The Perfect Dictatorship? Comparing Authoritarian Rule in South Korea and in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico

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Date Presented:

Aug 29, 2002


Prepared for delivery at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 29–September 1, 2002, Boston, Panel 11–25.

What is a "perfect dictatorship"? Such a regime provokes little societal resistance at installation. Its leaders act jointly to consolidate the regime and to broaden the support coalition by agreeing upon succession rules to rotate the presidency within the authoritarian regime. They delegate policy– making authority to civilians in areas of their competence. They emphasize consultation, not open contestation, prefer cooptation to repression, eschew ideological appeals, compel social actors into regime– licensed organizations, and deactivate civil society. South Korea under Park Chung Hee is compared on these dimensions to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, all at a time when authoritarian regimes governed them.


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