Neoliberal economic policies and military intervention by dominant Western powers have been instrumental over the past three decades in the advancement of democracy and development in the developing world Discuss.

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‘Neoliberal economic policies and military intervention by dominant Western powers have been instrumental over the past three decades in the advancement of democracy and development in the developing world’ Discuss.

Free trade and export oriented industrialization are key ideas of neo-liberal world order that are certainly shaping our lives today. Neo-liberal economic policies are considered vital for the development of developing states and these policies have certainly played a key role in the economic progress of states like South Korea and Botswana. However, this does not mean that military intervention by Western powers in promoting such ideas would lead to development and stable democracy in the developing world. Due to that reason, this idea has attracted mass criticism from those who claim it to be a domination of South by the North. This paper sets out in the following manner. First, it explains neo-liberal economic agenda and then proceeds to highlight its economic success in states like South Korea and Botswana. This essay points out that despite economic success; these policies undermine the basic principles of democracy and constrain governments in many key areas. The second part of this essay revolves around the debate of using force by western powers on the basis of humanitarianism to promote universal democratic values. It is pointed out that military intervention by dominant powers might not lead to establish a stable democracy. Such action might put in place a political system, but it might not be sustainable in long term, thus resulting in violence and civil disorder as in states like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most of the current debates revolve around the neo-liberal economic ideas, therefore it would be right to start with explaining what neo-liberalism is all about. Neo-liberalism is based on the idea of self-regulating market and efficiently using resources that would lead to economic prosperity. Of course, the important part in development is to allocate resources and using them efficiently in the development of the state. Therefore, neo-liberals find market mechanisms the best way to allocate resources (Thorsen & Lie 2007: 7). According to this belief, government’s intervention to regulate markets by enforcing higher taxes might lead to undesirable consequences, and thus reduce economic efficiency. Therefore, State’s role is to protect individual freedom, liberty and their property rights. This is to make sure that every individual is set free to make independent decisions and fully participate and function as competent actor in these markets (Thorsen & Lie, 2007:8). In other words, there is a system of free trade between states and the only reason for government intervention is to ensure commercial liberty and property rights on the national level.

There are many examples to consider when it comes to explain the success stories of neo-liberal economic policies. For instance, Botswana has experienced enormous growth rate since the 1960s by implementing neo-liberal reforms (Jerven, 2010:93). The reason for its success according to many theorists is that Botswana underwent some major structural adjustments which shifted the economy’s dependence from agriculture to mining. This shift had several positive implications, for instance, agriculture constituted 73 percent of GDP in 1964, and today it hardly contributes 4 percent (Jerven, 2010: 92). In other words, growth promoting policies were pursued through structural reforms which included a shift from agriculture to mining, and that shift has helped Botswana to achieve a growth rate of remarkable 10 percent since the 1970s.

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Moreover, after the Korean War, South Korean economy was considered erratic due to its inability to generate adequate levels of export and savings. Like Botswana, South Korean economy was largely dependent on agriculture and its export amounted to 3 percent of GNP in the 1960s (Westphal, 1990; 43). Therefore, the only possible way to bring South Korea on a sustain level of development was by changing economy’s trajectory and introducing some major economic reforms.

A policy of Export oriented Industrialization (EOI) was therefore introduced which established free trade regime for export activity, and enabled people to import inputs without ...

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