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Development Must Come First Before Democracy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2030 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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As time goes by, in the 21st century, the world concept about politics has changed. After the Second World War also the post-cold war, all of the states start to focus on their economic. This is the result of creating Economic policy, because the policy is important to their economic development. In addition, as the result from Wars during the colonial period, some countries did not have any resources to develop their countries nor do their states while powerful countries or the colonizers enjoy the take away resources. That is why nowadays we have rich and poor countries, which is called Developed and Developing countries. Since the rich had already developed their countries, they proposed the concepts of “Democracy” in the idea that this will lead the state to be more develop. However, the poor states think the other way round; that is why they came together and proposed the idea “Development must come first before Democracy.”

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Previously, we usually defined development as the growth of national output. Nevertheless, as time passes by, such definition seems to be inappropriate to define the term development anymore. Nowadays, developed is rather defined as the equitable and sustained growth that takes place in climate of freedom that provides the people civil and other liberties to enhance their choices and environmentally sustainable. However, it is believed that good governance can be boost democratization in two means. First of all, democratic practices will be fully promoted which then help in develop a political system that is fancier of democracy. Secondly, like what we have witnessed from Taiwan and South Korea, once their country is well-governed, development in economic is inevitable. Hence, a developed economic will in turn help in nurturing the democratic system (S.W.R. de A., 1994).

It is true that the last several years many countries had turn their policy to democracy especially most of the European countries and USA. Based on their increasing of GDP since 1870 up until now (Broadberry; Klein.2011), their people start to change the view on their own government by the practice of election and freedom of choices. However, this concept fail to clarify why some countries that are not democracy state still can develop their countries also increase their GDP such as Bangladesh, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela and so on (Inglehart; Welzel. 2009). Furthermore, some states try to change their politic to democracy, but the result shown otherwise, had leaded those states into chaos such as Afghanistan and Iraq (Khalilzad; Worden; Dawisha.2010). So in the question that which one lead to which one, as the poor country itself we believe that is development that leads to democracy.

In the case of China there been quite interesting that this country can develop itself in such a short period without using Democracy system. As we can see, that China is now one of the biggest industrialization countries and in terms of GDP and DNP there such a big changes (IMF.2012). It is the world fastest economic, it has reached the average of 10% of growth rate in the past 30 years. Moreover, China had already hit the world market with the large investment among the other developing countries (BNY Mellon, Asset Management.2012). Additionally, China is the second biggest import and export of goods in the world. If we look at their policy, it is remain not Democracy. By using the global economic system (Dahlman; Aubert.World Bank.2000), China was able to stand up from the lost during the war period. Since their people satisfied with this and their government can provide more occupation to the people, so there is no need to reform the government system just yet. In addition, if these developments keep moving forward, then China people may not consider in changing their policy also.

Also in the case of Indonesia, after gaining, independent Indonesia had worked hard on developing the country among the region. The Indonesia first start focus on their economic growth, so during that time the insert of the idea democracy is still in the hot argument in this state since 2000. However, by export the product to the market in the region, such as China, Japan, Singapore (WTO, 2010). By doing so till the late 10 years as we can see, now the normal GDP is 1 trillion $, which the GDP rate that increase is 46% among the region. In addition, for the whole country, most of it comes from service, agriculture and industry (WEO.2010). According to WTO 2010, the Indonesia is now the 27th biggest export country in the world. Now if we go back to look at the policy of this country, the Democracy’s idea is able to get into the government discussion.

In addition, if we look at some other third world countries like Africa, democratic or not is really not a major problem for their countries; what they concern the most is whether or not they can stay out of hunger and diseases. Therefore, democracy to them should come after when their famine or starvation is alleviated or even eliminated. This is also due to the fact that, countries do not normally have an economic boost after its political transition to become a democratic state. (Tabellini, 2012). Furthermore, democracy is hard to persist if one country is poor and human resources are rare, for example, in India, although it is called as a democratic state, yet the struggling between the differences classes and different rural areas make its democratic system really hard to be fully operated. In addition, not being as a democratic state allows the governments focus more on their development sector without much consideration from the voice of the congress and their opponent political party. Therefore, while the democratic states busy fighting for the support of their people and the congress, the non-democratic government can simply invest in whatever sector they prefer with whatever amount they like to develop their own country. For example, by comparing China and the US global solar technology market, we can see that, although by 2005 China captured only 6% of the market while the US controlled most of the global market for renewable solar technology since 1997, surprisingly enough, in 2011, China managed to controlled over 54% of the global solar technology market, while the US is in charge of only 6% of the market of solar energy. Moreover, non-democratic ruler can focus more on their economic development, because while democratic leaders have to fight every political rivals and firestorms in order to gain support for their next term election, the non-democratic ruler do not have such concern at all ( NJOKA, 2011). Finally yet importantly, according to the president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 2004, said that if the state want to practice democracy system it must connect with good government in order to prevent the conflict.

In short, a country should be converted its political status into democratic only when it can manage to sustain its economic stability and fully developed their human resources. Otherwise, democracy will not be able to persist.

On the other hand, there are numerous countries across the world followed the democratic system so as to developed their countries such as the U.S, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, etc. Because they believe that follow democratic political system can lead them to become one of the developed countries and have both social and political stability. The term “Democracy” refers to the kind of political system that provides an equal right to all the people in one country to involve with the political power by chosen the representative to lead their country. In democratic political system allowed multi-party elections, resident participation and the civil liberty; moreover, all the decision makings were made in collectively, so it could led to economic growth by having political and social stability. In addition, democracy political institutions are needed for economic development because it can promote economic development and good governance effectively under democratic rule. (Milton, 1962)

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The thesis that democracy brings economic development is based on empirical observation that democracies exceed non-democracies in terms of economic growth, standard of living, the quality of social life. (Kohli, 1986; M. Olson, 1993). Therefore, theorists recommend that the developing countries firstly need to promote democracy before they accelerate economic development. (Siegel et al, 2005). For example, in the USA, they followed the democratic system in order to develop their country by promoting human rights, rule of law, citizens’ participation in politic, electoral competition; therefore, the U.S develop their country not only in political field, but also in economic field.

In 1959, Singapore was considered as the third world country that depended on enters pot trade. After Singapore gained independence from British in 1963, Singapore followed the democratic republic in 1965. Four decades later through the democratic republic ruled by the People’s Action Party, Singapore has considered as the ranks of the First World, with prosperous and competitive economy. In 1997, Singapore became the fourth ranking richest country in the world; moreover, Singapore had a higher Growth National Product (GNP) of US$32,490 with 3.21 million populations. Therefore, there are some theorists suggest that in order to develop the country, firstly the democracy is needed because democracy can make useful distribution of resources, pursues the economic growth and prosperity at the same time, and can promote the political and social stability. Therefore, democracy comes first and then leads to development. Furthermore, it is said that development will be hard to achieve without political reform of the communism states, for example South Korea. For the case of South Korea, we have witnessed from the past history that without its political reformation and innovative economy, its economic wouldn’t have been being so successful. This is due to the fact that, the government itself as a state couldn’t be a sole catalyst to develop its own country, it needs some other sources like foreign investment or privatization in order to help the growth of its GDP so as its GNP (Schuman, 2010).

However, critics suggest that although Singapore has followed democratic political system since its independence, after the rapid growth of the economic, the development in Singapore owes to the leadership of Singaporean leader that supported the economic development programs and the consistency of market principles. Moreover, nowadays Singapore government or the People’s Action Party’s development policies were supported by the Confucian values not the democracy anymore; thus, both Singapore government and people not really based on democratic political system. To sum up, rapid development in Singapore was made by the Confucian values that spread through the society by the value of education and meritocratic achievement; as a result, nowadays Singapore government’s policies are focusing on the Confucian values not the democracy. In another case, due to the fact that Philippines used to be colonized by America for nearly 50 years, Philippines strongly practiced the democratic political system through the American style. However, Philippines policies and economic are still remain so weak and generate lots of corruptions, crimes, and powerless of bureaucracy.

In conclusion, the idea of democracy seems to work only on the developed state, and it may result in chaos to the poor state if the democratic system is not fully implemented. However, once the state development is become strong in their economic, it is much easier to introduce Democracy to the state. Hence, as mention above, we believe that once the state is developed and prospered and their people is having strong economic and living standard, development itself will lead to democracy inevitably.


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