- If a Martian were asked to pick the most efficient and humane economic systems on earth, it would certainly not choose the countries which rely most on markets. The United States is a stagnant economy in which real wages have been constant for more than a decade and the real income of the bottom 40 percent of the population declined. It is an inhumane society in which 11.5 percent of the population, some 32 million people, including 20 percent of all children, live in absolute poverty. It is the oldest democracy on earth but also one with the lowest voting rates among democracies and the highest per capita prison population in the world. The fastest developing countries in the world today are among those where the state pursues active industrial and trade policies; the few countries in the world in which almost no one is poor today are those in which the state has been engaged in massive social welfare and labor market policies.
- Democracy is an equilibrium.
- Democracy is a system in which everyone assumes that they can lose elections, and they expect to win it in another chance.
- In general dictators have not done better at [economic] policies than democrats—far from it. Most dictators have ravaged their countries for personal gain. Scholars have asked whether democracy helps or hurts the economic growth of poor countries and despite many surveys, have come to no conclusive answer.