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Casualties of Militarization in the Contemporary World: Democracy and Development

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Development trends in the second half of the 20th century reflect two contrasting features. The first is sustained improvement in the living conditions in many countries captured by declining mortality rates, rising percapita incomes, better nutrition, improved education levels, a more impartial judicial and legal system and broader civil and political freedom. It is being increasingly recognized that development is about the quality of people's lives and expansion of their ability to shape their own futures. This generally calls for higher per-capita income via economic growth. It involves more equitable education and job opportunities, greater gender equality, better health and nutrition, cleaner and more sustainable natural environment and expansion of civil liberties (World Bank Report on Quality of Growth, 2000). The second feature consists of periodic setback to the development indicators as a consequence of armed conflict in countries like Sri-Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq, Angloa, Cambodia, Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Lebanon, Sierre Leone, Somalia, Vietnam, Former Yugoslavia, Croatia and former Yugoslavia among others. These armed conflicts have adversely affected social progress leaving behind them a long trail of violence, destruction and misery.

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