The Resource Curse: Democracy and the Developing World

1190 WordsJul 15, 20185 Pages
When a country strikes oil, or some other valuable natural resource, they may take it as a blessing; however, this discovery is often very destructive. Recent studies in social sciences suggest that developing countries with resource wealth tend to have political crises. This paradox is called the resource curse- the political counterpart of the infamous Dutch disease (Lam et al., 2002)*. In this paper I will argue how this phenomenon not only impedes the development of liberal democracies in non-democratic regimes, but also how it actively destroys liberal values in developing democracies. In specific, I will discuss how political instability, socio-economic disparities and political appeasement produced by resource wealth tend…show more content…
This stratification has several negative effects on society. For one thing, political inequality is observed to be a result of the overwhelming fiscal inequalities between the general population and the elite (Dahl, 1971, p. 82). This political inequality is directly contrary to the value political equality idealised in liberal democracies. Another effect of these socio-economic disparities is that in undeveloped countries, the rich become well educated and inversely, the masses become uneducated (Karl, 2007, p. 13). In these situations, society generally tends to neglect education- because it may appear as if investing in education would be a waste of money- at least in the short term (Gylfason, 2001). It is known that an increase education is positively correlated with democracy (Glaeser et al., 2007); therefore, this lack of education would most likely allow for the deterioration or avoidance of democratic values. Similarly, in such states corruption runs rampant (Caselli, 2006; Leite et al., 1999). Because the political institutions are not fully developed, agents are able to arbitrarily spend money to change political policy (Leite et al., 1999). Since some people are able to unduly influence policy, the liberal-democratic ideals of political equality, majority rule and rule of law are therefore violated. Inasmuch as countries weak political institutions, valuable natural
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