Advantages of Liberal Republics 3

Liberal republics offer many advantages over other systems, including and beyond freedom.

They are better problem-solvers.  Most fundamentally, there is a constant pressure for innovation and improvement created by democracy’s competition of policy ideas between all interested political parties and candidates, combined with accountability to citizens through elections and freedom of the press (media).  More people have more freedom to propose new ideas in public and private arenas.[1]  In today’s world, these advantages are significant.  There are more than a few difficult problems before us:  an aging society, climate change, animal and insect extinctions, new genetic and robotic technologies, changes in the global balance of power, and more.  History tells us that we cannot count on a strong ruler or an oligarchy to save us.  In fact, it is often the powerful elite who kill off new ideas that might threaten their power.[2]

[1] On the importance of inclusive and competitive institutions, see Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J. (2013). Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty. See also North, D., Wallis, J., and Weingast, B. (2009). Violence and the rise of open-access orders. Journal of Democracy, 20(1), 55-68.

[2] This point is well illustrated in “Why Nations Fail.”

Note: If you think the words liberal and republic do not belong together, please look here for a quick answer and here for a deeper answer.

Excerpted from Democracy is Precious.

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