Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Necessity of Economic Diversity

Hi Law Talking Guy,

Great discussion of the SC decisions on the fate of our democracy itself. Very insightful.

Re Economics and Democracy:
I argue that economic diversity is a necessary condition for democracy. That is I'm saying that we will not observe stable democracies with economies concentrated in one sector. I'm not claiming that we won't observe non-democracies with diverse economies (like China).

I point to the following as evidence in support of my argument (all the facts below were got from the CIA World Fact Book link on our blog in about 10 minutes):
1) No stable democracies have emerged in any country totally dependent upon oil. Norway has a number of other industries - fishing, shipbuilding, mining, steel and metal industries, etc. In any case Norway was a democracy long before they discovered the oil. Venezuela might be pointed to as an oil exporting democracy but it has a number of other exports such as steel, bauxite and general manufacturing. Also, Venuzuela's status as a stable democracy is debatable right now.
2) Most developing countries that have set up stable democratic regimes are places like Costa Rica (depends on a variety of ag products now instead of just one, coffee) or South Africa (mining, auto manufacture, textiles, steel, chemicals etc). Or my favorite democracy this week because they are letting over 650 million people vote in an election right now - India! (textiles, chemicals, computer software, etc). Heck, even Iran has a somewhat more diverse economy than Iraq (Iran's exports are 85% oil compared to Iraq's 95%)! While Iran is far from a democracy, there are at least domestic demands for democratic reform in Iran without much assistance from US government.

Can you (or Bell Curve or the heretofore silent other political scientist) come up with any evidence that refutes my argument? That is can you identify a stable democracy that relies on a single commodity export as much or more than say 80%? If so I'll happily admit defeat like a good empiricist.

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