Democracy, Dictatorship, and Transformation: A Proposal For a Constitution-Guided Systemic Change in Formerly Soviet Republics
A system transformation contains complicated social dilemmas and special-interest problems. Thus it is frequently suggested that democratic decisionmaking is inappropriate for introducing a market economy in the former socialist countries. In this paper I argue that this view rests on a nirvana approach, because it neglects the dynamics of authoritarian governments. It is shown that dictatorships tend to serve even narrower special interests than democracies and are therefore usually less likely to pursue a consistent transformation policy. However, a dictatorship could, under certain cultural and social conditions, have some advantages over democracies. But those conditions are barely present in the formerly socialist countries. Moreover, a dictatorship can by its very nature not be committed and cannot even commit itself to a certain public policy. Hence, there is only one instrument to mitigate social dilemmas in transformation countries: a set of constitutional rules. Some basic properties of a constitutional approach of system transformation are introduced in the last section of the paper.