Democracy and Development

Question: Does democracy necessarily evolve out of economic growth?

 

David Dollar: I like to look to history, and so as a fact we can say that every country that’s reached a certain level of per capita income has become democratic. And the only exceptions are the very oil-rich states. So Saudi Arabia has a very high per capita income without being democratic, but it’s only those countries sitting on huge reserves of oil that have achieved that. Countries that have become rich through a more diverse development of manufacturing and services, every one of them that’s reached a certain per capita income has become democratic. So as someone who was a historian before he was an economist, I find that pretty persuasive.

 

July 3, 2007

Does democracy necessarily develop out of economic growth?

Cockatoos teach each other the secrets of dumpster diving

Australian parrots have worked out how to open trash bins, and the trick is spreading across Sydney.

Surprising Science
  • If sharing learned knowledge is a form of culture, Australian cockatoos are one cultured bunch of birds.
  • A cockatoo trick for opening trash bins to get at food has been spreading rapidly through Sydney's neighborhoods.
  • But not all cockatoos open the bins; some just stay close to those that do.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Godzilla and mushroom clouds: How the first postwar nuclear tests made it to the silver screen

    The few seconds of nuclear explosion opening shots in Godzilla alone required more than 6.5 times the entire budget of the monster movie they ended up in.

    Culture & Religion

    As I sat in a darkened cinema in 1998, mesmerised and unnerved by the opening nuclear bomb explosions that framed the beginning of Roland Emmerich's Godzilla, it felt like I was watching the most expensive special effect in history.

    Keep reading Show less

    Dogs know when people are lying

    A new study tested to what extent dogs can sense human deception.

    Credit: Adobe Stock / kozorog
    Surprising Science
  • A study of 260 dogs found that, in some cases, dogs can tell when people are lying.
  • The experiments involved giving dogs information about the location of food.
  • The majority of the dogs did not follow false suggestions when they knew humans were lying.
  • Keep reading Show less

    American imperialism: fat-shaming Uncle Sam

    Opponents of 19th-century American imperialism were not above body-shaming the personification of the U.S. government.

    Credit: Bill of Rights Institute / Public domain
    Strange Maps
    • In the years before 1900, the United States was experiencing a spectacular spurt of growth.
    • Not everyone approved: many feared continued expansionism would lead to American imperialism.
    • To illustrate the threat, Uncle Sam was depicted as dangerously or comically fat.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast