Is an authoritarian government better for economic development than a democratic one?

The recent developments in the democratic form of government around the world sometimes make us wonder, Is the Democratic government still the best form of government?, No wonder what we see, Is what we think… The ongoing battles between different parties and the corrupted system put us sometimes into oblivion, the economic growth seems to be at a slowdown in different countries just add to the current ideology that maybe Democracy is not a perfect form of system and maybe…just maybe we need a different form of government.

In Authoritarian form of government, there are no elections or a referendum for the citizens to participate it is almost as Dictatorship or a left-wing and right-wing political parties. The ideology that “Is an authoritarian government better for economic development than a democratic one?” comes from the countries that follow one-party system/Monarchy/Dictatorship cause over the past few decades we have observed an exponential growth in their economic development, be it China, Dubai, Kuwait etc.

The current scenario in India in terms of Economic Development doesn’t seem to be in anyone favour, there’s unemployment, Rupees is weakening, and the gap between the Rich and the Poor just seems to broaden each day. Failure of Banks (Yes Bank), the merger of bank and last but not least the chaos in the telecom sector just add to the current scenario and the widespread pandemic might put India or the whole world into global recession.

Now the question arises in all of our minds is “Will democratic system help to uplift the current problems? This question is still controversial with no perfect answer as such.

“Moody’s cuts India’s economic growth in 2020 to 2.5% from 5.3%”

– The Economic Times

Let’s put all of this into one case study:

Singapore who once suffered a lot in terms of economic development made a comeback from a third world country to economic success. China communist party $4- $3 trillion project “Belt and Road Initiative” which would help China to dominate global trade, and no doubt about it if you see China is number one when it comes to growth in GDP followed by the United States and India. China Belt and Road Initiative is a plan to rebuild the Ancient silk route which was 200B.C. old. Dubai which most people think their growth is due to Oil trade but the reality is less than 5 % of Oil trade contributes to the GDP of Dubai, its economic success is due to their investment in Real Estate, Trade and Aviation it seems like they take a huge risk but so far it all seems good.

America is one of the largest economies in the world, it is a capitalist economy cause its decision in demand and supply plays a major role in the world’s economy and one of the other factors is that America is not a democratic country, it is a republic also it has less no. of political parties compared to India.

Also, Russia is towards a path of economic crisis, economic, social and political as the working-age population is on a decline.

On the other hand, let’s talk about North Korea which is ruled by the supreme leader Kim Jong Un, the economic development of North Korea is somewhat frenzy though there is Dictatorship rule still their economy doesn’t seem to quite take-off, there are hunger crises and it takes fund from different countries just to feed its people. There is a violation of every human right, no proper infrastructure, and many more. Also, the Growth National Income of North Korea is around $1,357 though this is not an accurate estimate, because the amount of data that comes out of Pyongyang is still not accurate. After all, the government controls almost everything there. North Korea as other countries estimates spends most of its money on its Nuclear Program which is again another controversial topic. Its GDP rank is around 115th in the whole world and it looks like it is making a comeback.

Let’s take the example for the growth rate in terms of GDP between India and China, though both countries have nearly the same population still, there’s a huge gap when it comes to economic development, China is like a superstar when it comes to economic development as compared to India but it is also worth noting that in China the government can work above the law to make all change necessary to build its infrastructure, public health system through Infrastructure is not always the right method to compare it’s economic development whereas in India there is Freedom of expression, Freedom of Speech and the government cannot work above the law, it has to listen to public opinion before making any necessary changes, if you look at the data closely India had a long railway infrastructure compared to china in the late 1990s but still our growth rate wasn’t that big as compared to China whose growth rate increased by nearly 2–3% every year. The democratic form of government hinders the growth of economic development exponentially.

Also when it comes to comparison between India and Pakistan, Pakistan had a better Economic development under Military rule back in the 90s and now its economic performance is not so good when it is compared to India.

So maybe Democracy is not the right form of government because it could hinder economic development in terms of growth in infrastructure as there will always be some or other form of opposition in terms of land acquisition or public demand which slows down the development process, also corruption is one of many reasons which adds to the reason, “Why democracy might not be the best form of government?” and we need some kind of political reform.

Also in the latest G20 summing held between the different Nations to address the problem caused by the Pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said to make some major policy changes in terms of Globalization to benefit the whole world, in terms of global development cause we might face a global recession due to the world wide lock down.

Maybe Democratic is not the right form of government and the growth is not as exponential as in other case but the kind of growth we get in Democratic form of government is a stable growth, now the problem with the authoritarian form of government is that there’s a high chance of economic crisis or economic failure though the growth keeps on increasing at a very high rate still there’s a huge chance of failure. Also, it doesn’t keep a check on their economically backward classes or BPL (Below Poverty Line) citizens of that particular country and the choice freedom of expression is not granted to the common citizen of the country.

Though India didn’t quite reach the expectation when in comparison with other countries in terms of its economic growth but the kind of growth we have in our country considering all the possible factors into account is remarkable. Our Government is spending huge amount of money towards Public Health system as we look from the data, in India the average life expectancy of a citizen has improved a lot over the past few decades.

Democracy is indeed has a bit of corruption, it might look like an obstacle towards growth in Infrastructure but is indeed and always be the best form of government.

“Democracy is indeed a continuing experiment, we never really arrived at democracy, for democracy is not a destination but democracy is the journey we take to gather as a people, as a nation, as a country” — Kaushik Basu (Indian Economist)

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Aakash Rohila

Aakash Rohila

I write blogs & article and sometimes I do write random article, you know it’s fun actually to share ideas and random thought. E-mail : aakashr@sjcem.edu.in