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POLSCI 1G06 (280)
Todd Alway (280)

Political Science 1G06

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Political Science
Todd Alway

Political Science 1G06 2012 Lecture 11b: Consequentialist defenses of non-Liberal-Democratic Regimes - Does Regime type matter for economic development? - Is economic development more likely under a Democratic or an Authoritarian government? - Until a short time ago, one common belief was that Authoritarian governments were more capable of achieving rapid economic development than democratic governments - There was, in the words of one political scientist, a "cruel choice between rapid (self-sustained) expansion and democratic processes" (Bhagwati) - This belief had political, empirical, and theoretical facets Politically: - Western Governments (including the U.S.) lent support to some Authoritarian regimes (provided they were not communist) in the belief that authoritarianism might be necessary for economic development - Authoritarianism would promote economic development which in turn would promote democracy Empirically: th - Throughout the 20 century, some of the most dramatic growth stories have come out of authoritarian states o Soviet Union o 1950s – Romania o Late 1960s Brazil o 1980s – today China - The comparison between China and Russia in the 1990s is taken by some as illustrative of the positive effects that can be produced by authoritarian leadership - Russia entered the 1990s with free markets and democratic government o Its economy collapsed over the course of the decade - China entered the 1990s with an increasingly liberalized economy and tight political control (authoritarian government) o Its economy has grown by an average of 10%/year - The overall statistical record is mixed, with authoritarian states correlating with higher economic growth in certain periods of time, but not at others - Theoretical Defense - There are three primary reasons given in the literature for why authoritarian government and economic development might be positively correlated - 1. Economic development requires a high level of investment - According to some economic models, growth is caused by investment - It is only through investment that productivity can be enhanced, that more can be produced using the same inputs of labour - There are two sources of investment: - A. The capital can be Borrowed from abroad - But this creates the possibility of entrenched debt - B. The capital can come from domestic savings - If you can increase the savings rate in a less developed country you will provide a corresponding increase in the supply of investment capital - Other things being equal this will increase long-term economic growth - The political problem is this: to raise savings you must lower consumption - But how do you reduce consumption in a less developed country?
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