Monday, January 14, 2008

Marshall Jevons Throws Down the Gauntlet

by Ken Houghton

We (by which I mean Brad DeLong and Tom, but possibly not Chris Dillow or I) believe that economic growth thrives best in a democracy, or at least a democratic republic.* Strong institutions, respect for the rule of law, avenues of redress, all that rot.**

Marshall Jevons notes the imminent death of Suharto (the man whose rule began with Mel Gibson getting a hard knock in the eye), and asks the obvious:
Here's someone who has embezzled huge amounts (15 to 35 billion) of money from state coffers, still loved by the people? Does it really truly reflect the view of the Indonesian people? What lesson can development practitioners learn from it?

With all the talk of Second-Best Institutions, is it possible that Not Being a Democracy is a better choice for economic growth?

*I would prefer to believe it, but do not see the supporting evidence. I can't speak for Chris Dillow's preferences.

**Of course, this requires one to presume that, for instance, 11 Sep 1973 never happened, except to create a Miracle(tm). But I sidebar, if not digress.

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