The end of history
Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History thesis famously argued that liberal democracy is the final form of government. Its key premise: successful industrialization will inevitably create an large educated middle class that demands democracy. An indicator of how far along industrialization will liberal democracy emerges, as noted by Francis Fukuyama, is when the country have around USD6,000 purchasing power (in 1992 PPP USD). This premise has largely been correct since its pronouncement, with the exception of Singapore and a handful of resources-rich states where purchasing power could raise without creating a large educated middle class.
Since China enter WTO in 2001, China’s purchasing power has ballooned to USD4,700, after adjusting inflation and purchasing power parity, closing in on the USD6,000 milestone. However the size of its educated middle class is far from the average of countries considered free fry Freedom House.
While China is not a free country by any standard, there is some low-level movement towards democracy. Freedom house gave China the exactly the same score in 2002 and 2010: political rights 7 and civil liberty 6 (7 being least free, 1 most free). Some have suggested (as have Fukuyama) instead of democracy, Chinese communist party (CCP) might push towards a soft-authoritarian political system akin to Singapore, the only industrialized exception to the stated premise. Continue reading