Politics and International Relations
Researchers contemplating the experiences of Ghana and South Korea often emphasize a divergent pattern of economic development. Such endeavors, generally articulated with reference to mid-twentieth century benchmarks, often suggest Ghana had relatively better prospects of economic development. Highlights from these efforts often miss the fact that the ruling elites of both states faced and resolved similar strategic imperatives in the quest for democratic stability. Using North et al’s notion of limited access orders, I contend that the two elite systems initially confronted pressures of systemic violence and economic stagnation. In the quest for democratic stability, the respective elite constituencies adopted the same tactic of selective inclusion so as to generate rents to secure the credible commitment of potentially disruptive elites. If recent political evelopments are credible indicators, it may be argued that both states are maturing into stable democracies. This notwithstanding, Ghana’s elites seem to lag behind South Korea when it comes to engineering a benign fusion of democratic stability with deep horizontal economic empowerment. Given this, South Korean elites can offer useful insights to their Ghanaian counterparts.