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Replicating East-Asian Developmental State Model In Africa: Botswana And Ethiopia

Posted on:2012-04-13Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:L Y A r a y a K e b e d e Full Text:PDF
GTID:2166330332997759Subject:International politics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
Dwelling on Chalmers Johnson's developmental state model is like standing on a quagmire. Adding the fluid concept democracy to the paradigm makes the research on democratic developmental state uneasy. The East Asian Miracle was achieved essentially based on this model. It has been proved to be the best model for fast economic development-industrialization-to create a majority middle income society in a relatively long period of time. It, therefore, lures other countries that have previously relied on neoliberalism but to no avail.However, it has one shortcoming:it seemingly requires an undemocratic governance to give the governing body a long time to implement its development strategy. In effect, some argue that the model cannot be applicable in a democratic setting that has a danger of displacing a governing party and limiting its duration. The thesis, on the contrary, attempts to harmonize the model with democracy to come up with a democratic developmental state so as to make it a replicable concept without being undemocratic. It employs two cases, Botswana and Ethiopia, to buttress the argument.Democratic Developmental stateA developmental state model enables a government to achieve fast socio-economic development through industrialization. Such industrialization process takes place in the institutional environment in which it is the state which dictates the norms and rules of the social, political and economic existence; and the directions of development. The state has a relative autonomy against other actors. i.e., a powerful, competent and insulated bureaucracy; large government bureaucracy; a weak and subordinated civil society; the effective management of non-state economic interests; and legitimacy and performance are also amongst components that characterize a developmental state.The state, essentially focusing on market share rather than on profit, protects fledging embryonic domestic industries, acquires foreign technology, promotes technical education, efficiently distributes and allocates resources, attains legitimacy through delivery of services to citizens, encourages and rewards foreign companies that invest in building productive capacity and invests optimally in critical areas that are the basis of industrialisation such as education.Can the model be replicated? Some argue that the East Asia case is historically and regionally specific and therefore provide no readily adaptable models for others. For example, Confucian values prioritizing group welfare over individual associated with the model. It also implies religion and culture as factors contributing to bureaucratic strength. However, this tradition's causal relevance is undermined by the poor performance of the Kuomintang before 1949 in mainland China and the presumed Confucian apathy to business.Additionally, external developments play a vital role in the development process of some East Asian economies like Korea. Not only due to the Japanese occupation, but the timely incorporation of the countries'economy into the world economy facilitated the growth of the sub-region. The US provided a comprehensive package of support including security guarantees and non-reciprocal market accesses. These were the golden opportunities for the East Asian countries'industrialization accompanied by capital accumulation and transfer of technology.Another challenge is that the model by its nature requires an authoritarian regime that stays in power for a long time enough to implement its plan continuously. Arguably, a democratic environment is not suitable for the model as continuity of policies is not guaranteed.In this thesis, it is attempted to create a nexus between democracy and developmental state. Some argue that most of the things that we do to set up a developmental state are also the things that we do to establish democracy. An additional step required is to establish a solid developmental coalition or construct an inclusive embeddedness to enlarge the social bases and embrace broader sections of society so as to govern the country democratically by eliciting cooperation and consensus about the development endeavors. In such cases, legitimization occurs from the state's achievements.Above all, the question of democracy has to address issues of economic justice-basic needs such as access to food, shelter, medical care and housing. In the absence of equal opportunity for all citizens to these essentials for human existence, the equality being stressed in liberal democracy is defeated. A democratic developmental state is, therefore, conceived as one that builds its legitimacy on its capacity to foster productive economic activities and qualitatively improves the living conditions of its people.In effect, popular organizations as opposed to civil society (NGOs), promoting civic engagement and civic virtues through a thick network of horizontal associations are being conceived as a crucial element of the democratic developmental state. Assuming that the majority of the population of a developing country are agrarian, such associations'would have meant creating a population of independent commercialized farmers, operating in a dynamically transforming agriculture and linked by a relatively dense network of independent farmers association and horizontal linkages.'It should be stressed that the ultimate goal of the interventionist democratic developmental state must be to create a majority middle-income society that is strong enough to play the free-market rules of neoliberalism and to reduce government's role to a mere regulatory level.Another implication of the thesis is that seriously hard working developing countries can adopt the state-led economic development model but they have to adapt it to fit their own respective conditions. It also needs a committed leadership, a developmental vision and plan, some opportunities and a dense network of committed and well-staffed government institutions ready to reinforce the plan for industrialization.BOTSWANAFrom being one of the poorest countries in the world at independence,1966; Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates averaging about 9% from 1966 to 1999. The success has been initially based on agriculture and foreign aid. Soon after, diamond extraction and tourism dominated the economy.The country's growth, led by the Botswana Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) is mainly attributable to:the institutionalization of a democratic system, the integration of planning with budget, strong financing capacity; prudent macro-economic management of the fortune. Except for the institutional context, the role of the state was, in many aspects, similar with the development success story of the "East Asian miracle". Adopting a multi-party democratic system was one of the crucial decisions the country has made. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was put in power in 1966 and re-elected in 1972 with rural-based majority while the opposition increasingly became an urban based party posing no meaningful challenge to the BDP. Civil societies were also poorly developed and disorganized. Even opposition parties have been generally weak. In effect, Botswana has been a democratic but predominant party system where the incumbent has won every election by a landslide victory. How?The interests of the elite were largely homogeneous -- cattle. This made it easy to reach consensus on policies amongst the leadership of the governing party. But, knowing that it must stand for election every five years, the party pursued policies that helped it gain political support. Above all, neglect of rural interests was avoided. As a result, the development project gained widespread acceptance amongst the populace as the people were directly benefiting from the growth.The strategy was to exploit the country's mineral worth and invest the proceeds in other sectors to improve the society's socio-economic infrastructure and human resource. Such a broad development project ran alongside financing market-enabling policies are traditionally associated with developmental states.ETHIOPIAEthiopia is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Its economy has been growing by an average of 11% for nearly a decade now. It is due to adopting the developmental state model that the country started to grow fast, apply fair distribution of resources and build a democratic system.The Ethiopian state demonstrates democratic developmental state characteristics. Government heavily intervenes in the economy. Budget-priority aims at poverty reduction and increasing socio-economic infrastructure. It controls and equitably distributes the land and owns the likes of telecommunication and energy sources. It limits investing on financial institutions. It closely oversees the import/export sector. It also oversights exchange rates. Safety net targets the poor, elderly and incapables. The government provides low-interest rate bank credit and tax incentives for selected trades and investments.The government rewards developmental actors like investors and farmers, punishes rent-seekers. These practices show autonomy. For such autonomy to work in a plural society, politicians must be inclusively embedded in society. All ethnic groups must be represented to ensure that all groups are represented. In Ethiopia, there are several means of representation viz. the two Federal Houses, State Councils, kebelle and woreda (lower administrations). Moreover, the incumbent that has introduced the model is composed of ethnic plurality considering its affiliated sister-parties. Ministerial offices also reflect representation.Ethiopia is endowed with some natural resources. However, it heavily relies on export of agro-industry products. Although coffee is the major export, there is no single dominant income generating item that explains the growth. It is rather an aggregate result of several sources.The main reliable source of income is obtained from investment and trade to/from home. The local currency, Birr, is recently heavily devalued to boost trade. To implement the Growth and Transformation Plan, the government has raised bank interest rate to 5% so as to encourage savings-domestic capital formation. Moreover, external loan and aid play a big role in the country's development. The majority of the money goes directly to government projects. Overseas Ethiopians are also considered as another source of income.Ethiopia has a law that limits activities of NGOs working on good governance, etc. Furthermore, the opposition's weakness means the incumbent can implement its policies for long time.The governing party has created the necessary coalition with the majority of the populace to set up a democratic developmental state. Policies like the Agriculture Development Led Industrialization (ADLI) are there to address problems of the majority rural population. The government also extends its domain to the urban population seeking broader coalition by providing some benefits like low and medium level enterprises development, low-cost housing, salary increment, price capping on some commodities, etc. Further creation of members enables the government to strengthen its strong hold of governing the country since voters of such a broad coalition are expected to cast their votes in its favour against side payments. Hence, a continued developmental state under an electoral democracy setting!...
Keywords/Search Tags:Developmental state, democratic developmental state, Botswana developmental state, Ethiopian developmental state, neoliberalism, state intervention, embedded autonomy
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