The Role of Ordinary People in Democratization

Students of democracy increasingly emphasize the fact that democracy implies government by the people, not mere "electoral democracy" in which elites hold elections but the citizens have little real influence on their actions. Genuinely "effective democracy" does not simply result from elite cost-benefit calculations. It emerges when ordinary people acquire resources and values that enable them to put effective pressures on elites\-\- a process that we term "human empowerment." "Self-expression values" reflect a syndrome of interpersonal trust, tolerance and political activism that plays a crucial role in the emergence and survival of democracy. When people have relatively ample economic and cognitive resources, and move from emphasizing survival values toward emphasizing self-expression values, they become most effective in the struggle to obtain democratic institutions.