Abstract and Keywords
Despite increased academic and media interest in the continent and the intensity of the sociopolitical and administrative changes that have occurred in the past twenty-five years, analyses published in the press and by scholars are generally incomplete. Beyond the traditional dispute between “universalists” (theorists of a general model of liberal democracy to which all countries are expected to conform) and “relativists” (advocates of the sovereignty of individual cultural identities), the real problem lies in the inability of social scientists to develop a comparative method that is at once valid and acceptable to all. Rejecting the purely normative approach to political ethics that dominates the debate on democracy, this chapter uses an economic approach to advance a comparative theory of the notion of political well-being. It proposes a measurement index whose different components take into account both the viewpoint of universalists on human rights and the perspective of relativists on political utility.
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