There is systematic restriction and repression inflicted on other political parties. Their failures, which I don’t agree are as profound as you say, can’t be wholly attributed to them. If there is no political space available how would it even be expected for strong and fledgling political parties to emerge? And while I said that economic development is possible without democracy, it shouldn’t have to be at the expense of it. Economic development without democracy is not the norm. Far from it. If you don’t have a free press to hold leaders accountable for their failures, development will take a blow. If equal political opportunities allowing other parties to give alternative choices don’t exist development will take a blow. Because the leaders won’t have much incentive to do the right thing by the people. Exceptions seem to exist. You’ve mentioned china. But is that really a model worth replicating? They have prosperity now, but we don’t know how much more prosperous they would have been if they hadn’t jettisoned democracy in the first place. They wouldn’t have as much corruption as they do now if they had a free press. their judicial system wouldn’t be as bankrupt as it now is had they freedom of expression. They also have massive amounts of repression and violations to human rights. countries that have democracy will always work toward development because no alternative exists. Whereas development will always be an aberrant sight in places democracy doesn’t exist. It may come about if the leaders are in the mood for it, but in the absence of a body which will hold them to account they are free to do as they like this way or that. Development is a choice not an inevitability.
Furthermore the inequities that exist in countries where democracy is unavailable isn’t something to be glossed over. In the absence of democracy you will have repression and violation of inalienable human rights. This is not something to be sacrificed in the name of development. In the absence of democracy you have one set of rights for the ruling class. Another for the rest. The majority of the people are second citizens in their own country, living by the will of those in power. With such a system in place any talk of economic development vs. democracy is hollow because no matter what agreement we reach it will always be so that we won’t have any choice to do anything about it.