Saturday, December 11, 2004


Where Democracy Grows Best

Does democracy require a high income?

Macroeconomic analysis suggests only states with an average GDP per capita of more than 6,000 US dollars survive as consolidated democracies, while states with less than 1,000 dollars per capita in general often slip back to authoritarian government.
The above is a fairly typical statement on the matter.

But I wonder - is it the income per se, or is that merely coincidental to the fact that, to get such an income, you need a liberalized economy in the first place?

Because with that liberalization, you also get a managerial class, people who are used to gathering reliable information, making decisions, following or bucking trends as needed. In other words, a class of people who are used to thinking for themselves and who can spread that habit to others.

I think they're the fertile soil in which democracy can take root. The per-capita income is merely a reflection of their presence.