Most champions of democracy have been rather reticent in suggesting that democracy would itself promote development and enhancement of social welfare – they have tended to see them as good but distinctly separate and largely independent goals . The detractors of democracy , on the other hand , seemed to have been quite willing to express their diagnosis of what they see as serious tensions between democracy and development . The theorists of the practical split ” Make up your mind : do you want democracy , or instead , do you want – development ? ” – often came , at least to start with , from East Asian countries , and their voice grew in influence as several of these countries were immensely successful – through the 1970s and 1980s and even later – in promoting economic growth without pursuing democracy . To deal with these issues we have to pay particular attention to both the content of what can be called development and to the interpretation of democracy ( in particular to the respective roles of voting and of public reasoning ) . The assessment of development cannot be divorced from the lives that people can lead and the real freedom that they enjoy . Development can scarcely be seen merely in terms of enhancement of inanimate objects of convenience , such as a rise in the GNP ( or in personal incomes ) , or industrialization – important as they may be as means to the real ends . Their value must depend on what they do to the lives and freedom of the people involved , which must be central to the idea of development . If development is understood in a broader way , with a focus on human lives , then it becomes immediately clear that the relation between development and democracy has to be seen partly in terms of their constitutive connection , rather than only through their external links . Even though the question has often been asked whether political freedom is ” conducive to development ” , we must not miss the crucial recognition that political liberties and democratic rights are among the ” constituent components ” of development . Their relevance for development does not have to be established indirectly through their contribution to be growth of GNP.