Adoption of democratic regimes in developing economies - such as India - is wreaking havoc on economic development, according to Philip Tose, chairman of Peregrine Investment Holdings. Mr Tose told a Harvard Business School seminar yesterday that endorsement by India of the principle of universal suffrage had been a disaster for the performance of its economy. 'It is a crazy system,' he said. Where everyone had the vote, governments could not expect to have the ability to drive the economy forward, Mr Tose said. He was answering a question from the floor of the seminar as to why India's economic performance over the past 20 years had suffered significantly in comparison with China. In India, driving the economy forward was even harder than in most democracies, because there were 13 different political parties, he said. Mr Tose said the economic performance of the United States had also suffered since the mid-1960s, when a law enforcing universal suffrage had been implemented. Mr Tose criticised moves by the Bangladesh Government against a Peregrine staff member. He described the move as totally unjust, and added that Peregrine would be 'fighting it'. He declined to make any further comment on developments in Bangladesh, where warrants have been issued for 36 people over the stock market crash in December. Earlier, Mr Tose said corruption was a part of doing business in Asia. 'It is not stalling advances in Asia, but it is an accepted way of life in many ways.' However, Asian corruption was not as insidious as in other parts of the world, but was 'quite an open form of corruption'. Overall, the East Asian market was exhibiting increasing maturity from an investment standpoint, he said.