ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Globalisation and Democracy

The gathering momentum of globalisation in the world economy has coincided with the spread of political democracy across countries. Economies have become global. But politics remains national. This essay explores the relationship between globalisation and democracy, which is neither linear nor characterised by structural rigidities. It seeks to analyse how globalisation might constrain degrees of freedom for nation states and space for democratic politics, and how political democracy within countries might exercise some checks and balances on markets and globalisation. The essential argument is that the relationship between globalisation and democracy is dialectical and does not conform to ideological caricatures.

This paper is a revised text of my Golden Jubilee Lecture delivered at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi in February 2014 and my Plenary Lecture at the Second Celso Furtado Congress on International Development, Rio de Janeiro in August 2014. It is also being published in the Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Volume 35, Number 3, July 2015. I would like to thank Romila Thapar for comments and suggestions on a preliminary draft.

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