Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Development of a Sustainable Democracy in East Germany and Poland :: Political Politics

Development of a Sustainable Democracy in East Germany and Poland Linz and Stepan list and describe a set of five elements that determine a consolidated democracy. Civil society, political society, rule of law, usable state of bureaucracy, and an institution of economic society all interact in complex ways to bring about democratic consolidation in countries. This paper focuses and emphasizes the interactions between the ^development of a free and lively civil society . . . [and] an institutionalized economic society . . . [which] must be present, or be crafted, in order for a democracy to be consolidated^ (Linz and Stepan pg. 17). Two former communist countries, East Germany and Poland, will be analyzed and critiqued about the prospects for sustainable democracy. Specifically, an analysis of the civil societies in the countries and how they react to their current economic situations will be used as a determinant for their chances of sustaining democracy. Both East Germany and Poland are considered success stories. Both countries have undergone free elections that have brought about new leaders in the country that have represented the citizens needs and wants, but the transition for these countries hasn^t been easy. Many citizens in both of the former Soviet bloc countries feel that their votes aren^t changing the social and economic conditions, and are rejecting the system with this ^learned helplessness^. An increasing number of citizens in both countries are turning to right wing policies as a result of the new and challenging social and economic order. Where before workers were guaranteed jobs, allowances, and other provisions from the state, now they face the cutthroat competition that defines capitalism. The economic societies in the countries have been approached from very different angles. Whereas East Germany was immediately incorporated into the strong economic and social conditions of West Germany, Poland was forced to handle the transition alone. While in East Germany labor and initiative collapsed and flowed West, Poland had no where to go, and the capitalist West flowed into their economy in the form of investments. The result has been very positive for Poland, which is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, but very negative for East Germany which is dawdling in high unemployment and low foreign investment. In societies where the party aspired to control all aspects of life, including persecution for unauthorized association, social life was very weak. Martial law and danger of persecution for unauthorized activities encouraged citizens in both countries to restrict their social ties to kin and very close friends. The result of this phenomenon has had a profound effect on the quality of civil

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