Dollars For Democracy

Josef Joffe's argued that Tunisia's relative wealth spurred its groundswell of democratic reform. Noah Millman agrees that economics are a factor but he focuses on political context:

Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia all became more democratic after a period of aggressive industrialization and modernization. All these democracies then failed, giving way to revolutionary dictatorships of one for or another. Germany is now a modern democracy. Japan and Italy are modern free societies whose political systems have only just begun to open up from their post-war oligarchic character. Russia’s political system is still in flux, but few would characterize it as a modern democracy or a free society. In all these cases, dramatic economic change made for dramatic and even revolutionary political change. But a stable democratic order depended on an even more radical change in their positions in the international political order – first subjugation to and then alliance with the United States.