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Economic Autonomy and Democracy

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511217906 | ISBN-10: 0511217900)

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How do individuals decide to exercise their democratic rights? This book argues that they first assess their economic autonomy, meaning their ability to make a living independent of government authorities. Before individuals consider whether their resources and organizational abilities are adequate to act on their interests, they calculate the risk of political activism to their livelihood. This is particularly evident in regions of the world where states monopolize the economy and thus can readily harass activists at their workplaces. Economic autonomy links capitalism and democracy through individuals' calculations about activism. Accounts of activists' decisions about establishing independent media, leading political organizations, and running for office and descriptions of government harassment in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, along with examples from most regions of the world, illustrate these arguments. Economic autonomy and the interaction among democratic rights help explain the global proliferation of hybrid regimes, governments that display both democratic and authoritarian characteristics.

• Provides a rich, comprehensive account of the practice of democracy in the former Soviet Union • Focuses on individuals and thus reveals a prior link between capitalism and democracy and market and democratic reforms • Examines politics in Russia and Kyrgyzstan - countries in two different regions of the former Soviet Union

Contents

1. Capitalism, democracy, and economic autonomy; 2. The concept of economic autonomy; 3. Measurement of democracy; 4. Activism under the state's thumb; 5. Illustrations of economic autonomy; 6. Hybrid regimes.

Review

Review of the hardback: 'The strength of this study lies rather on the firsthand and close-grained examination that it undertakes of the relationship, based on periods of fieldwork in both societies and on more than 200 interviews with activists as well as a wide range of other sources.' Europe-Asia Studies

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