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In the modern day, an increasing number of autocratic regimes are being overthrown and replaced with democracy. Within a short time, several North African and Middle-Eastern countries have had their autocracies challenged and overthrown (Danju, Maasoglu, and Maasoglu 2013). It can be argued that development spurs democratic transitions or stabilises current democracies (Boix 2011). In this essay, I will begin my island (Saboc) with a despotic leadership and demonstrate a gradual change towards democracy.

In many developing countries, autocracy was seen as the ‘price to pay’ for rapid development as only autocracies can repress consumption (Luo and Przeworski 2019). For this reason, Saboc is an established despotic autocracy six months into the island journey. Despotism is a legitimate and legal form of authoritarian government in which a set of laws set by the leader or ruler exist (Turchetti 2008). The old Lawyer is the despotic leader and runs a tight ship. There is no set currency system in place, and everyone works for the betterment of everyone else. Two cross-island marriages have seen a Saboc resident relocate to Island Partially Friendly (IPF) and a high skilled boat maker from IPF relocate to Saboc. The man has taught the Islanders how to safely travel between islands. This reduces the risk of travelling.

The only societal actors currently present in Saboc are the apparel-making business. One of the skilled men currently makes all apparel for the Islanders and for trade. Although they do not trade for currency, they trade with IPF for tools, seeds and fertilisers. The Lawyer’s daughter is the representative of the island and goes to IPF to negotiate and trade. She also acts as a messenger and delivers any grievances or issues to the leader. Trade and democracy are commonly linked in political and economic discussion (Milner and Kubota 2005) which suggests the island is already making some strides towards democracy. At this stage, the focus of the island is efficiency and survival, and so factors such as representation, equality and accountability are not of primary concern.

Eighteen months into the island journey, an increasing number of IPF Islanders have relocated to Saboc. Relations between the two islands have somewhat eased, and people have moved to Saboc from IPF due to the community spirit and respected leader of Saboc. There are more boats between the islands as Islanders with boat-making knowledge now inhabit the island. The island is not yet ready to travel to Island Developed (ID) but is developing quickly due to the newfound knowledge and skills from new people. Due to higher productivity, there has been a greater focus on wellbeing. The Lawyer’s daughter is quite popular with the Islanders as she is making strides to improve welfare for each member of the island. There is only one recognised language on the island, and there is a makeshift school for basic language skills and education for children and adults. The Lawyer’s daughter also teaches the Islanders about the laws of the island and listens to their concerns before voicing them to the Lawyer. Voting has been introduced for some significant decisions on the island, but elections are still not in place.

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The marginalised woman is a lot happier in the society as the Lawyer’s daughter listens to and acts on her concerns. She is becoming educated through the school system and is also teaching other Islanders about her culture. The marginalised woman has also been granted an opportunity to publicly give her opinion on all big decisions by speaking before voting commences. She is also working together with some of the new Islanders on making a group that speaks up for minorities on the island. By the end of year two, they expect to be recognised as an NGO on the island. The movements made up to the eighteen-month mark such as the introduction of voting and representation show a shift towards a democratic system.

When a country undertakes a political transition to democracy, it faces a complex period of change (Kalpokaite and Radivojevic 2019). By the time of the third year, the combined efforts of the new Islanders from IPF and the Islanders of Saboc have successfully travelled to; and established relations with Island Developed. The high-value apparel is now a very profitable business of six employees and a very attractive investment for Island Developed. ID have sent a representative over to live in Saboc and assist in developing and maintaining a representative democracy with their first election just passing. A representative democracy can be defined as a “governing system in which politics are organised around an elected assembly.” (Lovenduski 2019, p.19). The representative reports back periodically to the president of ID. The Lawyer won the election and still is very well respected as the president of the island. People are able to move between the islands as the new Islanders from ID have brought new technology and knowledge over, advancing the island’s productivity and potential.

The marginalised woman runs the NGO for minorities and is a political representative for the island minorities. The school has now developed and is teaching higher value education to the Islanders. There are a small group of businesses currently on the island and Saboc is using the established currency from the Island Developed. A small eatery has been established with high skilled cooks migrating from ID, the aforementioned apparel business and school, and some small trades such as carpentry and fishmongers. Tensions between IPF and Saboc have eased due to many people moving freely between the islands. An educated immigrant from IPF writes a newspaper and gives her opinion on political decisions. She is also part of a political lobbyist group who hold the president accountable for any questionable decisions or bring to light any inequality in the society. Year three indicates that the island has developed into a functional representative democracy and is rather progressive in terms of representation and equality.

The change from autocracy to democracy is one that often faces a lot of conflict as autocratic leaders are not always willing to lose absolute power. In the case of Saboc, the Lawyer was well-respected and open to change. He had enough confidence in his ability and in the voters to vote for him that he agreed to adapt to a representative democracy in order to improve relations with a far more developed society. The island addressed representation concerns of the people and are focused on improving the lives of the Islanders in terms of equality and economic prosperity. The transition of the island proves to be successful and promotes positive change for the people of Saboc.

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