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It is a commonplace claim of Western political discourse that capitalist development and democracy go hand in hand. Cross-national statistical research on political democracy supports this claim. By contrast, comparative historical studies carried out within a political economy approach argue that economic development was and is compatible with multiple political forms. The It is a commonplace claim of Western political discourse that capitalist development and democracy go hand in hand. Cross-national statistical research on political democracy supports this claim. By contrast, comparative historical studies carried out within a political economy approach argue that economic development was and is compatible with multiple political forms. The authors offer a fresh and persuasive resolution to the controversy arising out of these contrasting traditions. Focusing on advanced industrial countries, Latin America, and the Caribbean, they find that the rise and persistence of democracy cannot be explained either by an overall structural correspondence between capitalism and democracy or by the role of the bourgeoisie as the agent of democratic reform. Rather, capitalist development is associated with democracy because it transforms the class structure, enlarging the working and middle classes, facilitating their self-organization, and thus making it more difficult for elites to exclude them. Simultaneously, development weakens the landed upper class, democracy's most consistent opponent. The relationship of capitalist development to democracy, however, is not mechanical. As the authors show, it depends on a complex interplay of three clusters of power: the balance of power among social classes, power relations between the state and society, and transnational structures of economic and political power. Looking to the future, the book concludes with some reflections on current prospects for the development of stable democracy in Latin America and Eastern Europe.


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It is a commonplace claim of Western political discourse that capitalist development and democracy go hand in hand. Cross-national statistical research on political democracy supports this claim. By contrast, comparative historical studies carried out within a political economy approach argue that economic development was and is compatible with multiple political forms. The It is a commonplace claim of Western political discourse that capitalist development and democracy go hand in hand. Cross-national statistical research on political democracy supports this claim. By contrast, comparative historical studies carried out within a political economy approach argue that economic development was and is compatible with multiple political forms. The authors offer a fresh and persuasive resolution to the controversy arising out of these contrasting traditions. Focusing on advanced industrial countries, Latin America, and the Caribbean, they find that the rise and persistence of democracy cannot be explained either by an overall structural correspondence between capitalism and democracy or by the role of the bourgeoisie as the agent of democratic reform. Rather, capitalist development is associated with democracy because it transforms the class structure, enlarging the working and middle classes, facilitating their self-organization, and thus making it more difficult for elites to exclude them. Simultaneously, development weakens the landed upper class, democracy's most consistent opponent. The relationship of capitalist development to democracy, however, is not mechanical. As the authors show, it depends on a complex interplay of three clusters of power: the balance of power among social classes, power relations between the state and society, and transnational structures of economic and political power. Looking to the future, the book concludes with some reflections on current prospects for the development of stable democracy in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

30 review for Capitalist Development and Democracy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trashy Pit

    You wanna know what democracy is and where it comes from? (And how do we get it if we ain't got it?) Forget all the "democratic theory" babble and "political philosophy" gibberish, the "Western Values" garbage and "Liberal ideas" gobbledygook, the "capitalism" nonsense and "middle class" baloney, the "constitutional tradition" hot air and Patriotic "fighting-for-democracy" masturbation, and especially the “march-of-history” drivel and all the “comes-with-modernity” noise. Read this book. Then you You wanna know what democracy is and where it comes from? (And how do we get it if we ain't got it?) Forget all the "democratic theory" babble and "political philosophy" gibberish, the "Western Values" garbage and "Liberal ideas" gobbledygook, the "capitalism" nonsense and "middle class" baloney, the "constitutional tradition" hot air and Patriotic "fighting-for-democracy" masturbation, and especially the “march-of-history” drivel and all the “comes-with-modernity” noise. Read this book. Then you’ll know.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy Matthews

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mark Schrad

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hang

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alan Cordova

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    Elizabeth Kiss

  9. 5 out of 5

    Suraj Alva

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    Jared Kahanek

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mkondo Harawa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melle

  15. 4 out of 5

    R.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gabor Scheiring

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric Meyer

  19. 5 out of 5

    D.F. Tuttle

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Sclofsky

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Gunderson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

  23. 5 out of 5

    David

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    Michael

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kajmimi

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam Snideman

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mauricio Santoro

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yolo

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vheissu

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Gude

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