At What Price Are Americans Willing to Give Up Democracy?

Apparently, an average annual income of $230,000, based on a survey conducted by researchers from Princeton University and the University of Barcelona. What the researchers wanted to find out was whether citizens from three countries - the US, France, and Brazil - would be willing to give up free elections for a price. To do so, they presented pairs of hypothetical societies and let the participants choose which society they preferred.

Apart from the fact that one society in each pair will have no free elections, they also differed in other factors such as personal monthly income, collective wealth, income inequality, and the presence of public health insurance.

They found that majority of the participants highly valued democracy, however, if they were to become part of an authoritarian society, they wanted a very high price in exchange. It should be noted that the distribution of personal incomes was randomized, so that not all authoritarian or democratic societies would have very high incomes.

The right to choose who will lead a country is fundamental to any democratic nation. No matter how much one earns, the policies and laws in a country will affect the way people live their lives, so it is understandable why it is so steep a price.

(Image credit: Element5 Digital/Unsplash)


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