Duncan Green

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Guardian: Time to abandon the democracy vs dictatorship debate? | 

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Mussolini praises Mubarak

The Guardian has published this very thought-provoking article arguing we need to stop thinking so simplistically when it comes to pushing for political progress in other countries.

Well, who would argue with that?

But David Booth, with the Overseas Development Institute, actually appears to be suggesting donors and development organizations stop demanding dictatorial or authoritarian regimes convert to open and free democratic governance — especially in Africa. Booth says:

We should be thinking more actively about alternative ways of improving governance based on the “local reforms” and practical hybrid institutions that we are finding here and there in several countries (Ghana, Malawi, Niger), and more comprehensively in at least one (Rwanda).

Malawi? Wasn’t the British ambassador just kicked out for describing it as a dictatorship? Here’s a BBC columnist asking if Malawi is slipping back into dictatorship. Continue reading