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Democracy in Latin America: Towards a Citizens' Democracy

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  1. Theoretical Framework
  2. The United States in decline?
  3. Challenging traditional stances
  4. Structural challenge: overcoming the hegemony
  5. The situation in China
  6. Tracks of thought
    1. Conflict
    2. Collapse of China
    3. Comparative Advantage

In 2004, the UNDP (Program of the United Nations for Development) published a report entitled Democracy in Latin America: Towards a Citizens' Democracy. This subsidiary body of the UN (United Nations), established by resolution, is the global development network, available to the United Nations system. This program organizes forums to connect the countries to knowledge, experiments and resources whose populations need to improve their living conditions. It also helps these countries to identify the challenges with which they are confronted and it determines lines of action to raise them. It is in this light that ?Democracy in Latin America: Towards a Citizens' Democracy' was written.

The idea behind UNDP bringing out such a report is to understand democracy as an integral part of development. UNDP expresses a new approach to democracy and development. Indeed, it envisages the development not only as an economic phenomenon but also as "multidimensional, qualitative and quantitative phenomenon identifiable with a dynamic system resulting from the interplay between economic, technical, social, political and cultural factors " by François .

This vision of development is symptomatic of our age of liberal governance. Indeed, it was necessary after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union to rethink the policy of cooperation and therefore this notion. Stability is no longer the main objective and utilitarian development consisting of a connection to a block has been abandoned. Then comes the idea of democratic conditionality for a "good development". Policy cooperation should foster democratic transitions and consolidations. It is a normative approach to development that is revealed. This democratic conditionality is not based on a narrow definition of democracy. Instead, it incorporates a new concept: the human development.

This concept, coined by Amartya A. Sen, challenges the assumption that development depends primarily on economic growth. Human development is the ability of people to take control of their destiny. We must broaden the range of possibilities for the individual, returning to freedom. Human development includes health, education, research and development. Democracy is the political system perceived as most favoring human development. The UNDP report is totally in this line of thinking by promoting a full democracy, a democracy of citizens.

This report highlights another change in the definition of development. According to Article 1 of the UN Charter, the policy envisages the development of cooperation in two ways: democratic ideals and security objectives. The first purpose is supposed to be security. Here we find the vision of Hobbes' state works well only if it maintains the security of citizens. "The purpose of the modern state is to ensure the welfare, security and peace in the politeia.? UNDP reverses the order of things by making democracy an end. Indeed, democracy is an end and not a means of security, and so an ideal shared by all. But is democracy the least bad regimes, in comparison with others? Is there a concept of democracy?

The report deals with a definite geographical area: Latin America. The region is "an abstraction," said Henry Kissinger. Indeed, it appears as a set of diversity, features no real unity. , UNDP is exploring Latin America as a whole, because the region despite its diversity, has a certain unity.

Tags: Amartya A. Sen, UNDP or Program of the United Nations for Development, Latin America

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