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Washington Times Letter on the Stability of Democracies

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In this March 7th, 2005, letter in the Washington Times I pointed to some empirical research on the stability of democracies [2].

Paul Greenberg too quickly applauds the sudden spread of democracy in the Middle East (“Freedom tide rising,” Commentary, Saturday). Research by political scientists Adam Przeworski and Fernando Limongi shows that democracies with annual per-capita incomes of less than $1,500 typically have life expectancies of a mere eight years. Per-capita income in Iraq is less than $1,000.

As Giovanni Sartori, F.A. Hayek, Fareed Zakaria and others have pointed out, stable democracy is the child, not the mother, of constitutional liberalism, widespread commerce and liberty.

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax

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