Is China The New Idol For Emerging Economies?


I watched Dambisa Moyo’s Ted talk: “Is China the new idol for emerging economies?” I decided to watch this talk because I am taking an African Economic Development course this semester and my professor mentioned Dambisa Moyo’s point of view on developing countries. This talk raised many interesting questions about economics and political systems.images

 Historically there has been a notion that the whole world should adopt private capitalism and liberal democracy. In other words countries should prioritize political rights over economic rights. Moyo disagrees with this theory and deems it an illusion. She believes the western obsession with political rights is flawed. She raises the question if a poor person had to choose between a roof over their head or a right to vote, which would they choose? I found this point intriguing. It seems obvious to me a poor person would probably care more about their basic necessities to survive, such as food and shelter, rather than their political rights.

Moyo uses China as an example of an economically successful country that can be a role model for emerging countries. China proves that democracy is not a prerequesite for economic growth and development. Instead she argues that economic growth is a prerequisite for democracy. Moyo believes countries need to establish and grow the middle class first in order to hold the government accountable for its actions. In conclusion Moyo disagrees with the western’s methods for development. She suggests the world should be more open-minded and look at alternative options of how to transform the world in order to make it a better place.

This Ted talk raised many important points. In my economics class this semester we have learned about the importance of a solid political system for development. Many African countries have corrupt authoritarian political systems. These corrupt governments have had a major impact on Africa’s weak economies. Moyo raises an alternative view. I am still  unsure whether countries should prioritize economic or political rights.

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4 comments on “Is China The New Idol For Emerging Economies?

  1. I learned in my International Political Economy class that many problems arise outside the authoritarian political systems in Africa. It’s the forced democracies that run into corruption and bribery that seem to failing at a much more drastic rate. When it seems to come unnaturally, people rise to the top of system and corruption runs ramped.

  2. I think it depends on the situation. In developing countries where authoritarian regimes rule with an iron fist and may be killing citizens, I think that democracy provides a better alternative. I think that it is necessary to oust these kinds of regimes and allow the people to create a peaceful government.

  3. I would argue that the idea that Europe and the other leading capitalist countries (US, Canada, Australia… the British empire…) did not have a plan in which they first developed political rights and then capitalism. Capitalism, which is not even one homogeneous political economy, was centuries in the making. In France, over the 19th century, you have constant revolution and swings between dictatorship and Republic. In Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, capitalism emerges within monarchies and empires.

    As you probably know from your African development class, the lack of good governance looks pretty clearly to be a culprit in the development of prosperity. So, in some places, maybe some political reform is needed that leads to stability. In others, more economic growth.

    I don’t think there is a “single formula” for all societies.

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