Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Is it possible for the U.S. to create consolidated democracies? Should we just give up? Consolidated democracies have only been around for about 150 years. They have existed in a limited number of places in the world, mostly in North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. Human beings have been on earth for at least 100,000 years.
There are three candidate theories that explain how we get consolidated democracies--modernization theory; institutional capacity; and rational choice institutionalism. Which is best? Which provides the best guidance for policy? What can we learn from Germany, Japan, Afghanistan and others? The United States has been very successful in some cases but failed miserably in others. Should we aim for consolidated democracy or just settle for good enough governance? Should we try to eliminate corruption entirely or settle for some kinds of corruption?