Managed democracy controls society while providing the appearance of democracy. Its main characteristics are as follows:  

1. A strong presidency and weak institutions

2. State control of the media

3. Control over elections allows elites to legitimize their decisions

4. Visible short-term effectiveness and long-term inefficiency  

The result is an “unstable stability” based on the president’s personality. He is actually a hostage of the system. Such a  system is highly dysfunctional, with poor information flows. Everything beneath the president is vertically integrated, but there are no horizontal connections. Smart guys make bad decisions and nobody has the big picture. Meanwhile the gap between personal, corporate, and systemic interests is growing, so it’s hard to make different elements of the system act in concert. Obedience is the first measure of performance and that creates perverse incentives.

As for the electoral system, it’s not that bad—it’s worse. The center can legally exclude any candidate.

In conclusion, the system is bad, not only for democracy, but for effectiveness. Like a mule, it is an unnatural hybrid incapable of reproducing itself. Its inefficiency means the system needs a huge, ever-expanding overseeing bloc. Managed democracy is bad not only for society, but also in the long term for the political class. The elite can survive only if it changes the system and introduces more democracy.   

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