Does Democracy Help Development?

Written by Iman Rashid | Posted on  11 Mar 2016.

Yes we have the mouth to speak: to speak what is right, true and our consensus as a community. We are living in the world of freedom; freedom to question, freedom to argue, freedom to select and participate in building our destination as individual as well as a country. But why there are so many gaps in development? Why while the developed countries are fast moving forward to bring their development, the developing and underdeveloped countries including mine – Tanzania are slowly moving to bring developing? What is the importance of democracy because I hear some people say, “we want democracy yesterday, today and tomorrow,” other say, “democracy for power to the people,” other argue, “Democracy means every one,” and many say, “democracy for more voice, votes and vision,” and “democracy for, dream, creativeness, diversity, respect, life, freedom, learn and peace. Then, why only few people are rich and so many people are poor? Who enjoys the national cake? Does democracy help development?  At the theoretical level there are two opposing theses.  Those who believe that democracy does not help development point out the following;

Firstly, democracy encourages ethnic and other cleavages and creates instability that jeopardizes development.  Secondly, political elites respond to pressure groups that causes distortions in resource allocation.  Third, democracy puts pressure on the rulers to redistribute ahead of growth.  What is required for development is more savings and less consumption.  That is easier to achieve under an authoritarian regime that can take unpopular decisions. On the other side stand those who belong to the compatibility school.  They argue that democracy promotes civil and political rights, property rights, and free information flows and the rule of law, all of which are seen as pre-conditions to development.

I, sometime confuse, does democracy contribute to our poor development or is our African leaders under develop Africa? Just to let a discussion table, let us share, does democracy help Development?