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Liberalization, globalization and the dynamics of democracy in India

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In the closing decades of the twentieth century there has been an almost complete intellectual triumph of the twin principles of marketization (understood here as referring to the liberalization of domestic markets and freer international mobility of goods, services, financial capital and perhaps, more arguably, labour) and democratization . A paradigm shift of this extent and magnitude would not have occurred in the absence of some broad consensus among policymakers and (sections of) intellectuals around the globe on the desirability of such a change. There seems to be a two-fold causal nexus between marketization and democracy. The first is more direct, stemming from the fact of both systems sharing certain values and attitudes in common. But there is also a second more indirect chain from marketization to democracy, which is predicated via three sub-chains (i) from marketization to growth, (ii) from growth to overall material development welfare and (iii) from material development to social welfare and democracy. We examine each of these sub-links in detail with a view to obtaining a greater understanding of the hypothesized role of free markets in promoting democracies. In the later part of the paper we examine the socio-economic outcomes governing the quality of democracy in a specifically Indian context.

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