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Outcomes of Democracy
63
Chapter 5
Outcomes of 
Democracy
Overview
As we begin to wind up our tour of democracy, it is time to move 
beyond our discussion of specific themes and ask a general set of 
questions: What does democracy do? Or, what outcomes can we 
reasonably expect of democracy? Also, does democracy fulfil these 
expectations in real life? We begin by thinking about how to assess 
the outcomes of democracy. After some clarity on how to think on 
this subject, we proceed to look at the expected and actual outcomes 
of democracy in various respects: quality of government, economic 
well-being, inequality, social differences and conflict and finally 
freedom and dignity. 
Chapter 5.indd   63 4/29/2022   4:57:46 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


Outcomes of Democracy
63
Chapter 5
Outcomes of 
Democracy
Overview
As we begin to wind up our tour of democracy, it is time to move 
beyond our discussion of specific themes and ask a general set of 
questions: What does democracy do? Or, what outcomes can we 
reasonably expect of democracy? Also, does democracy fulfil these 
expectations in real life? We begin by thinking about how to assess 
the outcomes of democracy. After some clarity on how to think on 
this subject, we proceed to look at the expected and actual outcomes 
of democracy in various respects: quality of government, economic 
well-being, inequality, social differences and conflict and finally 
freedom and dignity. 
Chapter 5.indd   63 4/29/2022   4:57:46 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
64
Democratic Politics
How do we assess democracy’s outcomes?
Do you remember how students 
in Madam Lyngdoh’s class argued 
about democracy? This was in 
Chapter 2 of Class IX textbook. 
It emerged from that conversation 
that democracy is a better form of 
government when compared with 
dictatorship or any other alternative. 
We felt that democracy was better 
because it:
? Promotes equality among 
citizens;
? Enhances the dignity of the 
individual;
? Improves the quality of 
decision-making;
? Provides a method to resolve 
conflicts; and
? Allows room to correct mistakes.
Are these expectations realised 
under democracies? When we talk 
to people around us, most of them 
support democracy against other 
alternatives, such as rule by a monarch 
or military or religious leaders. But 
not so many of them would be 
satisfied with the democracy in 
practice. So we face a dilemma: 
democracy is seen to be good in 
principle, but felt to be not so good in 
its practice. This dilemma invites us 
to think hard about the outcomes of 
democracy. Do we prefer democracy 
only for moral reasons? Or are there 
some prudential reasons to support 
democracy too?
Over a hundred countries of 
the world today claim and practice 
some kind of democratic politics: 
they have formal constitutions, they 
hold elections, they have parties and 
they guarantee rights of citizens. 
While these features are common to 
most of them, these democracies are 
very much different from each other 
in terms of their social situations, 
their economic achievements and 
their cultures. Clearly, what may be 
achieved or not achieved under each 
of these democracies will be very 
different. But is there something that 
we can expect from every democracy, 
just because it is democracy?
Our interest in and fascination 
for democracy often pushes us into 
taking a position that democracy 
can address all socio-economic and 
political problems. If some of our 
expectations are not met, we start 
blaming the idea of democracy. Or, 
we start doubting if we are living in 
a democracy. The first step towards 
thinking carefully about the outcomes 
of democracy is to recognise 
that democracy is just a form 
of government. It can only create 
conditions for achieving something. 
The citizens have to take advantage 
of those conditions and achieve 
those goals. Let us examine some of 
the things we can reasonably expect 
from democracy and examine the 
record of democracy.
Did we 
reach these 
conclusions 
in Madam 
Lyngdoh’s class? 
I loved that 
class because 
students were 
not being 
dictated any 
conclusions.
© RK Laxman - Brushing up the years
Is democracy all about coping with multiple pressures and 
accommodating diverse demands?
Chapter 5.indd   64 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


Outcomes of Democracy
63
Chapter 5
Outcomes of 
Democracy
Overview
As we begin to wind up our tour of democracy, it is time to move 
beyond our discussion of specific themes and ask a general set of 
questions: What does democracy do? Or, what outcomes can we 
reasonably expect of democracy? Also, does democracy fulfil these 
expectations in real life? We begin by thinking about how to assess 
the outcomes of democracy. After some clarity on how to think on 
this subject, we proceed to look at the expected and actual outcomes 
of democracy in various respects: quality of government, economic 
well-being, inequality, social differences and conflict and finally 
freedom and dignity. 
Chapter 5.indd   63 4/29/2022   4:57:46 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
64
Democratic Politics
How do we assess democracy’s outcomes?
Do you remember how students 
in Madam Lyngdoh’s class argued 
about democracy? This was in 
Chapter 2 of Class IX textbook. 
It emerged from that conversation 
that democracy is a better form of 
government when compared with 
dictatorship or any other alternative. 
We felt that democracy was better 
because it:
? Promotes equality among 
citizens;
? Enhances the dignity of the 
individual;
? Improves the quality of 
decision-making;
? Provides a method to resolve 
conflicts; and
? Allows room to correct mistakes.
Are these expectations realised 
under democracies? When we talk 
to people around us, most of them 
support democracy against other 
alternatives, such as rule by a monarch 
or military or religious leaders. But 
not so many of them would be 
satisfied with the democracy in 
practice. So we face a dilemma: 
democracy is seen to be good in 
principle, but felt to be not so good in 
its practice. This dilemma invites us 
to think hard about the outcomes of 
democracy. Do we prefer democracy 
only for moral reasons? Or are there 
some prudential reasons to support 
democracy too?
Over a hundred countries of 
the world today claim and practice 
some kind of democratic politics: 
they have formal constitutions, they 
hold elections, they have parties and 
they guarantee rights of citizens. 
While these features are common to 
most of them, these democracies are 
very much different from each other 
in terms of their social situations, 
their economic achievements and 
their cultures. Clearly, what may be 
achieved or not achieved under each 
of these democracies will be very 
different. But is there something that 
we can expect from every democracy, 
just because it is democracy?
Our interest in and fascination 
for democracy often pushes us into 
taking a position that democracy 
can address all socio-economic and 
political problems. If some of our 
expectations are not met, we start 
blaming the idea of democracy. Or, 
we start doubting if we are living in 
a democracy. The first step towards 
thinking carefully about the outcomes 
of democracy is to recognise 
that democracy is just a form 
of government. It can only create 
conditions for achieving something. 
The citizens have to take advantage 
of those conditions and achieve 
those goals. Let us examine some of 
the things we can reasonably expect 
from democracy and examine the 
record of democracy.
Did we 
reach these 
conclusions 
in Madam 
Lyngdoh’s class? 
I loved that 
class because 
students were 
not being 
dictated any 
conclusions.
© RK Laxman - Brushing up the years
Is democracy all about coping with multiple pressures and 
accommodating diverse demands?
Chapter 5.indd   64 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
Outcomes of Democracy
65
Accountable, responsive and legitimate government
There are some things that democracy 
must provide. In a democracy, we 
are most concerned with ensuring 
that people will have the right 
to choose their rulers and people 
will have control over the rulers. 
Whenever possible and necessary, 
citizens should be able to participate 
in decision making, that affects 
them all. Therefore, the most basic 
outcome of democracy should 
be that it produces a government 
that is accountable to the citizens, 
and responsive to the needs and 
expectations of the citizens. 
Before we go into this question, 
we face another common question: Is 
the democratic government efficient? 
Is it effective? Some people think that 
democracy produces less effective 
government. It is, of course, true that 
non-democratic rulers do not have to 
bother about deliberation in assemblies 
or worry about majorities and public 
opinion. So, they can be very quick 
and efficient in decision making 
and implementation. Democracy 
is based on the idea of deliberation 
and negotiation. So, some delay is 
bound to take place. Does that make 
democratic government inefficient?
Let us think in terms of costs. 
Imagine a government that may 
take decisions very fast. But it may 
take decisions that are not accepted 
by the people and may therefore 
face problems. In contrast, the 
democratic government will take 
more time to follow procedures 
before arriving at a decision. But 
because it has followed procedures, 
its decisions may be both more 
acceptable to the people and more 
effective. So, the cost of time that 
democracy pays is perhaps worth it. 
Now look at the other side – 
democracy ensures that decision 
making will be based on norms and 
procedures. So, a citizen who wants 
to know if a decision was taken 
through the correct procedures 
can find this out. She has the right 
and the means to examine the 
process of decision making. This 
is known as transparency. This 
factor is often missing from a  
non-democratic government. 
Therefore, when we are trying to 
find out the outcomes of democracy, 
it is right to expect democracy to 
produce a government that follows 
procedures and is accountable to the 
people. We can also expect that the 
democratic government develops 
mechanisms for citizens to hold 
the government accountable and 
mechanisms for citizens to take part 
in decision making whenever they 
think fit. 
If you wanted to measure 
democracies on the basis of this 
expected outcome, you would look 
for the following practices and 
institutions: regular, free and fair 
elections; open public debate on 
© Mike Keefe  - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
Can you think of 
what and how the 
government knows 
about you and your 
family (for example 
ration cards and  
voter identity cards)?  
What are the sources 
of information for 
you about the 
government?
Governmental Secrecy
Chapter 5.indd   65 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


Outcomes of Democracy
63
Chapter 5
Outcomes of 
Democracy
Overview
As we begin to wind up our tour of democracy, it is time to move 
beyond our discussion of specific themes and ask a general set of 
questions: What does democracy do? Or, what outcomes can we 
reasonably expect of democracy? Also, does democracy fulfil these 
expectations in real life? We begin by thinking about how to assess 
the outcomes of democracy. After some clarity on how to think on 
this subject, we proceed to look at the expected and actual outcomes 
of democracy in various respects: quality of government, economic 
well-being, inequality, social differences and conflict and finally 
freedom and dignity. 
Chapter 5.indd   63 4/29/2022   4:57:46 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
64
Democratic Politics
How do we assess democracy’s outcomes?
Do you remember how students 
in Madam Lyngdoh’s class argued 
about democracy? This was in 
Chapter 2 of Class IX textbook. 
It emerged from that conversation 
that democracy is a better form of 
government when compared with 
dictatorship or any other alternative. 
We felt that democracy was better 
because it:
? Promotes equality among 
citizens;
? Enhances the dignity of the 
individual;
? Improves the quality of 
decision-making;
? Provides a method to resolve 
conflicts; and
? Allows room to correct mistakes.
Are these expectations realised 
under democracies? When we talk 
to people around us, most of them 
support democracy against other 
alternatives, such as rule by a monarch 
or military or religious leaders. But 
not so many of them would be 
satisfied with the democracy in 
practice. So we face a dilemma: 
democracy is seen to be good in 
principle, but felt to be not so good in 
its practice. This dilemma invites us 
to think hard about the outcomes of 
democracy. Do we prefer democracy 
only for moral reasons? Or are there 
some prudential reasons to support 
democracy too?
Over a hundred countries of 
the world today claim and practice 
some kind of democratic politics: 
they have formal constitutions, they 
hold elections, they have parties and 
they guarantee rights of citizens. 
While these features are common to 
most of them, these democracies are 
very much different from each other 
in terms of their social situations, 
their economic achievements and 
their cultures. Clearly, what may be 
achieved or not achieved under each 
of these democracies will be very 
different. But is there something that 
we can expect from every democracy, 
just because it is democracy?
Our interest in and fascination 
for democracy often pushes us into 
taking a position that democracy 
can address all socio-economic and 
political problems. If some of our 
expectations are not met, we start 
blaming the idea of democracy. Or, 
we start doubting if we are living in 
a democracy. The first step towards 
thinking carefully about the outcomes 
of democracy is to recognise 
that democracy is just a form 
of government. It can only create 
conditions for achieving something. 
The citizens have to take advantage 
of those conditions and achieve 
those goals. Let us examine some of 
the things we can reasonably expect 
from democracy and examine the 
record of democracy.
Did we 
reach these 
conclusions 
in Madam 
Lyngdoh’s class? 
I loved that 
class because 
students were 
not being 
dictated any 
conclusions.
© RK Laxman - Brushing up the years
Is democracy all about coping with multiple pressures and 
accommodating diverse demands?
Chapter 5.indd   64 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
Outcomes of Democracy
65
Accountable, responsive and legitimate government
There are some things that democracy 
must provide. In a democracy, we 
are most concerned with ensuring 
that people will have the right 
to choose their rulers and people 
will have control over the rulers. 
Whenever possible and necessary, 
citizens should be able to participate 
in decision making, that affects 
them all. Therefore, the most basic 
outcome of democracy should 
be that it produces a government 
that is accountable to the citizens, 
and responsive to the needs and 
expectations of the citizens. 
Before we go into this question, 
we face another common question: Is 
the democratic government efficient? 
Is it effective? Some people think that 
democracy produces less effective 
government. It is, of course, true that 
non-democratic rulers do not have to 
bother about deliberation in assemblies 
or worry about majorities and public 
opinion. So, they can be very quick 
and efficient in decision making 
and implementation. Democracy 
is based on the idea of deliberation 
and negotiation. So, some delay is 
bound to take place. Does that make 
democratic government inefficient?
Let us think in terms of costs. 
Imagine a government that may 
take decisions very fast. But it may 
take decisions that are not accepted 
by the people and may therefore 
face problems. In contrast, the 
democratic government will take 
more time to follow procedures 
before arriving at a decision. But 
because it has followed procedures, 
its decisions may be both more 
acceptable to the people and more 
effective. So, the cost of time that 
democracy pays is perhaps worth it. 
Now look at the other side – 
democracy ensures that decision 
making will be based on norms and 
procedures. So, a citizen who wants 
to know if a decision was taken 
through the correct procedures 
can find this out. She has the right 
and the means to examine the 
process of decision making. This 
is known as transparency. This 
factor is often missing from a  
non-democratic government. 
Therefore, when we are trying to 
find out the outcomes of democracy, 
it is right to expect democracy to 
produce a government that follows 
procedures and is accountable to the 
people. We can also expect that the 
democratic government develops 
mechanisms for citizens to hold 
the government accountable and 
mechanisms for citizens to take part 
in decision making whenever they 
think fit. 
If you wanted to measure 
democracies on the basis of this 
expected outcome, you would look 
for the following practices and 
institutions: regular, free and fair 
elections; open public debate on 
© Mike Keefe  - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
Can you think of 
what and how the 
government knows 
about you and your 
family (for example 
ration cards and  
voter identity cards)?  
What are the sources 
of information for 
you about the 
government?
Governmental Secrecy
Chapter 5.indd   65 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
66
Democratic Politics
So, the best 
outcome of 
democracy 
is that it is a 
democracy! That 
is what we have 
discovered after 
all this mental 
gymnastics?
major policies and legislations; 
and citizens’ right to information 
about the government and its 
functioning. The actual performance 
of democracies shows a mixed 
record on this. Democracies have 
had greater success in setting up 
regular and free elections and in 
setting up conditions for open 
public debate. But most democracies 
fall short of elections that provide 
a fair chance to everyone and in 
subjecting every decision to public 
debate. Democratic governments do 
not have a very good record when 
it comes to sharing information 
with citizens. All one can say in 
favour of democratic regimes is 
that they are much better than any 
non-democratic regime in 
these respects. 
In substantive terms, it may be 
reasonable to expect from democracy 
a government that is attentive to the 
needs and demands of the people 
and is largely free of corruption. 
The record of democracies is not 
impressive on these two counts. 
Democracies often frustrate the 
needs of the people and often ignore 
the demands of a majority of its 
population. The routine tales of 
corruption are enough to convince us 
that democracy is not free of this evil. 
At the same time, there is nothing 
to show that non-democracies are 
less corrupt or more sensitive to 
the people. 
There is one respect in which 
democratic government is certainly 
better than its alternatives: demo-
cratic government is legitimate 
government. It may be slow, 
less efficient, not always very 
responsive or clean. But a democratic 
government is people’s own 
government. That is why, there is 
an overwhelming support for the 
idea of democracy all over the world. 
As the accompanying evidence from 
South Asia shows, the support 
exists in countries with democratic 
regimes as well as countries without 
democratic regimes. People wish to 
be ruled by representatives elected 
by them. They also believe that 
democracy is suitable for their 
country. Democracy’s ability to 
generate its own support is itself an 
outcome that cannot be ignored.
Source: SDSA Team, State of Democracy in South Asia, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007
Democracy is preferred
over dictatorship
everywhere except
Pakistan
South Asia
28
62
10
Those who agree with one of
the statements
Very few doubt the suitability of democracy
for their own country
How suitable is democracy for your country?
  Very suitable Suitable
 South Asia   88
 Bangladesh   93
 Sri Lanka   92
 India   92
 Pakistan   84
 Nepal   79
 0 50 100
Overwhelming support for democracy
Those who agree with the rule of leaders elected by the people
  Strongly agree Agree
 South Asia   94
 Sri Lanka   98
 Bangladesh   96
 India   95
 Nepal   94
 Pakistan   81
 0 50 100
 Doesn’t
 matter to me 25 21 28 49 18
  Bangladesh India Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka
 Democracy is
 preferable 69 70 62 37 71
 Sometimes dictatorship
 is better 6 9 10 14 11
Chapter 5.indd   66 08-04-2022   12:36:53
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


Outcomes of Democracy
63
Chapter 5
Outcomes of 
Democracy
Overview
As we begin to wind up our tour of democracy, it is time to move 
beyond our discussion of specific themes and ask a general set of 
questions: What does democracy do? Or, what outcomes can we 
reasonably expect of democracy? Also, does democracy fulfil these 
expectations in real life? We begin by thinking about how to assess 
the outcomes of democracy. After some clarity on how to think on 
this subject, we proceed to look at the expected and actual outcomes 
of democracy in various respects: quality of government, economic 
well-being, inequality, social differences and conflict and finally 
freedom and dignity. 
Chapter 5.indd   63 4/29/2022   4:57:46 PM
Rationalised 2023-24
64
Democratic Politics
How do we assess democracy’s outcomes?
Do you remember how students 
in Madam Lyngdoh’s class argued 
about democracy? This was in 
Chapter 2 of Class IX textbook. 
It emerged from that conversation 
that democracy is a better form of 
government when compared with 
dictatorship or any other alternative. 
We felt that democracy was better 
because it:
? Promotes equality among 
citizens;
? Enhances the dignity of the 
individual;
? Improves the quality of 
decision-making;
? Provides a method to resolve 
conflicts; and
? Allows room to correct mistakes.
Are these expectations realised 
under democracies? When we talk 
to people around us, most of them 
support democracy against other 
alternatives, such as rule by a monarch 
or military or religious leaders. But 
not so many of them would be 
satisfied with the democracy in 
practice. So we face a dilemma: 
democracy is seen to be good in 
principle, but felt to be not so good in 
its practice. This dilemma invites us 
to think hard about the outcomes of 
democracy. Do we prefer democracy 
only for moral reasons? Or are there 
some prudential reasons to support 
democracy too?
Over a hundred countries of 
the world today claim and practice 
some kind of democratic politics: 
they have formal constitutions, they 
hold elections, they have parties and 
they guarantee rights of citizens. 
While these features are common to 
most of them, these democracies are 
very much different from each other 
in terms of their social situations, 
their economic achievements and 
their cultures. Clearly, what may be 
achieved or not achieved under each 
of these democracies will be very 
different. But is there something that 
we can expect from every democracy, 
just because it is democracy?
Our interest in and fascination 
for democracy often pushes us into 
taking a position that democracy 
can address all socio-economic and 
political problems. If some of our 
expectations are not met, we start 
blaming the idea of democracy. Or, 
we start doubting if we are living in 
a democracy. The first step towards 
thinking carefully about the outcomes 
of democracy is to recognise 
that democracy is just a form 
of government. It can only create 
conditions for achieving something. 
The citizens have to take advantage 
of those conditions and achieve 
those goals. Let us examine some of 
the things we can reasonably expect 
from democracy and examine the 
record of democracy.
Did we 
reach these 
conclusions 
in Madam 
Lyngdoh’s class? 
I loved that 
class because 
students were 
not being 
dictated any 
conclusions.
© RK Laxman - Brushing up the years
Is democracy all about coping with multiple pressures and 
accommodating diverse demands?
Chapter 5.indd   64 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
Outcomes of Democracy
65
Accountable, responsive and legitimate government
There are some things that democracy 
must provide. In a democracy, we 
are most concerned with ensuring 
that people will have the right 
to choose their rulers and people 
will have control over the rulers. 
Whenever possible and necessary, 
citizens should be able to participate 
in decision making, that affects 
them all. Therefore, the most basic 
outcome of democracy should 
be that it produces a government 
that is accountable to the citizens, 
and responsive to the needs and 
expectations of the citizens. 
Before we go into this question, 
we face another common question: Is 
the democratic government efficient? 
Is it effective? Some people think that 
democracy produces less effective 
government. It is, of course, true that 
non-democratic rulers do not have to 
bother about deliberation in assemblies 
or worry about majorities and public 
opinion. So, they can be very quick 
and efficient in decision making 
and implementation. Democracy 
is based on the idea of deliberation 
and negotiation. So, some delay is 
bound to take place. Does that make 
democratic government inefficient?
Let us think in terms of costs. 
Imagine a government that may 
take decisions very fast. But it may 
take decisions that are not accepted 
by the people and may therefore 
face problems. In contrast, the 
democratic government will take 
more time to follow procedures 
before arriving at a decision. But 
because it has followed procedures, 
its decisions may be both more 
acceptable to the people and more 
effective. So, the cost of time that 
democracy pays is perhaps worth it. 
Now look at the other side – 
democracy ensures that decision 
making will be based on norms and 
procedures. So, a citizen who wants 
to know if a decision was taken 
through the correct procedures 
can find this out. She has the right 
and the means to examine the 
process of decision making. This 
is known as transparency. This 
factor is often missing from a  
non-democratic government. 
Therefore, when we are trying to 
find out the outcomes of democracy, 
it is right to expect democracy to 
produce a government that follows 
procedures and is accountable to the 
people. We can also expect that the 
democratic government develops 
mechanisms for citizens to hold 
the government accountable and 
mechanisms for citizens to take part 
in decision making whenever they 
think fit. 
If you wanted to measure 
democracies on the basis of this 
expected outcome, you would look 
for the following practices and 
institutions: regular, free and fair 
elections; open public debate on 
© Mike Keefe  - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
Can you think of 
what and how the 
government knows 
about you and your 
family (for example 
ration cards and  
voter identity cards)?  
What are the sources 
of information for 
you about the 
government?
Governmental Secrecy
Chapter 5.indd   65 08-04-2022   12:36:51
Rationalised 2023-24
66
Democratic Politics
So, the best 
outcome of 
democracy 
is that it is a 
democracy! That 
is what we have 
discovered after 
all this mental 
gymnastics?
major policies and legislations; 
and citizens’ right to information 
about the government and its 
functioning. The actual performance 
of democracies shows a mixed 
record on this. Democracies have 
had greater success in setting up 
regular and free elections and in 
setting up conditions for open 
public debate. But most democracies 
fall short of elections that provide 
a fair chance to everyone and in 
subjecting every decision to public 
debate. Democratic governments do 
not have a very good record when 
it comes to sharing information 
with citizens. All one can say in 
favour of democratic regimes is 
that they are much better than any 
non-democratic regime in 
these respects. 
In substantive terms, it may be 
reasonable to expect from democracy 
a government that is attentive to the 
needs and demands of the people 
and is largely free of corruption. 
The record of democracies is not 
impressive on these two counts. 
Democracies often frustrate the 
needs of the people and often ignore 
the demands of a majority of its 
population. The routine tales of 
corruption are enough to convince us 
that democracy is not free of this evil. 
At the same time, there is nothing 
to show that non-democracies are 
less corrupt or more sensitive to 
the people. 
There is one respect in which 
democratic government is certainly 
better than its alternatives: demo-
cratic government is legitimate 
government. It may be slow, 
less efficient, not always very 
responsive or clean. But a democratic 
government is people’s own 
government. That is why, there is 
an overwhelming support for the 
idea of democracy all over the world. 
As the accompanying evidence from 
South Asia shows, the support 
exists in countries with democratic 
regimes as well as countries without 
democratic regimes. People wish to 
be ruled by representatives elected 
by them. They also believe that 
democracy is suitable for their 
country. Democracy’s ability to 
generate its own support is itself an 
outcome that cannot be ignored.
Source: SDSA Team, State of Democracy in South Asia, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007
Democracy is preferred
over dictatorship
everywhere except
Pakistan
South Asia
28
62
10
Those who agree with one of
the statements
Very few doubt the suitability of democracy
for their own country
How suitable is democracy for your country?
  Very suitable Suitable
 South Asia   88
 Bangladesh   93
 Sri Lanka   92
 India   92
 Pakistan   84
 Nepal   79
 0 50 100
Overwhelming support for democracy
Those who agree with the rule of leaders elected by the people
  Strongly agree Agree
 South Asia   94
 Sri Lanka   98
 Bangladesh   96
 India   95
 Nepal   94
 Pakistan   81
 0 50 100
 Doesn’t
 matter to me 25 21 28 49 18
  Bangladesh India Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka
 Democracy is
 preferable 69 70 62 37 71
 Sometimes dictatorship
 is better 6 9 10 14 11
Chapter 5.indd   66 08-04-2022   12:36:53
Rationalised 2023-24
Outcomes of Democracy
67
Economic growth and development
If democracies are expected to 
produce good governments, then 
is it not fair to expect that they 
would also produce development? 
Evidence shows that in practice, 
many democracies did not fulfil this 
expectation. 
If you consider all democracies 
and all dictatorships for the fifty 
years between 1950 and 2000, 
dictatorships have slightly higher rate 
of economic growth. The inability 
of democracy to achieve higher 
economic development worries us. 
But this alone cannot be reason 
to reject democracy. As you have 
already studied in economics, 
economic development depends on 
several factors: country’s population 
The Rich Get Buff 
size, global situation, cooperation 
from other countries, economic 
priorities adopted by the country, 
etc. However, the difference in the 
rates of economic development 
between less developed countries 
with dictatorships and democracies 
is negligible. Overall, we cannot say 
that democracy is a guarantee of 
economic development. But we can 
expect democracy not to lag behind 
dictatorships in this respect. 
When we find such significant 
difference in the rates of economic 
growth between countries under 
dictatorship and democracy, it is 
better to prefer democracy as it has 
several other positive outcomes.
© RJ Matson - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
Cartoon on this page 
and next three pages tell 
us about the disparities 
between the rich and 
poor.  Should the gains 
of economic growth 
be evenly distributed? 
How can the poor get a 
voice for a better share 
in a nation? What can 
the poor countries do to 
receive a greater share in 
the world’s wealth?
Chapter 5.indd   67 08-04-2022   12:36:53
Rationalised 2023-24
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: Outcomes of Democracy - Social Studies (SST) Class 10

1. What are the outcomes of democracy?
Ans. The outcomes of democracy include political stability, social equality, economic growth, protection of fundamental rights, and the empowerment of citizens. Democracy ensures that people have the right to choose their leaders and participate in decision-making processes, leading to a stable political system. It also promotes social equality by providing equal opportunities and protection to all individuals. Additionally, democracy fosters economic growth by promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. It guarantees fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, expression, and religion, protecting citizens from any form of oppression. Lastly, democracy empowers citizens by giving them a voice in shaping policies and holding their representatives accountable.
2. How does democracy contribute to political stability?
Ans. Democracy contributes to political stability by providing a platform for peaceful transfer of power, ensuring that governments are accountable to the people. In a democratic system, leaders are elected through fair and free elections, and they are expected to adhere to the constitution and the rule of law. This creates a sense of stability and predictability in the political system, as citizens have the power to remove their leaders through elections if they are dissatisfied with their performance. Moreover, democratic institutions such as an independent judiciary, free press, and strong civil society organizations act as checks and balances, preventing the concentration of power and promoting stability.
3. How does democracy promote social equality?
Ans. Democracy promotes social equality by providing equal opportunities and protection to all individuals, irrespective of their social background. In a democratic society, every citizen has the right to vote, express their opinions, and participate in decision-making processes. This ensures that marginalized sections of society are not excluded from the political discourse and have a say in shaping policies that affect them. Democracies also strive to provide equal access to education, healthcare, and basic amenities, reducing disparities between different social groups. Moreover, democratic institutions and laws are designed to protect the rights of minorities and vulnerable communities, ensuring that their voices are heard and their interests are safeguarded.
4. How does democracy contribute to economic growth?
Ans. Democracy contributes to economic growth by fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and a conducive business environment. In a democratic system, individuals have the freedom to start their own businesses, compete in the market, and innovate without undue government interference. This leads to a vibrant private sector, job creation, and economic expansion. Democracy also promotes transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, which are essential for attracting foreign investments and creating a stable economic environment. Additionally, democratic governments are more likely to invest in human capital, infrastructure development, and social welfare programs, which further contribute to economic growth.
5. How does democracy empower citizens?
Ans. Democracy empowers citizens by giving them a voice in decision-making processes, ensuring their participation in governance, and holding their representatives accountable. In a democratic system, citizens have the right to vote, express their opinions, and form political parties or advocacy groups. This allows them to influence policies, elect leaders who represent their interests, and monitor the performance of the government. Democracy also promotes transparency and access to information, enabling citizens to make informed choices and actively engage in public debates. Moreover, democratic institutions provide avenues for citizen participation, such as public hearings, consultations, and referendum, giving individuals the power to shape the laws and policies that govern them.
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