Authors: Morton H. Halperin, Michael M. Weinstein, and Joe Siegle
A CFR Book. Routledge
For decades, policies pursued by the United States and other industrialized nations toward the developing world have been based on a secret kept among policy experts: democracy and development don't mix. Turning this long-held view on its head, The Democracy Advantage makes a bold case that they do.
In this timely and path-breaking book, the authors dismantle the conventional wisdom that democratic reforms are destabilizing and that the West must rely on authoritarian regimes to create robust economies that give rise to a middle class and, eventually, democratic government. Uncovering forty years of empirical data from China, India, Chile, and Iraq, The Democracy Advantage shows that poor democracies surpass poor autocracies on nearly every economic measure. In addition, the book offers dramatic evidence that democracies are more stable: they are less likely to succumb to civil conflict, experience humanitarian catastrophes, or breed terrorists than such authoritarian countries as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
Moving past the anecdotal data that have long shaped common assumptions about the trade-offs between democracy and development, The Democracy Advantage is based on an extensive review of historical experience, including critical analysis of the post-Cold War era—a time when many countries started down the road to democracy. The authors' discovery of a startling pattern of superior performance among democracies in the developing world—particularly among such quality of life measures as life expectancy, infant mortality, and girls' education—demand a strategic rethinking of international development policies.
"This valuable and timely volume obliterates the myth-beloved of dictators—that democracy is somehow the enemy of development, rather than an essential ally. Here is a treasury of evidence that freedom is not only right—it works."
—Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State
"A well-crafted book, supported by historical evidence, of how democracy advances development-with practical prescriptions for what the American government and other governments and international development organizations can do to build on this synergy."
—George Soros, Soros Fund Management
Read the Foreign Affairs review by G. John Ikenberry here.
Morton H. Halperin, former Council senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy and director of the Council's Center for Democracy and Free Markets, is one of America's most respected foreign policy analysts, having served in the Nixon, Johnson, and Clinton administrations, most recently as director of policy planning at the State Department (1998-2001). He is a senior vice president of the Center for American Progress and is the director of the Open Society Policy Center.
Joseph T. Siegle is an associate director at the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector at the University of Maryland. He has worked on a wide assortment of development programs in several dozen countries. Research for this book was conducted while he was the Douglas Dillon Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Michael M. Weinstein is director of programs for the Robin Hood Foundation. He is the former director of the Council's Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and a former economics columnist for The New York Times, where he also served on the editorial board.