An evaluation of the development of democracy in various countries illustrates that a variety of factors influence the construction and maturation of democracy. These factors could be internal or external. The internal factors that affect democracy include the economy, electorate, demography, civil society and geography. On the other hand, external factors include the influence by global markets and aspects of international finance, interference by regional and international organizations and the influence of other nations. Countries should consider the impacts of both the internal and external factors on the process of democratization. Although the internal factors are the ones that have the most direct influence on the efforts for democratization, various aspects of globalization have rendered the external factors as important too. Despite the widespread acceptance of the correlation between democracy and economic development, discrepancies arise regarding which of the two aspects is dependent on the other. The role of economic growth in the democratization of nations has continued to raise disagreements among political analysts and economists. An analysis of the role of economic growth in the construction and development of democracy illustrates that it is a key ingredient in the growth of democracy.
Roles of economic growth in democratization
Economic growth facilitates the development of resources, which allow people to engage in politics and other matters that ensure appropriate systems of governance. It ensures that political processes incorporate opinions from various groups such as women. This ensures that leaders make decisions considering the impacts such decisions may have on the populace. The availability of resources improves the level of independence of the people in a particular country and gives them power to pressurize the leadership towards democratization. In addition, economic growth empowers a large number of people who can participate in politics and influence democratization. An independent population and increased participation in political processes promotes democratization.
Research demonstrates that there is a close relationship between economic backwardness and democracy. Although some political analysts argue that the case of poor economic development in most of the African countries is due to dictatorial leadership, evidence indicates that poor distribution of resources and undeveloped education systems are the main barriers to democratization in these countries. When people are always struggling to access basic needs, they cannot get the time to participate in political events and procedures relating to the electorate. The lack of reliable sources of income promotes a life full of uncertainties. This factor discourages people from questioning the authority as they overly depend on state institutions to provide various necessities. The lack of resources introduces high levels of illiteracy due underdeveloped education systems. Economic development promotes education and creates sources of income, which empower more people to engage actively in politics. Investment in education produces individuals that can effectively plan and execute actions to pressurize the government to implement democratic policies. Political competition increases the likelihood of eliminating undemocratic systems of governance. It triggers a democratization process that gradually gains momentum and eventually leads to the replacement of authoritarian leadership with a democratic system.
To achieve effective democratic transformation, a country requires an educated populace and resources to enable the mobilization of people. Analysts highlight the importance of economic development as a tool for instigating social changes through the breakdown of class barriers. Economic growth promotes the economic independence of most of the population of a given country. Economic independence favors numerous factors that are crucial in the realization of democratization. It eliminates over-dependence on government welfare programs and gives people the audacity to demand for reforms without having to fear government actions that may immobilize various aspects of their lives. Economic development changes the way people interact with various institutions of governance. The state’s role in different aspects of the economy humanizes the state. People realize that the just as the state economic policies change, then they can instigate political transformations.
Economic growth creates a multi-connected economy, which promotes people to interact in various ways. Interaction helps to create a large mass of people that shares common ideologies. This promotes easier mobilization of people to support and demand democratic reforms. In this regard, people can collectively bargain for rights to personal security, equal pay for workers and the unbiased treatment of people based on factors such as race, social class and religion. In addition, economic growth promotes free media, which acts as a tool for democratization. The media encourages people to hold the government accountable for its actions, acts as a mouthpiece for disadvantaged groups, and promotes cohesive coexistence among diverse groups within a country. The development of technology and infrastructures facilitate communication and thus allows coordinated and informed undertakings concerning the establishment of democracy. It empowers the actions of political groups that seek to recruit members that share similar convictions relating to the need to foster democratization.
Countries with developed economies are key players in the international market. The international scene exposes nations to concepts of democratization as depicted by the developed nations. International trade ties expose countries to influences from other nations. Most of the developed nations encourage democratization and adopt policies that introduce trade barriers and sanctions on non-democratic countries. To protect business interests, countries that previously practiced authoritarian leadership adopt democratization.
Market competition, a common phenomenon introduced by economic growth, contributes towards the reduction of poverty and promotes efforts related to democratization. It promotes both the local and international investments that generate resources to finance development and democracy. Economic institutions and organizations take over responsibilities that promote practices relating to pro-poor development and democratization. Such responsibilities include the promotion of human rights and mitigating of corruption both of which are ingredients for effective democratization. The respect for human rights is a core component of democracy. Economic development empowers people to demand for both the political and civil rights. It also promotes the human dignity by providing means to access adequate standards of living such as appropriate housing and clothing. The role of economic institutions in the distribution of resources is crucial concerning the realization of democratic reforms. Even distribution of resources promotes a national wide empowerment of citizens. Since economic institutions and organizations have direct contact with people, they attain considerable influence on matters relating to liberal democracy at the grassroots level.
Economic growth empowers people in numerous ways and thus minimizes their level of dependence on state institutions especially concerning access to necessities such as housing. It promotes the decentralization of state powers so that functions such as the distribution of resources become the role of economic institutions and the private sector. In addition, economic development promotes the development of effective education systems, which are crucial in creating an enlightened population. The realization of democratization does not solely rely on economic growth. This process requires inputs from both the internal and external forces in order to realize satisfactory results. Various countries with high per capita income function under authoritarian forms of governance. This demonstrates that even with economic development, there may still be hurdles to democratization. To promote democratization, efforts for economic development should encompass a wide variety of policies and practices that ensure the availability of coordinating goods such as political rights, press freedom and access to higher education. Such an expansive scope of economic development will give democratization the momentum it requires to reach maturation.