Asan Plenum

Session: Plenary Session IV / Regency Room
Date/Time: May 1, 2013 / 17:00-18:15

Panel Description

Today, watching the seemingly endless arguments in the United States over the debt ceiling, fiscal cliff, and sequestration, frustration is building at the inability of leaders to resolve critical economic challenges. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, a definitive conclusion to the Eurozone crisis, the greatest threat to the future of the European Union, is no closer than it was five years ago. While the developed world remains stuck in political paralysis, others are bypassing the democratic experiment altogether. Most prominently, Chinese leaders increasingly dismiss the notion that democracy and development are intertwined processes. Having largely weathered the global financial crisis unscathed, Chinese policymakers espouse the virtues of strong central leadership and their model of governance. All of this has led to heated debate over whether democracy, and the often-cumbersome policy-making process that it entails, has failed to rise to the challenges of economic crisis.

Guiding Questions

  1. 1. Does democracy, and the political institutions that accompany it, inhibit a state’s ability to effectively respond to and recover from economic crisis?
  2. 2. Have there been instances which suggest that the linkage between democracy and development has weakened?
  3. 3. How can we explain the resiliency of those states that have successfully managed economic development while maintaining non-democratic political systems?