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Competitive Advantage of Authoritarian Regimes vs. Democratic Regimes

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Political Science
Lynette Ong

Ernie Tam 2011-09-29 Lecture #3-Competetive advantage of Authoritarian regimes vs. democratic regimes Big themes • Revival of authoritarian regimes. • Democracies and the challenges of democratic consolidation to have hybrid regimes. • Strength of authoritarian regimes. o What are the advantages theoretical and practical of democracy? • Moral attractiveness of democratic ideas • What are the practical advantages of authoritarian regimes GOVERNANCE and governability and what regimes can deliver to citizens? Are there hybrid regimes? Are they stable? • One article argues that democracy is a byproduct of a global system struggle and the United States somehow won this struggle. This led to the spread of democratic ideals. • Emergence of China has created a second alternative. • Japan had great potential to become a democracy and there was great pressure to have democratic reforms but was suppressed by the military. o Had a natural indigenous foundation that later turned out to be one of the rare transplantations of democratic institutions. Authoritarianism • From the postwar era, the efforts to assist in suppressing the rural rebellion in Philippines and the Malaysian country, Vietnam , Korea, which then led to the defeat of the US in Vietnam. (discomfort by US to establish its own democracy in these countries) • Critical role in the US in providing overarching security for Asia. The irony is that the US lost the battle but ultimately won the war. (triumph of markets in the Asian market and eliminated the struggle of the US) • Rationalization of the embracement of dictators was underpinned by writings of former US ambassador, Patrick, who developed the policy or justification for embracing dictators. o Best alternative to totalitarian dictators. o As predatory and corrupt they are, at least they are susceptible to change.  Bought and compelled to change. • You support soft authoritarian regime because they are better than the next authoritarian regime. (which is totalitarian) Ernie Tam 2011-09-29 • All authoritarian regimes crumbled in the 1980s and 1990s. US intervention and military dictatorships in Brazil, communicst Bloc in Taiwan etc… o Triumph of democracy celebrated by Fukyama as the victory of democracy • Democracy had a win by default? Authoritarian survival or revival? • Development growth and political order: • “The stigma of failure marks tyranny. Dictatorship has failed to deliver on efficiency; especially soviet Union.” (address by prominent political scientists) • Widespread belief of the fragility of dictatorship is the byproduct of an earlier era when authoritarian regimes were seen as a SOLUTION. Impact of Regimes vs. democracy • In terms of growth, and different characteristics. • Which regime type is better in ensuring human happiness and prosperity? • Dictatorship appeals to poorer people as an agent of modernity and their appeals to loyalty; they were uniquely different in the sense that they were the answer to bring prestige and prosperity. o Communist Romania was very prosperous. o Economic tigers of 1980s: Singapore, Taiwan • Rapid economic growth by these authoritarian regimes brings doubt to democracies. These regimes are able to lift the poor out of their current conditions. • Democracy was a luxury that could not be afforded because it would obstruct the critical task of mobilizing resources for development. (This Is the alternative belief when authoritarian regimes are in place) • If you take all the dictatorships and democracies and you define them, there is a remarkable intelligent way to discriminated between what are real democracies and real dictatorships. o Worst and best performing countries have been dictatorships o It is impossible to particularly argue for the merits of either democracy or dictatorships in terms of economic development. • Advantage of democracy: gives citizens a sense of power, participatio
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