Democratisation with Inclusion

Political Reforms and People’s Empowerment at the Grassroots

2003 Occasional Paper
By Manor, James

In recent years, many governments in developing countries have – in various ways and to varying degrees – democratised their political systems. But as they have done so, it has become clear that democracy does not automatically benefit poor people and groups that have long faced social exclusion. This realisation is bound up with the recognition that there is more to poverty than just low incomes and a scarcity of material assets. Poor people – both the poorest and large numbers of decidedly poor people who are not quite so destitute – not only suffer from the problems that are captured in the Human Development Index (illiteracy, malnutrition, disease, etc). They are also afflicted by socio-political disadvantages that impede their ability to share in the benefits of democratisation.