Very interesting post on the Thomas P.M. Barnett Blog, entitled,Who’s afraid of Vladimir Putin? [link no longer exists] The post is on a very well reasoned article entitled, The Myth of the Authoritarian Model: How Putin’s Crackdown Holds Russia Back, the thesis of which is that Russia’s economy would actually be doing even better without Putin and Putinism.
Barnett’s thesis is the following:
Putinism, if successful, is a phase–at best a recovery model, not a long-term economic model. The key will be: Will Putin accept the inevitable waning of his personal power (already begun by naming his successor)?
I think he’ll have no choice and in a dozen years we’ll be venerating him like Lee Kuan Yew, but hardly pretending like he found some new model that threatens the legitimacy of liberal democracies. Ditto with the Chinese.
Why must we constantly get so wobbly all the time over any success that does not mirror our current state? Especially when our own journey to this mature point wasn’t pretty and featured all sorts of bad stuff that we condemn others for today?
As always, a little more belief in ourselves would be nice.
If all Putinism aspires to is raw materials authoritarianism, then that’s all it will achieve. That doesn’t scare me and it shouldn’t scare you.
The A game model in globalization is a market economy plus liberal democracy. If you want risk-taking and innovation and competitive drive, then you have to accommodate it in all its demands. Authoritarianism, well-funded, can buy you the team, but it can’t make it win over the long haul. Success simply makes people too uppity and demanding.
Nothing terribly new here, but very well expressed, and obviously relevant for China as well.