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The ideal of democratic self-determination and self-rule has become the norm for more than 60 percent of the regimes in the world's states, but it faces increasing challenge from nondemocratic forms of rule—in China, Russia and Singapore, which combine capitalism with single party rule. While democratic regimes struggle with grid-lock and stagnation, single party government is proving that it has unsuspected advantages in swift and decisive decision-making combined with the capacity to manage economic growth and development. While single-party states also suffer from a lack of inclusiveness and an abundance of nepotism, their success challenges the moral privilege accorded to democratic regimes, according to which democracy is validated by its moral features: the commitment to equal deliberation, constitutional limitations on coercion, and the ethical premise that each should counts for one, and no one counts for more than one. The rise of single party state capitalism also puts into question the supposed indivisibility of economic and political freedom. Is freedom divisible? How do societies balance the desire for freedom with the need for economic growth? Is democracy's moral privilege deserved?

--Centennial Chair Michael Ignatieff

Excerpt from Global Ethical Dialogues: Concept Paper