A lot of bandwidth has been used up to discuss what model of development India should adopt: the Chinese model, the American model, the French model etc. I myself have sucked up quite a bit of bandwidth on this issue. However, I was reading an Indian business magazine (I apologize, I cannot remember which one) recently that made an altogether different and valid point. India is, in fact, following a model that has never been tested before. According to the magazine, not once in world history has a large-sized country gone into rapid industrialization mode, while also guaranteeing universal franchise or a vote for all of its citizens. When you think about it, this claim is probably true. Forget China, think about the U.S., Soviet Union, the U.K., France, Germany etc. Not one of those countries actually industrialized while everyone had the vote. In fact, in a country like Switzerland, all cantons gave women the right to vote as late as 1991. Effectively, this means India is following an untested model and the risks associated with such a model are what stand in the way of quicker growth (the stuff we tear our hair over, on this blog).
I have never seen this observation made anyplace else, and I figured I should share it with you. What do you think? Can you think of any prominent countries that industrialized while also being a full democracy?
PS: If any of you have read the piece I am talking about, please post a link so I can make a proper attribution.