The "Asian Tiger" economies -- South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan -- all started ramping up their growth under extremely authoritarian governments which then liberalized once they had reached a certain level of prosperity.
Swiss canton of Schaffhausen
Australia is probably the best of the bunch but it's demography and geography are not comparable to the US, a lot of things that work there don't translate here and vice versa.
The author theorizes:
> When the only question voters face is whose ideas they prefer, politicians will naturally focus on developing and debating real world ideas rather than fantasies, and democracy can live up to its moral and practical potential.
O RLY? Is that the situation in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador? TL;DR: No.
This article also presumes the bedrock of democracy is elections, but in fact that's just one dimension and not necessarily the most important one -- rule of law, civil institutions, a functioning state are all equally if not more important than the selection of specific leaders.
Good book on this topic: https://www.amazon.com/Wars-Guns-Votes-Democracy-Dangerous/d...
Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.