- The Developing World: Critical Issues in Politics and Society ed. by E. Ike Udogu
The Developing World: Critical Issues in Politics and Society has been well edited by E. Ike Udogu of Appalachian State University in North Carolina, who also contributed useful essays to the volume. Through the contributed essays, readers will learn from this publication that, proverbially, the twentieth century was unkind to many countries in the developing world in terms of impressive developments akin to those found in developed nations. Nevertheless, as contended by contributors to the volume, progressive countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are poised to claim the twenty-first century as their own in terms of growth that could add great value to the lives of their citizens.
The central focus of the works of these scholars, who are interested in the developing world in general, is anchored in the philosophy of the need for a "great leap forward." They have investigated issues and areas that could further a development agenda. It is against the background of the proceeding [End Page 141] postulations that this book may be visualized and fully comprehended. It consists of a lucid introduction, seven chapters, a preface, acknowledgments, a section for acronyms and abbreviations, and appendices. Editor Udogu underscores: "The thrust of The Developing World: Critical Issues in Politics and Society is not thematic, institutional, or structural; it is holistic and eclectic" (p. xiii).
Chapter one is contributed by George Klay Kieh, Jr., of the University of West Georgia, chapter two by Bennett Odunsi of Jackson State University, and chapter three by Udogu himself (of Appalachian State University). In these contributions, the authors bring to the fore the issues of democracy, law enforcement agency, and human rights. In discussing democracy and democratization, Kieh does not just rehash the problems that developing nations are confronted with in attaining democracy in this region; instead, he suggests the kind of democracy that might work for countries in developing areas. Meanwhile, we learn that the triumph of democracy over communism in the last half of the twentieth century resolved a nagging question among many autocratic leaders, who believed that a one-party system or totalitarian system would work for their polities. Furthermore, it becomes transparent that the shift from authoritarianism to a multiparty system and the institution of a democratic genre to replace autocracy was not going to be easy (pp. 7-13), indeed bearing in mind what an odyssey it was for Britain and France,1 for example, to attain their consolidated democracy.
Readers learn that the trajectory toward democratic consolidation in the developing world has often been sabotaged by some of the great powers in pursuit of their national interests (p. 15). This development has been unhelpful in the democratization process. Even so, and beyond the problem that many countries in the developing world are confronted with, Kieh suggests that in the new millennium, developing nations should craft democratic models that reflect their cultural and historical specificities. He further contends that liberal democratization, as practiced in the developing world, remains inefficient in part because it tends to focus mainly on "political rights as well as freedoms, and it neglects the importance of economic, social rights and freedoms" (p. 19). Given the prevailing traditional political cultures in much of the developing world, therefore, it might be useful to adopt a social democratic model like the Scandinavian model for much of the developing world.
The volume's readers learn that law-enforcement agencies in the developing world, to a large measure, are tools of the political class that they employ to further their careers in politics. They also employ them to oppress, repress, intimidate, and punish opposition factions and individuals, whose opposition to the policies of the government could stir up a revolt against their regimes. Such acts destroy national cohesion and the peaceful coexistence necessary to further a government's legitimacy, since those who are maltreated by these agencies tend to withhold their support for a system that oppresses them...