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The Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) is broadly aligned with social democracy, an ideology that favours social and economic interventions aimed at advancing social justice. It does so within the framework of a democratic, free market society. Thus, it promotes a say for people in government actions, supports a competitive economy while also helping the more vulnerable and poorer people in society. The ISI promotes national democracy in South Africa by supporting processes aimed at transforming the country into a non-racial, non-sexist, united democratic society, in which all people enjoy equal rights.
Since economic growth and social development needs to be balanced, the ISI considers the developmental state model, in which government plays an active role in guiding economic development, as the most appropriate approach for transforming the economy and society. It, therefore, finds acceptable the use of state resources and state influence to confront poverty and expand economic opportunities.
It believes that the well-being of South Africa is best promoted by ensuring an inclusive society, in which the composition of the economy, government and civil society equitably reflects the demographics of the nation, and in which people from all cultural, religious and social groupings are able to freely and equally participate therein.