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Robert Johnston raises a very important point of failure within autocratic regimes: the selectorate. Authoritarianism often fosters homogeneity. Diversity is seen as a threat and is thus repressed. Conformity comes with a steep price: It hinders innovation and stability. As Johnston, West and other researchers on innovation have shown, diversity of thought and interdisciplinary collaboration are the pillars of invention. Healthy, sustainable economies depend on a steady stream of innovations and available capital for new enterprises. With rare exceptions (such as Saudi Arabia) it is almost impossible for authoritarian regimes to amass wealth without policies that foster entrepreneurialism by rewarding innovation with access to capital. Singapore embodies this kind of economic success -- where diversity of thought is tolerated within business (but not social, artistic or political) contexts.
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Feb 7, 2011