Professor Tullock on Need for Stability in Africa

Speaking to a gathering of African officials at Clark University, Mason Law professor and economist Gordon Tullock focused on the need for stable government in African nations struggling economically since gaining their independence, claiming that stable governance is needed more than democracy or education in order for those nations to advance.

Tullock spoke to a group of 10 officials from various African nations as part of the first African Outreach Program sponsored by Clark University's Institute for Economic Policy Studies. The two-week program entitled "Democracy, Liberty and Development" explores new solutions to the economic challenges faced by developing nations in Africa.

Africa open for business: Clark speaker says stability needed more than democracy, Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA), July 22, 2006. By Martin Luttrell.

"During his presentation, the sometimes-controversial Mr. Tullock said that African nations, while generally poor, are seeing average annual economic growth of about 2 percent, roughly equivalent to the United States in 1830.

"'They would like to see more,' he said. 'They are not doing as well as they did before gaining their independence.'

"He said the European powers that colonized virtually all of Africa created small groups of educated citizens, most of which are currently in power. But corruption and unstable governments have undermined economic growth, and even South Africa, a democracy with a relatively strong economy, runs the risk of shifting from democracy to a monarchy, he said. Most stable African governments are dependent on a charismatic leader, he said.

"In response to questions on how important democracy and education are to economic growth, he alluded to China's strong economy and the fact that most of the world's electronic devices are produced by Chinese workers who are nearly illiterate."

Read the article