By Majid Tehranian
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Additional info for Asian Peace: Security and Governance in the Asia Pacific Region
Ironically, therefore, while the number of subjects transformed into citizens increased in the homelands of the modern empires, the number who became subjects under imperial domination escalated. Books on the political institutions of modern empires typically focus on how their citizens participate in representative institutions but ignore the way their subjects are excluded. Thus the orthomodern dimensions of democratization are stressed while its paramodern aspects are ignored. Not surprisingly, the subjects of any oligocracy are not deceived the more they learn about the benefits of citizenship, the more their anger and sense of injustice grows.
In part this is because a presidentialist regime can survive only if it is rather oligarchic in character, as is the United States. My reasons for reaching this conclusion are spelled out in Riggs (1997a and 1997c). Vertical Devolution A significant contemporary trend that may well ameliorate many paramodern problems can be linked with radical transformation in the functions of states. The phrase withering of the state has negative connotations, but it correctly points to an increasingly dynamic movement to surrender state authority both upward and downward to global and local entities.
They may be viewed as de jure citizens but de facto subjects. Their concerns can easily be ignored by the representatives of voting citizens in American legislative bodies. Most countries that call themselves democracies have, I believe, failed to transform many subjects into citizens, and, therefore, they are really oligocracies, not democracies. In the present-day world as a whole, therefore, the great majority of people remain subjects in oligocracies and, of course, in quite a few new statesthe successor states of the modern empiresauthoritarian rule means that virtually all residents are subjects, not citizens.