While dictatorship tends to lead to a semblance of efficiency -- one cannot just ignore historical evidence in the existence of kingdoms and empires (Olson) -- it still does not replace the overall positives gained through a democratic government. On the one hand, the monarch or autocrat tends to protect his or her investments. Through the promise of collected tax, the autocrat "successfully monopolizes the theft in his domain," (Olson), in which case those being taxed "do not need to worry about theft by others" (Olson). Through the autocrat's self-interest about maintaining his or her established government, the autocrat provides his or her people accordingly. In exchange for the autocrat's magnanimous protection, the autocrat takes this chance to collect a percentage of the civilians' products; he or she grants titles to family members and descendants; and he or she justifies his or her rule through the idea of divine right.

This is where the problems in dictatorship lie. Though Olson does point out that dictatorship is not as inefficient as many would like to proclaim it, it holds some limitations and lacks the necessary elements of development. Worker productivity is, of course, present, but there is no additional incentive. The autocrat has a full monopoly in businesses rendered in the dictator country, and even human labor is taxed and monopolized by the autocrat. The monarch, for example, controls a blacksmith's business, and if the monarch says to stop said business so his own blacksmith can be elevated, the monarch tends to get what he wishes. Thus, it stands, that democracy is the better alternative for this government. The monarch might have an ulterior motive in keeping his country efficient, but the democracy allows an increase in productivity. Through majority elections, democratic governments provide the majority a "significant share of market income of the society" (Olson).

Furthermore, a democracy leads to a government that respects the individuals' rights. Private property does not exist without government; enforcement of laws as written through government constitutions does not exist in a dictatorship; and free speech is completely nonexistent in autocracy. "A government responds to intense needs and sufferings may well depend on how much pressure is put on it…will depend on the exercise of political rights such as voting, criticizing and protesting" (Sen). While Sen speaks specifically of famine as a comparison between democracies vs. non-democracies, there is a distinct focus in the ability with which democracies enable free press. Because of the rights given through free speech, the press can "[contribute] greatly to bringing out information" that has "enormous impact on policies" (Sen). Failing government policies -- such as healthcare, education, and civil systems -- can be remedied through political activism and criticisms, a prospect deliberately missing in dictatorships. Therefore, democracy consists of elements that ultimately make it the best form of government.


Olson, Mancur. "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development."

Sen, Amartya. "Freedom Favors Development."

Short Answer Questions

Question 1

The key conditions that favor democracy include strong economic developments, large industrialization, and proficient educational systems. Without these factors, democracy ceases to be successful. In the readings, a low-income community hardly retains any profit for a government or a worker. Economic development goes hand in hand with government markets, and thus a stable democratic society. In order to promote democracy in the developing world, education becomes a factor that enables the government's citizens to make rational electoral decisions during voting instances. Education also enables citizens into a state of innovation and progress, enabling democracy to continue its economic development.

Question 2

The major benefit of democracy is the increased citizen right to property ownership and freedom of speech. The benefits thereof allow the majority of the citizens to practice their natural rights within the democratic government. In dictatorship and a communistic government, these natural rights are nonexistent, and there is no method in which the nation's citizens can object. These benefits show up mainly in democracies, due to the creation of constitutions, wherein the citizens' natural rights are put forth. It is in the government's judicial department to maintain and enforce these constitutional rights allowed to the citizen…