The major world economies of the world have different political systems. The United is the world’s leading economy in terms of GDP and military power, and it is considered the superpower of the world. For years, the country’s success was attributed to its democratic ideals of freedom, liberty, and respect for individual rights and the rule of law (Haynes 2008, p.6). However, the rise of communists such as China and Russia has raised debates on whether democratic systems are necessary for the success of countries. However, the success of non-democratic systems may not be sustainable in the long term because they may be affected by political risks and economic instability; yet the cultures of some jurisdictions do not provide a good environment for democracy to thrive. Therefore, democracy necessarily work in some cultures than others; any country that embraces democracy has equally good chances of improving its socioeconomic welfare.
Some individual attitudes that are common to specific cultures such as subject orientations and participant orientations tend to encourage functioning democracies. These attitudes allow for civic culture that encourage individual rights, which are characteristic of democratic systems (Inglehart and Welzel 2005, p.2). For instance, a community that is known for civic action and protests encourage political action towards more representative and democratic systems (Putnam et al, 2006, p.125). On the other hand, hierarchical cultures that encourage respect for authorities tend to suppress civil action and promote autocratic systems.
Religion also plays a significant role in influencing political systems. Stepan (2000, p.38) suggests that there is a historical relationship between Western Christianity and democracy. The ideals of the Christian church such as love, the Ten Commandments, and support for the poor reflect the democratic ideals of liberty, equality and respect for the rights of others (Haynes 2008, p.21). However, Stepan (2000) argues, “Religion may pose major problems for the consolidation of the church” (p.40).
Sociocultural and religious factors affect the success of democratic systems across the world. Historically, Christianity has been associated with democracy. Although opponents of this view think that religion hinders democratization, it is clear that the values and beliefs of Western Christianity promote democracy by encouraging its members to respect the norms common in democratic systems such as respect and equality. Furthermore, some cultural values such as civic culture support democracy; while other cultural values such as respect for authority may discourage democracy.