Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Indonesia's democratic values

There is a fascinating piece by Larry Diamond in today's Australian looking at democratic values in Indonesia.

Indonesia was one of six emerging East Asian democracies surveyed by the Asian Barometer during 2006. Based on national random samples of the voting age population, The barometer asked a large number of standardised questions about people's attitudes and values towards democracy and their evaluations of their own governments.

Indonesia scores strongly, leading Diamond to conclude:

While further research is needed to explore the underlying correlates and causal dynamics of these value patterns in Indonesia, and to determine their evolution and resilience over time, it appears there is a normative foundation in society for the progress that Indonesia's democracy has made in the past decade. Whether this is a response to democratic improvement or a cause of it is not clear, and we should be wary of inferring too much from one survey.

But the picture that emerges is certainly an encouraging one.

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