POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
I agree with most of what you write here, Gideon Rachman. It is a counter-intuitive approach with considerable merit.
I take exception to part of one of your statements however - this one:
"The two biggest and most beneficial geopolitical stories of the past 30 years – the spread of democracy and of globalisation – were driven by a succession of states finding their coffers empty."
Democracy is not a precursor to economic growth, as the case of China, plus many others in history, shows. Indeed, in early stages of "take-off," democracy can be a genuine liability.
America's Founding Fathers certainly thought so, because early America was not even modestly democratic. Even of the pool of white, free males, only a small portion - those of a certain means - could vote. Those who had the franchise reflected roughly the same percent we see today as members of the CPC.
Also, much of the early government was not elected. The Senate was appointed until 1913. The general poll for president effectively did not count: only the votes of the Electoral College - again propertied elites - counted.
Globalization itself is ultimately a force for democracy. The rise of globalization - the result of a set of technologies and costs - causes explosive economic growth which in turn creates middle classes. It is the existence of a large middle class which is the sine qua non of democracy.