Sample Essay on Culture and Public Policy


Among the tremendous and multiplicity of developments that have happened in the 1oth century, is the rise of democracy as a major wave. Moreover, this is also not to deny the fact that other occurrences have also occurred and been equality important. The concept of democracy first originated from the ancient Greece about two million years ago. Other important efforts for democratization were also attempted somewhere, including India, but it was in ancient Greece where the concept of democracy started and greatly put into practice. Thereafter, the idea of democracy as it is known today, took a very long time in order to emerge. However, it’s gradual as well as ultimate triumphant as a functioning system was largely bolstered through many developments, including the French and American revolutions. Furthermore, the idea of democracy is regarded as being universal, since it is acknowledged by a majority of people as a system that guarantees freedom and rights. This paper, therefore, attempted to espouse whether the idea of democracy is cultural specific or universal

Key words: Democracy, universal, system, authoritarian, government

Culture and Public Policy

Is Democracy Culture Specific Or Universal?


Among the tremendous developments that were witnessed in the 20th century, is the rise and development of democracy. In any case, this is not to essentially deny the fact that other critical events have likewise happened, however one would contend that in the near future, when people think again at what happened in this particular century, they would greatly find that it hard not to accord the transcendence to the advancement and ascent of vote based system as the prevalently bearable type of influence (Denisov, 1963, pp. 1-45).

The idea of majority rules system (democracy) began in the old Greece more than two million years ago. Moreover, gradual efforts at democratization were also attempted in many other areas and places including India. However, it is in Greece that the concept of took shape and seriously practiced, albeit in a limited degree, before its collapse and replacement by a more authoritarian, as well as asymmetric types of government.  Subsequently, democracy took as it is understood today took a long period in order to emerge. In this way, its steady and also effective rise as a flawlessly meeting expectations arrangement of administration was on a very basic level, which was reinforced through various advancements, including the French and American upheavals in the eighteenth century (Akokpari, 2001, pp. 83-100). But, it was until the 20th century that the concept of democracy became fully established as just a “norm” type of rule, which any given nation or state is entitled to, either in Europe, Africa, Asia, or America.

The concept of democracy as being a universal commitment is very new, and it is the artifact of the 20th century. For instance, the American fighters who fought for independence as well as the massive revolutionaries in Franc greatly led understanding of the necessity for democracy as a general system of government, even though focus of their practical demands largely remained confined to the two sides in terms of social, economic, as well as political spectrum. Moreover, although the 19th century, many theorists of democracy established that democracy was quite natural in order to discus irrespective of one’s place, either in one nation or the other was highly “fit for democracy (Sen, 1997, pp. 76-87).” Conversely, this particular way of thinking only changed in the 20th century, with the identification that the issue itself was very wrong, and that a country does not need to be regarded as fit for democracy; instead it has to become one that is fit through democracy. Indeed, this is a very momentous transformation, stretching the possible reach of democracy in order to cover a large number of people, with their diverse histories and cultures, as well as different levels of prosperity.

It was also during this particular era that a majority of people accepted that the “charter for all grownups” must imply all and include women, not only men.  Looking at the nation of Swaziland and many other countries that did not allow women to vole, tremendous developments can be noted as women take reins of power.  It means that individuals everywhere throughout the world have arrived at a state of recognition that the scope of universality is not strained. It cannot be denied that there exist a number of challenges to democracy’s assertion for universality. All these challenges arise in a variety of shapes as well as forms and from varied directions.  Surely, this is part of the subject of this paper, to inspect the case for majority rule of government (democracy) as an all-inclusive value and also the different disputes that encompass this case. It is also of great essence to clearly understand the form of democracy, which has become a dominant belief in the world today (Joseph, 2001, pp.11).

In any given era and social atmosphere, there are some and diversified set of beliefs that tend to command respect as a kind or form of a general rule. These set of beliefs are considered to be right unless their claims are somewhat accurately negated. Although, vote based system, or democracy has not been drilled, nor consistently acknowledged, in the general sentiment, the equitable influence today has accomplished an incredible status of being thought to be correct. In this way, the ball is much on the hands of those individuals who would need to junk the thought of democracy so as to offer support for their protest (Gould, J 2003, pp.277).

This is simply an authentic change from not long time ago, when the defenders of majority rule government for Asia or Africa were compelled to contend for vote based system with without significant success. Even as people still have the grounds to refute those who completely or openly object the need for democracy, individuals must clearly note how the general climate of opinion has changed from what is used to be some years back. People do not need to establish afresh, every time, whether one nation or the other is fit for democracy.  This recognition of the concept of democracy as a universally relevant system, and which moves in entirely every direction of its acceptance as being a universal value, is a groundbreaking revolution in terms of thinking, and one of the major contributions of the 20th period. Along these lines, it is inside this specific connection that the inquiry of majority rule government as a widespread worth must be inspected.


The experience of India

The major question is how well democracy has worked. Whereas no individuals question the role of democracy, say, in the United States or France, it remains a matter of great contention for many of the developing and poor nations in the world. It can be thus, argued that democracy has worked so well.

India, case in point, was one of the significant battlegrounds for this argument. By preventing the Indians from securing India autonomy, the British government was greatly worried over the capacity of the Indian to govern as well as rule their nation. In 1947, India had untried government and hazy political arrangements, which likewise combined with boundless social disorderly and communal conflict. It was consequently, extremely to have faith of united and additionally vote based India. Virtually a half a century later, a vote based system that has undergone a great deal of hard and smooth times, has amazingly lived up to expectations and successfully worked.

. Much of the political disagreements have been solved within the constitutional guidelines, and the government has often risen as well as fallen in accordance with the electoral and parliamentary rules. The nation of India has survived and functioned extremely well as a political unit with an efficient democratic system. India has also been able to handle many other issues amicably through democracy.

Economic development as well as democracy

It is usually believed that non-democratic systems are better at contributing to economic prosperity. This is a position that more frequently attributed to the name “the Lee hypothesis,” as a result of its endorsement by Lee Yew, who was a great leader and former president of Singapore. Yew is to a great degree very right that various strict disciplinarian countries including South Korea have quicker and in addition high rates of economic development as contrasted with authoritarian states, for example, India. The “Lee theory,” is however founded on irregular empiricism, drawing from every selective as well as limited fact, instead of any particular general statistical evidence over a wide range of data or information.

There is convincing and strong general evidence that authoritarian governments, as well as the containment of political and civil freedoms, are very imperative to economic growth and development. However, the general statistical landscape does not allow such induction. Moreover, empirical studies provide no real support for the claim that there is a general divergence among political rights as well as economic performance. The belief that there is a clear association among economic development and democracy in either way remain largely reasonable. Some aspects of democracy, as well as political rights, have significance themselves and the case for them thus remains unblemished (Crawford, 1994, pp. 113-133).

Universality of Values 

If the above-discussed analysis is accurate, democracy’s relevance proves to be highly important not just based on a single as aspect or merit, but a variety of merits. There are many virtues that include the intrinsic significance of political involvement, as well as freedom of the basic human life. In addition, there are also instrumental advantages of political incentives in maintaining and respecting governments accountable.  Also, democracy plays a key and fundamental constructive function in forming important values as well as in the understanding of the duties, mandates, and freedoms. In this regard, the issue of democracy as being a universal value can also be diagnosed.

It is usually argued and presented that not all people who agree and identify with certain decisions that are significant to democracy, especially during arguments with each other. This is often so since there are no unanimities in this situations. Thus, the lack of unanimity here is perceived by some individuals as enough proof that democracy sometimes not a universal value.   It is important to ask the question of what comprises a universal value.

Therefore, for a specific value to be regarded as being universal, it must have the consent of every person or individual. Thus, if this is for sure mandatory, then the classification of universal values can be empty. This would also mean that a universal consent or agreement is virtually not a necessary thing or aspect to qualify soothing to be universal. Instead, the claim of a universal aspect or value is that individuals anywhere and everywhere may have ground to perceive it as valuable or important (Rugumamu, 2001, pp. 90).

Cultural differences argument

There also exist yet, another argument that is in defense of a regional fundamental claim and one that is connected to economic situations, however, to cultural variations. Just to mention, the most popular of these claims relates to what is called the Asian values. Therefore, it has often been argued that the Asian traditions and customs value high levels of discipline as opposed to political freedom and, therefore, the attitude to democracy is very mush skeptical within these nations.

The nation of Asia is, of course, very large and contains more than 60 percent of the globe’s total population. Thus, generalization concerning such a great nation cannot be easy. More often, the supporters of the Asian culture and values have seemed to focus primarily at the region of middles east as an area of particular applicability.  There are many other claims that the region of Asia is rather similar across the spectrum (Whiteside, Boy & Bourg, 2010, pp. 69). Yew is regarded to be a great expositor in the manner that he expresses and puts out his arguments and ideas. He differentiates between the Western and East Asian forms of governance in a very fundamental way. The nations of East Asia here include Japan, China, Vietnam, and Korea, which are significantly diverse with a lot of variations both among and within each nation.  Confucius is regarded as a standard author who has effectively presented the values of the Asian people (Ross, 2006, pp. 860). Moreover, there are no homogeneous orders of worship among these countries or cultures.

Furthermore, Confucius never recommended and pledge blind allegiance to the state. Rather Confucius advocates the truth be told all the time. In addition, he argues that when the good ways prevails, people should act and behave boldly. However, he also argues that when the nation has lost its ultimate way, that the citizens need to stand up and act in the bravest and bold way without fear of reprimand.  Indeed, Confucius offers a clear outline that the idea that the two fundamental pillars of the imaged structure of the Asian culture and values and obedience to the state can act to provide tension among the two.

The issue of diversity is another significant feature in many of the cultures of the world today. Furthermore, the western level of civilization is no exception. Thus, the practice of democracy, which has successfully won in the modern West, is mostly due to high levels of consensus, which has emerged since the time of enlightenment as well as industrial revolution, especially in the last century.

Where the contention belongs

Over the last few years, many multinational as well as national public opinions have portrayed that the idea of democracy has indeed, achieved a lot of support from people across the world. The question that remains either pertains to whether these people who are strong supporters of democracy are able to identify as well as endorse the basic democratic characteristics separate from those of the authoritarian states or governments (Blinc, ŠLaus, & ZidanšEk, 2009, pp. 21-345).  There are a number of issues that relate to democracy as being universal value. Therefore, democracy’s value encompasses a diversity of things including both the intrinsic as well as instructional roles in producing political motivations. Democracy has also been said to have a constructive role in developing or forming values. These kinds of merits are not fundamentally regional in character.   Moreover, the heterogeneity of these particular values appear to characterize the most, and perhaps in all the cultures of the world. Furthermore, the cultural argument seems not to be foreclosed, and it is deeply constrained on the choices that individuals can make in the world today (Mulinge & Munyae, 2001, pp.101-120).

The choices that have to be performed here and now, taking into account the functional roles of the wave of democracy, on which democratic systems in the world depends on. This case thus, seems to be very strong and not regionally dependent (KlojčNik, 2003, pp. 37). The vigor of the assertion that democracy is a universal value, thus, lies entirely in that strength. Therefore, this the point that marks the debate, which cannot be disposed of through imagined cultural beliefs or assumed civilizations presumptions that are presents by various histories.


This paper asserts that democracy is a universal value. Moreover, the term democracy is defined in terms of values. In addition, it is believed that democracy must be fair and one that can guarantee protection of the liberties as well as freedoms of people. Research points out to the fact that democracy is highly complex in terms of its demands, which essentially includes respect and voting for the results of elections (Korosteleva, 2003, pp.523-533). Elections can also be very defensive as well as unfair if held in absence of freedoms that permit both the opposing sides to express their views.  Moreover, something is considered to be universal if individuals can identify and see it as being valuable.  Some individuals have also argued that democracy is not universal, simply because not every individual agrees that democracy is important and valuable. Thus, democracy provides political rights as well as increases the influence of people on the government (Sen, 1997, pp. 23-103).


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