Tuesday Briefing

Does Democracy Help Or Hinder Economic Development
Writing for Malay Mail Online, Sum Dek Joe examines the question of whether democracy is the best or the worst political system under which to foster economic growth.

While there has been a longstanding debate over democracy’s ability to create economic prosperity, Joe argues that economic maturity must come before democratization. Once that is achieved, he says, the two tend to strengthen one another.

“Oddly enough, when an economy achieves the required maturity stage and successfully experiences the democratisation transition, the initial economic development and newly-born democratic rules tends to create a unique dynamic by mutually reinforcing each other,” he writes.

He concedes that there is no direct link but asserts there is definitely a causal relationship.

“In the final analysis, it can be said that there is no perfect correlation or linearity to describe the relationship between economic development and democracy. However, this article concludes that there is a causal and sequential relationship between economic development and democracy. The findings support that authoritarianism promotes development in undeveloped countries and pour cold water on the popular belief of vice versa with the assumption of the prevalence of benevolent dictators. Democracy is just not the only ladder that leads to growth and development,” concludes Joe.

Veteran Actors Speak Out On Human Rights In Myanmar And Haiti
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, actor Matt Dillon, a board member of Refugees International, told the audience about the plight of the minority Rohingas in Myanmar and his recent visit to a refugee camp.

“The first impression when you visit these camps right away is that nobody would live there if they had the choice,” Dillon said, adding that he “met people who tried to escape unsuccessfully and spent several months at sea, starved and beaten, only to return for ransom – they had to pay a ransom.”

In the Huffington Post, Sean Penn addresses the development community’s failures in Haiti.

In Burma, Protest Movement Is Led By Students
OpenDemocracy’s Michael Caster reports on the student protest movement in Burma.

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