Osama Bin Javaid's Blog

Is democracy a good thing? join the debate…

AGAINST: I don’t think that more democracy is a good thing – democracy in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is a nonsensical idea, to my mind. What we, and they, need is good governance – I think the most important criteria for economic growth is to have a government that is not corrupt and that has stable institutions.
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FOR: The pursuit of idealism makes me a watchdog on the walls of society (ie a journalist).

Agreed that the concept of democracy being one-size-fits-all is flawed. Bangladesh for instance is doing pretty well with its military interventions on corrupt politicians and au contraire the US is doing just fine with the idealism being complimented with lobbying and corruption. So its a matter of perspective really whether you look at it from the Noam Chomsky school of thought or the Amy Goodman activism.
I’ve witnessed people give seats to elderly on crowded buses in Pakistan and I’ve seen the British behaving like cattle during a tube strike. So good governance is relevant, but in my opinion lower on the nation-building priority list.

Empowering people with justice and basic human rights is the only way to build soceity regardless of the regime it follows. Democracy by far is the imperfect system which has been tried, tested and implemented. Why reinvent the wheel?
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AGAINST: I disagree with you. China is not a democracy but it has alleviated more poverty and improved the condition of its people (education, health, all social indicators) than India which is a democracy. Noam Chomsky is very smart but completely irrelevant I feel – comparing advanced western democracies with third world developing countries is meaningless in terms of demoracy. The States is democratic, Pakistan is run by a feudal-military nexus that is not democratic in the least.
And Bangladesh is not doing pretty well – its populace is desperately poor and uneducated.
In my view justice and improving human rights comes second and third to good governance and stability. Economic growth is the most powerful impetus that leads to better rights for a countrys citizens.

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2 Responses

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  1. […] in democracy or enabling good governance with no democracy? Osama Bin Javed from Pakistan starts the debate whether democracy is appropriate for countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Cancel this […]

  2. Jason Paz said, on January 9, 2010 at 11:57

    The US democracy is meaningless, because she lacks good governance. Since the special interests control the media, the elections and the politicians, the people are powerless to alter the system to make it work for them.
    The citizens of Iran have the right to vote. When they chose parties in opposition to the current regime, their votes counted for nothing. When they took to the streets in protest, they were suppressed violently. Their leaders were jailed and tortured a number put to death.
    China has a controlled economy. Since 1978 the government has operated under capitalistic principles for the economic good of the people. The growing wealth has been spread around to keep the people content. The authorities acted quickly to correct the recent recession.
    Unlike Americans, the Chinese organize demonstrations the moment they feel they have been wronged. The government is careful not to use violence against them.
    China is flawed. Her human rights record is abysmal, but at least she progresses in the right direction.
    I thank you for opening the discussion of this important topic.


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