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HDR 2004 - Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World


  • UNDP

    () (Human Development Report Office (HDRO) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP))


Accommodating people’s growing demands for their inclusion in society, for respect of their ethnicity, religion, and language, takes more than democracy and equitable growth. Also needed are multicultural policies that recognize differences, champion diversity and promote cultural freedoms, so that all people can choose to speak their language, practice their religion, and participate in shaping their culture—so that all people can choose to be who they are. In recent years the Human Development Report has argued strongly that this is as much a question of politics as economics—from protecting human rights to deepening democracy. Human development is first and foremost about allowing people to lead the kind of life they choose—and providing them with the tools and opportunities to make those choices. The 2004 Report builds on that analysis, by carefully examining—and rejecting—claims that cultural differences necessarily lead to social, economic and political conflict or that inherent cultural rights should supersede political and economic ones. Instead, it provides a powerful argument for finding ways to “delight in our differences”, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has put it. It also offers some concrete ideas on what it means in practice to build and manage the politics of identity and culture in a manner consistent with the bedrock principles of human development.

Suggested Citation

  • Undp, 2004. "HDR 2004 - Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World," Human Development Report (1990 to present), Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), number hdr2004, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:report:hdr2004

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    Cited by:

    1. Sudhanshu Handa & Amber Peterman, 2016. "Is There Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(4), pages 470-500, August.

    More about this item


    human development; culture; cultural liberty; identity; globalisation; multiculturalism; participation; civil society; diaspora; power;

    JEL classification:

    • A0 - General Economics and Teaching - - General
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • Y1 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts
    • Y8 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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