Saturday, April 14, 2007

Authoritarianism: What is it Good For?

Tyler Cowen of marginalrevolution gives his take on Bong Austero's bargain* in response to this question - "Is authoritarianism excusable or permissible - for any length of time - if it is justified by a need for economic growth/reform (e.g. Lee Kwan Yew, Pinochet, Park Chung Hee)?"

You can read it here. From the comments section, i learned of a Nigerian proverb - "He whose head is used to open the coconut does not get to participate in the eating."

As for me, i have given my views on what authoritarianism (in the Philippine setting) may be good for in this comment over at mlq3's which i am reproducing in part below:

"If we were to map the various combinations of democracy/dictatorship and elitist/populist arrangements, i would rank the following from best to worst (with corresponding role models identified) as follows**:

1. Populist Democracy - the ideal arrangement from a political and economic standpoint. Possible Role Models: India, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia etc.
2. Populist Dictatorship - good track record for economic take-offs Possible Role Models: China (Phase 1 Mao's revolution, Phase 2 Deng's reforms) and Vietnam (Phase 1 Ho Chi Minh, Phase 2 'Doi Moi' Reforms). Negative Role Model: Zimbabwe under Mugabe
3. Elitist Democracy - where we are now. Other countries: Russia
4. Elitist Dictatorship - where Gloria and her middle class supporters want to take us. Role Model: Singapore. IMHO, this option sucks.

If it ever has to come to a dictatorship***, from the above you can guess whose heads i would prefer to use as coconuts.

*"we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward." - Bong Austero
**I have speculated on how these various situations may come about in a previous post.
***Which i've repeatedly made clear i do not want to happen.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

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Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog