Economic development can but does not always ensure the stability of democracy. A growing economy can lead to a population of happy citizens, thriving under the success of a growing market. The basic concept of a growing economy creates happier people, making a country’s democratic stability strong and successful. That said, economic growth does not always led to democratic stability.. According to Lipset, the economy is a factor that can threaten the stability of democracy through class inequality and high debt levels. The wealth of even democratic nations can be unevenly distributed and reflects on a class system. Even with economic growth, there can be an extreme influx of income to the rich, but not to the poor citizens in the country. This creates problems within the democratic institution, as citizens are dissatisfied by the results of the economy’s growth.
In Chile, the government has been allowing essential laissez-fare regulations, favorable to businesses. Because of this the rich has prospered, while most citizens have not enjoyed economic growth. Thus, Chile has experienced high levels of inequality. Now under their new President Michelle Bachelet, heavier taxes have been imposed on the wealthy. She is attempting to bridge the gap of inequality between the rich and poor. Previously this imbalanced between upper and lower class has caused tension and protests. Despite Chile’s economic development the stability of the democracy has decreased. While the country was successful in creating economic development, they also produced a less equal and less democratic society overall. President Bachelet is attempting to fix this through her reformed tax code.
Economic development can help ensure a stable democracy, but this is not always the case. Other social factors such as education can help achieve a more stable democracy. Lipset argues in his article that strong democratic government comes from the countries that have the highest rates of educated citizens. An increase in higher education can help stabilize a democracy’s ideology. Though economic develop can ensure the stability of the democracy, this is not always the case, such as in Chile. Education, however can help lay the foundation for strong democratic stability, which economic development can not always provide.
Sermour Martin Lipset. 1959. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy.” The American Political Science Review, 53(1):69-86. *
Cheibub, Jose Antonio, Adam Przewoprski, Fernando Papaterra Limongi Neto, Micheal Alvarez. 1996. “What Makes Democracies Endure” Journal of Democracy 7(1): 39-55. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jod/