democracies can only exist in states where a majority has a reasonably easy living and a say (however tenuous) in their government
Although This may vary from nation to nation, by those rules, democracy has only existed for about a century.
Why should this be?
The answer is very simple. The last century has been unique in human history as the period when humankind had almost universal access to cheap surplus fuel.
Throughout history, we were ruled by an elite who enforced draconian laws that were intended to keep limited resources (energy)in their exclusive hands, while the rest of us were expected to supply the necessary labour to keep things that way.
Then around 1800, we tapped into 100m years worth of fossilised sunlight. That provided instant (in historical terms) wealth to everyone. Fossil fuels provided everyone with slaves (cheap surplus energy) so there was no need for serfdom.
We have now passed the point of cheap surplus energy. The majority cannot accept this, so demand to know why their standard of living is falling. It’s not a political problem, it’s an energy problem.
Leaders arise and offer ‘solutions’. They point to non-existent causes, people of different colour and faith. The mob screams in agreement while denying reality. Otherwise decent people accept cruelty to others in the name of survival.
Thus fascism arises in tandem with privation. The Fuhrer promises a return to a time that never was, and the desperate mob believe him. He gives them a focus for mass hatred. (Check Germany in the 30s).