Singapore - The Great Exception
AT Kearney and Foreign Policy magazine
With all the recent talk about spreading democracy, we revisited the question of how globalization and democracy fit together. Comparing the index with Freedom House's annual rankings of political rights and civil liberties in countries worldwide, we found that they work together quite nicely: There is a strong positive relationship between globalization and political freedom. Globalization may also be one of the best ways of keeping politicians honest, as more globalized countries have far lower levels of perceived corruption, as measured by Transparency International.
Engaging countries at the bottom of the globalization index such as Iran and Egypt may help foster increased political rights and civil liberties for their citizens. Furthermore, increased integration may lead to the adoption of higher international standards for transparency, which in turn would discourage corruption and increase government efficiency.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Singapore, the world's most globalized country, is home to a modern, open economy that exists alongside tight government control over media and limited individual liberties. On the other end of the spectrum, South Africa has a relatively high level of political freedom but a mediocre globalization ranking. Going global does not offer any guarantees but it clearly can give countries a leg up.