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Harvard University Center for International Affairs: Why the United States Should Spread Democracy

The main takeaways:

  1. “Democracies tend to enjoy greater prosperity over long periods of time. As democracy spreads, more individuals are likely to enjoy greater economic benefits … ‘[A] close correlation with prosperity’ is one of the ‘overwhelming advantages’ of democracy… It is no accident that the countries that have reached the highest level of economic performance across generations are all stable democracies.”
  2. “The economist Amartya Sen concludes that ‘one of the remarkable facts in the terrible history of famine is that no substantial famine has ever occurred in a country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press.’ …  Most of the countries that have experienced severe famines in recent decades have been among the world’s least democratic: the Soviet Union (Ukraine in the early 1930s), China, Ethiopia, Somalia, Cambodia and Sudan. Throughout history, famines have occurred in many different types of countries, but never in a democracy.”
  3. “The citizens of liberal democracies are less likely to suffer violent death in civil unrest or at the hands of their governments… Totalitarian and authoritarian regimes have been responsible for the overwhelming majority of genocides and mass murders of civilians in the twentieth century. The states that have killed millions of their citizens all have been authoritarian or totalitarian: the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, Nazi Germany, Nationalist China, Imperial Japan, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Democracies have virtually never massacred their own citizens on a large scale.”

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