Dead Men Left

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Democracy and free-market not linked (therefore bomb Iran)

Direland flags up a study in the forthcoming Foreign Affairs:

It's a finger in the eye for the likes of the Times' Tom Friedman and other prophets of the beneficial effects of globalization: a new study of 150 countries, to appear in the September-October issue of the archi-establishment journal Foreign Affairs (published by the Council on Foreign Relations), demonstrating how the conventional wisdom which says that free market economies inevitably bring democracy in their wake is a myth.

There's a preview of the article, by de Mesquita and Downs, in the International Herald Tribune. I'm not so sure about an unconditional thumbs-up, however. What de Mesquita and Downs present will be read as support for a neo-conservative argument: the free-market alone isn't enough: we have to reinforce its beneficial effects with deliberate "democratization", by force if needed. The happy way in which the authors throw Hugo Chavez in alongside Vladimir Putin is one indicator; but only by decoupling economic questions from the strictly political is it possible to confuse the two. Bat has more on democratic revolutions, over at Lenin's Tomb.