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But economic liberalization can also exacerbate problems that seem to outpace legal reform efforts and even encourage popular support for authoritarian or semi-authoritarian government.Russia’s entry into the international economy has, in the minds of many Russians, worsened official corruption and economic crime.Technology and Political Openness Technology’s impact on democratization is likely to be more immediate, although not sufficient in itself to effect political change.Weak economies, along with government resistance, have contained the spread of technology in many Middle Eastern and some Asian states and will for the near future.
At worst, global trade institutions could be rent with bloc behavior, not unlike that sometimes seen in the United Nations.
But the trend halts abruptly where the political spectrum includes an equal number of democratic and nondemocratic states or where authoritarian regimes are predominant.
In Asia, for example, the diversity of political regimes has largely kept democracy and human rights off the table in the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Organization of African Unity, also a traditional diplomatic group, is attempting to forge a regional human rights code modeled after the Helsinki process in Europe. Regional groups adopt codes of democratic practice where a quorum of democracies already exists or where the largest and most economically powerful states are democratic.
In these cases, the weight of the democratic majority (and the benefits of membership in the club) are sometimes sufficient to help persuade nondemocratic states to liberalize.