Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doubting Democracy

What about the argument that economic development, at least in its early stages, is best pursued under a benign despot? Lee Kuan Yew, an ex-prime minister of Singapore, once asserted that democracy leads to “disorderly conduct”, disrupting material progress. But there is no evidence that autocracies, on average, grow faster than democracies. For every economically successful East Asian (former) autocracy like Taiwan or South Korea, there is an Egypt or a Cameroon (or indeed a North Korea or a Myanmar) which is both harsh and sluggish.

Democracy's decline: Crying for freedom | The Economist

It is too easy to compare Kuwait to neighboring countries and attribute their glittering development - even though the glitter is lost lately- to lack of democracy. This is a dangerous argument and the reversal of the relative democracy is a major reversal in development.

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