Analysis of "Democracy as a Universal Value" by Amartya Sen

1496 words 6 pages
In his article, Democracy as a Universal Value, Amartya Sen asserts that democracy is a universal value. In order to develop his argument Sen needs to state his definition of democracy and define what he means by universal value. In the course of Sen's argument he gives his view of the relationship between democracy and the economy. He then defends his view of democracy as a universal value against a main argument that deals with cultural differences between regions. Amartya Sen uses a maximum definition of democracy. Sen believes that a democracy has more qualities than just rule by the majority. "Democracy is a demanding system, and not just a mechanical condition (like majority rule) taken in isolation" (Sen 5). Sen believes …show more content…

Sen states that "there is no reason at all to assume that any of these policies is inconsistent with greater democracy" and need to be forcibly sustained by an authoritarian government (3). He notes that the economic development in South Korea, Singapore, and China may have been caused by the presence of these policies and not the authoritarian governments that these countries happened to have at the time. "There is overwhelming evidence to show that what is needed for generating faster economic growth is a friendlier economic climate rather than a harsher political system" (3). Nevertheless, in the end Sen concludes that based on comparative studies "the hypothesis that there is no clear relation between economic growth and democracy in either direction remains extremely plausible" (3). Although Sen believes that there is no apparent relation between democracy and economic growth, he does believe there is a correlation between democracy and humanitarian development and the quality of people's lives. Democracy provides people with political and civil rights that "give people the opportunity to draw