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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Democracy, dictatorship and development

Rudy Rummel brings up some 1997 research about democracy, dictatorship and development. Specifically what role does development play in bringing about democracy/ending dictatorship. Typically it seems to be considered a democracy will emerge as a nation under dictatorship develops. The conclusion of the report is a bit different than might be expected
The emergence of democracy is not a by-product of economic development. Democracy is or is not established by political actors pursuing their goals, and it can be initiated at any level of development. Only once it is established do economic constraints play a role: the chances for the survival of democracy are greater when the country is richer. Yet even the current wealth of a country is not decisive: democracy is more likely to survive in a growing economy with less than $1,000 per capita income than in a country with an income between $1,000 and $2,000 that declines economically. If they succeed in generating development, democracies can survive even in the poorest nations.
Mr Rummel then looks at three recent cases and concludes that, contrary to many opinions, China has probably become too wealthy to throw off the totalitarian state short of a crisis, Afghanistan with its fledgling democracy and high growth stands a good chance of not collapsing while Iraq has very high growth and reconstruction has brought things like electricity generation significantly beyond prewar levels (when demand outstripped supply and retarded development) so if democratization succeeds it stands a good chance. Worth a read if you have the time.
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Posted by Chefen | 9/01/2005 07:07:00 am


Blogger fm said...

If you want a really good article on the political situation in China, and one that demonstrates that there are some tangible possibilities for democracy, read "The Road Obscured" by Mark Leonard. It was in the FT a month or so ago. It still should be available online.

This link should take you do it (I hope):


Some of the best analysis I've seen.

9/01/2005 05:06:00 pm  

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