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The University of Maine

Prosperity, Stagnation, and Poverty The Future of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Nigeria

Stephen P. Roberts, Jr. POS 241 – 0990 Professor H. Cody 15 December 2013

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Nation-states prosper in conditions with proper political institutions, strong political figures, a homogenous population, rich culture, and with extensive natural resources. Historically nation-states that lack the natural resources to keep their economy’s growing will expand economically, politically, or through war1. A homogenous population is beneficial as it ensures that there will not be strife along ethnic lines2. Rich culture must not be overlooked as a populous that speaks the same language and identifies wholly as a nationality rather a member of a clan or tribe; a populous that can break bread together. Proper political institutions that follow constitutional principles set forth in each states constitution make or break a state; they must not accept corruption as a normal process. Strong political figures that abide by constitutional principles and face adversity regularly are the most prosperous “Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.3” Liberty is also an important aspect of some prosperous nationstates, but it is not necessary as can be noted in the case of China. The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is prosperous totalitarian country in East Asia; consisting of a complicated three-branch one-party political system. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the only legal political party of the PRC since the revolution of 1949. It rules over the world’s largest homogenous population456, and it does so with complete disregard of basic human rights. This populous, generally fought on the side of the communists in the civil war7. After the civil war the country became entangled in the cold war supplying arms and troops to both the North Koreans and the Viet-Minh. One of the aforementioned aspects of any prosperous


Imperial Japan Pre-World War Two Americas assimilative “Melting-Pot” 3 Victor Hugo 4 93% of all Chinese citizens are Han Chinese 5 China is officially atheist so religion has little weight in politics 6 The culture of China is homogenous and unique 7 As the Civil War progressed more forces were on the side of the Communists 2

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country is a country’s ability to grow economically, politically, and the form of an increasing population. China is among the world’s most prosperous countries. Its growing homogenous population of 1.3 billion Chinese provides the economic means for industrialization and fiscal growth, and it also provides a large political force with its massive population. The Chinese population has grown from a population of 423 million in 1949 to just over 1.35 billion in 2010; a growth rate of more than 300%8. This compares to the American growth from 151 million to 308 million in 2010; a growth rate of 200%9. This flourishing population provides millions of low wage workers. In an attempt to curb outrageous population growth the PRC instituted a onechild policy. The government administers this policy in a variety of forms, but typical exertion of state power is seen in one-child propaganda, the ostracization of parents of more than one child in the form of economic means. This policy is set to be relaxed slightly in 2015. Although this has yet to reflect a long term growth as in the decade of 2030 the projected Chinese population will have hit a maximum of 1.53 billion and it will begin to shrink to a projected 1.28 billion10. This net loss of 250 million laborers will significantly affect the workforce and health of the economy. Workers in the past have flocked to the South Chinese industrial belt; presently factories are creeping further inland and laborers no longer need to migrate as far to find work. The population has no civil liberties or civic rights. This means they do not have the liberty to participate in government. They do not have the liberty to speak freely in public or in private. The liberties so idealistically portrayed and contradicted in the Chinese constitution are a farce as can be seen in Article 34.

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When a citizen is deprived of political rights they no longer have the inalienable opportunity to participate in government; beyond liberties the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China specifically stipulates that all land and natural resources are owned by the state. This has led to unrest in some areas of Guangdong as citizens are being relocated so that the land of their ancestors can be developed and industrialized12. The government and its institutions have generally ignored their minority dissention as it seeks to maintain economic growth. China combats civil unrest with rapid economic growth. Historically the Chinese use economic growth as a way to take political pressures off the government; this is especially apparent in the Deng secretariat. Then Deng era was marked with the opening of the Chinese market to the outside world in an export-style economy. In 1980 the Gross Domestic Product per capita of a Chinese citizen was a mere $250; compared to the 2010 estimate of $7400. This economic prosperity is not unscathed by the many shortcomings of the Chinese political institutions: corruption, and environmental damage. Corruption is the greatest inhibitor to the Chinese economy13. China is currently rated as the 80th least corrupt country in the world with a score of 40 out 10014. Corruption has been the source of many large protests (they are quite rare in totalitarian China). This rampant corruption


The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (1952), Chapter Two, Article 34 13 In the current market-Leninist state 14 Corruption Perception Index 2013, 12

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is a severe detriment to the legitimacy of the government and CCP. In order to maintain prosperity for the posterity the Chinese bureaucracy and CCP will need to fight this corruption. They have made extraordinary strides in fighting corruption in the public eye with the life sentence handed down to former Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, although it seems at first the CCP attempted to simply sweep the mess under the rug. The other significant inhibitor to the Chinese economy is environmental damage. As the Chinese economy booms there is no inherent measure to ensure that the environment is protected. Beijing consistently rates among the cities with the most air pollution amid other Chinese cities of Linfen, Natong, and Jinchang as the most polluted cities in China if not the world15. This environmental damage threatens agricultural production, long term harvesting of natural resources, and public health. Pollution is a long term problem for China, and it seems the Chinese government is doing very little to fight it in the short. Simply put Chinas long term issues may affect its long term prosperity. China has a challenging outlook in the next 50 years. The state is facing many challenges such as an aging population, a net decrease in population, corruption, environmental damage, and the citizenry’s requirement of a fast growing economy in the globalized world. The aging population is going to place strain on social services. Corruption will exist for the foreseeable future as there have been no significant reforms within state political institutions. Environmental damage will begin to drain more and more money out of the Chinese Gross Domestic Product. The bright spot in Chinas future may just be in the form of economic growth of the domestic market. China’s problems seem miniscule when compared to those of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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The Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria) is a corrupt democracy16 in Western Africa. It consists of three branches of government in the form of a presidential system and a delicate multi-party system. There are many historical democratic roots, but these roots have been tainted with an “authoritarian political culture.17� This most recent Federal Republic of Nigeria was founded in 1999. Nigeria has remained destitute since its founding as it struggles to cope with its immense natural resources, and massive population. Typically those two components together create prosperity, but it is the curse of Nigeria. The curse begins in the heart of government. Nigeria lacks the proper political institutions to prosper now and in the future. Nigeria is composed of a three branch presidential system. Heading all of it is the President the leader of the executive branch. They oversee the military, the cabinet, and the bureaucracy. There is an assumed rotation of the presidency by the Northerners and the Southerners; it is not written as such in the constitution. The executive branch is the strongest branch of government in Nigeria as it can dismiss military leaders as it sees fit not to mention its influence over the other branches of government. This power is in a state of flux as more constitutionally defined power is taken by the legislative branch and the judiciary. After President Yar’Adua fell ill the judiciary and the legislative branches waited 70 days before they moved in an unprecedented manner to install Vice-President Goodluck Johnathan as President. Those 70 days of inaction truly portrays the anti-catharsis of the government. The legislative branch suffers from a form of corruption known as prebendalism; an extreme form of clientelism. This form of corruption is found in the legislative branch, but also in the executive branch. Nigeria is rated as the 144th least corrupt country scoring 25 out of 10018. Prebendalism ensures that patrons can give out power to their own ethnic groups in the form of money and positions in government in return for political 16

Corruption Perception Index 2013 Chapter 12, Page 536 18 Corruption Perception Index 2013 17

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support. In some regions of Nigeria vote-rigging is apparent as well as being the norm. The primary concern of legislators is not to legislate but to kleptocratically take all the money they can for the longest period of time. This is a product of the splintered prebendalist political party system more than it is a product of a formal institutional failure. There is hope that the legislative branch is seizing its constitutionally defined power in a few events since federation: the impeachment trials of former President Objasanjo; its refusal to change the term limit for the president; and the aforementioned swearing in of Goodluck Johnathan. These moves were all affirmed by the judiciary branch. It is now apparent that there are advocates of constitutional rule. The judiciary branch is the other weak branch of government. It was beaten down by previous authoritarian regimes to a point of submission. Only in the current fourth Federal Republic of Nigeria has it begun to offer justice to the government. In order for Nigeria to end its absolute poverty these institutions will need to reform and become equal partners as stated in the social contract. This is one facet of the curse of Nigeria another is its massive population. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of 155 million people. The population is set to double in 36 years. This population is diverse but can be distilled into three major ethnic groups who represent a total of 70% of the total population. There are the Hausa and Fulani as the largest ethnic group; the second largest is the Yoruba people, and the third largest is the Igbo people. The population is further divided almost half and half into Muslim and Christian. This diverse population is a detriment to the fledgling state and its attempts to nation build. There are Hausa people, Fulani people, Yoruba people, and Igbo people, but there are no Nigerians. These groups have little tendency to compromise, and if they cannot mutually identify to a higher authority of the state it will be hard to see any progress in the future. If ethno-religious disputes do not tear this nation state apart perhaps they will see there is more

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power in unity than division19. This lack of a common national identity limits any formation of a cultural identity as well. Perhaps the greatest curse in Nigeria is its extensive natural resources. Nigeria is cursed with oil wealth. Its proven oil reserves exceed 37 billion barrels. These reserves have in the past provided a much needed source of currency to grow the economy. However the oil wealth lead to uniformity in the economy; agricultural production decreased, and the entire economy began to hinge on the oil economy. This lead to the importation of basic staples and economic uncertainties as the entire country dealt with the fluctuating price of oil. Presently the oil economy is creating a militant insurgency20, piracy21, and mass environmental damage22. The fact of the matter is that Nigeria was an illogical creation of British Imperialism, and that modern Nigeria is still just as illogical now as then. It faces institutional division, corruption, a divided and growing population, and an economy that focuses solely on the production of oil. The citizens of Nigeria will not pay taxes to a government as corrupt as it is now; they see no value. If Nigeria wants to prosper in 50 years it needs to create a national cultural identity, diversify its economy, and reform the state. The challenges facing Nigeria are much greater than those in Brazil. The Federative Republic of Brazil is a burgeoning presidential system democracy in South America consisting of a strong executive branch, a feeble legislative branch, and corrupt judiciary. Moving Brazil forward is the strong executive branch, and a growing economy. It (executive branch) leads the state as the legislative branch participates in the corrupt practice of clientelism and the judiciary is unwilling to interpret laws against the wishes of government.


Emanuel Cleaver 21 22 20

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Brazil is rated as the 72nd least corrupt nation scoring 42 out of 100 on the annual Corruption Perception Index23. Brazil’s executive branch is consistently led by a populist President who need not fear the other branches of government; power is consolidated within the executive branch. Brazil is a harmonious society regardless of racial differences; this is not to say that they do not play a part in Brazilian culture. Brazil has a common national identity, and a common national language. Brazilian culture is among the richest in the world, and it can be commonly seen exported in the styles of its famed architect Niemeyer and in its love of soccer. It is a fairly populous country with a population of 196 million set to grow to 247 million by 206524. The only divisive part of the culture is the rampant racism between the white population and the Pardo population. Even with just over two fifths of Brazil’s population the Pardo populous is wholly underrepresented in the current political system. The Brazilian economy is expanding25 at such a rate that political, social, and democratic problems are being silenced. Contemporary Brazil is hitting an economic barrier caused by the many failures of their political institutions: judicial corruption, no tension of powers, and an inadequate legislative branch. According to a recent British Broadcasting Corporation report26 over one million Brazilians protested the corruption and poor living conditions in cities all over the country. Brazil is considered the most diverse geographically diverse country in the world. Its large size and immense natural resources have made it an agricultural giant since its conception.


Corruption Perception Index 2013 25 World Bank Data asserts that the Brazilian GDP grew at an average rate of 4.40% (1961-2012), and at an average rate of 3.15% (1994-2012) 26 24

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It has the world’s largest rain forest in the Amazon. It also has immense mineral wealth and offshore oil reserves. Brazil is in the perfect position to utilize its natural resources to propel it into the future, but first it must tackle rampant corruption. Corruption on all levels must be eliminated in an effort to raise the standard of living. It must also create an active domestic economy to continue to raise the standard of living for all Brazilians. If Brazil wants to prosper for the next 50 years they just have to do these relatively small hurdles. Brazil’s challenges and population are insignificant when compared to the challenges facing India. The Republic of India is a prospering democracy in South Asia. It consists of a three branch parliamentary system including a strong executive, a legislative branch, and a decaying judiciary. The leader of the executive branch the prime minister is of special importance as they have the ability to suspend the rule of law in emergencies and rule by decree. This is a highly controversial aspect of the executive branch. Another aspect of the executive branch is the Indian bureaucracy. At the highest levels of the bureaucracy there are extremely deft bureaucrats attempting to implement government policy. At the mid to lower levels of the bureaucracy the personnel seems to turn into overpaid, underworked, lazy bureaucrats. These lower level bureaucrats effectively slow any government policies, and they have also been known to be quite corrupt. India is the 94th least corrupt nation scoring 36 out of 10027 The legislative branch is quite the norm of the parliamentary system. The political parties that are represented within the legislature are a mixture of mass parties and ethno-religious groups. The judiciary branch is an exemplary part of the Indian political institution. It is suffering from significant institutional decay as it is overworked and underfunded. The backlog of court cases means for some court cases nothing will be settled for decades. 27

Corruption Perception Index 2013

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India is an ethno-religiously diverse and massive population. It is the second most populous country behind China with a population of 1.2 billion people. This population is set to almost double to 2.2 billion by 206528. This large population will provide cheap labor and plenty of governmental problems for at least the next century. A large portion of the population lives below the UN mandated poverty line of $2 a day. This large population consists of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs. The Hindu population is further divided into varnas or castes. One of the greatest challenges facing India is the lack of a cultural identity, similar to the situation in Nigeria citizens generally do not think of themselves as Indian so much as they are Hindi, Muslim, or Sikh. Without a unifying national language it will be near impossible to foster a cultural identity. The Indian economy is moving forward in leaps and bounds with an annual GDP growth rate exceeding 5% every year since 2003, but this growth presents many problems for the Indian government as it copes with a growth in social and economic inequalities. It will become somewhat harder to maintain this economic growth as time wears on due to the lack of universal education in India. The only thing stopping India from growing at a stable rate is the Indian government’s inability to fully implement legislation; legislation specifically targeting the massive informal economy. This economic growth is also causing irreparable harm to the environment. India is a considerable country with diverse geography and a perfect position to broker trade and politics from the East to the West. India has considerable value as an agrarian society; there are plenty of fertile fields for crops, but it also has wealth hidden underground in the form of large mineral deposits; in its oceans to the South there is even good fishing. India is remarkably under-developed and the development of its natural resources will provide continue 28

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to provide economic growth in the domestic sector. However the rapid industrialization that has occurred is leaving colossal amounts of pollution in its wake which in the long term may gobble up a large portion of the Indian GDP. India is a complicated country, and if it is going to prosper over the next 50 years it needs to face a few realities. The bureaucracy must be purged of all of the lower-level parasitic bureaucrats. This will be highly unpopular, but it is wholly necessary for the long term success of the nation. The judiciary must expand in order to keep up with its caseload. The citizens of India must find unification in culture, and possibly language; leaving behind old ethno-religious tensions. The most important mechanism of Indian prosperity is universal education. An educated public creates a better society, a better government, and a better India. These problems facing India are wholly dissimilar to the challenges facing Mexico. Estados Unidos Mexicanos or the United States of Mexico is a stagnant secular federal republic in South North America. It consists of an executive branch headed by a very strong president, a glorified legislature, and corrupt judiciary. Until very recently the government was regularly administered by one political party the Institutional Revolutionary Party. The executive branch is headed by a very strong president and cabinet of ministers. The executive branch also oversees a highly skilled bureaucracy. The legislature is bi-cameral in nature and has generally been feeble until 2000 when new political parties emerged finally breaking nearly a century of one-party rule. The judiciary is widely seen as corrupt. Police are notorious for accepting bribes and kick-backs to supplement their incomes; in recent memory the Police Chief of Cancun in Benito Juarez province was arrested for supplying safe passage to cocaine traders. Mexico is

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rated as the 106th least corrupt country scoring 34 out of 10029. This corruption is nationwide and can also be seen on the subnational level. Mexico has the smallest population of the aforementioned countries with a small 113 million people though this population is set to nearly double to 200 million by 2065. Mexico has a homogenous population all unified under one language of Spanish. Although there are some Amerindian minority groups still struggling against the Mexican cultural identity it is widely accepted. This population is in a state of turmoil with the rampant drug violence nationwide. Thousands are dying unnecessarily every year all due to illegal products that they want nothing to do with. This war on drugs has caught the average citizenry between the cartels and the Mexican government; some, but not many Mexicans turn to the drug trade due to the stagnant economy. The economy has stagnated and languished growing at an average rate of 1.19% since 200730. This is due to the tethered health of the Mexican economy to that of the American economy. NAFTA has hurt the Mexican economy a great deal, but in the long term it will help Mexico grow into a net-exporter of goods. Mexico is rife with diverse geography and it borders the world’s largest economy of the United States. Mexico has significant mineral deposits, agricultural production, and offshore oil reserves. These natural resources coupled with its proximity to the United States make it a prime location for American investment. Mexico has also diversified itself by making certain areas of the country into planned cities specifically for American and European tourists. Its proximity to the United States is also one of the reasons for the ongoing drug wars between the cartels and government forces.

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Corruption Perception Index 2013 World Bank Data

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Mexico is a proud country that is in a state of change from stagnation to prosperity. How fast it goes from one state to another will depend on several factors such as the outcome of the drug war, and the growth of its northern neighbor the United States. In fighting the drug war they will also combat the rampant corruption that plagues police forces nationwide. Mexico is the most fortunate of the Less Developed countries due to its extreme proximity to the United States. In the next 50 years I think Brazil will be the most prosperous of the less developing countries due to its economic growth and apparent willingness to adapt in the face of mass protests. India will be the next prosperous of the less developing countries due to certain instabilities in the bureaucracy and the diverse growing population. Its GDP will continue to grow at a rate of higher that 3%. Mexico is currently stagnant and it may take well more than 50 years for it to get back moving, but with a projected increase in population it may be difficult for the government to keep up. China will continue to grow like clockwork, but its corruption, political infighting, public dissention, and the projected declining population will mar its ability to grow at a satisfactory rate of 7-8%. This very well could lead to further political dissidence. Nigeria gets the worst of the five. Its political culture is abhorrent, and the central government lacks the effectiveness to manage the government and the ongoing militancy and piracy silently raging through the country.

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Have a wonderful break Prof. Cody, I truly enjoyed your course. Thank you so very much for coming on the Ottawa trip, our first night out after listening to you talk about the scandal that was embroiling the Upper House I was actually able to coherently talk about the scandal with a Canadian at a bar. Thank you! Steve Roberts, Jr.

Prosperity, Stagnation, and Poverty  

This is my third test for POS 241.