Liberal democracy, path of human authority and transition to living well

Journal Article

This work questions the uncritical use of the word "democracy." It draws a distinction between democracy as a means and democracy as an end. It argues that the ideal of full, fair and harmonious life is not unique to democracy, and that there are other ways to come near it, besides the one taken by liberal democracy. More: it argues that the means adopted by liberal democracy, not only cannot be imposed on other regions of the world, but they have not been successful in the West itself. Finally, it examines alternative means to achieve the same goals espoused by Western democracy, specifically the path of human authority of Confucian political philosophy, and the "live well" (qamaña sum, in Aymara, and sum kawsay in Quichua of Ecuador) of the political language of the Bolivian State, and of the discussions of Bolivian and Latin American political society. Such parallel pathways have in common the fact that they are unrelated to the genealogy that goes from Greece to Rome and from Rome to secular Europe, and the perceived need to disengage from the universalism of the (neo) liberal democracy by reducing it to its locality, allowing the resurgence of other local histories dismissed in the name of democracy. It concludes that these and all other paths are facing the challenge of managing scarce resources, a task to which nation states have not shown themselves capable. Hence the emergence of the global political society and the politicization of civil society throughout the world, in all civilizations that are reemerging and reemerging this time on achievements - and not on the ruins - of Southwestern Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal) and the loss of U.S. hegemony.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mignolo, WD

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 21 - 44

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0102-6992

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1590/S0102-69922014000100003

Citation Source

  • Scopus