Graph of the Day
This graph is a bit misleading, for two reasons. One, most of the “politically free” countries in 1991 were already quite developed and most of the “politically repressed” countries relatively undeveloped. It’s easier for undeveloped countries to grow fast relative to developed countries, since they’ve got a lot of untapped potential. (In the same way it’s a whole lot easier for a runner to cut her mile time from 11 minutes to 10 mintues, than it so to cut it from 5 minutes to 4 minutes.) Secondly, I think a lot of the growth in the last four years in the politically repressed countries comes from increased oil revenue, which does not necessarily reflect a sound and sustainable kind of growth.
That said the neoliberal delusion that capitalism inexorably leads to political freedom is not looking like such an airtight proposition these days.