China Democracy?

Marginal Revolution points to a study whichattacks themyth that prosperity leads to democracy.

With respect to China, I’m increasingly puzzled that we ask the question at all. Many Chinese are convinced that they do vote for their leaders. I read about elections all the time in People’s Daily.

Of course, I’m just making a point, since I realize that American elections are conducted a little bit differently; but it’s a good point. Nobody would argue that America has a true direct democracy either. So it’s a matter of degrees.

One starts to think that the American press has a rather subjective and even fickle definition of what constitutes democracy. It seems that the definition of democracy is based far more on political attitudes in the U.S. than actual reality on the ground in the country of question. For example, we all agree that Saddam vote is not democracy, and America is. But the press seem to agree that Palestine vote is democracy, but only as long as they behave — and Lebanon will be, only given that Syria moves out. Maybe the only thing separating China from true democracy is a few tweaks to the party system and payoffs to the right U.S. senators.

Regardless, when you realize that the press-sanctioned definition of ?democracy? is so wobbly, it starts to seem pretty stupid to breathlessly speculate about ?will economic growth lead to democracy?.

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