Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, October 21, 2013

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, October 21, 2013

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Mohamed El Dahshan explains why Egyptians don’t seem to be worried about their country’s abysmal rankings in competitiveness.

Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez tracks the Venezuelan government’s reaction to a recent episode of the U.S. TV show Homeland.

Anna Nemtsova reports on the recent race riots in Moscow and considers their implications for the future.

In an excerpt from his new book The Confidence Trap, David Runciman examines the inherent weaknesses of contemporary democracy.

Michael Cecire argues that the lack of big personalities in Georgia’s pending presidential election is a sign of progress.

Juan Nagel analyzes the claim that Venezuela is the one of the world’s riskiest markets for investors.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

The Journal of Democracy scrutinizes the causes for the failure of democracy in Egypt and Syria, while Francis Fukuyama looks at the correlation between democracy and state administration.

Writing for Foreign Policy, H.A. Hellyer forecasts the likely players in Egypt’s next presidential election.

The International Crisis Group’s new report tracks the fragmentation of Syria’s opposition.

The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) analyzes the reasons behind the failure of a recent series of pro-democracy protests in Morocco.

Reporting for Vice, Hannah Lucinda Smith recounts her run-in with al Qaeda’s teenage fan club in rebel-held Syria.

Henrik Serup Christensen proposes to tackle the problem of political apathy by designing more open institutions. 

Chris Blattman takes issue with Angus Deaton’s argument (advanced in the book excerpted in DemLab last month) that foreign aid is inherently bad.

On openDemocracy, Edin Dedovic argues that the success of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s soccer team offers a useful model for the reform of corrupt institutions.

And finally, Josh Ruxin’s new memoir, A Thousand Hills to Heaven, tells the story of a couple struggling to rediscover a sense of community in post-genocide Rwanda.

(The photo above shows Maldivian citizens and police joining together in prayer last Friday — despite continuing political unrest in the country.)