CHALLENGES OF YOUNGER GENERATION IN POLITICS

In new democracies, younger generations are faced with the challenge of creating stability in the place of the chronic instability of the past. . The role of youth therefore has very different significance in old and new democracies. In the former, young people face the challenge of fitting into an established political system or making changes. In new democracies, a discredited regime is no more, but young people have the challenge of promoting their country's new freedom.

A positive commitment to democratic values is of fundamental political importance, for in a democracy what ordinary people think is important. As much young people are idealistic, they may be especially in favor of democracy. But in as much the character and performance of a political regime, falls short of the standards of an ideal democracy -- and many does -- then frustrated idealism can lead to constructive criticism, vigorous attack or political cynicism and apathy. As experience creates tolerance of less than ideal systems of government, then middle-age people may be more positive about their democratic regime than young people. In societies where old people have experienced authoritarian or totalitarian rule, a democratic regime full of inadequacies may be preferred as the lesser evil, on the Churchillian grounds that an imperfect democracy is better than everything else their country has tried. However, in new democracies such resignation may turn younger people off politics.

Young adults can be seen as having distinctive political interests, more inclined to change than older generations, more idealistic in their goals and less loyal to established traditions. In economic terms, young people are especially vulnerable to increased unemployment, because this hurts most those who are just entering the labor market. They are much more affected by a government's education policy toward cash grants for students and tuition charges than by pension measures that affect their parents or grandparents. Especially in new democracies, education policy affects the opportunity of getting a good job and social mobility. Insofar as the life styles of young people differ substantially from older generations, youths are more sensitive to laws that regulate behavior that their elders reject.

Education promotes democratic political involvement.
In every country, government has a major responsibility for education, and the scope for raising educational levels is especially important in new democracies more in Africa. Promoting education is a "win-win" policy. It makes citizens healthier and wealthier as well as making them readier to take an interest in politics and to reject authoritarian alternatives.

Economic development promotes democratic political involvement.
More people that are prosperous tend to be more positive about democratic political involvement, and making people more prosperous is a policy that can win votes for politicians. Such policies are especially appropriate in new democracies, which are usually developing economies with citizens wanting faster economic growth to help their country catch up with more prosperous established democracies. . Because education promotes economic development as well as democracy, a country with rising levels of education and economic development may achieve a "virtuous" spiral, in which both the economy and the polity undergo radical and positive changes

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