For a certain kind of materialist, sure that economics drives everything from individual criminality to national politics, this is jarring stuff.
It was bad enough that China’s enrichment did not make it a vast Netherlands of multi-party pluralism. How much worse that even the US defies what link there ever was between economic and political progress.
After an era in which it out-innovated western Europe and Japan, it could not pull off a bloodless transfer of power.
The US is now between a quarter and a third richer than Britain. Which country’s 2024 election gives you the queasier feeling? The US has higher income per head than even Germany. Which democracy would you bet on to be functional by mid-century?
Beyond a certain point, it seems, the civic returns on economic growth are nil or even negative. The left’s theory is that distribution counts for more than raw scale of wealth or its rate of growth. Too wide a gap between rich and poor tests the…