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Explaining and Comparing Quality of Democracy in Quadruple Helix Structures: The Quality of Democracy in the United States and in Austria, Challenges and Opportunities for Development

Epilogue on Cyberdemocracy

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Cyber-Development, Cyber-Democracy and Cyber-Defense


The analytical research question of this contribution is twofold: (1) to compare the quality of democracy of the USA internationally and to “assess” (evaluate) American democracy, whereas assessing (evaluation) in this scenario refers to putting results of the comparative rating in the form of propositions (theses) for further discussions; (2) this same frame of reference is also being used to compare the quality of democracy in Austria internationally, and to propose more specifically a whole set of reform measures for further improvement of the quality of Austrian democracy in the nearer future. In theoretical and conceptual terms, we refer to a Quadruple-Dimensional structure, also a Quadruple Helix structure (a “Model of Quadruple Helix Structures”) of the four basic dimensions of freedom, equality, control, and sustainable development, for explaining and comparing democracy and quality of democracy. Put in summary, we may conclude: the comparative strengths of the quality of democracy in the USA focus on the dimension of freedom and on the dimension of sustainable development. Further containment of corruption marks potentially a sensitive area and issue for the USA. The comparative weakness of the quality of American democracy lies in the dimension of equality, most importantly income equality. Income inequality defines and represents a major challenge and concern for democracy in the USA. In the “epilogue” to our analysis, we engage in reflecting on Cyberdemocracy and possible ramifications for Knowledge Democracy. We present a few propositions for further discussion and discourse.

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  1. 1.

    In the Epilogue, we also present some ideas and tentative propositions on the relationship of quality of democracy with (or to) cyberdemocracy. This should help extending the perspective of democracy particularly in context of knowledge democracy.

  2. 2.

    This also explains the empirical focus of the used literature on Austria, as is being documented in the reference list at the end. Regarding the USA, we do not engage in developing recommendations for reform measures in the context of the analysis presented here.

  3. 3.

    Most, however not all, member countries of the EU are also member countries to the OECD.

  4. 4.

    Quotes from original sources in German were translated into English by the authors of this analysis (DC and EC).

  5. 5.

    These dimensions we want to interpret as “Basic Dimensions” of democracy and of the quality of democracy.

  6. 6.

    In the Figs. 4.2 and 4.3, we propose to interpret these two dimensions, introduced by Dahl, as “Secondary Dimensions” for describing democracy and democracy quality for the objective of measuring democracy.

  7. 7.

    See Schmitter (2004).

  8. 8.

    According to Freedom House (2011b), in the year 1980 no less than 42.5 % of the world population lived in “not free” political contexts. By 2010, this share dropped to 35.4 %.

  9. 9.

    For a comprehensive Web site address for all Human Development Reports that is publicly accessible for free downloads, see:

  10. 10.

    For a systematic attempt of empirical assessment on possible linkages between democracy and development, see Przeworski et al. (2003).

  11. 11.

    It cannot be convincingly argued that there are no data or indicators for a comparative measurement of democracy (at least in the recent years). Of course there can and should be discussions about the quality of these data and their cross-references to theory of democracy.

  12. 12.


  13. 13.


  14. 14.


  15. 15.


  16. 16.

    The original quote in German is: “Das Democracy Barometer geht davon aus, dass Demokratie durch die drei Prinzipien Freiheit, Kontrolle und Gleichheit sichergestellt wird.” See:

  17. 17.


  18. 18.

    For an overview see:

  19. 19.

    This book already can be downloaded for free as a whole and complete PDF from the Web. Visit the following links at: and

  20. 20.

    Grundrechte” here may be interpreted as human rights as they are being proposed by Guillermo O’Donnell (2004a, pp. 12, 47).

  21. 21.

    In reference to the already mentioned basic dimensions of democracy and the quality of democracy, the power-balancing structures (“Macht-ausbalancierenden Strukturen” or “Macht-ausgleichenden Strukturen”) may be aligned to the dimension of control (see Lauth 2004, pp. 77–96).

  22. 22.

    Partially, in the following Tables 4.1 and 4.2, we had to estimate, to which calendar year a specific index year referred to.

  23. 23.

    For the process of re-scaling the freedom of press and the Gini coefficient we therefore had to shift reversely the value direction of the primary data, to make values (data) compatible with the other indicators.

  24. 24.

    Therefore, put in contrast, a comparison of the indicators in Table 4.1 and 4.2 should allow for a better and more nuanced interpretation of the different countries and their quality of democracy (OECD, EU27).

  25. 25.

    Concerning the Gini coefficient (re-scaled as income equality) in the Tables 4.1 and 4.2, we interpreted 2009 as the approximate year of reference for the calendar year. The OECD online database (OECD 2011) speaks in this respect of the “Late 2000s.”

  26. 26.

    See also:

  27. 27.

    Interestingly, with regard to political rights and civil liberties, the USA ranks behind Austria.

  28. 28.

    Levels of corruption are being perceived to be higher in the USA than in Austria.

  29. 29.

    In the Democracy Ranking 2011, Austrian democracy scores higher than the USA.

  30. 30.

    On migrant integration policy, Austria scores dramatically lower than the USA

  31. 31.

    Here are behind Austria only Bulgaria, Lithuania, Japan, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Cyprus, and Latvia.

  32. 32.

    Here, only Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia perform poorer than Austria.

  33. 33.

    The Nordic democracies (and Switzerland) demonstrate in empirical terms and in practice, which degrees and levels of a quality of democracy already can be achieved at the beginning of the twenty-first century” (Campbell 2011, p. 6).

  34. 34.

    Here we can quote from an original source: “Bedenklich für Demokratiequalität ist, wenn ein bedeutender Anteil der Wohnbevölkerung nicht im Besitz der Staatsbürgerschaft ist beziehungsweise sich dieser Anteil sogar vergrößert: Denn das könnte dazu führen, dass manche Parteien, die an Wahlstimmenmaximierung interessiert sind, den StaatsbürgerInnen ‘auf Kosten’ der Nicht-StaatsbürgerInnen Wahlversprechen geben. …Je größer der Anteil der Nicht-StaatsbürgerInnen, desto höher fällt das populistische Potenzial für den Parteienwettbewerb aus. Soll gegen Populismus ein effektiver Riegel vorgeschoben werden, müsste der Anteil der Nicht-StaatsbürgerInnen an der Wohnbevölkerung möglichst verringert werden” (Campbell 2002, pp. 30–31).

  35. 35.

    According to Pelinka (2008), there is a need in Austria for a more systematic conceptual reflection on the demos, in the sense of: “Who are the People?” (“Wer ist das Volk?”). This reflection should definitely encourage more inclusion (see also Valchars 2006; ; Pelinka and Rosenberger 2003).

  36. 36.

    Should Austrian politics continue the blocking of an introduction of a jus soli component into its citizenship law during the course of the coming years, then it cannot completely be ruled out that the pure jus sanguinis design will finally be challenged legally at a “constitutional court” (nationally, supranationally, or even internationally).

  37. 37.

    On the financing of politics and political parties in Austria see, for example: Sickinger (2009).

  38. 38.

    For an analysis of the Austrian federal governments in these years, see: Wineroither (2009).

  39. 39.

    For a possible reform of the electoral law, see Klaus Poier (2001) and his considerations in favor of a “minority-friendly majority representation” (“minderheitenfreundliches Mehrheitswahlrecht”).

  40. 40.

    Attempts of the Austrian political science community, to convince Austrian politics and Austrian politicians to support such a democratic audit of Austria, were so far not successful.

  41. 41.

    For the interesting example of a democratic audit in Costa Rica, see Cullell (2004).

  42. 42.

    A related question here is: Is it proper for democratic governments to “spy” against each other?


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Correspondence to David F. J. Campbell .

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Campbell, D.F.J., Carayannis, E.G. (2014). Explaining and Comparing Quality of Democracy in Quadruple Helix Structures: The Quality of Democracy in the United States and in Austria, Challenges and Opportunities for Development. In: Carayannis, E., Campbell, D., Efthymiopoulos, M. (eds) Cyber-Development, Cyber-Democracy and Cyber-Defense. Springer, New York, NY.

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