Democracy can be defined as a government by the people or when the power is vested in the people in making decisions and many more. Here, I will discuss the democracy (in terms of the 5 V-DEM indices) of 3 Asian countries, namely the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan.
In deliberative democracy, this focuses on the unity of decision-making in a society. This means that the society would discuss what would be for the good of the country, with mixing the interests of the people (debate and discussion). In the index, Japan consistently has a 0.8 rating in from 1986–2018, suggesting that the country has had a generally more unified or maybe not so challenging in coming to a decision for what is best for the country. On South Korea’s rating, they actually had the lowest rating among the 3 countries back in 1986, but over the years has increased their rating, even getting higher than Japan in a few years. This suggests that while at the start, coming to a decision might not have been unified or easy, as it went on, the society were able to unify their decisions more. On the other hand, the Philippines has averaged a rating of 0.3 -> 0.5, suggesting that decision-making in the country has never been that easy.
In egalitarian democracy, this focuses on equality across the entire society in worth and status. In the graph, Japan has consistently stayed around 0.8 rating, South Korea started at 0.3 rating, but overtime has had higher ratings that even surpass Japan, while the Philippines have averaged around a 0.3 rating. This suggests that Japan has consistently managed to keep that division between the society equal most of the time, South Korea’s equality might not have been present at the beginning but overtime the gap between society decreased, and that the Philippines has struggled to equalize society, suggesting that the country maybe has more rich or more poor rather than equality in the society.
In electoral democracy, this focuses on the transparency between leaders and the society. This means on when people vote or elect leaders within a country or state, it is not affected by external means, but rather on the sole judgment on who the people believe would be able to lead them to success. In the graph, Japan has consistently held a 0.8+ rating, South Korea’s starting rating may not have been the highest, but has increased overtime that it surpasses Japan’s rating at times, while the Philippines has had a rating of around 0.2 to sub 0.6. This suggests that Japan has consistently managed to have its elections, they are able to do it without the influence or bribery of people to vote a certain way. In South Korea’s case, the start may have had some issues with regards to corruption, but overtime has managed to improve on that that they are able to vote with not so much influence as well. And on the Philippines’ end, while it has managed to reach a rating of almost 0.6, it has never gone beyond that. This suggests that there could be issues within the country in regards to corruption, or in their elections.
In liberal democracy, the protection of minority rights is important, while keeping a level of control on the power on the government (balance between power of the majority/minority). Japan has managed to sustain a rating between 0.7 to 0.8 in the graph; South Korea started as the 2nd lowest rating, but again increased rating that even matches or surpasses Japan; while the rating of the Philippines has never gone above 0.5. This suggests that Japan has consistently balanced out the interests/rights of the minority, while keeping power in the majority. South Korea start at a low rating suggests that the power of the government of the people was really powerful/the minority had little rights, but overtime the government loosened up and allowed the rights of the minority to develop. However in the Philippines, the middle ground rating suggests that the power that the government has is significant, but that the minority do have their rights too.
In participatory democracy, this focuses on how much power the people have over political processes such as the passing of laws, bills, etc. In Japan’s case, it has consistently stayed around the 0.6 range, meaning that the power the people have had has consistently stayed around the same throughout and they have a certain degree of power over said political processes. In South Korea’s case, having the lowest rating between among the 3 countries between 1986–1992 suggests that the power of the people was very little in this time period, but as time went on, the power of the people increased to the point it even exceeded Japan’s rating between 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile in the Philippines, their rating started at a low 0.2, but increased to a 0.4 and stayed around the same level throughout the years. This suggests that the power of the people does exist in the country, but does not exert a high level of control in these said political processes.
Future of Democracy in Asia
According to the results, democracy still has its place within Asia. In a country like Japan, their level of democracy has stayed the same, strong level throughout the years. Meanwhile in countries like South Korea and the Philippines, democracy in the earlier years such as 1986 is not as strong, however democracy has developed overtime in both of these said countries. I believe that democracy is a really important factor in any country because of the effect the people can have on the country. If the people will have little to no power in a country, their could be potential unrest to a point where riots or conflicts within the country can arise.