The perceived crisis of Western capitalism has led many in the developing world to turn to China as a model for rapid growth and development. But this "East vs. West" debate leaves out an important part of the global picture: the large and diverse group of democratic market economies which are not part of what is traditionally called "the West."

The Democracy Works project aims to refresh the development debate and inject the voice of democratic countries from the South, with a focus on India, Brazil, and South Africa. Over the course of a year, the Legatum Institute and our international partners conducted three workshops, resulting in fifteen research papers and a final report. The findings provide a rebuke to the argument that democracy is a hindrance to growth and demonstrate that the seductiveness of the "authoritarian bargain" is a false promise.

Democracy works is a joint project between the Centre for Development and Enterprise in Johannesburg, Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, and Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade in Rio de Janeiro and the Legatum Institute in London.


  • Ann Bernstein, Executive Director, Centre for Development and Enterprise, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Simon Schwartzman, Senior Fellow, Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade, Brazil
  • Eswaran Sridharan, Academic Director, University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India


  • Marc F. Plattner, Vice President, National Endowment for Democracy


  • John Sullivan, Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise


  • Anne Applebaum, Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute

Monday, 19 May 2014, 16:30 - 18:00
National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F Street N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C.

Spaces are limited and attendance is by RSVP only. To sign up for this event, register your attendance here.

This event will also be available via livestream here.

About the Legatum Institute
Based in London, the Legatum Institute (LI) is an independent non-partisan public policy organisation whose research, publications, and programmes advance ideas and policies in support of free and prosperous societies around the world.

About the Centre for Development and Enterprise
The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) is an independent policy research and advocacy organisation. It is one of South Africa's leading development think tanks, focusing on critical national development issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation. Through examining South African realities and international experience, CDE formulates practical policy proposals outlining ways in which South Africa can tackle major social and economic challenges. CDE has a special focus on the role of business and markets in development.

About the International Forum for Democratic Studies
The International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy is a leading centre for research, discussion, thought, and analysis on the theory and practice of democracy around the world. Among the Forum’s central activities are research and conference initiatives that seek to analyse the challenges of democratic transition, reform, and consolidation. The Forum has several interrelated initiatives: The Network of Democracy Research Institutes (a global think tank network), the Journal of Democracy, The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program, and an active research and conferences program.