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Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Answer is Democracy

This LA Times editorial is well worth reading. Want to combat poverty?

Siegle, Weinstein and Halperin puncture the myth that democracy works only in rich nations. In fact, many poor countries have freely elected governments (think India, Poland and Brazil) while some rich ones (think Saudi Arabia and Singapore) do not. Far from economic development being necessary for democracy, they argue that democracy promotes economic development. Free countries grow faster than their more repressive neighbors. They also perform better on social measures such as life expectancy, literacy rates, clean drinking water and healthcare. And they are less prone to armed conflict.
Want to fight terror?
Krueger and Maleckova write: "Apart from population — larger countries tend to have more terrorists — the only variable that was consistently associated with the number of terrorists was the Freedom House index of political rights and civil liberties. Countries with more freedom were less likely to be the birthplace of international terrorists. Poverty and literacy were unrelated to the number of terrorists from a country. Think of a country like Saudi Arabia: It is wealthy but has few political and civil freedoms. Perhaps it is no coincidence that so many of the Sept. 11 terrorists — and Osama bin Laden himself — came from there."
I wish that liberals were still true to their roots and believed that democracy and basic freedoms were the answer to the world's problems. Unfortunately that has fallen out of style with most. I would be more receptive to arguements on how this should be done, if I felt that they truely wanted to do it at all.


Blogger Cubicle said...

"I wish that liberals were still true to their roots and believed that democracy and basic freedoms were the answer to the world's problems. "

my problem, and this is somthing that i have not fully resolved in my mind, is if you belive that what do you do about it.

is just living in america good enough, or should america spread the wealth (through what ever means possible)

9/16/2004 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Pre-9-11 arguements that we shouldn't intervene had more weigth. 9-11 showed us that failed states (afghanistan) can cause us direct harm, possibly harm even worse than 9-11 if WMD is involved.

Failed states are caused by a lack of democracy, more than any other single thing. So now, for both humanitarian and pragmatic reasons spreading democracy is the clear choice of how to proceed.

9/17/2004 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Random Gemini said...

I think it is important to spread political and religious freedom in the best way that we can. Sometimes that requires doing things that we don't like to do, or even want to do, but in the end it's what has to be done.

I feel that we, as a nation, and other free nations around the world have the responsibility to protect the people of smaller countries where dictators and other tyrannical inhibit their own freedom and their right to pursue happiness.

9/17/2004 02:13:00 PM  

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