How Development Leads to Democracy

How Development Leads to Democracy - How Development Leads...

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How Development Leads to Democracy By Devex Editor on 02 April 2009 EDITOR'S NOTE: Economic development provides the social and cultural conditions necessary for democratic institutions to thrive, Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel argue in an essay published in Foreign Affairs magazine. Inglehart is professor of political science at the University of Michigan and director of the World Values Survey, and Welzel is professor of political science at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. For the full article, please visit the magazine's Web site . A few excerpts: In the last several years, a democratic boom has given way to a democratic recession. Between 1985 and 1995, scores of countries made the transition to democracy, bringing widespread euphoria about democracy's future. But more recently, democracy has retreated in Bangladesh, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela, and the Bush administration's attempts to establish democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq seem to have left both countries in chaos. These developments, along with the growing power of China and Russia, have led many observers to argue that democracy has reached its high-water mark and is no longer on the rise. That conclusion is mistaken. The underlying conditions of societies around the world point to a more complicated reality. The bad news is that it is unrealistic to assume that democratic institutions can be set up easily, almost anywhere, at any time. Although the outlook is never hopeless, democracy is most likely to emerge and survive when certain social and cultural conditions are in place. The Bush administration ignored this reality when it attempted to implant democracy in Iraq without first establishing internal security and overlooked cultural conditions that endangered the effort. The good news, however, is that the conditions conducive to democracy can and do emerge-and the process of "modernization," according to abundant empirical evidence, advances them. Modernization is a syndrome of social changes linked to industrialization. Once set in motion, it tends to penetrate all aspects of life, bringing occupational specialization, urbanization, rising educational levels, rising life expectancy, and rapid economic growth. These create a self-reinforcing process that transforms social life and political institutions, bringing rising mass participation in politics and-in the long
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run-making the establishment of democratic political institutions increasingly likely. Today, we have a clearer idea than ever before of why and how this process of democratization happens. The great debate The concept of modernization has a long history. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a Marxist theory of modernization proclaimed that the abolition of private property would put an end to exploitation, inequality, and conflict. A competing capitalist version held that economic development would lead to rising living standards and democracy. These two visions of modernization competed fiercely throughout much of
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2010 for the course MARK 3336 taught by Professor Cox during the Spring '10 term at University of Houston - Downtown.

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How Development Leads to Democracy - How Development Leads...

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