V7n2_11 - BOOK REVIEWS No More Dollars for Dictators by Michael Palmer The Democracy Advantage How Democracies Promote Peace and Prosperity By

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations BOOK REVIEWS No More Dollars for Dictators by Michael Palmer The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Peace and Prosperity. By Halperin, Morton H., Michael M. Weinstein and Joe Siegle. New York: Routledge, 2005. 288 pp. $27.50, hard bound. ISBN 0-415-95052-X. “Yet much remains to conquer still: Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.” John Milton, To the Lord General Cromwell, 1652. In The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace , Morton Halperin, Joseph Siegle, and Michael Weinstein explore the theory that democracy trumps dictatorship in improving the economic well-being of societies. The authors define democracy as “those governance systems in which national leaders are selected through free and fair elections, [in which] there are institutions that foster a shared distribution of power and citizens have extensive opportunities to participate in political life.” 1 Using a time-series statistical analysis, the authors refute constructivist ideas that “countries must go through an important structural change in their economic and political systems to even contemplate democracy.” 2 Democratic institutions, Halperin et al. contend, also enhance security (internal and external) and foster more sufficient economic growth than non-democratic regimes. The authors first tackle the “50-year-old myth” that countries controlled by dictators are best suited to bring about necessary structural changes in the initial stages of development. Those supporting this view argue that politicians in income- poor democracies will avoid hard, economically necessary choices in order to curry favor with voters. Halperin et al. claim that the economic-development-first argument is fundamentally flawed because autocratic leaders tend to undermine the rule of law and use public office for personal gain. Additionally, the legal system in such countries is frequently decrepit, and judges often decide disputes as directed by A lawyer and conflict management consultant, Michael Palmer has particpated in rule of law projects in Russia, Macedonia, and Jordan, and has taught philosophy of law and alternative dispute resolution courses at various colleges and universities intermittently since 1980. He occasionally teaches an interdepartmental course at Middlebury College. 123
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PALMER The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations those in charge. Furthermore, there is no off-the-shelf legal system available to install once a country has reached the magic per capita income to become a democracy. Rather, properly adapted laws, procedures, and institutions must be developed painstakingly over time in conjunction with civil society and economic growth. In chapter three, “Sustaining New Democracies,” Halperin et al. acknowledge
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course INTERNATIO 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Boise State.

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V7n2_11 - BOOK REVIEWS No More Dollars for Dictators by Michael Palmer The Democracy Advantage How Democracies Promote Peace and Prosperity By

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