After Gaddafi, will Libya’s ‘resource curse’ become a blessing?

Peace and stability will be crucial for Libya’s post-revolution development. AAP

With the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s autocratic regime, the transitional government in Libya is prompting hopes for a new era of democracy in the country.

While a swift transition to democracy is certainly desirable, a question arises: to what extent is democratisation going to help the economic development of Libya?

This question has a complicated answer.

Peace and stability are prerequisites for economic development. Yet there is some disturbing evidence that the establishment of democratic pillars, such as free and competitive elections and constitutional arrangements that limit the authority of the executive, are not necessarily conducive to the stabilisation of peace.

Oxford University economist Paul Collier and his colleagues have analysed peace duration in a large number of post-conflict countries.

They conclude that rapid democratisation, which is at the root of post-conflict recovery strategies pushed by the international community, contributes very little to the probability of maintaining peace.

Other factors, including the growth of per-capita incomes, seem to be much more conducive to peace than democracy.

Gaddafi didn’t share Libya’s oil wealth. AAP