Is Democracy Appropriate for the Developing Nations?

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This paper has been concerned with the apprehension often expressed that democracy may not be the appropriate system of governance for the developing nations of the world. This apprehension has two related but distinct aspects. The first is a proposition that democracy will hinder development and that some form of authoritarianism will serve the cause of development better. The second aspect makes perhaps an even more damning point by suggesting that, no matter whether democracy is good or bad for development, the harsh reality is that it may not be feasible for poor countries to make a sustainable transition to democracy. If the first proposition is about the desirability of democracy at low levels of development, the second proposition is about its feasibility. The two propositions together imply that democracy is a luxury developing nations cannot afford to have; they must wait, if they want to have democracy at all, till they advance further on the path of economic development. The theoretical and empirical foundations of these propositions have been scrutinized in this paper. The scrutiny leads to the conclusion that there is no solid basis for the apprehension that democracy is not appropriate for the developing nations. Those who aspire for democracy have no cause for despair.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)8-32
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Bangladesh Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 25 Oct 2019


  • Democracy and development


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