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POS 351 NOTES 2

POS 351 NOTES 2 - Contending Perspectives D Amartya Sen no...

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10/22/09 Contending Perspectives D. Amartya Sen: no functioning democracy has ever suffered a large scale famine. E. Refugee crises almost always occur in non-democracies: o Volume of refugee flows for the last twenty years: first 87 cases occurred in autocracies F. Democracy correlates with a higher score on the human development index and a lower score on the human poverty index. G. Poor democracies have better education, longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, access to drinking water, and better health care than poor dictatorships. o Not due to higher levels of foreign assistance or spending a larger percentage of GDP on health and education; o Instead, the available resources are managed better. H. Several health indicators (life expectancy and infant and maternal mortality) have a stronger and more significant association with democracy than they have with GDP per capita, size of the public sector, or income inequality. I. In the post-Communist nations, after an initial decline, those that are the most democratic have achieved the greatest gains in life expectancy. Does Democracy Promote Economic Development? - Democracy impedes econ. Development Economic Reasons – Democracy is unable to reduce consumption in favor of investment. Thus, economic growth suffers Political Reason – Democracy increases the pressure on weak institutions. Concerted state action is more difficult. The state is weak - Democracy can promote econ. Development Economic Reason – Democratic investment in basic human needs is good for economic growth Political Reason – Democracy provides a stable political environment & the basis for economic pluralism. Democracy means legitimacy: A strong state is often also a democratic state. Meta-Analysis of Data o (a) democracy has no direct effect on economic growth
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o (b) democracy has strong and significant indirect effects which contribute to growth o Democracy is associated with o Higher human capital accumulation o Lower inflation o Lower political instability; and o Higher economic freedom “Resource Curse” and Democracy High degree of oil or mineral exports is strongly associated with non- democratic rule. Resource effect on democracy applies worldwide and not only to the Middle East. Resource-rich dictators spend more wealth on their security apparatus and provide benefits, which lessen public unrest. Such wealth usually not followed by the social and cultural changes that may transform societies with ordinary economic growth. Does Democracy Promote Human Rights? No straight forward answer Relationship between democracy and human rights is not perfect Incompleteness of many transitions towards democracy o Most are restricted in the grey zones Some transitions provoke turbulence and instability o Negative effects for human rights—breakdown of authority involves major human rights violations International Consequences of Democracy o Will the spread of democracy mean the end of war? Peaceful world
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