The renowned international affairs expert, Francis Fukuyama argued in his book, The End of History and the Last Man, that the fall of communism and the rise of liberal democracy have marked the End of History as far as the triumph of a particular ideology is concerned (Fukuyama, 1991). This has been echoed by other writers who have expressed sentiments in favor of capitalism and democracy being concomitant to each other in their complementarities. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT The common notion of development with the measure of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as a yardstick of progress is sometimes misleading.
Since the ratio between the rich and the poor and the wealth gap have to be considered as well, GDP fails to accurately convey the well being of the people of the country. A better measure of overall well being of a country is the Human Development Index or HDI that takes a broad view of the overall economic and social well being of the citizens of a country. There has been a consensus view emerging within the economic community that all round economic development can only be achieved if there are a measure of democratic norms in place within societies that are unable to grow beyond a certain point due to lack of opportunities and stifling political systems.
As the paper has pointed out previously, economists like Jean Dreze have maintained that unless a country improves on the measures like providing education, clean and safe drinking water and sanitation and other forms of social infrastructure, the possibility of further economic growth may be stunted due to lack of a pool of educated workforce and quality “human capital”. The last statement is crucial as the LDC’s may lose out on growth trajectory and their growth rates may taper off unless they provide for the needed parameters in the human development indices.
The HDI statistics tell an important story. There have been instances of countries in East Asia that have progressed significantly since the 1970’s and have managed to obtain a measure of progress in this front. However, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa have stagnated to a large extent in this regard. And Brazil is one of those countries that are midway through the process of adjusting itself to the human element of development.
China, on the other hand has made progress on the GDP as well as the HDI front making it a true powerhouse to reckon with. Economists like Amartya Sen have pointed to the social indices as a measure of building up human capital that is so vital to the establishment of norms of market behavior.
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