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Rebel Mystic: Toward a Theorization of the Aesthetic and Communicative Dimensions of Reggae and Dub
Unformatted Document Text:  12 But what is the level of economic development or threshold that is required for a democracy to emerge? Some scholars have provided a rough estimate of a threshold (See Dahl, R., 1971; Huntington, S., 1991; Przeworski, A. and F. Limongi, 1997). However, these threshold figures, which, on average, vary around the income of a typical mid-level developed country, are subject to change, as the gross national income of countries grows over time. Thus, as a rule of thumb, it makes sense to follow particularly Huntington’s (1991) suggestion that a mid-level of economic development promotes the establishment of democratic rule. The case of Great Britain suggests that a well functioning and legitimate democracy could be established if economic and political powers are widely distributed. The issue of figuring out a threshold is, however, complicated because democracies could be established both in poorer and richer countries. The fact that not all countries transition to democracy when they have a mid- level of economic development suggests that economic development is not a sufficient but a necessary condition of democracy. Countries such as the United States, Botswana and India, for instance, have established democracy even though they had a relatively low level of economy at independence. The oldest democracy on earth, the United States, was established more of by the vision of its leaders than by the presence of a relatively developed economy. In the early years of the political history of the United States, democratic voting rights were, however, limited to those who owned property. White male suffrage was, for the most part, extended only in the 1830s. African Americans and women did not have voting rights until over a century after independence. Full- fledged democracy was an incremental and gradual process in the United States. Continuous economic development seems to have played a role in the evolutionary

Authors: Tracy, James.
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12
But what is the level of economic development or threshold that is required for a
democracy to emerge? Some scholars have provided a rough estimate of a threshold
(See Dahl, R., 1971; Huntington, S., 1991; Przeworski, A. and F. Limongi, 1997).
However, these threshold figures, which, on average, vary around the income of a typical
mid-level developed country, are subject to change, as the gross national income of
countries grows over time. Thus, as a rule of thumb, it makes sense to follow particularly
Huntington’s (1991) suggestion that a mid-level of economic development promotes the
establishment of democratic rule. The case of Great Britain suggests that a well
functioning and legitimate democracy could be established if economic and political
powers are widely distributed. The issue of figuring out a threshold is, however,
complicated because democracies could be established both in poorer and richer
countries. The fact that not all countries transition to democracy when they have a mid-
level of economic development suggests that economic development is not a sufficient
but a necessary condition of democracy. Countries such as the United States, Botswana
and India, for instance, have established democracy even though they had a relatively low
level of economy at independence. The oldest democracy on earth, the United States,
was established more of by the vision of its leaders than by the presence of a relatively
developed economy. In the early years of the political history of the United States,
democratic voting rights were, however, limited to those who owned property. White
male suffrage was, for the most part, extended only in the 1830s. African Americans
and women did not have voting rights until over a century after independence. Full-
fledged democracy was an incremental and gradual process in the United States.
Continuous economic development seems to have played a role in the evolutionary


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