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Too Much Democracy For Some Kuwaitis

Is there such a thing as too much democracy? Kuwaitis looking to some of their prospering and autocratic neighbors —like Dubai, Abu Dubai, and Qatar — are beginning to think so.

In many ways, Kuwait is a shining example of democracy in the region. Today's New York Times explains that in Kuwait, Sunnis and Shiites get along, and there is a thriving civil society. Women were given the right to vote and run for office two years ago.

But, with the world's fifth largest oil reserves, many Kuwaitis feel they should be attracting more investment and economic progress. So who gets blamed? Democracy. According to the article, Parliament is seen as a body that bogs down new projects and Kuwait's potential. Kuwait has had trouble reforming its state-controlled economy, and legislation regarding foreign investment perpetually stalled.

Despite discontent, some admit that it is not democracy that it is the problem, but rather the way it is being used.

Is frustration with the government an inevitable by-product of democracy? If the majority of citizens want something other than representative democracy, is that a type of democracy itself? Can democracy in other regions take on a form that differs from the Western tradition?


Join The Conversation
Michelann Michelann 9 years
I am so sick of hearing about democracy in America. Last time I read the Constitution, this was a Republic. And thank god for that. To answer your question, of course you can have too much democracy! Pure democracy will almost always lead to the majority trampling on the rights of the minority.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Our style of democracy was not designed with speed and efficiency in mind. It was designed to protect the minority and give them a fair hearing which does involve a great deal of discussion before any decisions are made. In regards to Kuwait I just find it funny how filthy rich just isn't rich enough if you know a few country's that are richer.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Wow, another place where congress is in the way of progress?!?! Shocking
stephley stephley 9 years
Countries are much easier to run if you don't have to consider what everyone wants or thinks is best. If Kuwait gives it time, they probably could come up with something fair that works for most of the people - but there's huge amounts of money, influence and power to be fought over now: it's easier to come up with fair power sharing structures when there's not so much there for the taking.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
We have the same problem here in the US. Democracy is always in the way of profits.
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