Democracy vs Development-2

Michael Kebede ….You’ve asked me whether that the chinese development model is worth replicating. You also asked how much more prosperous china would have been if it hadn’t jettisoned democracy in the first place.

Here, i would like to present my argument taking the development model of India, another economic giant and democratic state, as an alternative model that could be replicated by poor countries like Ethiopia.

India and South Africa are countries that have common characteristic which is special to them: both transfered directly from an authoritarian regimes; Colonial power and Aparthied, into a Democratic system.

The immediate transfer from from an authoritarian to a democratic regime is significantly influenced by the personalities of the leaders, Gahandi and Mandela, which makes it difficult to replicate in other countries. Such transition is uncommon in world history since often the process is mediated by dictatorships or semi-democratic regimes. For example, countries that pass (#passing) through this process are: Brazil, Turkey, #China, #Russia, Ghana#, #Ethiopia, #Nigeria, Chile, etc. Two other countries (continents): USA and Australia are the other exceptions, where states are formed settlers.

Therefore, other than the four exceptions, there is no country that makes a direct transition from an authoritarian state to a democratic state. And, it seems that the variation b/n countries in the level democratization is associated with the time span of the process. Ethiopia is also passing through the same process, thus, one should not surprised about the semi-democratic system in the country, but about the pace of the progress.

Now, which development model is worth replicating in poor countries like Ethiopia. Michael Kebede, you were wondering whether the Chinese model is worth replicating. Oh Yes! To present my argument, let take India’s model, which was a poor nation like China and Ethiopia. But, India, different from both China and Ethiopia has a democratic system, which is often referred as the ‘Largest democratic state’.

To compare the development Model of China and India, I cite the study by Martin Ravallion,
Georgetown University titled ‘Understanding the Differing Fortunes of Poor People in India and China.’

Ravallion asserts that, 40 years ago, India had far less poverty than China. Now it is the reverse. Until recently, the official poverty lines of both countries were roughly equivalent to $1 a day, adjusted for inflation and local prices. In 1981, around 2/5 Indians lived on less than this, while this was the case for nearly 3/4 of China’s population.

The poverty rate then fell rapidly in China, equalling India’s rate by the mid-1990s. Now the poverty rate is far higher in India. By 2008, about 1/5 of India’s population still lived below $1 a day, while in China it was down to just 7%.

In addition to the higher growth rate, China also surpassed India in terms of the impact that the growth has on reducing poverty.

To show this, again I cite the study by Martin Ravallion, which point out that, since China’s reforms, a 1% rise in GDP per capita has reduced the country’s poverty rate by around 1% (an elasticity of unity) – that is roughly twice more effective at reducing poverty than a 1% rise in GDP per capita in India.

This means that if India had matched China’s level of poverty reduction, poverty in India would have fallen by twice as much as it has done over the last 20 years.

Now, Which model should be replicated by African countries, particularly Ethiopia? Michael Kebede ..Ethiopia is a poor country where poverity constrain the life of its people; from mere physical survival to Cognition.

Let me tell you a True story happened in an Art Exhibition in one European country. The organizers call for paintings that protary the Starvation of Ethiopians due to drought. Many paintings were presented with a horrible illustration of the hunger. But, one painting shows very pornographic image of the Hunger. Guess what! He draw a man’s ASS and on his anus, he put a “spider net”…U got it? Imagine how long since that man go for POO. Not even burned gas. Cos he never eat food for how long?.

Michael said that Economic development without democracy is not the norm. On this, once the chinese reformist leader (Mao Zeding?) said “I dont care whether the cat is Black or White,…but does it catch Rat?”

A hungry man lacks consciousness about many things of life. He can not see beyond food. And democracy does not bring food on the table. Economic development does.

In the original post of this page, I cited Pears Back who said that ‘history has shown us that democracy has developed only where the dangers and difficulties of human life are reduced to a certian minimum’.

So it is not about development with out democracy nor it precedes democracy. What I am saying is..