Why Democracy May Not Be The Best Form Of Governance?
With one of the basic definitions of democracy in the modern world given by
Abraham Lincoln in 1863 i.e., "democracy is of, by, and for the people"1,
democracy seems to be the best form of governance because democracy provides
power to an individual which assures freedom of individual and makes every
individual irrespective of their ethnicity, religious annotations or wealth
status on the equal footing. although the origin of democracy is ancient it
dates back to ancient Greek the term democracy has its origin in the Greek
language. It is a combination of two shorter words: 'demos' which means whole
citizens living within a particular city-state and 'Kratos' which means power or
Democracy gains its moral strengths and popular appeal from two principles one
is individual autonomy, the idea that believes that no one should be controlled
by another's will but should have autonomy of their own. The other is equality
which means that everyone should have equal opportunity to make a decision that
affects other people The democratic framework is based on four critical elements
namely legitimacy, justice, freedom, and power. As Andrew Heywood says "Rule by
the people; democracy implies both popular participation and government in the
public interest and can take a wide variety of forms."
Types of DemocracyThere is an aggregate of four types of democracy.
First, in Direct democracy which is rehearsed in ancient Athens, all citizens
(only adult males who had completed their military training; women, slaves, and
plebs weren't citizens) are invited to share in all political opinions. This
form of democracy is no longer rehearsed. In this form of democracy, people are
usually involved in the exercise of power and decision is by majority rule.
Second, Representative democracy is in which delegates are tagged by the people
and tasked to carry out the business of governance. Australia is a
Third, constitutional democracy is in which a constitution outlines who'll
characterize the people and how. Australia is also a constitutional democracy.
Fourth, Monitory democracy which Political scientist John Keane suggests that a
substitute form of democracy is developing in which the regime is constantly
covered in its exercise of power by a vast array of public and private agencies,
commissions, and nonsupervisory mechanisms.
Early problems with DemocracyDemocracy being the most habituated and wide form of governance but still, it
comes with plenty of problems. One substantive matter described by Plato in
times of ancient Greek. Plato believed that moxie is the critical trait of a
leader; He criticizes democracy for infrequently having similar characteristics.
Rather, it elects popular spinsters who are influential in exploiting popular
belief. To picture this, Plato uses an analogy of boat navigation in Book VI of
He contests that to choose the befitting commander, a popular vote is
counterproductive because people can be affected by characteristics as
immaterial as their appearance. rather, we should seek out only the most
informed seeker as it's he who holds the required moxie. Another challenge
described by Plato existed in democracy is hysterical. The excitability and
feeling of people and their mass mobilization incite democracy to acts of
hysteria according to Plato.
The capricious character of public support defies logical argument and produces
calamitous inconsistency over time. The challenges of democracy were also got
observed in the post-colonial period. From 500-1500is AD, proponents and
political leaders around the Globe often supported customary systems of
governing society, which were critical of democracy. Thomas Aquinas supported a
hybrid government conjoining rudiment of democracy, aristocracy, and kingship
which is evocative of Aristotle's preference for the hybrid regime over either
democracy or oligarchy
In modern times, when countries count on democracy to be an influencing factor
in geopolitics. Recently, the United States of America organized a democracy
summit in which the USA invited hundreds of countries with democracy as a form
of government but as a critical political move did not invite countries like Sri
Lanka and Bangladesh.
Again, the main question is whether the non-invited countries follow the
democratic form of governance or not and if they do not then what are the
elements that determine the correct formation and functioning of democracy and
also another question arises here whether the correct form of democratic
government gives the best outcome in form of governance or not?
Modern world problems with DemocracyGerrymandering
The answer to this is quite complex as democracy in modern form is meant by
countries to be the best form of governance but there are problems with that.
One of the primary problems comes with the election of representatives in itself
for an effective democracy. It is important to have the component of a free and
fair election and a way to manipulate this free and fair election is by
Gerrymandering, "the practice of drawing the boundaries of electoral sections in
a way that gives one political party an unfair high ground over its peers
(political or partisan gerrymandering) or that dilutes the voting power of
members of ethnical or linguistic minority groups (racial gerrymandering)"2.
In India, this can be done in the form of delimitation. Also, when the
boundaries of the constituency are redrawn according to the new census, these
delimitation practices can be manipulated by gerrymandering. The solution to
this is to have open constituencies and ranked-choice voting, in concert with
non-partisan and common-sense district boundaries that keep people with common
needs together not shared among other districts with rural voters.
Influence of money in politics
Another problem is the influence of money in politics. The multiparty system of
Indian-style elections involves an enormous amount of money to contest. This
implies that major businesses and well-off people want to protect their
interests. National political representation is far more wealthy than the
typical citizen. Numerous legislative and executive initiatives that
specifically benefit affluent individuals and powerful cooperatives also clearly
represent the interests of the rich over those of the poor.
Some diverse democracies, such as those in Germany, the United Kingdom, the
Netherlands, and Sweden, go further in limiting the flow of money into politics,
avoiding the dominance of wealthy people in legislatures, and developing
national economic policies that tame inequality and reflect interests more
equally across diverse economic classes, particularly in the areas of health
care and education
As a result, while though democracy's inherent competitive pluralism does
naturally tend to bring money into politics, it is also true that some
democracies are capable of adopting steps to avoid or at least mitigate elite
capture. Of course, some fundamental democratic institutions like the transfer
of power in response to popular vote, respect for a free press, and independent
rule of law also contribute to the fight against it.
Moreover, Money is a proxy for votes. It's a proxy for votes because most people
aren't engaged and are informed of another problem. Hence the money is disbursed
on advertising where you've engaged TV, direct mail, and progressively Facebook,
pre-roll on YouTube, and different social media and online platforms. Most
platforms are usually costly and need hundreds of millions of dollars. Major
donators and bundlers pick up disproportionate authority because that money is
needed to be re-elected.
Slow decision making
Democracy also has a delay in reaching decisions, which is a drawback. In a
democracy, policies must be carefully considered and evaluated before being put
into practice. Since free and fair elections are held, there is an open
discussion of the government's policies, citizens have a right to knowledge
about how the government operates, and the decision-making process is given
priority. To sum up, democracy results from a deliberative process in which
participants try to persuade one another through persuasive justifications. In a
democracy, key decisions are made by elected officials after discussion and
Democracy causes delays in decision-making because it requires that the
interests of every person, or at the very least the majority of them, be taken
into consideration. Other kinds of governance are better at handling large
projects, they can get things done, and as a result, if they have the desire,
they are probably better at fostering economic growth. There are no channels for
dissent in an autocracy, and rallies that in the west would stall major
infrastructure projects can be put down with the help of the police or the armed
forces. As a result, all the infrastructure needed to launch a modern economy
may be built more quickly and affordably than it could in a democracy.
Lack Of Information And Media BiasesOne of the biggest problems is not with the representatives but with the voters
as Osho once said that "democracy is of by and for the people but people are
retarded"3 the low information voters and media biases a stringent problem with
democracy the basic functioning of democracy allows every individual to choose
their representatives but the question is whether the individual is compatible
enough for choosing their representatives.
The voters are usually ill-informed and the ill information is used as a tool to
manipulate the voters' thinking about the potential representatives through
media biases and sometimes with fake news also. Particularly in India, there
have been instances in which people's perception has been changed by the various
media reports and artworks such as films, songs, and cartoon artworks, and the
election commission also allowed it, which is the misery about it.
Difficulties in communicating with the elected representative are another
problem with the structure of democracy. People elect their representatives for
reason of presenting their problems at the parliaments and seeking their
resolution by the government in power but the problem here is that the voices of
people are unable to reach their representatives. In India, most of the
representatives don't even visit their constituencies during the whole term and
for the majority of people, they seem to be unapproachable.
It's now become a social construct that the representatives are meant to be at
the parliaments and to make laws but one of the basic features of democracy that
is related to the voices of people gets destroyed in this contemporary setting.
These different problems with the continuous change in the forms of governance
revolving around democracy show that in every situation the so-called idealistic
form of governance may not be the best form of governance, the other forms of
governance like socialism, communism, a monarchy, an oligarchy, or an autocracy
also come with their drawbacks as most of them curtains the freedom of people
unlike democracy, which have different issues. particularly in India because of
its composition of linguistic, ethnic, and religious minorities, even any form
of democracy approaching direct democracy can be fatal.
The vision one should have with democracy is to have a more engaged a connected
citizenry informing each other and working with candidates and officials to
build a more efficient way of governance. Countries to try to adapt to different
solutions to fix the problem with democracy. Some of the ways to fix them are,
first, to limit the fusion of capitalism with surveillance corporations like
Meta and Google.
Second, break the barriers in terms of cultural secrecy, for example, countries
with a different form of governance should allow themselves to understand the
features and advantages of democracy.
Third, building an alliance of democracy can help in building a strong network
Fourth, a callout for traitors, the policies for a country should be based on
the economic needs of the country, not on individuals' needs. These individuals
are a serious threat to democracy.
Fifth and last the digital and ill information protection, again media biases
and misinformation are one of the biggest problems in the correct functioning of
democracy and these need to be handled properly because there have been
instances in which the media bias and misinformation led to big political
changes, for example, the Brexit in the United Kingdom happened because of a
so-called democratic procedure called the referendum in the fate of United
Kingdom got decided by a margin of 1.9%4. this shows that misinformation and
media biases need to handle at any cost as they can be determining factors of
a country's fate.
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