Print
Rate this article
(no votes)
 (0 votes)
Share this article
Angelina Arkhangelskaia

MA in law with distinction at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia in Moscow, MA in European Union Studies at the University of Salzburg in Austria

Democracy has a crucial impact on the economic growth. Many researchers are seeking to explain the meaning of democracy and its relation to the economy. But not all countries in the world are democracies. There is hardly any literature on the quality of democracy in a global comparison with a link to innovation. A very interesting idea of the interconnection between democracy and innovation is presented in the book “Global Quality of Democracy as Innovation Enabler. Measuring Democracy for Success” written by the political scientist David F.J. Campbell.

The book presents meticulous research on democracy issues in the OECD countries as well as non-OECD countries, which has never been done before. Indeed, there are many binding elements between democracy and economy. Would it be reasonable to state that innovation, political regime and economic development are closely connected to each other? Is there a link to growth and/or stagnation? The book provides answers to these and many more questions.

The author’s decision to present an extended number of dimensions for an advanced measurement of democracy, namely political and economic freedom, income and gender equality, control, sustainable development and self-organization (emphasizing political self-organization), epitomizes a new form of democracy interpretation. This wide range of dimensions, so different yet so interrelated, makes it possible to look on democracy from completely different angles.

One of the conclusions made by the author, by comparing the USA and the EU (EU 28 and EU 15), is that the USA has a leading position in terms of economic freedom, while the EU is better-off in terms of income equality. However, it is not so clear what predictions could be made in terms of political freedom and gender equality. Therefore, we face the problem that even freedom and equality are not set in stone but have their own distinctions: freedom could be not only political but also economic, while equality could be political and gender.

Book Review

Mag. phil. Dr. phil. Campbell, David Friedrich James, PD (Privatdozent). (2019). Global Quality of Democracy as Innovation Enabler. Measuring Democracy for Success. Palgrave Studies in Democracy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Growth. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 509 s (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783319725284 and https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-72529-1).

Democracy has a crucial impact on the economic growth. Many researchers are seeking to explain the meaning of democracy and its relation to the economy. But not all countries in the world are democracies. There is hardly any literature on the quality of democracy in a global comparison with a link to innovation. A very interesting idea of the interconnection between democracy and innovation is presented in the book “Global Quality of Democracy as Innovation Enabler. Measuring Democracy for Success” written by the political scientist David F.J. Campbell.

The book presents meticulous research on democracy issues in the OECD countries as well as non-OECD countries, which has never been done before. Indeed, there are many binding elements between democracy and economy. Would it be reasonable to state that innovation, political regime and economic development are closely connected to each other? Is there a link to growth and/or stagnation? The book provides answers to these and many more questions.

Approaching democracy from new angles

The transdisciplinary method of the author is driven by his wide range of knowledge, experience and involvement in different fields of social science. David F. J. Campbell is not only an Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Vienna, but also a Faculty Researcher and Teacher at the Department for Higher Education Research at Danube University Krems; a Quality Enhancement Expert and Quality Researcher at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna; and a Research Associate at the Department of Science Communication and Higher Education Research (WIHO), Faculty for Interdisciplinary Studies, Alpen-Adria- University of Klagenfurt.

This book represents a unique source of data and knowledge about democracy and its quality by asking a relevant research question, “How to conceptualize and measure democracy and its quality in a global comparison?” The question itself is quite ambitious, because the answer needs a fine-grained discussion of growth and stagnation in democracies and non-democracies, which means that measuring only states that have democracy as their political regime would not be enough. Consequently, designing a major empirical macro-model that refers to 160 countries in the time period of 2002–2016 seems to be an appropriate measure to conceptualize democracy within global context.

It is important to highlight that the countries selected for research account for almost the whole population of the globe, which signals a potentially great impact on the political science in terms of democracy measurement. Due to the fact that all these countries have different political regimes, it would be reasonable to put them into specific categories, such as “democracies”, “semi-democracies” and “non-democracies”. However, the author goes further and distinguishes them by means of higher and lower degrees of political freedom. Therefore, these differences in levels of political freedom play a special role when thinking about democracy or “democracy with higher quality”. This carefully amassed evidence enables the readership to appreciate the concept of democracy, while constituting a novel and meaningful form of measuring democracy.

Can democracy be measured at all?

The book has a very creative way of presenting information. A poem on democracy deserves special attention, and it has been translated into 9 languages with different variations. This piece of art in a book for political scientists and those interested in democracy issues shows that even such a meaningful and versatile concept, such as democracy, could be explored from new perspectives.

Still, the measurement could be problematic. Most of the literature is focused on two core elements of democracy: freedom and equality (see Schmidt 1995, pp.78-94.; Honderich 2006; Giebler and Merkel 2016, pp. 594-595; Marchart et al., 2020; etc.). This is a well-known approach. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his famous work “Democracy in America”, refers to democracy exactly through the lens of these two dimensions. Some works are based on a three-dimensional approach: freedom, equality and control (see Lauth 2004, pp. 32-101; Bühlmann et al. 2008, p. 15), but there is hardly any research project that has added more elements.

This book represents an exception. The author’s decision to present an extended number of dimensions for an advanced measurement of democracy, namely political and economic freedom, income and gender equality, control, sustainable development and self-organization (emphasizing political self-organization), epitomizes a new form of democracy interpretation. This wide range of dimensions, so different yet so interrelated, makes it possible to look on democracy from completely different angles.

One of the conclusions made by the author, by comparing the USA and the EU (EU 28 and EU 15), is that the USA has a leading position in terms of economic freedom, while the EU is better-off in terms of income equality. However, it is not so clear what predictions could be made in terms of political freedom and gender equality. Therefore, we face the problem that even freedom and equality are not set in stone but have their own distinctions: freedom could be not only political but also economic, while equality could be political and gender.

Exploring the many dimensions of democracy

This interpretation of quality of democracy demonstrates that it is challenging to state that one country or group of countries has definitely higher or lower level of freedom or equality, because even these terms require a deeper analysis with consequent distinctions. The reader will not observe any particular attention to “control” as one of the dimensions, due to the reason that all five dimensions are overlapping with each other, and therefore could allow for competing interpretations. As an example, “political swings” refers not only to the dimension of political self-organization but also to control. However, we clearly see from this book that government-opposition cycles represent a key way of manifestation of self-organization within a democratic system and regime.

If the first three dimensions are well represented in the academic literature, the last two, sustainable development and self-organization, did not receive so much attention. In this book we see, on the contrary, that they play a decisive role for the quality of democracy.

Indeed, sustainable development is inevitably linked to economic development. In this regard, this “new” dimension could show us new paths to democracy. This approach gives us the possibility to interpret democracy and the quality of democracy in more sensitive and measurable ways. David Campbell relates his work not only to a theoretical basis but mentions practical implications as well, which is very important for understanding how democracy develops today and how this trajectory affects its quality. Therefore, the book can be seen as a useful instrument in teaching process, also providing sustainable support for decision-making and problem-solving.

Last but not least, the various hypotheses (20 all together) are of high relevance for the domain of political science. These are formulated in the conclusion, purposefully intended to inspire the reader for further research and discussion in this field. The hypotheses vary greatly, starting from a “systematic and comprehensive democracy measurement” and concluding with a “Knowledge Democracy”, with “Democracy as Innovation Enabler”.

Democracy drives innovation?

Have we ever interpreted democracy as an “Innovation Enabler”? Shall we pay more attention to knowledge in the educational system in order to have a “higher” level of democracy? The author proposes this idea in order to extend the understanding of democracy and its role in society, not only for the economic growth and development but also for fostering innovations. If we regard knowledge as the moving force for a “higher” quality of democracy, we open new forms of its interpretation and role. It seems rational and practicable to assess knowledge as one of the most important elements of democracy. Although this is not the first work of the author, where he reflects on such issues (see also papers by Carayannis and Campbell 2009, 2010, 2014 on “Quadruple and Quintuple Helix Innovation Systems”), this book provides for an even more comprehensive and deeper analysis of the “Knowledge Democracy”.

Democracy and its effects on the economy will always be an issue to discuss. However, in order to broaden our understanding of its core elements, we need new perspectives. David Campbell’s book by offers these perspectives as well as a great in-depth analysis of the quality of democracy amid global context, which has never been shown by any other political scientist before. Thus, it has a high level of novelty, innovation and relevance not only for political scientists but also for those involved in economic and educational sectors. This is an interdisciplinary project aimed at improving understanding and analysis of the political regime that shapes the drivers of growth, with an innovation at the core. Only by approaching “problems” from a wider perspective are we in a position to arrive at meaningful conclusions and to move further. Is democracy an innovation enabler? If we interpret democracy in such a way, this could inspire us to devote more attention and meaning to such relations in order to have an even more developed and well-organized world.

References

Bühlmann, Marc; Merkel, Wofgang and Wessels, Bernhard. (2008). The Quality of Democracy. Democracy Barometer for Established Democracies. National Center of Competence in Research: Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century, Working Paper No. 10a.

Carayannis, Elias G.; Campbell, David F. J. (2009). “Mode 3” and “Quadruple Helix”: Toward a 21st Century Fractal Innovation Ecosystem. International Journal of Technology Management, 46(3/4), pp. 201–234.

Carayannis, Elias G.; Campbell, David F. J. (2010). Triple Helix, Quadruple Helix and Quintuple Helix and How Do Knowledge, Innovation and the Environment Relate to Each Other? A Proposed Framework for a Transdisciplinary Analysis of Sustainable Development and Social Ecology. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development, 1(1), pp. 41–69.

Carayannis, Elias G.; Campbell, David F. J. (2014). Developed Democracies Versus Emerging Autocracies: Arts, Democracy, and Innovation in Quadruple Helix Innovation Systems. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 3, 12.

Giebler, Heiko; Merkel, Wolfgang. (2016). Freedom and equality in democracies: is there a trade- off? International Political Science Review, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, Vol. 37, Iss. 5, pp.594- 605.

Honderich, Ted. (2006). Democracy's Equality, Freedom, and Help. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, No. 111, Democracy and Power (December 2006), Berghahn Books pp. 45- 61.

Lauth, Hans-Joachim. (2004). Demokratie und Demokratiemessung. Eine konzeptionelle Grundlegung für den interkulturellen Vergleich. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Marchart, Oliver; Rajal, Elke; Trafo, K; Landkammer, Nora; Maier, Carina. (2020). Making Democracy - Aushandlungen von Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität im Alltag. Transcript Edition Politik, 220 p.

Schmidt, Manfred G. (1995). Demokratietheorien: Eine Einführung. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, 398 p.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. (1838). Democracy in America. New York :G. Dearborn & Co.


Rate this article
(no votes)
 (0 votes)
Share this article
 
For business
For researchers
For students