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Chapter

Cover Democratization

8. The Political Economy of Democracy  

Patrick Bernhagen

This chapter examines the relationship between democratization and the economy. It first provides an historical overview of the emergence of capitalist democracy before discussing some general problems of the relationship between democracy and capitalism, highlighting the main areas in which the two systems condition each other. It then considers the role of business in democratizing countries, and more specifically the role of business actors in the transition to democracy. It also explores the intricacies of combining major political and economic reforms. Some key points are emphasized; for example, capitalism focuses on property rights while democracy focuses on personal rights. Furthermore, capitalism produces inequality, which can both stimulate and hamper democratization.