In the backlash against the Bush administration’s (first-term) pro-democracy agenda, a lot of critics have been singing the praises of “alternative” models of development. Exhibits A and B are usually Russia and China, which have been prospering of late without such pesky inconveniences as free elections and independent judges.
But we tend to forget two other major rising powers, India and Brazil, which are solid democracies and whose economies have been picking up steam lately. The Wall Street Journal has a useful article on Brazil’s economic resurgence. The country, according to reporter Matt Moffett, is seeing its “greatest burst of prosperity . . . in three decades.”
The article goes on to note:
Brazil has enough money lying around that Monday it announced it would follow other booming countries like China and Persian Gulf oil states in setting up a sovereign-wealth fund, worth between $10 billion and $20 billion, to invest its excess cash.
Much of this new-found growth is a tribute to Brazil’s nominally leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has put in place pro-business policies which are attracting foreign investment. India is seeing a similar growth spurt because its government also is abandoning the socialist nostrums of the past. Both Brazil and India have a long way to go, but in the long run, they’re a better bet than Russia or China, whose long-term futures are clouded by the existence of illiberal regimes run by parasitic elites.