Dogs tug of war frisbee TimmyGUNZ/Flickr

La démocratie contre la croissance ?

PRINCETON – Le malaise actuel de l'Europe a ravivé le vieux débat sur la forme de gouvernement susceptible de déboucher sur une meilleure performance économique. Les régimes autoritaires, capables d'adopter sans la moindre hésitation des choix impopulaires, sont-ils plus efficaces pour la croissance ? Ou bien la démocratie libérale, avec son système d'équilibre des pouvoirs, offre-t-elle une plus grande prospérité matérielle ?

C'est un débat dans lequel les éléments de preuve semblent avoir oscillé entre les deux camps au cours des dernières décennies. Dans les années 1980, la performance économique était impressionnante : au Chili sous la dictature du général Augusto Pinochet et à Singapour, sous le régime plus doux mais néanmoins autoritaire de Lee Kuan Yew. Parallèlement les pays démocratiques du monde industrialisé ont lutté contre la récession et la stagnation.

En Europe, ce phénomène a donné naissance au terme « eurosclérose ». Les démocraties, selon les politologues, étaient vulnérables à des intérêts particuliers faisant obstacle à la croissance. Les régimes autoritaires (tout du moins ceux qui ne s'appliquaient pas à piller le pays), ont pu être mieux à même de mettre en œuvre des politiques assurant un succès économique à long terme.

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