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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912

Abstract

STRAUSS, Danie; ROSSOUW, Jannie  and  FOURIE, Johan. The implications of a constitutional state for developing countries. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2009, vol.49, n.2, pp. 181-200. ISSN 2224-7912.

This article commences with a historical perspective on state and economy in order to arrive at a characterisation of the nature of a constitutional state, in terms of the differently-natured legal spheres within a differentiated society. The focus then shifts to developing countries, the problem of poverty and the relevance of various theories of development. A literature review reveals as alternative theories for economic growth the linear-stages-growth model, the neo-Marxist (or dependency) growth model, the orthodox growth model and the structural growth theory. The single main objective of all these models is the quickest eradication of poverty, but these theories differ with regard to the most suitable ways in which to eradicate poverty on a sustained basis in the shortest possible time. Literature on development strategies currently favours either the orthodox model or the structural model, as the other two models have been discredited owing to recent experiences in economic growth and development. This challenge of poverty eradication has been described as one of melting the "Golden curtain" which separates wealthy countries in the northern hemisphere from the poor countries in the southern hemisphere. Although different models aiming at economic growth and economic development were used by different countries and in different regions, African countries have shown little progress in the eradication of poverty. Factors other than the application of particular development strategies therefore played a role and contributed, depending on the circumstances, either to a faster or to a slower eradication of poverty in different regions and countries. These discrepancies that occurred over a period of 30 years (1970 tot 2000) between certain parts of the world recording remarkable progress in their efforts to combat poverty on the one hand, compared to increases in poverty in other parts of the world on the other, require an assessment which takes into account a more encompassing perspective. On the basis of these considerations the question is then raised in this paper as to whether or not the "just state" can play a significant role in developing countries, inter alia, in the light of existing theories of development. The intimate coherence between a system of free enterprise, the free market and the juridical guarantees of a just state underpins key elements in the formulation of the conclusion of this article.

Keywords : Democracy; economic development; economic growth; growth theories; governmental authority; poverty; property rights; rule of law ("regstaat"); (un)differentiated society.

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