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Cover Poverty and Development

17. Democratisation, Governance, and Development  

David Potter, Alan Thomas, and María del Pilar López-Uribe

This chapter investigates the concepts of liberal democracy, democratization, and governance and how they relate to development. There are several critiques of liberal democracy, which mostly correspond to well-known problems for any political regime. They include the 'tyranny of the majority', élite capture, clientelism, and the threat of populist capture. Alternative models claimed by their proponents to be democratic include illiberal democracy, direct democracy, and democratic centralism. Especially for proponents of market economy, liberal democracy and economic development are seen as complementary aspects of modern society. However, it is not clear that democratization leads to development. Successful development requires a supportive institutional environment. This may occur in a liberal democracy but it is not democracy itself that matters but 'something else' — which may be called 'quality of governance', including impartiality and effectiveness.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

26. Returning to the ‘Great Transformation’  

John Harriss

This chapter recounts how Karl Polanyi developed an explanation for the rise of fascism and for the world crisis of the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he elaborated a profound critique of the kind of thinking about economic development — described as 'market fundamentalism' and commonly referred to as neoliberalism. In the early twenty-first century, neoliberal economic policies, together with the implications of rapid technological change, have caused a crisis, comparable with that analysed by Polanyi, in which social, environmental, and financial problems are interwoven, and to which the rise of authoritarian populism is one response. The Covid-19 outbreak has further exposed the unsustainability of the global system of market fundamentalism and may point to another 'great transformation'. It is possible that a combination of worldwide movements against inequality and environmental degradation with local struggles for citizenship, economic and social rights, and environmental justice among the masses in major 'emerging economies', such as India, can provide a platform for a social democratic alternative.