Readers write: Democratic shortcomings – at home and abroad

Democratic shortcomings

When I read the Monitor’s recent commentary on Nigeria’s presidential election, published online in the Daily last month, I was brought back to the Feb. 13 column from Mark Sappenfield, “A Monitor newsroom debate,” which explored the question, “Is democracy a value?” 

The development of democracy in the countries collectively known as “the West” has hardly been a straight line. The United Kingdom has taken over 800 years to get from the Magna Carta to today; France is on its Fifth Republic since 1792; Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal have gone through periods of autocracy in the last century, and as noted in the Monitor’s coverage, satisfaction with democracy is at a low ebb in many countries. 

What I’m wondering is whether, under the circumstances, we should be using the development of democracy as a measure of progress in the developing world at all.