All countries get their momentum for survival & growth from collective conscience; this is not restricted only by political choice between different systems of governance. Even in democracy, there are different stages, based on the development and the people driving the collective will! Sometimes, diversity of views gives the country the thrust & the collective wisdom to forge ahead.
History gives harsh lessons and they have to be learned in the right spirit; not to make the mistakes again & again. Once bitten, twice shy should be the way! Some countries have had bitter pasts from which they are trying to come out, but they still haunt them! Take Cambodia for instance, an agrarian uprising led by Pol Pot, effectively killed off quarter of own population; they are unable to shake off this sordid era, with trials still ongoing, to bring to justice the remaining survivors of the brutal regime. They plead innocence, mostly on the plea that they just carried out the orders! That some minor players are part of the present ruling front also complicates the issue. Even China suffered under Mao experiments with the economy but was wise enough to come out stronger for the experience & make-up for the lost years, with the reforms led by Deng Xiaoping!
The ultimate comfort level for the general public is to have a say in how they are governed. The perfect system of governance is the democratic process, where universal suffrage, empowers every citizen. Unfortunately, that is not proving to be a panacea; with some leaders taking undue advantage, creating unequal power centers, to favor own ilk! The general public is used as pawns, manipulated & ignored after the elections. These continue ad nauseam, making many cynical at getting justice.
The political systems are proving no cure for the ills of countries, if they are not endowed with leaders who have the interest of the general public at heart. However, that is difficult to achieve when the political arena descends to anarchy even. That state of affairs effectively rules out those who are willing to serve the country for altruistic goals. The turf is occupied by those with thick skin, to pursue own goals of self-enrichment & non-accountability.
But some countries are learning fast, mostly with leaders able to forge a united front. Leave alone China, Vietnam is shaking off rigid communism and state control; even inviting investments from everywhere. They are ranked high for investor friendly policies. Russia & East European countries are taking to free trade like fish to water, no carry-over baggage! The latest kid on the block is Cuba, with Fidel Castro bemoaning his system just does not deliver and planning to cut government workforce, effectively making the people to fend for themselves!
The people, in general, have realized that the governments cannot assure much in terms of job security. Each has to be responsible, be employable, and take care of the future. There is no more iron rice-bowl, anywhere! Despite China being communist, their workforce has much less job security when compared to most other big economies. Add to that the tough, no nonsense policies; they create miracles out of thin air, effectively competing against their own benchmarks, to achieve even higher. It is ironical that even Americans find doing business easier in China than at home after the economic reverses of last couple of years. Finance is much easier to get, with even clear government policies in place. China has hosted perhaps the best Olympic Games, World Expo, and many others with clock-work precision, while the biggest democracy, India, is struggling with the Commonwealth Games, with more naysayers, at home! Ultimately, unity, pride to achieve, and showcasing their best, could be the deciding factors; whatever the political systems!