Quote note (#313)
One of the reasons many people are sceptical about democracy is because they’re right to be. There is a fair amount of research suggesting that people power is not necessarily the best system of government. For example, one paper suggests that ‘hereditary monarchs with lots of legal power choose better policy than other systems do, including democracies, non-hereditary dictators, and weak hereditary monarchs, and this is reflected in higher growth.’ On top of this there is evidence that democracy does not help economic growth. Most important is the finding ‘that institutions and the rule of law matter but democracy doesn’t,’ a conclusion found in numerous papers. […] People tend to credit democracy with lots of good things that preceded it, such as the rule of law, political stability and economic freedom. These are all prerequisites for universal suffrage, rather than products of it; indeed when these things are not present the introduction of a ballot box tends to be tragic.
(XS was on this in August, but you all know that.)