Pathways to Prosperity: Democracy Playbook is part of a series of “Prosperity Playbooks” that share lessons on how people have made their societies more open and prosperous. This first playbook focuses on democracy. Our goal is to share this knowledge about democracy with those committed to seeking the prosperity of their societies.
The report analyses the development of political institutions because they are the key to prosperity. What matters for prosperity? In our view, countries’ prosperity and their ‘economic miracle’ starts with the development of political institutions. Political development consists of the process by which state institutions, the rule of law, and democratic accountability increase their autonomy and capacity.
In this report we argue that liberal democracy is the key to human prosperity because it is the only political system that constitutionally guarantees citizens’ freedoms, human rights, human dignity, and agency (including participation in governance). Hence, citizens enjoy greater freedoms and the ability to lead more fulfilled lives. Liberal democracy allows human flourishing.
In this Playbook, we use our prosperity framework to understand how countries have managed successful transitions from dictatorship to full liberal democracy in recent decades. We selected countries where this transition occurred within the past 50 years and took them to the status of a full liberal democracy in less than twenty years. The examples studied are Korea, Uruguay, Portugal, and Estonia. We also compare these successful political transitions to full liberal democracy with the experience of countries where the transition to democracy has been partial, such as the cases of Chile, Peru, Indonesia, and Ghana.
Pathways to Prosperity: Democracy Playbook
Liberal democracy is the key to human prosperity because it is the only political system that constitutionally guarantees citizens’ freedoms, human rights, human dignity, and agency.