Society  &  Nature, Vol. 3, No. 1


Development, Democracy, and the Market

 Andre Gunder Frank

Abstract Thus like money. democracy is very desirable, especially when one does not have any. However, also like money, democratic decisions that are only in the hands of ‘them’ and not ‘us’ may also be used as instruments of oppression and exploitation That is certainly the case when effective democratic control, like money, is monopolized by the few against the many. That is also precisely what the market does, and the world market a forteriori. The (world) market concentrates both money and decisions, democratic or otherwise, in the hands of the few at the expense of the many. The spread of political democracy in the South and East, however, welcome for other reasons, is not powerful enough to impede, countermand, counteract, let alone to eliminate, the economic forces operating in the world economy. These economic forces are far more determinant of peoples’ welfare than their own decisions or those of their democratically elected governments. Moreover, many of these world economic forces are largely beyond anyone’s control Some of the appeal to political democracy is a cover—up for the helplessness to manage their own affairs, to which people in these democracies are exposed. Participant civil democracy in civil society is the peoples’ answer and their alternative instrument of struggle.