Texto para Discussão EESP/Fundação Getúlio Vargas 367, junho 2014.
This paper distinguishes three types of countries (rich, middle-income, and pre-industrial) and discusses the problems of state capability and the quality of democracy in the later, which include the poor countries. A consolidate democracy supposes that the country has realized its capitalist revolution and counts with a relatively capable state. The challenge of pre-industrial countries is to build their nation and a reasonably capable state, and to make their national and industrial revolution. The democratic state will be its main instrument to achieve the five political objectives that modern societies defined historically: security, individual liberty, economic well-being, social justice, and protection of the environment. Given the demand of the people and the pressure of rich countries since the 1980s, this state will have to be democratic, but, historically, all industrial revolutions were the outcome of a developmental strategy, and none of them were accomplished in the realm of democracy. This is the main contradiction and the main challenge faced by populist leaders who try to develop their countries, having as adversaries the local liberal oligarchy and the rich countries or the West. They must build a capable state, but their poorly organized societies do not help. They must give priority to economic growth, but the people ask for more social services. Thus, to govern these countries is extremely difficult.