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Europe's ongoing malaise has reignited the old debate over which form of government produces better economic performance. Are authoritarian regimes, with their ability to ram through unpopular choices, more effective at generating growth? Or does liberal democracy, with its built in checks and balances, yield greater material prosperity?Democracies, according to political scientists, were vulnerable to growth-constraining special interests.In Latin America, left-wing politicians embraced market principles as the best way to satisfy their constituents' aspirations, and growth resumed. For much of the 1990s, democracies seemed to have the upper hand.The challenge for democracies is to develop mechanisms that allow them to set policies that are sustainable in the long term while safeguarding the democratic process itself.
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