Politico-Economic Models of Democracy in Democracy Promotion


  • The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7, 2007–2013) European Research Council grant agreement number 202 596. All views remain those of the author.


This piece examines the curious nature of the conceptual foundations of current democracy promotion practice. I point out that while it is broadly accepted today that a liberal democratic politico-economic model should stand at the heart of democracy promotion, the scholarly literature on democracy–capitalism relationship stands in sharp contrast to this consensus in highlighting the contested nature of this relationship. Through a survey of some of the key theoretical texts on capitalism and democracy, and a brief empirical survey of politico-economic contours of current democracy promotion, this article highlights the poorly thought-through links between capitalism and democracy in current democracy promotion. It is argued here that un-reflexive conjoining of democracy and liberal capitalism and sidestepping of the plurality of nuanced positions on this relationship in scholarly literature is problematic and that revisiting the lines of contestation over the relationship between capitalism and democracy is deeply consequential for re-evaluating and revising democracy and market promotion policies in the current context of “dual crisis” facing democracy promoters today.