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Human Development: Democratization and Economy’ Relations Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: May 20th, 2020

Introduction

Nations which are socially and economically developed are the envy of every person in the world due to high living standards in these countries. Consequently, human development is the ultimate aim of any nation. Political leaders usually aim at improving income levels of citizens. People want their social welfare to be enhanced while health standards of a society have to be advanced to increase productivity of the economy. Moreover, respect of people’s rights and freedoms need to be ensured for better social integration and advancement. In a nutshell, human development is the main aim why people wake up every morning to work. Different people have tried to explain the prerequisites of human development while giving the conditions necessary for the society to develop. There are those who argue that human advancement results from democratization while others hold that it is as a result of economic development. However, it is important to note that democratization and economic development have to be balanced for meaningful national advancement to be realized.

Economic Development

Economic development refers to the increase in the wellbeing of a society both qualitatively and quantitatively. It refers to a situation where there is advancement in human capital, development of infrastructure, environmental sustainability as well as increase in social and healthcare quality (Diamond, 2008). It is important to note that unlike economic growth which measures the total increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), economic development goes ahead to measure how income is distributed among members of the society. In this regard, it is important to note that economic growth is a necessary and sufficient condition for economic development and both depend on good political regimes. A society can only advance if at least each and every member of the society experiences some positive life improvement. Therefore, economic development is a holistic approach that is used to measure human development.

Democratization

Democratization is a process by which a nation is transformed into a political system where citizens have a say on how they are governed. It is also the increase in democratic space within a country or a society. As a country becomes democratized, the rights of people are respected and people get the chance to choose their leaders through an open and fair election process (Burnell & ware, 2007). On the same note, democratization leads to a system of governance where the rule of law is respected and people are given equal opportunities to advance themselves. Through democratization, people not only work hard to be economically empowered, but also work comfortably to advance the nation as a whole. However, it is important to note that democratization and good political systems are intrinsically connected.

Issues Necessary for Human Development

Institutions are necessary for any meaningful development in any society. All the important processes like production, distribution as well as democratization are controlled by institutions. Institutions can give right incentives to the economy which will encourage production, increase profits and encourage people to work thus leading to economic development (Diamond, 2008). However, it is important to note that for institutions to work well, property rights and contracts have to be enforceable while capital accumulation should be encouraged.

Moreover, human development is evaluated according to the freedom that exists in the society. Human development should lead to increased choices available within the economy. If citizens cannot choose what to buy, then national advancement will not have been attained. On the same note, human development cannot take place unless there is an enabling political system. As a result, democracy and economic empowerment which are crucial ingredients for accommodative political regimes should be present for human development to take place (Sen, 1999). On the same note, economic growth is an inevitable requirement for economic development because only then can the government offer the necessary social amenities.

Relationship between Democratization and Economic Development

Democratization is as a result of the increase of wealth among people. As people of the lower class get increase in their levels of income, they gain the power to demand for their rights and this leads to democratization. It is important to note that as a nation’s wealth increases and economic development is experienced, democratization automatically becomes imminent. Research has shown that wealthy nations have highly developed democracies compared to economically challenged countries. Economic development increases the speed of democratization process. At the same time, democratization increases the chances of economic development taking place. Consequently, the two have to work hand in hand for a nation to achieve human development (Burnell & Ware, 2007).

On the same note, well educated people are aware of their rights, can exercise them properly and can be trusted to put in place good leaders. However, good education system is as a result of economic development. Similarly, a democratic political system allows people to demand and even put in place good education systems. On the other hand, there could be no development without a good education system (Pollack, 2003). Therefore, both economic development and democratization lead to a better education system which is crucial for human development.

No nation can develop if its market system is not left to operate freely without interference. Democratization ensures that each person has freedom to engage in any lawful economic activity. On the same note, it enhances the probability of freedom of trade. On the other hand, human development is highly dependent on the ability of individuals to advance their economic status. Consequently, democratization and economic development have a common target of empowering people. Similarly, though the general wellbeing of everybody is important for national advancement, increase in the living standards of the middle and lower class people is crucial. Economic development will ensure equality in income distribution and thus increased chances of lower and middle class people to advance their living standards (Sen, 1999). On the other hand, democratization enhances people’s political rights thus socially advancing them.

Furthermore, as the democratic space of a nation increases, social equality is enhanced. Similarly, economic development is measured by the level of social equality in a nation. Consequently, economic development sets pace for social equality while democratization helps in propelling it forward. In a nutshell, democratization and economic development are complementary issues in the process of human development.

Democracy, Economic development and Political Participation

National advancement is a complicated aspect and cannot be explained using one perspective only. We have seen that democratization and economic development are interconnected in advancing human development. However, the two are also crucial for ensuring that the government in place is favorable. The government is very vital in ensuring that distribution of income is equal. Entrepreneurs will be very unwilling to invest in some areas of the economy which though they are important, they do not give returns quickly or they require massive capital. The government should therefore institute tax and use the money to provide social services to the people (Sen, 1999). Nevertheless, the tax system should not be exploitative and thus discourage people from working.

Advanced democracy means that the will of the majority dominates issues in a given society. Consequently, increased democratic space ensures that people will be able to choose the right leaders who will implement policies that encourage economic development. In democratic nations, citizens have the chance of changing their leaders after a definite duration of time. This enhances confidence of people in their political systems hence increasing their productivity which will in turn lead to economic development (Burnell & Ware, 2007). On the other hand, economic development increases the tax base thus increasing income of the government. Economic development ensures equality in wealth distribution which gives many people the power to have a say in societal issues. Besides increasing democratic space, this also ensures that majority of the people get involved in the process of selecting political leaders.

Conclusion

Human advancement involves interconnection of very many issues. Health, education, economic power, political system and freedom must be enhanced. Human development involves representation of the will of the majority in governance. While democratization enhances human rights and freedom of choice, economic development leads to increased living standards thus enhancing national advancement. Neither democratization nor economic development can in itself lead to human development. As shown above, the two have to be integrated in the efforts of advancing a nation.

References

Burnell, P. J. & Ware, A. J. (2007). Funding Democratization. Piscataway: Transaction Publishers.

Diamond, L. (2008). The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Pollack, D. (2003). Political Culture in Post-Communist Europe: Attitudes in New Democracies. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.

Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom. London: Oxford University Press.

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