Essay on Is Democracy a Precondition for Development?

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Is democracy a necessary condition for development?

In the modern and globalized world, it is common to find democratic institutions in the most economically developed countries. Democratic regimes look different all across the world, and the term itself is multi-faceted. For the sake of discussion, in its simplest terms, I will refer to democracy as a system of governance where the population that is governed elects their leaders. A substantive democracy would include more such the promotion of human rights and rule of law. As substantive democracies are so common in the developed world, it has led many scholars to ask whether democracy is a prerequisite for development. There are many examples we can look to that provide us with the
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For a long period, development was only understood in economic terms.[iv] It was assumed that free and open markets were the key conduit for progress. Recent years have proved that economic growth alone has not been sufficient in delivering development. The study of development is only a few decades old and it should be understood to mean a whole range of economic, social and cultural progress to which people aim. There are various ways of looking at the relationship between democracy and development. Some authors argue that economic development and democracy have reciprocal effects on one another. For example, Milton Friedman believes that if people have ensured political rights, it will reinforce economic rights and therefore beneficial to development. Economic freedom however is predicated on a free, fair and regulated economy.[v] Friedman does argue that sometimes, when governments are too involved, for example in income redistribution projects, this is not conducive to development, however this is not an issue of democracy itself. Prezeworksi argued that there are two key ways in which democracy is related to economic development; “democracies may be more likely to emerge as countries develop economically, or having been established for whatever reasons, democracy may be more likely to survive in developed countries”[vi] and others argue that the relationship between development leads to democracy in
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