Why is it that democracy always fails in a fledgling(Negative: Third World Country) economy when dictatorship encourages development ?

Examples: Failed democracy in Germany gave rise to Hitler. Case with Iraq and North Korea.

Another example: India under the Ancient Rulers was more prosperous than /AFTER/ it got Independence(and became a democratic country).

What I mean to ask is, why is it that in most third world country(Germany is not @PointlessSpike please take a note.. NOT a third world country) Dictatorship works better than Democracy?

Also, do third world countries like India need dictators to improve its current economic status?

  • 1
    I'm confused by this question. Are you asking why something undemocratic comes into existence when there's no democracy?
    – Publius
    Nov 13, 2014 at 6:04
  • 1
    I doubt it is very well with economy in North Korea.
    – Anixx
    Nov 13, 2014 at 6:29
  • 4
    Germany was hardly a "fledgling economy" and as Anixx says, the economy in North Korea is hardly booming. I'll remove the downvote if you come up with some better examples. Nov 13, 2014 at 8:54
  • 1
    For democracy to work, it requires producers. Generally that means people that are ambitious, innovative and willing to take risks. After all, someone has to fund the government. People coming from countries where the freedoms were lacking tend to prefer that the government continue to take care of them (look at east germans for an example). Thus, not enough people of the right type to allow the country to succeed. Whereas the reverse direction is easier. The ambitious dictator tells everyone exactly what to do. So things mostly get done even if not all that well.
    – Dunk
    Nov 13, 2014 at 23:03
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    @PointlessSpike ihr.org/other/economyhitler2011.html Germany under Hitler - Germany was fledgling and then it hit the worse low in history when Hitler took over. Nov 14, 2014 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


I'll attempt to answer this.

You're dead right that when you get the right dictator in power, it can be very much a positive thing. In the Middle East often they're better off with dictators because otherwise you just get anarchy and lawlessness (Iraq being a perfect example). A dictator that knows what they're doing and genuinely wants the best for their people and goes straight can be awesome. The problem is this doesn't last long. Unfortunately, human nature is such that when people get power it corrupts them. Often they'll do whatever it takes to stay in power, even keeping their people starving (North Korea) to prevent outside influences from giving them ideas about freedom. Joseph Stalin is another good example- you start off idealistic, fighting for the lower classes, but become upper-classed and disconnected from those you are supposed to serve.

So yeah, a dictator can for a time be beneficial, it just doesn't last. Even if that leader has the best of intentions and somehow remains pure, what about after he/she is gone?

To answer your specific question, as mentioned, Iraq is a good example of why democracies can fail when dictatorships thrive. When there are many kinds of people in a country that have uneasy relationships, trying to be representative of all of them can be very difficult. A dictator, however, can just go "I want my group to be dominant". They oppress the other groups but it keeps the peace.

The problem here is that if people take an antagonistic attitude and all want their group to be dominant, accepting no compromise, only force will keep them in line. A willingness to work together (such as in Europe and the US) is required for democracy to work.

  • 1
    Stalin mostly knocked off banks. Not exactly a shining example of fighting for lower classes :)
    – user4012
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:37
  • Bankers are pretty high-class, so to the untrained eye, that might seem like a perfect example of fighting for lower classes. Nov 15, 2014 at 22:44
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    "dumb" eye more like it. The money didn't go to lower classes, and the losses to the banker were at least in part made good by paying less to lower-class bank employees.
    – user4012
    Nov 17, 2014 at 15:31
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    Most people are dumb. They see rich people as bad and poor people as good, which is why bank robberies fall into the unusual category of acceptable criminality because people think it's hurting the bankers. Nov 17, 2014 at 15:47
  • Good answer but it isn't always the case that you start with a good leader who becomes corrupt. More often you start with a bad leader who stays that way. When you do start with a good leaders, sometimes he remains good but the person who takes over when the good leader retires or dies is unlikely to be as good as the first leader.
    – Readin
    Dec 4, 2017 at 0:57

The idea that Dictatorship can deliver a prosperity that democracy can't is a chimera and has been refuted by history. Firstly,democracy is a political system,it is not an economic system per se. However,most democracies go hand in hand with an economic system (Capitalism) that is the economic corollary of democracy.One is the logical outgrowth of the other.

India was never more prosperous prior to its Independence than after. Secondly,after Independence,India backed the wrong horse and aligned itself with Socialism,which retarded its development and growth.Only after liberalising its foreign investment and trade rules did it achieve the sort of 9-10% growth currently enjoys.

One of the commentators says-"A dictator that knows what they're doing and genuinely wants the best for their people and goes straight can be awesome." Really ? Awesome for whom exactly? No doubt Stalin,Pol Pot and Mao all would have said that that sentence perfectly described their vision for their people. Ask all their victims-the one's that were executed en masse,starved,beaten,brainwashed,imprisoned,denied their rights,their freedom,their dignity, whether they thought their rule by a Dictator was "AWESOME".

  • 1
    -1. Two direct counter examples (one of which addresses your Paragraph #3) is political liberalization in Russia that was an economic disaster; and Pinochet's rule in Chile, which was a clear-cut dictatorship but resulted in what's known among economists as "Miracle of Chile" and was, indeed, awsome for a large portion of Chilean population.
    – user4012
    Nov 17, 2014 at 15:34
  • @DVK It's pretty bold to call Pinochet's rule an economic success. Almost all the growth came after he severely reduced the influence of the Chicago Boys en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GDP_per_capita_LA-Chile.png
    – user45891
    Nov 17, 2014 at 16:46
  • India was prosperous. Nov 20, 2014 at 6:24
  • Another one is: Singapore.
    – Genli Ai
    Dec 28, 2015 at 15:09

The direct answer to this question would depend on a definition of what "works" is.

Indeed, unfree societies have more power to voluntarily direct their efforts toward solving a certain goal. We can't deny that slavery was able to build The Great Pyramids. More recent example, totalitarian Communist regime has managed to launch the first human to the space.

Most obviously, the goals are usually chosen so that it made an impression of social prosperity. However, the day-by-day life is often miserable.

Even more than that, unfree regimes are often combined with limited access to information from abroad, so its citizens sincerely think that they are living better than others. I was born in times when my country has been occupied by the Soviet Russia. My parents were really sure that their salary ($20 per month) was pretty fine. Here's one more example:


This paper says:

Dear komrade [name],
Taking into account the available supplies, you hereby receive a right to purchase in local stores one pair of men's boots available for sale during 1990-1993.
Upon purchase, this invitation is revoked by the store.

So here's the answer: if we define "Dictatorship works" by only taking in account the "great accomplishments", that would be the case, by this definition. However, looking for a "big picture", most dictatorship regimes throw its people into starvation and mostly miserable existence.

It should be said that Democracy is not a magic solution for prosperity. The only meaning of Democracy is freedom. The free economy stands for ability for citizens to feed themselves up, without major external assistance.
Considering this, it becomes easy to answer what's best for India or another developing country. If the people are keen to work, produce some surplus, and manage of the results of their own work, they need Democracy.
OTOH, if the majority of them rather wish to have someone who's supposed to feed them up for free, they need a Dictatorship.

  • Minor nitpick: General consensus among historians regarding the pyramids of Egypt appears to be that they were not primarily built by slaves but rather by volunteers who contributed for religious reasons. For the pyramid of Gizeh in particular it is documented that workers did receive payment for their labor.
    – Philipp
    Nov 27, 2015 at 13:05
  • One pair of boots 1990-1993? Wasn't that after communism, or when they were liberalizing the economy. Perhaps I am missing something.
    – user24000
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:24
  • @user24000, the “Soviet“ Russia has collapsed on December 1991. The invitation was printed no later than 31/Dec/1990, otherwise it would say “1991-1993” or something. Considering planned economy, you may safely assume it could have been printed year(s) ahead. Also, it is very easy to find similar papers dated of any period of the Communist Russia's history. Oct 12, 2016 at 21:41

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