Edited by Paula Kyrö
Chapter 4: Entrepreneurship: the missing link for democratization and development in fragile nations?
Voices from development economics and public administration have raised their concern that the sustainable development discussion is addressed from a wrong angle (compare Andrews et al., 2012; Potts et al., 2010). Development economics, traditionally debating factors that promote and constrain economic activity in low-income countries (Gillis et al., 1992), has started to recognize that economic growth has been the exception rather than the rule in developing and least-developed nations (Potts et al., 2010). Despite large influxes of foreign aid, there are only a few cases where countries have been able to move forward, and in some situations the very presence of international aid has aggravated the situation at hand (Riddell, 2007). Huang (2008) points out that rural China is a noteworthy example, demonstrating an alternative path. In this particular case, rural entrepreneurs became the real catalysts for the emergence of the Chinese economy, instead of public enterprises (township and village enterprises) directed and managed by local governments, as is commonly believed (ibid.). Such examples provide some evidence that neither international aid nor government intervention, but rather local entrepreneurs, are (sometimes) the main factors or agents driving societal renewal and accelerating economic liberalization, and are also important in signalling the emergence of democratization processes, rights and freedom (Nicholls, 2008: 94; Huang, 2008). Alongside the economic development efforts, we have witnessed a move towards democratic progress via the replacement of authoritarian regimes with democracies (Huntington, 1993), a shift that has been labelled the new ‘megatrend’ in developing countries (Boeninger, 1992).
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