Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Petróleo vs. democracia?

Egypt, Oil and Democracy, por Nate Silver:

One thing that links Egypt and Tunisia, however — and which forms part of the background against which attempts at revolution might have been more likely in those countries — is that as compared to most of the region, they do not have much oil.

There is a large body of literature in political science connecting oil wealth and democratization. Although the conclusions are not universally accepted and there are some exceptions — Norway, for instance, is one of the most petroleum-rich countries in the world, and also one of the most democratic — the consensus view is toward what Thomas L. Friedman refers to as The First Law of Petropolitics: oil and democracy do not mix.

Whichever measure is chosen, Egypt belongs with the Middle Eastern countries that have relatively few fossil fuel resources, rather than those that have them in abundance. Tunisia’s oil exports are slightly higher, but still well below the regional average.

It’s the resource-poor countries, however, that are more likely to be at least partially democratic. The Economist ranks Cyprus and Israel, which have little to no oil, as being democracies (albeit what it calls “flawed democracies”). Likewise, it classifies Lebanon and Turkey, which also have little oil, as “hybrid states” leaning toward being democracies.

By contrast, The Economist rates all of the oil-rich countries in the region as being authoritarian, with the partial exception of Iraq which — after the United States’ intervention there — was assigned a score of 4.00, placing it just at the brink between authoritarian and partially democratic.

Many of the studies that have identified this effect have concluded that it is not necessarily confined to the Middle East — some evidence also been cited in Africa, for instance, as well as the countries of the former Soviet Union. And many have also concluded that the effects are not merely incidental but, also, causal: when new oil discoveries are made, they tend to retard democratization and enhance authoritarianism (a recent example of this is Equatorial Guinea, which discovered significant amounts of oil in the late 1990s).

Michael Ross, a political science professor at U.C.L.A. who is among the foremost proponents of the hypothesis, has concluded that democratic transitions are 50 percent more likely in oil-poor states than in oil-rich ones. That fact alone is certainly not sufficient to explain why Tunisia has undergone regime change, or why Egypt may be on the brink of it — but it does suggest that the underlying probabilities were greater in those countries than for some of their regional neighbors.
Um ponto adicional - qual é o menos democrático pais lusófono?

1 comment:

PR said...

Penso que a Noruega não é bem uma excepção. Pelo menos as teorias que eu conheço dizem que os recursos naturais não são, per se, um entrave à democracia, mas apenas ao florescimento da democracia.

Ou seja, a descoberta de recursos naturais pode ser benéfica se decorrer num contexto de instituições democráticas já solidamente estabelecidas.