Prompt: Many argue that economic development and democracy go together – specifically that econom-
ic development fosters the conditions that support democracy and citizens’ demands for democratiza-
Theory suggests that economic development and democracy are inextricably linked; In-
deed, most of the richest countries in the world are democracies. However, in the past few
decades, the growing global influence of countries such as India, the “improbable demo-
cracy”, and the awakening of the “sleeping giant” that is China have proved notable excep-
tions to the rule; The theory that, by engaging with authoritarian governments economic-
ally will induce political reform is being disproven.
We can no longer state that a demo-
cracy is a necessary pre-requisite for economic growth, nor that economic growth is con-
sequence of democracy, as historical and cultural and economic factors play a huge role
in determining the strength of the correlation between the two variables.
The impacts of
these influences can be seen in the comparison of the following cases.
Democracy is categorized by a system that places power in the hands of society to
choose their political and economic future; where their votes count, and there is a competi-
tions of political ideas to choose from; Their influence is reinforced by the ability to particip-
ate in civic life, and the rule of law protects basic human rights. Economic development is
the growth of an economy through increasing GDP per capita, often promoting an increase
in standards of living, technological innovation and productivity.
In theory, “Scholars often associate democracy with critical levels of prosperity,
mass literacy, urbanization and national unity.”
We often expect these attributes to be
products of economic development, and for them to foster conditions which promote a
democratic society. The case of Mexico is an example of this in practice.
From the 1940s to the 1980s, Mexico’s economy went through a period of high eco-
nomic growth, which helped pave the way for a more democratic political system. During
this time “Mexico became more industrialized, urban, and educated.”
In Mexico it has
been shown that interest in politics increases with levels of education and income.
an increase in GDP generally comes an increased standard of living, which generally
leads to improved access to education. Therefore, we can see how increased economic
development supports democracy, as it produces a richer, more educated population, who
will have more interest in participating in civil society. In Mexico, this democratic change
came about fully when the PRI’s one party dominance was finally ended in 2000, signaling
the start of a democratic shift in government.
During the same period of 1940-1980, Mexico also started the process of embra-