Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Globalization, democratization, and human rights

The January 17th issue of The Economist offers opportunities to teach about a number of the important concepts in comparative politics.

It never stays long

"WHETHER your purpose is to promote freedom, to curb it, or to quibble about its definition, the reports of Freedom House, an American lobby group, make good reading. The new 2009 edition paints a sombre picture of how the world fared during George Bush’s time in office...

"[T]he number of 'electoral democracies' (those with tolerably free and fair elections) dropped by two, to 119 (thanks to four demotions and two promotions). The general trend was down too, with declines in freedom of expression and association, and a weaker rule of law...

"A similarly heavyweight annual report from another American outfit, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), takes direct aim at what its director, Kenneth Roth, terms 'spoilers'... He pointedly criticises the stance taken by India and South Africa, which uphold human rights at home but undermine international efforts against regimes such as Burma, Sudan or Zimbabwe..."

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