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First of all, a single example proves that it is possible, so the answer is YES. In addition, there are many reasons industrialization started first in the West, and democracy may not have been a necessary component. Even if you argue that democracy mattered greatly in the process, there may also be a difference between becoming rich, highly developed societies from scratch, and doing the same now. Lastly, it bears remembering that most of the dots in the top right represent small countries. Population-wise, the balance may look a good lot different. In the end, this question invariably has to address the difference between India (relatively democratic) and China (pretty autocratic). With every possible advantage, India has severely underperformed its autocratic neighbour for decades. It is difficult to square this with the idea that democracy is a necessary component of developing a country now.
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Aug 10, 2011