Book Chapter: Democracy and Risk

Democracy and Risk: Mongolians’ Perspective

Paula Sabloff in J. Dierkes, ed. Change in Democratic Mongolia – Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining Leiden: Brill.

Brill: Change in Democratic Mongolia“Democracy and Risk” uses statistical analysis to suggest correlation between Mongolians’ evaluation of democracy and their concerns about the future. Those who say that democracy is good for Mongolia or that Mongolia will be able to sustain democracy also say that they expect their country and their family to survive or thrive in the new capitalist system. Those who state that democracy has bad traits or that it will not work in Mongolia are frequently pessimistic about the country’s economic future. Based on a subset of 1,283 open-ended interviews conducted among voting-age citizens in 1998 and 2003, this analysis contradicts other social scientists’ and policy-makers’ idea that democracy can only survive in a nation that has already reached a certain level of economic development. Maintaining democracy seems to be linked more with education level than economic level. And socialism left Mongolia with a very high literacy rate (ca. 98 percent).

Paula Sabloff writes further:

Since writing this chapter, I have had two thoughts about the relationship between democracy and risk. First, I wonder if some Mongolians were optimistic because they expected the country’s rich mineral deposits would soon boost the Mongolia’s GDP and all citizens would benefit. And second, the more I read, the more I believe that risk is another human universal–like a sense of fairness and resistance to dominance. If all humans have the innate ability to project into the future (which they do), then we all think about the future, and future thinking is one mode of thought that permeates our ideas of governance.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He toots
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1 Response to Book Chapter: Democracy and Risk

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