Read quickly this very compelling book a couple of years ago by author Amy ChuaWorld on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. The book documents just how pervasive are the aggressive forces of foreign ethnic division and economic disparity which survive, expand and prosper in the world, and how much each drive the cultural traumas in the news media today.
Chua, a naturalized American whose parents are Chinese, builds upon Thomas Sowell's concept of the middle-man minoritythe often-persecuted immigrant ethnic group with a talent for retailing and banking, such as Jews, Armenians, Chinese, Gujarati Indians, Lebanese Christians, etc. She broadens that idea to include other relatively well-heeled groups, such as un-entrepreneurial hereditary landowners, like the Tutsis of Rwanda and the Iberian-descended whites of much of Latin America. She extrapolates in bringing them all together under the useful term "market-dominant minorities."
The author begs off explaining why economic inequality exists between hereditary groups; she just acknowledges it. So let me offer a general explanation. Creating wealth is difficult. The wealthy, even those in highly progressive tax jurisdictions, tend to pass down their property, their genes, and their techniques for preserving and multiplying wealth to their descendents, rather than to strangers.
"Globalization," or economic liberalization, tends to make the poor majorities slightly richer and the "market dominant minorities" vastly richer. Sometimes the masses find this an acceptable tradeoff. But, sometimes it drives them into a fury.
Often, the minority's post-globalization riches are honestly earned, but not always. American-backed privatization schemes in Russia and Mexico put huge government enterprises into the hands of the most economically nimble and politically well-connected operators at give-away prices. Chua suggests that American foreign-policy, with its democratic ideal, is setting many nations up for failure by creating democratically elected dicatators from a dominant ethic group to rule over the weaker groups, often resulting in the ethnic cleansing activities we see across the world.
Let's take an older example. Can democracy be blamed for Hitler's rise? No. Other democratic nations around the world were also devastated by the Great Depression, but none converted to dictatorships as a result. Germany was the oddball among these nations, and an examination of its republic reveals its democratic and constitutional weaknesses clearly enough.
History reminds us that there is actually a spectrum of democracies, with strong democracies on one end, and weak democracies on the other. To the extent that democracies fail, it is because the will of the people is not being carried out. The U.S. offers this lesson itself. Blacks were forbidden to vote until 1870; women until 1920; poll-tax debtors until 1964; illiterates until 1965, young people until 1971. And how the U.S. treats its minorities today, as compared to 200 years ago, is like night and day. One remarkable fact remains: where there is a failure of democracy, there is usually a lack of democracy. The Muslim approach comes to mind.