Whether liberal democracy, illiberal democracy or authoritarian rule is the best route to economic development for low income countries
Democracy and economic development are two concepts that were not related initially, however, with the rise of democracies and the subsequent economic development there is an established correlation between the two concepts. The question that this paper will seek to address is “which is the best regime for economic development”. In responding tothis question it is significant to first distinguish between the different regimes that are available; liberal democracy, illiberal democracy and authoritarianism. ...view middle of the document...
An authoritarian rule has a basis of legitimacy, often the identification of the rule as necessary to combat societal problems. Additionally, an authoritarian rule does have neither an extensive nor an intensive process of political mobilization and has an executive power that is vague. An authoritarian rule, therefore, favors the concentration of power on one individual who is not constitutionally accountable to the citizens and individual freedom is secondary to the state authority (Oforiwaa 2014).
An illiberal democracy, on the other hand, is a form of government, which is characterized by partial democracy. Partial democracy in this sense denotes that although elections are conducted to elect representatives, citizens are disconnected from knowledge of the activities of the people who exercise power due to the lack of civil liberties. An illiberal democracy, therefore, is an intermediate between a democratic and a non-democratic society. An illiberal democracy can arise in a situation where there is a constitution that limits the powers of the government, but ignores civil liberties or where a sufficient legal framework of liberties is not available (Makdisi & Elbadawi 2011).
In analyzing economic development it is imperative to look beyond the restrictive and narrow approach that focuses on economic and financial factors. Economic development should, however, be viewed from a multidimensional approach that includes a whole range of social, economic and cultural factors. Economic development should be focused on sustainable human development and takes into account all factors that support individual fulfillment. The broader concepts of economic development involve a number of dimensions which are reflected by a growth in the society's productive capacity, improved quality of life, distribution of wealth, improved access to basic facilities, sustainable use of the environment and improved gender equity. Among factors that affect economic development are the environment, social justice, education and democracy (Shihata 1997).
Economic development and democracy
The connection between democracy and developments has been manifested in many economies since the end of the Second World War. The idea is that there is a centrality between the mode of government and the economy. The economy is a sub structure of society and this substructure determines the overall structure of the society, including politics. Democracy is primary in economic development as it is a facilitator of economic development. Democracy provides the basic foundation for economic development and values such as the, freedom of speech, rule of law, freedom of association, separation of powers and protection of human rights provide an institutional setting and process for economic development. Democracy facilitates economic liberation, provides mobilization of resources and provides a better environment for economic development (Gerring, Thacker & Alfaro 2012). ...