Comparative Politics And Development Of Democracy Through Education Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Government Type: Essay Paper: #69265924 Related Topics: Democracy, Democracy In America, Importance Of Education, Urbanization
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Lipset believe that education was conducive for democracy

Lipset's appreciation and believes delegating the importance of education for attainment of democracy in a nation follows from the arguments below. With education, the masses embrace diverse occupational specialization. These specializations will shift of the nation's workforce from dependents on state created positions to economically determined specialization. The nation's workforce will inherently move away from being controlled by the state thereby, reducing a state's control and autonomy over productive resource (Lipset, 1959, p. 78).

Education increases an individual's ability to review and have an articulate measure on the events in their surrounding environment. This equips one with ability to independently organize their preferred actions and communications relying on their understanding. Ideally, education promotes and individual's skill in determining their best course of action. Educated individuals have autonomy upon what direction they wish to take as opposed to following leadership traits that seem to be self-centered.

Looking at the case in the Middle East economies, the state guarantees employment to it citizens disregarding their educational qualifications. These measure subjects a sizable proportion of the nation's workforce to be dependent on the state (Lipset, 1959, p. 76). From these, the masses feel that the autocratic state is catering for their basic needs and economic well-being. This level of satisfaction guarantees that no significant oppositions to the state's operations and control over the resources arise. Increasingly, the state gains control over the few wealthy individuals by providing them with measures and policy that are protective to their wealth and economic means. Additionally subjecting the masses to state dependence and thereby, limiting chance of political opposition.

Authoritarian regimes suppress social and political unrest by ensuring little developments trickle towards perpetuating human development (Lipset, 1959, p. 81). This observation strengthens Lipset's argument that prevalence in education is ideal for democracy. With education, the capabilities of individuals are enhanced allowing individuals to expand their choices. Relying on their acquired intellect, individuals have a broad understanding allowing them to participate in their governorship and overall distribution of national resources.

Lipset's assertion that education is a necessary driver towards achieving democracy touches on the exposure education affords to its recipients. Education opens up individuals to a new set of norms that uphold participatory rights and influences a common agenda in development (Lipset, 1959, p. 84). With education, individuals get exposure to unlimited understanding of their surrounding allowing for independence from state control and management. Educated individuals will take up active measures to influence possible development outcomes as opposed to following power-hungry and selfish autocratic individuals.

Evidence Supporting Education Promotes Democracy

Lipset and Karl Deutsch present their ideas depicting education as an independent variable and democracy as the dependent variable. In their argument, education is the necessary prerequisite for democracy to prevail. Education prevails to open individuals to new ideologies and a deeper understanding of the needs for their development. Using a study between the United Nations and Haiti, Lipset observes that a nation with a higher average literacy rate displays more democracy than a country with lower levels of literacy.

A dictatorial regime will prevail in nations with lower levels of literacy (Lipset, 1959, p. 84). Arguments from the two scholars depict a notion that, even if education fails to make good citizens, it will contribute largely to them becoming so. With education, an individual's outlook is broad thereby influencing restraint to extremist views, tolerance to norms and invokes rationality in choices.

The fact that many of the developed democracies such as France and Germany have relatively higher levels of education support the idea that education influences democracy. In Latin America, wide spread levels of illiteracy prevail and all of these countries excluding Brazil are absent in the list of "more democratic" nations (Lipset, 1959, p. 80).

Evaluations of the Arab League nations indicate Lebanon as the longest standing democracy. Literacy levels in Lebanon stand at 80 per cent. In East Asia only two countries (Japan and Philippines) depict stable democracies in the period following World War II (Lipset, 1959, p. 80).The conclusion that education levels contribute to democracy is arrived at by asserting that human development factors including education influence an individual's positive contribution to the political process.

Evidence Supporting That Much of...


Human development encompasses urbanization, industrialization, education and wealth as closely interrelated economic determinants for democracy. A study assessing levels of human development indices in six Middle Eastern nations found that imbalance in human development indices derail possible democratization of a country.

In the non-European world, developments are seen in commercialization and global openness of the nations. These developments present potential for urbanization, growth in competitive degrees, higher literacy levels and a greater exposure to values held by the middle class. Subsequently more pressure from the realized human developments will emerge heightening a conditional change in tolerance to norms. These aspects will push the legitimization of a political system that includes the masses. Since majority of the non-European countries have experienced some or majority of the aforementioned developments, soon most will be democratic nations.

Critiques against Lipset's Thesis That Education Was Conducive For Democracy

Critiques against Lipset's arguments include aspects such as structural social systems, international pressures, economic foundations and existing political institutions. Structural approaches serve to set in change in the social systems by changing social values and interactions. The structural approaches breakdown any existing barriers to citizenry participation and encourage their participation in decision making. The ideal nature of the shift in social system is contingent towards inspiring a political regime change. International pressures from donor and trading bodies may put forth conditions for country to take up democracy. These forms of pressure require reforms in governance and not necessarily increase in literacy of the masses.

Additional pressures may come from human rights activist and civil societies. A nation's economic development status or need for economic development may call for change in the political regime. Changes in economic policy in a bid to attain a desired status in wealth and development may push for the change to democracy. Alternatively, abolition of defeat of existing political regime may lead to democratization of a nation without necessarily attaining a specific literacy level.

Observations from other studies indicate that a countries resource serve as an inhibiting factor to democratization. An autocratic state may attain higher literacy levels but still fail to adopt democracy. Owing to high rent revenues oil merchant pay to the ruling elite, transition to democracy where resource distribution would be re-evaluated may not take place. Although this is not a primary factor its level of influence in maintaining a status Quo is significant.

Dependence of the merchant to the ruling elite plays a critical role in reinforcing continued rule by the existing regime. As a nation develops, immense power is bestowed upon the ruling class through loyalties and rents paid. The power amassed by the ruling elite significantly suppresses potential opposition or threat. Even with rising literacy levels, the ruling class is in a position to control the masses and maintain an autocratic state. This situation is also prevalent where the economic needs of the people are sufficiently met.

Historical experiences and cultures may also hinder a nation's democratizations. Democratization requires a sufficient shift in ideology, resource distribution, legitimization, and social support systems. In the event any of these forces fail to play significant roles then democracy may not be attained.

Rapid transition from one political system to another may lead to social unrest and overall breakdown of the social strata. In the event that democracy is taken up with little concern given to transition the resulting political situation may crumble living the nation worse off. Significant attention is needed on those aspects that will guarantee stability and strength of the nation. Failure to incorporate all aspects that influence change may also lead to power vacuum thereby opening up a country to military coup.

With education comes a citizenry with diverse means and ability. This presents to the nations diverse needs and opinions that require measures of management. Taking to democracy driven by higher literacy level a measure to incorporate the needs present and an effective way to safe guard the nation from unrest. Policy formulation measures need to be in place as well as efficient means in implementing the policies.

Competitive politics that democracy offers needs a pluralistic social order. This pluralistic orders call for a certain degree of decentralization in resource allocation and information gathering. This situation calls for absolute dispersion of the state organs to attend to general needs in the nation's diverse environment. The economic situation desirable for a democratic state is where many businesses can freely operate and interact with the market forces. Monopolistic tendencies will need to be put in check while the state's power in influencing business operations is curtailed. Multiple sources of information are required for a democratic state to prevail. This situation though…

Sources Used in Documents:


Lipset, S.M. (1959). "Some Social Requisites of Democracy." Economic Development and Political Legitimacy. American Political Science Review, 53, 69-105.

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