Technological Forecasting and Social Change


69 (2002) 359-376



“Democratization in Long Perspective” Revisited


George Modelski ,  Gardner Perry III






The world-wide spread of democracy experienced in the past century and a half may e understood as a nonlinear (learning) process of innovation-diffusion.   A Fisher-Pry test of this proposition was first reported by Modelski and Perry in a 1989 paper (published in this journal in 1991) on the basis of a data set that covered the period 1837-1986.  A retest of the innovation-diffusion thesis has now been performed with a basically similar methodology but on a refined data set and with data including the year 2000.   It reaffirms the earlier result and confirms that the 50 % saturation point (flex-point) has been attained.   It also reaffirms the earlier forecast that the 90 % saturation level for democracy would not be reached until early in the 22nd century.  The time constant (the time elapsing between 10% and 90% saturation) of this learning process is now estimated at 228 years.