When Nations Snuff out Their Own Citizens

By du Pont, Pete | Insight on the News, October 27, 1997 | Go to article overview

When Nations Snuff out Their Own Citizens


du Pont, Pete, Insight on the News


Speaking of the Red Terror, Josef Stalin said, "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." The moral repugnancy of governments killing their own people for political reasons is the overarching tragedy of human history. Dictators, emperors and kings have killed to stay in power, to weaken or destroy opposing factions, because of racial or ethnic hatred, to enforce political or religious ideologies or to enrich themselves and their closest followers. Indeed, over the centuries far more people have died at the hands of their own governments than in wars.

Much of this killing has taken the form of mass murder of groups -- what economist Gerald Scully, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis and a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, calls "democide."

While the economic consequences of democide are insignificant compared with its moral reprehensibility, the point is still worth making: Democide is a tragedy for the living as well as the dead. In a new study, Scully presents evidence that democide is destructive to a nation's economy. On average, he calculates, murdering its own people makes a country about 20 percent poorer. The killed, of course, can't work and pay taxes or tribute to the government. Further, when a dominant group uses the government to improve its economic position beyond what it could gain in the marketplace -- called "rent seeking" by economists -- many of the restrictions and requirements the government imposes distort the market and lower overall income, even as the dominant group may be enriching itself.

Scully points to the Philippines under Ferdinand Marcos as an example of how a democidal regime can affect a nation. The Philippines were averaging 2.9 percent annual economic growth until Marcos declared martial law and suspended the constitution in 1972 so he could stay in office. From that point, his regime practiced violence to keep its power and the Philippines experienced a negative growth rate. When Corazon Aquino became president after Marcos' death, the state-sponsored killing stopped -- and the economy began growing again, averaging 3.6 percent annually from 1987 to 1990.

Nor was this an isolated case. Scully studied per-capita output and how it grew -- or didn't grow -- in 23 less-developed nations that didn't practice democide and compared those nations with 33 other less-developed, democidal nations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

When Nations Snuff out Their Own Citizens
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.