Friday, September 09, 2005

Amartya Sen on Democracy

Amartya Sen is highly respected both for winning the Nobel Prize in Economics and for his wisdom and humaneness.

His latest book, The Argumentative Indian, among other things documents for how long and how extensively the world has strained after democracy.

However, he fails to answer or even raise some key questions:

- why was it the case that the only cultures able to create, nurture and maintain a democratic culture for more than three generations have been Protestant ones?

- Why do non-Protestant cultures (tribal African Tanzania with "Uhuru", China under Mao, Japan since WWII, Russia under the Marxists, Iran under the Shah) accommodate democratic tendencies only so far as to begin to clean up the usual kleptocracies and initiate "participatory reasoning and public decision-making", but then become static as has Japan for the last two decades or descend into chaos as has Russia since Gorbachev, or return to authoritarianism as has Russia under Putin? Or as Ukraine seems to be doing now? Sphere: Related Content

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