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April 24, 2005

Driving and Democracy
Ali Zuashkiani  [info|posts]

dandd.jpg Many of us may have experienced sitting beside a careless driver while he is zigzagging through traffic. We usually feel uncomfortable in such situations; however, some of us would have shown the same driving style when driving. This may seem awkward and paradoxical yet is true. People typically do not like risking their lives when someone else is steering although they are more tolerant when having control over their situation. The more freedom of choice one has the more tolerant he/she is about the risks imposed on him/her as the consequence of his/her decisions.

The table below is adopted from book RCM II written by John Moubray, it explains this fact for the case of existing risk of death. As you see, people can bear 1000 times more risk of being killed when they have total control over the situation compared to cases in which they have no control and choice.

When I saw this table, it came to my mind that maybe it can confirm the tendency toward democracy and freedom. People feel more comfortable in the democratic societies and can tolerate more difficulties compared to authoritarian ones.


Arash Jalali at April 26, 2005 02:24 AM [permalink]:

Well, assuming that your analogy is valid, then it also means we are safer 1000 times now that the Mullahs are ruling than when we would have actual democracy in Iran!

The thing that bothers me most is that it doesn't sound to be off-base!! It in fact makes some sense...

Anonymous at April 26, 2005 02:44 PM [permalink]:

salaam be Ali, va be hamegi

I have some questions: When it concerns running a country, is it really the "good feeling" that matters, or how well things run? I mean, there are situations in which we have to face such questions.

People of China (as far as I know) may not be feeling as 'good' as people in Argentina -as regards to their normative concerns. Yet the Chinese may envisage a far better future for themselves than their counterparts in the Latin American country -as regards to their economy, living standards, ....

What I'm trying to convey is: both types of governance could go either boom or bust. Just because some democracies are running smoothly and well, may not mean all others will be - many African states with weak governments & strong societies serving as examples. Just because some authoratative forms of government haven't made it, doesn't mean that others haven't or will not either - e.g. China, and the South East Asian countries.

After all, the driver wouldn't necessarily always have to be a bad driver ;)

- Best Regards

Rancher at April 26, 2005 06:41 PM [permalink]:

Arash Jalali

Since I see this as a risk to control relationship, i.e. Democracies encouraging more risk taking, especially in things economic, I don't think you are a 1000 times safer. But I do believe taking chances in the hope of better improving your life is more prevalent in a Democracy.

Babak S at April 26, 2005 08:28 PM [permalink]:


The problem with an authoritarian regime is this: what if the driver is indeed a bad driver? Or the passangers want to take a little detour on the scenic road nearby for a change? Or eventhough the driver is a good one, he keeps shouting at everyone else, so passangers can't bear his foul mouth any more? It's not necessarily so, but just what if it turns out to be? After all it's not necessarily not-so either.

In short: What if not everything goes as well as it should, just as is the case in our real, less-than-ideally-prefect world?

Arash Jalali at April 27, 2005 06:39 AM [permalink]:

Rancher, I am not quite for the idea of seeing Ali's post in a broad and general context. The reason? Well, just look at what our "Anonymous" friend and Babak had to say. Both are correct and I think it's because the context is too broad to lend itself to the kind of generalization we are all seeking to make one way or the other.

I was thinking about a much smaller universe of discourse, i.e. Iran. As I think more about Iran's history, I become less convinced that Iranians at large are capable, or even willing deep down the heart, to be on the driver's seat.

Rancher at April 28, 2005 08:51 PM [permalink]:

First time I got behind the wheel I was scared too. After about 6 months my Dad was yelling at me to slow down. Iraq will do fine.

Rancher at April 28, 2005 08:53 PM [permalink]:

Oops, IRAN will do fine. :)

Reza Fotovat at July 10, 2007 02:57 AM [permalink]:

Iran is a good country

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