going to say for the rest of the article after reading the first paragraph.

Ain't "full democracy" means "direct democracy"? No 4 year group dictatorship.

Typical Economist analysis. Quite accurate and perceptive -- at predicting and evaluating things which have already happened.

Also, seems to be paywalled.

Why does this list have to be predictive to be useful?

Isn't it quite reasonable that it's based on past performance rather than being a guess at what might happen in the future?

It's like Moody's. More political than educational. Downgrading the US may be fair, but the main purpose it serves is driving clicks. More to the point, the fact they downgraded the US shouldn't tell the average HN reader anything they don't already know. Contrast to say, S&P.

Edit: By the way, look at the way the top of the "Flawed Democracies" cluster under 8.00! I can totally believe some tweaking went on here.

Not paywalled, just registration-walled. The data is available (CC-BY) on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index#Democracy_Inde...

"Also, seems to be paywalled." No, it is not. I just downloaded it - even with a Mailinator account.

Why is this post so controversial? The US democracy IS crumbling. And I would have never guessed that I will find this much resentment to this fact in the comments on HN...

this is almost as bad as a strongly worded letter from the UN.

Mock all you want, the decline is real.

this is almost as bad as a strongly worded internet comment.

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