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JSPES, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Winter 2004)
pp. 469-489

Towards Normal Democracy: Theory and Prediction with Special Reference to the Developing Countries

Gizachew Tiruneh

Current democratic theorizing is based either on the classical model of democracy, which assumes that self-rule and political equality are achievable, or on the procedural democracy of the modern state, which posits that the presence of political and civil liberties is a fundamental right. The weakness of the former model lies in its assumption that self-rule and political equality are possible in modern states, whereas the latter fails to account for variations in the level of influence or power that citizens possess. Given these deficiencies, the author formulates an open-ended theory of democracy that recognizes the limitations of current democracies but allows for the fact that economic development can facilitate the process of democratic development. While acknowledging that no perfectly egalitarian democracies can ever exist, he hypothesizes that as the level of economic development grows over time, the distribution of income, knowledge, and political power among citizens of a given society will likely move toward the form of a normal or bell-shape curve, and he calls such a state of political evolution, normal democracy.