Key scholars argue that tyranny is changing its facing, adapting itself to the context of the 21st century but no less brutal than it has always been. This information in Next Big Idea Club is by Sergei Guriev. Here is an excerpt:
1. 21st-century dictatorships are based on a different model.
In the 20th century, dictators would terrorize their subjects into submission. They would openly use mass repression and ideology. They would use comprehensive censorship, and they would not pretend to be similar to their democratic counterparts.
But in the 21st century, dictators are different—they’re “spin” dictatorships, and they use manipulation of information. They pretend to be democrats; they run elections. They allow some independent media and some opposition, and on paper, they declare themselves to be no different from their Western counterparts. Today, the majority of non-democratic regimes are no longer fear dictatorships, but these new spin dictatorships.
2. Spin dictatorships work in surprising ways.
Whenever spin leaders need to suppress opposition activists, they do it in a concealed way. They deny killing opposition leaders, and do not openly use political repression. When they put opposition leaders in jail, they do so on non-political charges, like tax fraud or fake documentation, but never political charges.
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