Zakaria Quote Of The Day

Looking at dozens of countries over decades of development, from South Korea to Argentina to Turkey, one finds that the pattern is strong – a market based economy that achieves middle income status tends, over the long run, toward liberal democracy. It may be, as many scholars have noted, the single most important and well-documented generalization in political science.

In case you wondered, this was written in the chapter about China.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Emil Sotirov

    “…over the long run…” – that’s the most interesting part of the statement – a lot of practical implications…

  2. Marc Vermut

    Curious to see how this extends to the (seeming) inability of a democracy to adequately respond to and govern a broad (geographically, demographically, ideologically) base and the tendency to respond primarily to the loudest voices (largest wallets) which tend to be large corporations and self-organized issue groups (don’t like the term “special interest,” everyone’s interest is “special”).

  3. Rogel

    The interesting thing is that China now recommend to other states, Syria for example, to open its market and reduce government regulation (see here: http://www.marginalrevoluti

  4. gregorylent

    there is a different trend happening, the growth of the concept of individual self-fulfillment …. the economy follows self concept, the organized external world mirrors inner processes, whose quickening is not amenable to economic analysis … it is a different order of functioning, the economic is a few steps after the factzakaria only looks at the surface

    1. fredwilson

      gregory,do you have any books to recommend on the topic of gloablization that talk in those terms?fred

      1. gregorylent

        oh, gosh, put together ivan illich and gregory bateson and william irwin thompson and advaita vedanta and bucky fuller and dan millman and esalen institute archives and lao tzu and stanford research institute archives and club of rome and human potential movement writings, lesser known global engineers and industrialists and the occasional mystic, the odd psychic channeler, georgia o’keefe, african art (all the masks have third eyes), and a bunch of social scientists whose words i remember but whose names i have forgotten, go around the world a few times, put them in your word blender, hit “on”, out should come just the book we are looking for. i doubt it will be by taleb or freidman or gladwell or zakarai, or even u. haque :-)the actual statement about the concept of self-fulfillment being the greatest new idea, globally, of the last century came from a western scientist, i read it here in india in the economic times, around the millenium, and cannot find it the time awareness gets to ideas,ideas get to words, and words to books, it is way too late for describing reality

        1. fredwilson

          That’s a lot of work. Maybe more than I can commit to.Any chance you can write the book gregory?

          1. gregorylent

            yes i think so, if i can just curb my snarky tone, find my voice … plus a website about it,, which my brother has pointing to his local bbq restaurant, until i can get it designed, the schmuck. takes some care to communicate new ideas to people with different understandings … i mean, neuro-scientists think consciousness comes from meat, for gosh sakes!

          2. fredwilson

            You are the consummate commenter…With a little work, that URL could be your blog

  5. Steven Kane

    i know i may be flogged in the public square for suggesting this but –Zakaria’s point is pretty darn consistent with the so-called “neocon” rationale for the war in iraq:* create a catalyst that moves the arab/islamic world onto that markety economy/liberal democracy path, and/or make Iraq a showcase to the arab/islamic world of a third way (the way of capitalism and democracy) other than the seeming intractable two ways of either totalitarian despotism or radical islamic theocracy

    1. fredwilson

      SteveYou should read his book if you haven’t.There’s a lot of history in itCertainly it was the case with Japan and Germany that ³regime change² workedto foster a new model for those countries.But Zakaria also talks a lot about religion and culture and its role infostering this kind of change. He believes countries with non dogmaticreligions like Hindu, Buddhist, and Confucian (with Hindu and Confucian notreally religions) are well served by their cultures in this emerging worldand that the middle east is going to struggle because of their religiousdogma.Fred

      1. Steven Kane

        The book is on my summer pile. I read (and admire) a lot of Zakaria¡¯swriting, in various publications.Btw, for millennia before WWII, Japan¡¯s culture was all about religiousdogma ¡ª the emporer wasn¡¯t a political figure, he was a god. Suicide bomberswere deployed en masse by the Japanese (the ¡°kamakazes¡±.)So IMHO the pessimists and cynics are wrong — if we don¡¯t lose confidencein our own culture and values (which I do worry is a real risk these days,)then change can and will happen even in the world¡¯s most fanaticallydogmatic religious cultures.

        1. gregorylent

          what if the cost of losing confidence in our (whichever “our” we might relate to) own culture and values was to gain a larger understanding of what it meant to be a human being in the world?and about dogma, it is on a suicide watch, has natural self-destructive tendencies, all dogmas everywhere .. (that they are immediately replaced by new ones is beyond the topic of this discussion 🙂 … and something to reflect on in the process of growing as humans)

    2. David B.

      I think that kind of argument is a spurious way to rationalize Iraq, which was simply an act of aggression in violation of international law. Bush and Cheney, for example, can’t travel to some countries in Europe for the very real fear of being brought up on war crimes. (In other words, yes you’re being flogged, but more for simplicity of reasoning than for a bad idea. :-)I understand what you’re saying, but it’s not up to the US or Russia or China to open up other countries to the benefits of markets and democracy and the barrel of a gun. It certainly hasn’t worked in Iraq; if anything it’s created a backlash. Women have much fewer rights now than four years ago under the Baathists. The best way is to lead by example.

  6. Ian J Reynolds

    China (like the US) will forever continue to bloom, as the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovations continue to grow.However, everything has it’s end. The main objective now is how can they continue to survive with such a high population growth and demand for resources. (They don’t have to worry like the US, due that they eat anything that moves).

  7. fakedjs

    These countries established a modern economy first which led to greater political openness. It’s the same formula for developing countries. The United States built its political system based on openness and it bred capitalism.

    1. mel starrs

      Really enjoying the quotes. Bizarrely, I picked up Zakaria’s The Future of Freedom in a book swap in a hostel in Beijing! Hadn’t come across him before (I’m from the UK) and enjoyed it immensely (read it in various sleeper trains across China). Keeping an eye out for back catalogue and this new one…