Religion and Democracy

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What exactly this implies with regards toeconomic and social development is a question under debate. Amartya Sen, author of Development as Freedom (1999), argues that democracy and democratic values have asignificant role to play in development processes. He gives a number of arguments supportinghis thesis. Writing this essay I considered his arguments as well as my own thoughts andideas. To make clear how democratic values can have an impact on development on differentlevels, I will analyse the significance of democracy for development on three levels, or fromthree perspectives: at the local level it is beneficial with regards to utilising local knowledgeand including local communities, at the national level it is significant because it allows forcivil society to thrive, and viewed from a global perspective it is crucial and highly beneficialfor states to show efforts towards enhancing democracy.At the smallest level – the local or communal level – democratic values includingparticipation, inclusion and freedom of expression are essential to achieving sustainabledevelopment. Organisations and other institutions undertaking development projects in certainareas or communities need to ensure that the members of local communities are sufficientlyconsulted, and that they are the decisive part of all phases of the policy cycle. I am convincedthat this will lead to more effective and – on a long term – to more sustainable developmentbecause of two main reasons: Firstly, development projects should be commenced byidentifying and assessing the assets a particular community and its members have, that is whattalents and enterprises are already existent in the community, in order to design adevelopment policy on the basis of these assets. Secondly, local people and local knowledgeof the area and the problems can be a key resource for policy-makers and must…...

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