Political Openness A Factor Of Efficiency During Crises, Say Scholars

14.02.09

Political Openness A Factor Of Efficiency During Crises, Say Scholars

Источник: Itar-Tass

NEW YORK, February 14 - Democracy helps tap the best possible decisions and patterns of attaining the objectives of development, as well as rectify errors faster and more efficiently - this was the keynote of a discussion that political scientists from Russia and the U.S. had here Friday.

Their meeting kicked off a large-scale international project designed to study the condition of democracy nowadays.

It is steered by the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, a Russian NGO that recently opened its activity in New York.

Russian and American experts discussed the challenges and complications that democratic countries are faced with and the instruments of fighting with the economic crisis that are used by various democratic countries.

"The opening up of society, politics, and floors for public discussions and debates is an important prerequisite for identifying efficacious ways out of the economic crisis," Dr Andrei Melvil of the Moscow-based MGIMO Diplomatic University said in an interview with Itar-Tass.

"Strange as it might seem, political openness becomes economically profitable," he said. "In the situation of a crisis, an open society performs better than a closed one."

"If you factor out evaluative judgments, democracy gains more efficiency in the situation of post-industrial development - more efficient than mobilization-driven development and the modernization based on mobilizational scenarios ordered by the top echelons of power," Melvil said.

Dr Adam Przeworski of New York University, who is widely viewed as a living classic of political theory, believes that political competitiveness facilitates economic development.

He said that political participation, too, boosts economic growth if the latter is not overblown and does not splash out of limits into the streets in the form of mass actions.

Przeworski told Itar-Tass political participation is a good thing if it unfolds in the format of a political party and helps conduct an open discussion, but it becomes highly undesirable if it is conducted by uncivilized methods and undermines the established order of things.

He stressed the importance of a balance of forces, adding that this balance can be supported by the forms, organization elements and rules regulating political involvement.

Democracy does give more opportunities for fighting with crises and it does not help get out of them faster, but once a crisis breaks out, democracy provides an opportunity to scale down social tensions and to do a faster redistribution of resources necessary for protecting the most vulnerable sections of the population, Przeworski said.

"The democratic system makes society and the environment in which business operates more open," said Boris Makarenko, the director of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies. "In the meantime, it's business that can determine now the areas where Russian may become competitive."

Makarenko believes, for instance, that democracy may help Russia exploit all of its advantages in the sphere of higher education and, in the first place, in the field of computer science and mathematics.

"Open society offers more vistas for economic development and industrial modernization," he said.


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