Iron Horses of Democracy

36  Download (0)

Full text


Iron Horses of Democracy

[A theory-testing, comparative study of how railways affect democracy in small

nation-states, and specifically in Jordan]






Table of Contents

1. Introduction ...3

1.1. Problem formulation, aim and research question ...3

1.2. Previous Research ...4

1.3. Choice of theory ...5

1.3.1. The Modernization Theory ...5

1.3.2. Railroads, economic development and democracy ...5

2. Method...6

2.1. Theory-testing approach ...6

2.2. Choice of case study objects ...8

3. Theory discussion ...9

3.1. The Modernization Theory ...9

3.2. Railroads, economic development and democracy ... 11

4. Framework ... 14

5. Results ... 15

5.1. The case of Sweden ... 15

5.2. The case of Albania ... 18

5.3. The case of Jordan ... 20

5.3.1. Democracy and Jordan ... 22

6. Analysis and Discussion ... 24



1. Introduction

Walking on top of the Ten Arches Bridge south-east of Amman, which helped leading the Ottoman Hejaz-railway from Damascus to Medina through Jordan makes you think about the great hopes and plans behind it. It being listed on UNESCO’s Tentative List1 does not make you think less about it and talking to the natives and locals makes you think even more about the meaning of a railway. Living in a society where the railway is not questioned, but instead taken for granted as part of the culture and daily life you never even think about thinking about where the society would be without it. But as I also lived in Jordan, I got a bit to taste of that. Speaking to the people in Jordan I heard expressions and utterings like: “The government has been talking about a railway for many years now, saying that ‘now we will build it’, many years has gone by and we’re still waiting for that railway!”.

Why do they wait so much for it? I thought, why is it so important? (Jordan has, which I will account for in a later section, a freight railway from Ma’an to Aqaba, but the people refer to a developed rail network for passengers throughout the country.) Searching further I realize that in many cases the building of a railway has been crucial. For example; it has been said that Great Britain could not have built an empire without it, the United States would indeed not be united without it but split into several countries and the Industrial Revolution and therefore the modernization would not have been possible without it.2 These

are all examples from a time before the invention of the car and the emergence of paved roads, before the centralization and concatenation of countries, before the economic growths and emergence of democracies as we define and see them today. These are also examples from huge territories having to be linked together somehow before the emergence of paved roads, telephones, telegraphs, radios and fast post-delivery.

Railroads have had important roles in war and are in many cases the symbol of power, colonial occupation, control and military strategies but are also, rather paradoxically with their class-divided carriages, the symbol of community, modernization, welfare, public goods, socio-economic changes and enabler of social mobility. The emergence of the railway synchronized cities, put distant places on the map, stroke down boundaries (e.g. by blasting through mountain ranges) and enabled and forced travelers to see different living conditions and mix with travelers from all social classes.3

1.1. Problem formulation, aim and research question

The higher scientific purpose of this bachelor’s thesis is to examine and sort out why and how building of railroads has not ceased in importance and modernity but is still important for nation-building, economic development and democracy. Many might associate railroad-building with the 19th century, but this conception is what I should try to puncture.

During a later part of the 20th century, many railway companies suffered from bankruptcy which led to the closing of many lines and stations all over the world. From this

1 UNESCO, Hejaz Railway



followed the devastation of many smaller communities, who were linked to the world thanks to the railway. Christian Wolmar, writer, has described this as “the post-war bonfire of lines”. However, new technologies, traffic congestion, and intensive discussions about the

environmental damages revives and restores the role of the railways and in many countries trains never ceased in importance.4 Furthermore, when thinking about the morning and

afternoon commute, there is no other transport that can take so many to and from work and school in an as economic and safe way as the trains. Only through the Shinjuku station in Tokyo, 3.5 million commuters pass every day.5

Today, what in my opinion can be called ‘the world’s second wave of railway development’, takes place. Reading the International Railway Journal, you can see that all over the world, hundreds and thousands of plans for new railway projects have been and are released rapidly this decade. All through Asia, railways were built by the British during the 19th century due to the colonialization and today we can see such a boom in Asia again and that is not the only place in the world. As I will account for in a later section, among others, Albania and Jordan have such plans. This is why I would refer to this as ‘the world’s second wave of railway development’, booming a century after the first wave.

Owing to this boom, it is important to recognize that the biggest railway development is happening under autocratic regimes and, like under the British in the 19th century, it can in many ways be a form of colonization or a tool to gain and retain the power over strategic geopolitical areas. Stated aims of the projects are often peace, friendship and globalization but can just as easily have other incentives. With all this in mind, a scholarly discipline discussing railways’ effects on democracy, peace and war is important. With this essay I will try to contribute to that discipline.

What I want to examine therefore, is why the railroad is so important for an already modernized and in fact small nation-state like Jordan and in a modern time. My question to examine is explicitly this:

In what way could a railway promote and entail democracy in Jordan today?

1.2. Previous Research

As for the scholarly relevance I think that this is an area that needs development. There are many works on aspects of this phenomenon and mostly economic. Atack, (2010) question whether railroads induced or followed economic growth in the American Midwest during the 1850s; Donaldson & Hornbeck (2016) focus on railroad’s economic effects on the agricultural sector in America during the end of the 19th century; Xiao, (2017) study transportation disadvantage in Shenzhen, China; Bramo (2013) investigate railway connection in corridor VIII and possible consequences; Massa (2019) study conflicts and the NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”) syndrome effects of railways in Ohio, USA; Shirzadi Babakan & Taleai (2015) investigate how transport development affects residence choice in Tehran; Jedwab & Storeygard (2019) study railroads’ economic and political consequences, including some about democracy, in Africa during the late part of the 20th century and beginning of the



21st century; Hall (1984) focus on railroad-building in Albania; and Stanev, (2017) focus on railroad impacts on economic and political integration in the Balkans from 1850-2000. A documentary in six episodes produced by Wildbear Entertainment in 2018, How Trains

Changed the World, which discuss different types of trains, their purpose and how they have

affected empire building, nation-building, the everyday life, global commerce, economics and war, is the most nuanced source I have found on effects by railroad-building.

This is only a fraction of the academic work on the subject, but it is quite clear that the focus lies on the economic consequences of railway development. Since many

scholars also have touched consequences that are aspects of democracy, I think it is important to develop the discipline that responds to this. It has been, in my opinion, overlooked in comparison with other disciplines, but the importance of such a discipline has grown immensely, especially since the 2010s, with the big increase of railway projects.

1.3. Choice of theory

1.3.1. The Modernization Theory

In my thesis I will start from Seymour Martin Lipsets theory of economic growth and democracy, the so-called Modernization Theory, which he presented in his article Some

Social Requisites of Democracy (1959). Despite the criticism I will present in a later section

along with an account of his theory, I have chosen to use it as the main theory in my bachelor’s thesis. There is no denial that it is one of the most important social scientific articles that has ever been written and that it has influenced many branches of political and social science. In fact, Lipset is known for having the most nuanced reasoning about the effects of modernization, political culture, and democracy. I have chosen to use his theory because it does not focus merely on one empirical dimension, but on different elements and aspects of the relation between economic development and democracy.

1.3.2. Railroads, economic development and democracy

In my thesis, my focus is to examine how railroads can lead to democracy. Since using Lipset’s theory of modernization which tells us how economic development can lead to democracy, naturally, I must accompany his theory with a theory of how railroad

development affects economic development.

Stanev,, describes the relationship like this:

”Throughout the world, railways were a key innovation during the Industrial Revolution and fostered the integration of national and international markets. In general, more railways and larger rail networks tended to point to greater economic growth as a result of increased trade and a greater degree of economic integration. Although one of the mayor challenges yet to be resolved from the academic point of view concerns the nature of the causality between the development of railway networks and economic growth, there is a general consensus that the two processes were closely linked.”6

By studying this, however, I will not use one single theory, but a concoction of different theories to broaden my theoretical basis. (There are effects of trains that can lead to democracy in other ways than economic.) However, my main focus will be on economic



effects. This choice is based on two reasons: 1: Lipset’s theory, as written above, do not focus on one element in economic development-democracy theory, but is very nuanced and

therefore it enables me to study not just one, but several aspects of how trains affect economic development and democracy; and 2: a reason best formulated by Donaldson & Hornbeck:

“Our analysis neglects many other potential benefits from the railroads, following Fogel in focusing on gains within the agricultural sector. We view this neglect as opportunities for further research, rather than a presumption that railroads had minimal impacts through other channels.”7

2. Method

2.1. Theory-testing approach

My question is formulated in order to carry out a theory-testing study of my thesis. The theory is that railway building leads to democracy. To help in the analysis of this effect in Jordan I will compare with two other countries. I will thus investigate whether the conclusions that follow from the theory can be applied to three empirical cases through qualitative case study. These cases are Sweden, Albania and Jordan and will be discussed in the section below. I will investigate the effects of the first railway-building period in the independent states. Therefore, I will not, e.g., discuss effects of the Hejaz-Railway when it was built under the Ottoman Empire. The reason for choosing few cases is, inter alia, that it would be way to time-consuming and hard to study this phenomenon on many cases. To collect meaningful

information, I have thus chosen three countries. This is in accordance with George & Bennett (2004).8

I could have studied this through John Stuart Mill’s most-similar-case study which would have meant almost perfect control. However, it is “generally extremely difficult to find two cases that resemble each other in every respect but one, as controlled comparison requires”. This difficulty has been discussed by many writers.9 George & Bennett writes:

“Unfortunately, practically all efforts to make use of the controlled comparison method fail to achieve its strict requirements. This limitation is often recognized by

investigators employing the method, but they proceed nonetheless to do the best they can with an admittedly imperfect controlled comparison. They do so because they believe that there is no acceptable alternative and no way of compensating for the limitations of controlled comparison.”10

I know that there are more variables operating and influencing the outcome of these cases, but my study is to see if railways is one of several mechanisms affecting democracy. Because of this and because I have strategically chosen cases that are different from each other, I cannot conduct a most-similar case study. To conduct a proper study and



see if railways have affected democracy, I will use a mix of ‘before-after research design’ and ‘congruence method’.

Before-after research design is conducted by studying a case before and after a certain event. “This permits the investigator to identify a “before-after” configuration within the sequential development of a longitudinal case”.11 The variables important for such a study

should be investigated well before and after the event with “an extended series of

observations” to ensure that the study is not false. As George & Bennett writes: “One of the difficult requirements of [this] design is that only one variable can change at the moment that divides the longitudinal case neatly in two.”12 This method can be extremely useful if it is

employed carefully and it is recommended that it should be accompanied by a process-tracing study. However, since railways develop over time, I will also investigate whether certain circumstances change during railway-building and railways are, as mentioned above, what I believe one of several mechanisms in developing democracy. By studying when trains were built and when the economic development started to go faster and regime types changed, I will determine the time order for the events.

Another alternative to Mill’s method of controlled comparison is the congruence method. This is a “within-case method of causal interpretation, which may include

congruence, process-tracing, or both, and which does not operate according to the structure or causal logic of experiments”.13 This method can be done in a single case study or for each of the cases in a comparative one and needs a theory behind it that predicts the outcome for certain conditions. “Depending on how developed a theory is, its predictions may be abundant and precise, or scarce and highly general.”14 Then you study the case(-s) and establish the dependent and independent variables and compare the results with the theory used and see if the predictions were right. “If the outcome of the dependent variable is consistent with the theory’s prediction, then the possibility of a causal relationship is strengthened.”15 With a joint

theoretical framework, each of the cases can be compared, despite the fact that a within-case analysis has been conducted on them separately.16 This method is a way to assess a theory’s ability to explain certain outcomes.

So, in sum: My theory is that railways promote democracy and is really made of two accompanied theories. 1. Railways affect democracy directly through non-economic circumstances and what I see most, though, is that trains affect economy and especially economic growth a lot. 2. Therefore, I will also use Lipset’s theory of how economic growth affects democracy. To investigate this, I will use a mix between the before-after research design and congruence method separately on each of the three cases and then compare and discuss the results in an analysis.



2.2. Choice of case study objects

I chose to compare Jordan with Sweden and Albania due to different reasons. First, they are classified as small nation-states which is what my study is about. To find a definition of a ‘small nation-state’ has been difficult. Nowadays, ‘small’ is often measured in population or GDP, but that is not relevant for my study. It is the geographical or territorial size of a country that matters for my study, since railroads exploit and bind land area. Different ideas of what to measure concerning small nation-states have been discussed by Maass (2009). Sweden has an area of around 450 300 km2.Jordan has an area of around 89 300 km2. Albania has an area of around 28 800 km2.17 Although they are very different in size, they are not large in size like

Russia, Canada, or Mongolia who have, in comparison, extremely large territories.

One finding that I consider peculiar when it comes to trains is that trains have, all over the world, almost always developed under some form of autocratic regime. One exception to this is the US.18 During railroad-development, Sweden, Albania, and Jordan have been classified as autocracies too, even though railroads have not been built during the same era. This is interesting to my study, because then the factor of time and era is not affecting the outcome but is isolated from it. Jordan is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy where the monarchy has a lot of power and therefore, I chose to compare Jordan to Sweden. Sweden was a constitutional monarchy during the first railroad-building wave, with the

Ståndsriksdag under the king (explained in the section The Case of Sweden) and

parliamentarism was introduced in 1917. Today Sweden is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. I want to see if time matters for the outcome and therefore have chosen to compare two small nation-states with similar regime types but during different times. I chose Albania with a different regime type to see if the regime type matters for the outcome. If it doesn’t, then railroad building is one step further to be proven to lead to

democracy. Albania was, during the building of railways a unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic and is today a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic.

Another important reason for why I chose to compare the three countries is that they have come differently far in the development of economics and infrastructure. As I will show in the result, the economic development seems to follow the development of railways. Of course, other factors that I do not account for in my study have been crucial, but

nevertheless it is interesting that Sweden has the most developed railway network and is a high-income country, Albania is in the middle with a more developed railway network than Jordan and is an upper-middle-income country and Jordan has the least developed railway network and is classified as a lower-middle-income country.

Another important factor to why I chose to compare Jordan with Albania is that Albania, like Jordan, used to be part of the Ottoman Empire19 and that Albania’s biggest religious group is Sunni Muslim20. Strategically, I chose Sweden because it has not been part

of the Ottoman Empire and that its biggest religious group is constituted by Protestant

17 CIA, The World Factbook, Country Comparison: Area 18 OWID, Index 1



Christians.21 This is a way to isolate the relation even further, to see if historical background and religion matters. In a latter section I will more thoroughly go through and discuss the cases of the three countries.

I believe that these cases are interesting from a general point of view and meaningful, varied, and a complement to extensive studies for the purpose of my study.22

There is not a big span of studies conducted about Jordan and Albania and Sweden have not been the most studied cases either.

3. Theory discussion

3.1. The Modernization Theory

Lipset’s theory can, like many theories and reasonings, be traced back to Aristotle and his thesis is that “democracy is related to the state of economic development” and “concretely this means that the more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.”23 Lipset argues, in accordance with Aristotle, that democracy is possible in a

wealthy society where only a small group of people live in real poverty, because then the people have the ability to participate in politics in an intelligent way. He means also that “a society divided between a large impoverished mass and a small favored elite would result either in oligarchy […] or in tyranny […].”24 Lipset emphasized that the theory is meant to be

probabilistic, not deterministic. This means that economic development is expected to raise the probability of a democratic regime in a country, not that it under all conditions and always will lead to democracy. Therefore, countries on a positive scale between economic

development and democracy do not place themselves on a straight line.25

In the article he measures the levels of various indices of economic development for different countries and classifies them as more or less democratic. He finds that the level of urbanization, wealth, education, and industrialization (who are interrelated and subsumed under one factor: economic development, which is politically correlated with democracy26) is much higher in the democratic countries than the non-democratic ones.27 Put differently, he shows us that democracies consistently are more economically developed than

non-democracies. Of course, as with everything else, there are exceptions to this. Especially now, 60 years after Lipset’s article was written, we see that some of the world’s biggest economies are in fact non-democratic. One example of this is China. Also, many scholars have argued for the reversed relation, that is that democracy underlie economic development. See North (1990), Olson (2000) and Bueno de Mesquita, (2001).

21 The Arda, National Profiles, Sweden 22 Teorell & Svensson, 2007, p.222 23 Lipset, 1959, p.75

24 Lipset, 1959, p.75

25 Oskarsson & Widmalm, 2014, p.34 26 Lipset, 1959, p.80



Lipset show us that his theory is in line with other scholars. Max Weber, he writes, argued that “modern democracy in its clearest forms can only occur under the unique conditions of capitalist industrialization.”28 Another example is that Harold J. Laski suggested

that “organized democracy is the product of urban life” and that the first effective democracy appeared in ancient Greece quite naturally.29

Lipset argues that economic development changes the class structure of the society by, inter alia, increased income and economic security for the workers. From this follows also bigger investments in higher education and a strengthening of the civil society. This permits, according to Lipset, “those in this status to develop longer time perspectives and more complex and gradualist views of politics.”30 He also argues that:

“Increased wealth is not only related causally to the development of democracy by changing the social conditions of the workers, but it also affects the political role of the middle class through changing the shape of the stratification structure so that it shifts from an elongated pyramid, with a large lower-class base, to a diamond with a growing middle-class. A large middle class plays a mitigating role in moderating conflict since it is able to reward moderate and democratic parties and penalize extremist groups.”31

This means that through these factors, the population will adopt democratic and tolerant norms and leave ideas characterized by non-democracy and extreme intolerance. These norms will be institutionalized and frame political cosmopolitanism.32 In a poor

country, Lipset argues, an efficient bureaucracy (which is a requirement for democracy) cannot be developed because of the likelihood of nepotism, whereas in a wealthy state politicians and civil servants will be chosen based on competence.33 This has been further discussed by Inglehart & Welzel (2009).

In my opinion, Lipset’s article is – in many ways – obsolescent. Of course, now Lipset’s article is more than 60 years old. One example of this is that he never once in his article mentions that there has been a struggle for women to access right to equal suffrage. He uses the term ”men” all along and seems to think that the society was democratic once men gained the right to vote. Personally, I think that he should have taken this into account. Several feminists have criticized the modernization theory as such because it does not mention women and argue that this follows the liberal assumption that the development has been linear, with women as part of an on average process.34 One famous critic of liberal and

modernization theory was Esther Boserup (1970). She meant that technology and urbanization do not liberate women, but rather puts even more power in the hands of men who already dominate the market.



It might seem uncurrent to use Lipset in a study of so-called ‘modern democracies’. Lipset refers to democracies being ‘modern’ in his article in the 1950s, but what do we call those established in the 21st century? Of course, ‘modern democracies’ is an

academic expression for the form of democracies that rose in the beginning of the 20th century with mass suffrage, freedom of expression and association, free and regular elections,

etcetera. This has been most famously discussed by Robert A. Dahl (1971).35 However, there are many incentives to discuss the currency of that expression for democracies rising today. Resnick (1997) warned that we should prepare ourselves for new forms of democracy in the 2000s; Zakaria (1997) talked about ‘the rise of illiberal democracies’. Rosanvallon (2008) discussed ‘counter-democracy’; Crouch (2004) talked about ‘post-democracy’; and Keane (2010) has suggested that the democracies we see today are ‘monitory democracies’, meaning that governments are persistently monitored by regulatory systems and apparatuses,

commissions and private and public agencies.

Furthermore, Lipset categorizes countries under different sections in his article and I do not agree with him when he puts Europe and English-speaking countries under the same category. I do not agree either with the category of Europe as such. I think that you cannot just vertically, like time-zones, categorize the countries, I think you have to look at the horizontal lines too. I suggest that South-Eastern Europe should either be an own category or that some of the countries there should be in the same category as the Middle East, inter alia since some of them, too, belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Another remark about his

categorization is that I cannot find Albania. I do not know if he counted Albania as part of Yugoslavia or as part of USSR, but Albania was in fact its own independent state when Lipset wrote his article and has never been part of Yugoslavia36, and was not part of the USSR but influenced by it during the beginning of the Cold War37. So, I do not know why he counted all

European states except Albania.

In a latter section I will discuss how the term democracy responds and relates to Jordan. Former scholars have argued that democracy cannot be defined in the same way in the Middle East as in the West. In fact, it might not even be desirable in the same way.Therefore, one might argue that Lipset’s theory is irrelevant for my study of Jordan since he refers to democracy in the West, but I have chosen to use Lipset’s theory anyway, since ’democracy’ is a concept coined in the West and I think that his theory is absolutely superior in explaining this important relation.

3.2. Railroads, economic development and democracy

Jedwab & Storeygard find strong correlations between transportation investments and

economic development “as well as more political factors including […] democracy.”38

Donaldson & Hornbeck demonstrates that trains underlie the development of agriculture and industries. They meant counties’ access to markets at a completely different level than did the country roads and therefore economic gain. This in turn affected the total population and

35 Skaaning, 2020



worker’s utility.39 The railways in the British countries connected the cattle farms and mines

with ports and promoted the transport of goods.40 Before railroads there was an immense poverty in the cities and the inhabitants developed several sicknesses owing to e.g. lack of access to fresh milk and fish. After the emergence of railroads, however, these circumstances changed.41

It is a cheap way to freight loads and the most effective and safe transport, since a train can carry tens of thousands of tons with shipping and still be controlled by only one person and with a lot less fuel than trucks. Trains have meant that people can reach their workplaces quickly and economically.42 Trains also synchronized the watches and the

countries. With the insertion of zone-time and the railway clock taking over, the Indianapolis Sentinel pitied that the sun can no longer decide when people eat, sleep or work 43 and before trains, newspapers and mail was transported by horse and did not reach everyone and not at the same time. It was also expensive, but with trains, it became cheap and daily newspapers were spread nationwide, which allowed for people to feel equally informed and involved simultaneously. 44

Railways bind nations together and secure the identity of vast nations. It also helps centralizing the power – once, one fifth of the world was ruled from the city Shimla in India. The purpose of the coast-to-coast railway in Australia was to bind the two coasts together, unite the country and cultivate a sense of nationhood. The trains populated remote places and put remote places on the map. As written in the introduction, it is quite paradoxical that trains are divided in classes. However, first class is not upper class and people from all social stratas mix with each other and get to see how others’ living conditions are.45

There is no doubt that the trains have been symbols for power, pride, and abundance. Because of that, railway stations have been called ‘modern cathedrals’ with the purpose to impress and mediate power. One country that spent a lot of money on grandiose and posh railway stations was the Soviet Union, and with one of the purposes to edify the masses.46 Railways have also meant the possibility to control large territories with small, mobile forces.47 Trains can promote military control, exploit natural resources and strengthen power. During the civil war in Soviet, the military chief commander – Lev Trotskij – spent almost all the time on an armored train. Accordingly, trains have been useful in wars. They

have been used as mass weapons, loaded with forces and guns.48

But, trains are also symbols of peace and unification (there are even so-called unification expresses), which is not strange since “[…] once the express started to run from



here to there, it became necessary for ‘here’ and ‘there’ to be on the same page.”49 This has been especially important when it comes to crossing borders. In India and Pakistan, for example, there is a train called the Friendexpress, or the Samjhauta Express. It is an express train but takes over four hours to travel 28 km, due to the formalities of crossing the border. India and Pakistan take turn running the train on a six-month rotation as an effort to be

friends.50 Another example of this type of train, though also meant to balance the power in the region, is the ‘New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula’, initiated by President Moon-Jae of South Korea. This is a plan developed in 2017 and the aim of the railway is to connect

South and North Korea to China, Russia and Europe.51 According to Anthony Lambert,

writer, “the importance of the Orient Express was that it was actually the first effort to create freedom to cross borders.”52 The Orient Express, like other trains, changed the nations

immensely. Undeveloped countries quickly modernized thanks to it.53

In step with the growth of transport systems, cities have grown. Suburbs e.g. evolve from railways. Railways underlie the success of many of the world’s cities and helped grow business and commerce districts, schools, industries and in fact many cities would not exist without them.54 According to Stuart Cole – Professor Emeritus of Transport Economy at the University of South Wales – Manhattan would not have developed into a financial center without them.55 In many places, the reconstruction of the railways has been used to bring new life to communities and economies through e.g. tourism and local trade.56

Jeremy Atack,, have shown that railroads have had a positive causal

impact on both a country’s extent of urbanization and rate of population density growth – both indicators of economic development.57 Xiao,, have made a nuanced study about

transportation disadvantage, which means lack of “physical accessibility to services and opportunities”, such as public transport/infrastructure, fresh food, education, medical care and employment, which obstruct people’s opportunity to participate in daily political and

socioeconomic life. These neighborhoods are usually in the outskirts and these groups suffer to a higher extent from being exposed to pollution and crime and consequently poorer health.58 It has been argued by scholars that these problems can be partially resolved through access to public transport.59 This is due to that transport accessibility is followed by many social consequences. Transportation access means access to and distance to get to work, school, shopping and convenience stores, cultural and religious centres, political and economic centres, home, etcetera.60



4. Framework

In sum: The more well-to-do a nation, the more democratic. Economic growth will lead to higher education, wealth, urbanization, industrialization and more effective bureaucracy. With bigger economy and higher income for workers, a big middle-class will evolve and they will have more equal chances to participate in politics. The civil society will grow stronger and will develop and adopt democratic and tolerant norms, which will be institutionalized.

Railroads underlie industrialization and the development of agriculture. They mean access to the market for many, which will spur production and economic growth and a more fair or balanced market. Trains are effective and cheap because they are fast, can be loaded with tens of thousands of tons of freight, bring thousands of passengers to work, and be controlled by one person. Railroads also bind, unite and synchronize nations and cities and helps cultivate national identities and a sense of nationhood. Owing to economic growth and accessibility, not only cities adjacent to the railways grow, but cities everywhere. They assemble industrial, commercial, economic, religious and political centres, spurring urbanization and population growth. This, however, can just as easy turn the other side around, since using trains is an easy strategy for military powers to control states and even conduct warfare.

To measure changes relevant for my study in each of the three countries I will collect data from different indexes. These are indexes of:

• Political regime (I will use two different ones, measured on an ordinal scale.) • GDP per capita

• Urban population

• Mean years of schooling

• Historical Index of Human Development

As far as possible, I will investigate how the situation looked like, in each of the studied cases, before, during, and after railroad building for each of the indexes. And to deepen and compliment the study, I will also collect information from reports and articles. Several of the measurements could only be studied this way, due to lack of proper indexes, or to the impossibility to cover certain complex circumstances in indexes. These are:

• When railway building took place • Regime type

• City growth

• Geospatial distribution of economics • Relocation of population and settings • Social stratification of society



As far as possible, these will also be reviewed before, during, and after railway building. I will also include two indexes measuring life satisfaction and one measuring trust in national government to give more nuance to my study and Freedom House’s democracy-percentage index.

5. Results

5.1. The case of Sweden

Sweden built the first railroad for passengers in 1849, firstly run by horses and with a

locomotive from 1856.61 However, the first railroad building ‘wave’ took place between 1855

and 1870.62 The nineteenth-century railroads constitute “the largest public infrastructure network in Swedish history”, and before the railways, Sweden was a “poor, rural and predominately agricultural setting”63 with small towns.64 In the late half of the 19th century,

Sweden’s urbanization rate went from 10% to 30%.65 Eli Heckscher said that there “is little

doubt that the revolution in transport was far more important than foreign trade policies”.66

Before railroads, infrastructure was constituted by small, unpaved roads, boats

and ships, and carts drawn by horses. This costed a fortune, so an investment in railways meant a lot for the economics, like in many parts of the world. As for Sweden, there is one important difference from Jordan and Albania: the long and snowy winters. Before railways, transport was confined to the summer and spring. As Berger & Enflo (2015) writes:

” Against this background, railroads radically altered the means of transport, offering year-round operation at higher speed and lower cost: freight rates were cut by three-fourths, passenger costs decreased by half and travel speeds increased tenfold […].

Importantly, whereas substandard transport had constrained industrialization and town growth, the emerging network allowed cheap transportation of basic necessities to urban dwellers and raw materials to manufacturers, effectively reducing the barriers to urban expansion.”67

In 2016, Sweden had a reported railway length of 14 127 km.68

Between 1855 and 1870, the population rate in cities connected to the railway network increased by 27%.69 There were little changes in urban growth before railways.70 It seems though, that reorganization of towns was more important than population growth. This means that rural inhabitants migrated to urban places. Hence, towns that were not connected

61 Harrison, 2014

62 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.124 63 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.124 64 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.125 65 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.126 66 Heckscher, 1954, p.240 67 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.126

68 CIA, The World Factbook, Europe: Sweden 69 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.131



per se by the railway network, also were affected largely by it. This led to “growth in towns everywhere”.71 The access to railways have led to “specialization in tradeable sectors, which in turn may have provided the basis for sustained growth.” 72According to Berger & Enflo, the

railways reshaped the geographical distribution of economic activity and path dependence has characterized the development of railway-connected towns in Sweden.73. From 1950 the share

of population living in urban areas went from around 66% to 87% in 2016.74

Before railroads, Sweden was an autocracy constituted by the monarchy and the

Ståndsriksdag or Riksdag of the Estates. The Ståndsriksdag involved the nobility, clergy,

burghers, and peasants and they held meetings and voted, but stood under the king. In 1855 the political regime changed from being an autocracy to a closed anocracy. In 1910 it changed again to be an open anocracy, scoring 1 on the Polity IV scale from the Center for Systemic Peace and in 1914 a democracy, scoring 6. The scale goes from -20 to 10, where 10 is full democracy. Sweden reached the score 10 in 1917.75 According to another regime

classification dataset (the V-Dem [Country-Year/Country-Date] Dataset v9) however, Sweden was up until 1917 a closed autocracy, then an electoral autocracy up until 1922, when it qualified as liberal democracy and have been since.76 Also Freedom House says that Sweden

is a 100% democracy.77 For my study both of them show, although change of regime type and

economic development are due to many reasons, that it coincides with both the development of the railway network and economy. Today, Sweden is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. In 2018 in Sweden, there was 65.63% of trust in the national government78 and the

life satisfaction of the population on a scale from 0-10, where 10 is the best, was on a level of

7.37 according to the World Happiness Report 2019.79 According to the World Value Survey

however, 95.26% of the population said that they are ‘rather or very happy’ in 2014.80 Before railroads, Sweden’s social stratification was constituted by the king, nobility, clergy, and rich farmers as upper class. Then there were teachers, regular farmers and peasants as lower class. Even lower, were the ones who did not own their own land but worked for landowners. Due to the industrialization, many farmers moved into the cities and started working in industries. (This led to growing cities.) Due to this, wealthy entrepreneurs and traders started to take over as the new power elite, whereas the king’s and the nobility’s power decreased. Also, the changed economic situation, with wage labor and money

economy, led to even better economy. This led to a bigger gap between the poor and the rich and a bigger working class, who started to gather the workers in trade unions and politically in the Labor Movement, demanding better living and working standards. Also, the state gained more power and started to increase its control and saw its responsibility to improve the living

71 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.132 72 Berger & Enflo, 2015, p.135 73 Berger & Enflo, 2015

74 Our World in Data, from now on abbreviated OWID, Index 4 75 OWID, Index 1

76 OWID, Index 2

77 Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2020, Sweden 78 OWID, Index 9



situation for people. This led to the normalization of school attendance and later universal suffrage in 1919.81

The decade around 1870 meant the breakthrough for capitalistic production in

Sweden.82 The GDP per capita was around $900-1000 before railway-development and

started to increase steadily during and after the first railway-building wave. However, it increased faster after 1900 and even faster after 1920. This can support the theory that

economic development follows democracy but can also be a result of economic development and democracy coming about closely after each other. The first higher peak on the chart for GDP-development after railway-building occurred in 1916 with $3205 in 1990 prices. In 2010 this number had increased to $25 306.83 Counted in 2011 prices though, the GDP per capita is

today $44 371.84 According to the UN, Sweden is a high-income country.85

In 1870, the mean years of schooling in Sweden was around 3-4 years. From this year the average level steadily rose until the 1970s when the graph rose more

significantly. In 2017, the level was 12.40 years. 86 In 1842, an elementary education statute

was launched in Sweden. From 1850 to 1950 the number of students doubled, and the number of teachers rose from 3500 to 27 500. From 1874 to 1942 the expenditures on schooling rose from 14 to 268 million Swedish crowns (counted in the money value of 1942).87 The

Historical Index of Human Development is an index measuring four characteristics of human development. These are GDP per capita, literacy, educational enrolment and life expectancy. This index can assume values from 0-1. In 1870 Sweden was on a level of 0.22, in 1925 it was 0.35 and in 2015 it was 0.86.88

Table 1. SWEDEN FIRST HALF OF 1800’S 1855 1870 1900 1910 1914 1917 1920 1922 1925 TODAY***

RAILWAY-BUILDING Start* End* GDP/CAP. IN 1990 PRICES $900 $1122 $1345 $2083 $2543 $2935 $3054 $25 306 SCHOOL 3.51 years 4.44 years 4.61 years 12.40 years HIHD 0.22 0.35 0.86 URBAN. 86.85%

POLITY IV Autocracy Closed



*= the first railway-building period **= Sweden was an autocracy before this too, but this was as far back as the index reached. ***= the latest year on the index, all of them after 2010

5.2. The case of Albania

Albania’s first standard-gauge public railway was built in 1947, which in comparison was very late. Enver Hoxha and his totalitarian regime, that ruled Albania from the end of World War II to 1990, invested in the railway development, which peaked in 1990. This was an exception among the Balkans, since the development in the other countries declined during the Cold War.

In the communist-controlled states, such as Albania was during the time of railway development, the development did not decline until decades later. This was due to “continued public use of the railway sector, increasing trade, industrial activity, and the relative underdevelopment of the private transport sector in these countries.”89 The first connection to another country was established in 1980 with Yugoslavia and cut off in 1992 due to the war in Bosnia & Hercegovina. 90 After 1990 a decline in the railway network

started in Albania. This is believed to be due to the collapse of Enver Hoxha’s regime who prohibited, to some extent, private transport during railway-building. An increase in car ownership and bus usage followed. However, the decline was not in length of tracks, but in passenger and freight transport. In 2015, Albania had a reported railway length of 477 km of major railway lines and 230 km of secondary lines91 of which about 460 km are being used.92

According to Derek R. Hall, the railway building program from 1945 and onwards, had at least two important socio-political consequences. Firstly, it meant massive employment of the big young population at the time,93 first voluntarily and then, though, through oppression94. Secondly, it brought youngsters together from all around the country which provided inter-regional marriage and eliminated the borders between the regions and blurred out the strong regional loyalties.95 The railway construction in Balkan overall “was

one of the key factors that shaped political and economic development” in the region during this period.96Today new plans lie ahead for Albania in building new railway lines.

Albania has a past of colonization. It was part of the Ottoman empire until 1912, when it declared its independency.97 After independency Albania was first an authoritarian, constitutional monarchy and then a protectorate under Italy but with the constitutional

monarchy until the liberation movement and following Communist rule after World War II. In 1914, Albania scored -2 on the Polity IV- scale and therefore was categorized as a closed anocracy. In 1925, the score sunk to -9 and Albania became an autocracy. After that, Albania went up and down from being an autocracy to a closed anocracy until 1990, when it scored a

89 Stanev,, 2017, p.1619 90 Stanev,, 2017, p.1621

91 CIA, The World Factbook, Europe: Albania 92 Unece, Albanian Railway Main Project, 2018 93 Hall, 1984, p.264

94 Dalakoglou, 2012, p.580 95 Hall, 1984, p.264

96 Stanev,, 2017, p.1602



positive 1 meaning an open anocracy and in 2002 a score of 7 indicating a democracy.98 According to the V-Dem Dataset v9 index, Albania became an electoral democracy in 2004 and a liberal democracy in 2013.99 According to Freedom House, Albania is a transitional or

hybrid regime with 47% democracy,100 however, with “lack of effective state and

institutions”101. Today, the state regime of Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional

republic. In 2018, there was 46.44% of trust in the national government102 and the life

satisfaction of the population was on a level of 5 on a scale from 0-10 according to the World

Happiness Report 2019.103 According to the World Value Survey however, 58.80% of the

population said that they were ‘rather or very happy’ in 2004.104

Before the railroads in Albania, the GDP per capita was on average $900-1000. From 1950 to 1990 the value rose from $1000 to almost $2500. In the 1990s an economic dip occurred, but the economy started immediately to grow again and in 2010, this value was almost $5400 in 1990 prices.105 In 2011 prices though, the GDP per capita was in 2016 $11 285. In 1950 the share of population living in urban areas in Albania was 20.53% and in 2016 it was 58.42%.106 According to the UN, Albania is an upper-middle-income country.107

Before the first railroad in Albania, the mean years of schooling was between 0 and 1 years. Between 1935 and 1945 however, we can see that the curve started to go upwards and from 1945 to 1990 the average level of years of schooling in Albania went from 1.28 to 7.83 years. In 2017, the level was on 10 years.108 The Historical Index for Human

Development was in 1938 for Albania 0.12. In 1950 this value was 0.23, in 1990 it was 0.39 and in 2015 it was 0.59.109

Before the railroads in Albania, the lower class was constituted by peasants, who comprised more than 80% of the population, and workers. The upper class was small and constituted by people in trade and commerce, intellectuals including higher clergy, and

professional people.110 With the introduction of Communist rule in the 1940s in Albania, all

privileges and ranks were abolished and the people were regarded equal, aside from the

intelligentsia who were important for the Communist development. These included the party

leadership and other people with high positions in the state. The introduction of agrarian reforms meant good-bye to feudal landlords and a collectivization of farmers. The state took control over national trade and gained monopoly on foreign trade. Then rapid industrialization followed, creating a “substantial working class”. In 1985, this working class constituted 47%

98 OWID, Index 1 99 OWID, Index 2



of the population, and was almost only peasants. 111 In 1990, workers and youngsters revolted against the regime and then many of them migrated to Greece and Italy, leading to a big lack of labourers in Albania.112 The regime changed. Officially though, Albania established

universal suffrage in 1920.113

In the post-communist period, people in the rural areas migrated to the cities in search for improved living conditions. As in Sweden, the gap between rich and poor was evident.114 The cities grew immensely, with commerce and socio-economical centres, concentrating economics and politics to them.115

Table 2. ALBANIA BEFORE INDE-PENDECNY 1914 1925 1938 1945 1947 1950 1990 2002 2004 2013 TODAY* *


GDP/CAP. IN 1990 PRICES $900 $1000 $2500 $5500 SCHOOL 0-1 years 1.28 years 7.38 years 10 years HIHD 0.12 0.23 0.39 0.59 URBAN. 20.53% 58.42%

POLITY IV Colony Closed anocracy Autocracy Open anocracy Democracy V-DEM. Closed autocracy Electoral autocracy Electoral democracy Liber al demo cracy *= the first railway-building period in the independent state **= the latest year on the index, all of them after 2015

5.3. The case of Jordan

The first railroad in Jordan was the Hejaz-railway. The construction of it started in 1900 and it went from Damascus to Medina. The purposes of it was to help pilgrims to get to Mecca during al-Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage. It was also to help the Turkish military to strengthen their power in the area and increase taxation and trade. However, during the Arab revolt that started in 1916, the British general T.E. Lawrence and Arabic nationalists expelled the Turkish from Arabia and then destroyed parts of the railroad to impede reinforcements from Turkey. This was a strategic move, only meant to destroy parts of the line so that it could be

111 Zickel & Iwaskiw, 1994 112 Dalakoglou, 2012, p.580

113 Women In Politics, Women’s Suffrage 114 Gurashi, 2017, p.9



used again. In 1963 restoration work of the railway line began, but the Six-Day War was a huge setback for the restoration process. The work has not been resumed.116

Of course, during this time Jordan was still a part of the Ottoman Empire. Then it was a British mandate. Jordan became an independent state in 1946. In 1975 a railway line of 115 km between Ma’an and Aqaba opened to freight phosphate. This is a part of the old Hejaz-line, which is leased by Aqaba Railway Corporation.117 Phosphate is a main source of national income for Jordan, and therefore, an economic transport system was necessary.118

A part of the Hejaz-line was used between Amman and Damascus up until 2006 to carry passengers and freight with the help of steam trains. After that it was restored and used from Amman to Dar’a as a weekly service. Due to the war in Syria there are no cross-border services today, but a diesel train on a 35 km line from Amman to Al-Jizah in Jordan for tourism.119

Many new project plans for railroads in Jordan are released and aim at promoting accessibility, mobility, market integration, economic growth, urban growth, job creation, sustainable and environmental transports, public safety, stimulating local economies, connect neighbouring countries, reduce trade costs and stop traffic congestion and fatalities. There is a high rate of private car ownership in Jordan and traffic congestion is a big

problem.120121122 A tram-system is planned for Amman123, the Aqaba-Ma’an railway will be developed124, overall railways are planned125, a North-South corridor between Syria and

Aqaba is planned126, a developed freight network through Jordan is also planned linking

Jordan with China and Europe127.

Before railroads in Jordan, the mean years of schooling was 0. From 1905 however, it started to slowly increase and in 1970 the mean years of schooling was around 2-3 years. From 1975 though, the mean years of schooling increased drastically and in 1995 it was around 9 years and in 2017, slightly over 10 years.128 The Historical Index of Human

Development has steadily increased in Jordan from the 1950s and did not increase faster from 1975. The level in 1975 was on 0.30 and in 2015 it was 0.52.129

Jordan’s economy has been going up and down, but before 1975 the average GDP per capita was around $2300, but from 1975 to 2010 the GDP per capita rose from

116 HTCTW; Episode 5 117 Railway Gazette, ARC 118 Aqaba Railway Corporation 119 Williams, Railways in Jordan 120 Vidal, 2020 121 Ministry of Environment, 2017 122 Harake, 2019 123 Vidal, 2020 124 Railway Gazette, 2019 125 Ministry of Environment, 2017 126 Union for the Mediterranean 127 Railway Pro, 2020



$2583 to $5647, measured in 1990 prices. In 2010 prices however, the GDP per capita is today $11 748. According to the UN, Jordan is a lower-middle-income country.130 In 1950, 37% of the population in Jordan lived in urban areas, in 1970 over 55% did, and in 2016 this share had increased to just about over 90%.131

Before railways, nomadism, tribalism and agriculture was the structure and setting in Jordan. With railways other types of work emerged. Also, the literacy rate

increased, since the mean years of schooling did. In Jordan, education came to be seen as “the key to social mobility” in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The social stratification in Jordan resembled a pyramid with a small upper-class, comprised of the monarchy and landowners, etcetera, and a big lower class, constituted by small shopkeepers, unemployed and artisans,132 which

occupied more than 80% of the population.133 With a higher degree of education, economic changes, industrialization, growing technical industry, higher degree of administration in the industrial sector, public services, and growing need for labourers overall due to expansion of all sectors, a middle class with higher influence grew. 134 In 2008, the social stratification

looked like this: 13% of the population lived in poverty, 38% were below middle-class, 41% were middle-class and 8% were upper class. This is, though, a topic of discussion.135

Jordan was, since independency, autocratic up until 1988, when it changed to be a closed anocracy, meaning one step closer to becoming a democracy according to the Polity IV data.136 According to the V-Dem Dataset v9 however, Jordan is a closed autocracy.137 According to Freedom House, Jordan is partly free, with 37% democracy.138 Jordan officially

established universal suffrage from 1974.139 5.3.1. Democracy and Jordan

However, when it comes to democracy, Jordan is a special case. In Sweden and Albania, we can see that the middle-class changed the social conditions, questioning the government. In Jordan, most socio-political and economic changes have been initiated by the state140, which

makes it a gift from the state and not a right issued by the people.141 In 2011 during the Arab spring however, the people (the middle class with cosmopolitan aspirations142) demonstrated against government corruption and high taxes and called for more jobs and greater

democracy. These demonstrations were mostly peaceful and did not hit Jordan so hard as other Arab countries,143 due to lack of anti-regime and revolutionary ideas and wills 144. There

130 UN, 2019, p.xvi-xvii 131 OWID, Index 4 132 Metz, 1989 133 Qutub, 1970, p.116 134 Qutub, 1970 135 Ababsa, 2013 136 OWID, Index 1 137 OWID, Index 2

138 Freedom House, Freedom in the world 2020, Jordan 139 Women In Politics, Women’s Suffrage



have been some changes in form of political reforms since this, although “underwhelming”. Youth activists still operate today, with targeted single-issue campaigns and future-focused endeavours, but with less pressure due to fear of instability.145

Jordan is also different in that it does not have Western-like class structures due to both the culture and the strong influence of the religion. Albania’s biggest religion is also Islam, but the religion is more separated from the government there. Due to these conditions, the political parties in Jordan are broad-based and lacks influence “in the political behavior of citizens”.146

Abu Jaber writes also that democratization should not be defined in the same way in Jordan as in the West and instead respect for human rights and genuine attempts to “increase the process of participation” should be considered. Jordan has been “in the eye of” the Palestine question and the Arab-Israeli conflict so “considering the confluence of internal pressure for development and external challenges, it had to steer a slow but sustained course toward democracy.”147 In Jordan, there is also a big support for the Hashemite rule. This can

be read about in King Hussein’s autobiography Uneasy Lies the Head from 1962 and in Moraiwed Tell (2013). The Hashemite leadership is characterized by patience and

pragmatism, according to Abu Jaber, and has allowed opposition movements to survive and stand for elections with candidates and has kept dialogues with them.148 Abu Jaber explains the conditions like this:

“In the Western industrialized countries, the institutional structures, the procedures, and the spirit of a democratic system based on a venerated living constitution have become a fact of life. Although personalities are important, it is the constitutional set-up that is the final arbiter in the process of decision-making in public life. The situation is different in the Arab world, where the personalization of power reigns supreme. Often a country is identified with the ruler, rather than the other way around.”149

There was 58.9% of trust in the national government in 2018 in Jordan150 and

the life satisfaction of the population was on a level of 4.64 on a scale from 0-10 according to

the World Happiness Report 2019.151 According to the World Value Survey however, 85.75%

of the population said that they are ‘rather or very happy’ in 2014.152

There are many non-governmental and civil society organizations in Jordan.153

These have been encouraged by scholars and policymakers in a hope to promote democratic reform. However, they have little influence due to two main reasons. 1: The regime’s

restrictions on such organizations, and 2: The internal weakness in the organizations, such as;



lack of planning, unqualified staff, short sightedness, and weak administrative frames. This depends on the weak opposition in Jordan.154 Nevertheless, the “recent empirical growth of civil society in the region seems to add further credence to the potential for democratic change.”155 According to Abu Jaber:

“Institutionalization may take a long time. […] We have to remember that [Jordan was] catapulted into the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries from [a society] not vastly different from those of the Middle Ages, and [it is] now attempting to achieve in one or two generations the political, economic, and cultural revolutions that took centuries to achieve in Europe and the West as a whole.”156

Table 3. JORDAN 1900 1905 1916 1946 1950 1970 1975 1988 1995 2005 2008 TODAY*** RAILWAY-BUILDING Start* Destroyed* Start** GDP/CAP. IN 1990 PRICES $1663 $2583 $5647 SCHOOL 0 years 0.03 years 0.77 years 2.25 years 2.77 years 9 years 10.40 years HIHD 0.30 0.52 URBAN. 55.63% 90.51%

POLITY IV Colony Autocracy Closed


V-DEM. Closed


*= the first railway-building period, however in colony. However, as written in the text, a small branch of this line has been in use up until today. **= This is the first railroad built in independent Jordan and is developing ***= the latest year on the index, all of them after 2010

6. Analysis and Discussion

What I can see is that railroads have meant a lot in all three of the cases. Even though railroads have not had the chance to affect as much in Jordan, considerable changes can still be seen. Like in Sweden and Albania railroads seem to have spurred the industrial and economic development in Jordan considerably and changed the structure and setting from being agricultural and rural to being more urbanized, just like the theory predicted. However, since Jordan does not have a big railway network, geospatial change can be due to other reasons. I suggest a future study that conducts process tracing on the matter. With the trains and modernization, the mean years of schooling increased fast and immensely in Jordan and



Albania and much but slower in Sweden. The Historical Index for Human Development rose in all three cases after railway-building, however over a long time, which makes it hard for me to say that it would depend solely on the railways, even though I believe that they indirectly affected it through spurring the dimensions it measures.

Lipset wrote that the more well-to-do a nation, the more democratic it will be. With economic change, a big middle-class and stronger civil society with democratic and tolerant norms will evolve. In Albania and Sweden, the economic growth, schooling, new types of jobs, urbanization, etcetera, led to the development of a big middle class, which organized itself and revolted against the regime which changed in both cases. In Jordan, the middle class has grown over a long time and is still growing. There were demonstrations in Jordan during the Arab Spring in 2011, but they were not largely characterized by anti-regime ideas as such. However, political changes have been made in Jordan too. So, in Sweden and Albania this led to democracy and in Jordan changes are happening now, due to more cosmopolitan ideas and aspirations among the people. This is in accordance with the theory. The difference between the countries here is that the revolts led to universal suffrage in Sweden, whereas in Jordan and Albania universal suffrage was already officially established since long before. Further studies about what this means should be conducted in my opinion.

According to the Polity IV data, Sweden was a democracy in 1914 and scored full democracy in 1917. Lipset might have agreed to this since he did not either consider women’s suffrage, but I agree with the V-Dem dataset, since they counted Sweden as a liberal democracy in 1922. I have used both datasets however, to get a more nuanced study. Albania was considered liberal democracy in 2013 and Jordan is a closed autocracy according to the V-Dem dataset. The fact that economic development increased steadily after the railway-building and was followed by the entrance of democracy in Sweden and Albania and changes in democratic direction in Jordan, whatever other reasons for it, supports my theory.

As for Albania and Jordan, they were already to some degree democratized before building railways. Therefore, one might wonder whether Lipset’s theory really is accurate to use here. But according to Elgström & Hyden Lipset’s study “was confined to countries that had already enjoyed some degree of democracy”, and despite this, “his initial conclusion […] has largely stood the test even when additional countries have been included in subsequent studies.”157 Therefore, Lipset’s theory has been, perhaps, even better for my


Comparing Albania and Jordan, I can see that the population in Jordan is happier. This can be because of that the trust in the national government in Jordan is higher than in Albania. According to the other index however, they are approximately equal in happiness. I do not know why the trust for the government is lower in Albania, and it is really not what I have studied in my thesis, but according to Lipset;

“Tocqueville gave a graphic description of the first general type of loss of legitimacy, referring mainly to countries which had moved from aristocratic monarchies to



democratic republics: “… epochs sometimes occur in the life of a nation when the old customs of a people are changed, public morality is destroyed, religious belief shaken, and the spell of tradition broken…” The citizens then have “neither the instinctive patriotism of a monarchy nor the reflecting patriotism of a republic;... they have stopped between the two in the midst of confusion and distress.”158

The Before-after research design has been favourable, but I have, however, found it necessary to stretch the rules of it, as mentioned in the method section. I studied changes also during the time of the changing factor, since railways do not just pop up in the blink of an eye, but rather develop during a longer period. The Congruence Method has been a good compliment and a necessary one, since my goal was to test a theory. George & Bennett wrote: “Depending on how developed a theory is, its predictions may be abundant and

precise, or scarce and highly general.” Since my theory is constituted by a concoction of different nuanced theories of how railways affect different socio-economic and political dimensions along with Lipset’s theory, which is well developed, tested, and famously known for its nuance, I believe that my theory can predict the outcome for countries building

railways well. Also, I have isolated and controlled for different relations and factors in my study and shown that era, political regime and religion do not affect the outcome much.

Given this and changes already occurred in Jordan, I believe that the

development in Jordan will resemble that in Sweden and Albania in many ways, although not entirely. Jordan is, as we have seen, a special case. According to Abu Jaber, democracy cannot be defined the same way in Jordan as in the West and Jordan is an autocracy with few democratic characteristics. Still, the national government and the monarchy enjoy a high degree of support and the population is very happy and satisfied. This can depend on the congruence between Islam and the ruling in Jordan. According to Lipset, groups “will regard a political system as legitimate or illegitimate according to the way in which its values fit in with their primary values.”159 And:

“A crisis of legitimacy is a crisis of change […]. It may be hypothesized that crises of legitimacy occur during a transition to a new social structure, if the status of major conservative institutions is threatened during the period of structural change.”160

In Sweden, the royal operation has continued alongside democracy. If changes do not threaten the status of conservative groups “even though they lose most of their power”, democracy gains more legitimacy, since the preservation of monarchy means that

traditionalists accept democratization, which in turn means that the lower strata accepts the regime, according to Lipset. Perhaps, Jordan will reach a similar state, or at least continue to develop democratic institutions. “Where monarchy was overthrown by revolution, [however,] those forces aligned with monarchy have sometimes continued to refuse legitimacy to

republican successors down to the fifth generation or more.”161, according to Lipset. This

might explain Albania’s lower trust in the national government.




Related subjects :