"The media has been rife with stories about democracy in decline: the recent
coup in Myanmar, the ascent of strongman Narendra Modi in India, and of course
ex-President Trump's attempts to overturn the U.S. presidential election—all of
which raise alarms about the current status of democracies worldwide. Such
threats to the voices of the people are often attributed to the excesses of
But while leadership is certainly important, over the past decade, as
established democracies like Venezuela and Turkey fell and others slid toward
greater authoritarianism, political scientists and pundits have largely
overlooked a key factor: how governments are funded. In a new study in the
journal Current Anthropology, a team of anthropologists assembled data on 30
pre-modern societies, and conducted a quantitative analysis of the features and
durability of "good governance"—that is, receptiveness to citizen voice,
provision of goods and services, and limited concentration of wealth and power.
The results showed that societies based on a broad, equitable, well-managed tax
system and functioning bureaucracies were statistically more likely to have
political institutions that were more open to public input and more sensitive
to the well-being of the populace."
Via Sheila Nagig.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics