Analyzing Democracy

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Democracy


What is Democracy?

“To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”

-Louis L’Amour

  • A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
  • In simpler words, it’s a system of government of the people, by the people and for the people.
  • Every member is elected through people’s choice to represent a certain group of people and all the policies are made to directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, benefit the citizens of the democratic country.

Pros of Democracy:

  • It encourages personal involvement as people have a say in who they believe is the right candidate to represent them.
  • It promotes equality as every vote has the same weight in a bigger picture, regardless of how rich or poor a person may be.
  • It de-centralizes governmental power because the voters have the power to remove any government who seem to over-exercising their powers.
  • There are no losers or winners in democracy and it all lies in the hands of voters to elect the ones who do a good job and remove any who seem out of place with their powers.
  • It stops exploitation as the power is distributed within the government and therefore, no one person has the absolute power.

Cons of Democracy:

  • Could promote manipulative politics, resulting in manipulating the voters into voting without knowledge of who they are voting for.
  • It is costly to arrange elections on such a huge scale resulting in opportunity cost associated to choosing such a system of government.
  • It requires time to ensure the acceptance of policy by majority and by the time the policy does get accepted and implemented, it may already be too late.
  • There is a tendency towards short-term policy making because leaders/governments are generally elected to serve over a specific length of time (typically around 4 or 5 years) and concerns over getting re-elected often mean that they often don’t look beyond the next election.
  • The focus on majority is a constant threat to minority groups, as a leader or government may only serve the interests of the largest social groups and ignore, or even repress the rights of others.

Democracy in India:

  •  India became a democratic state after its independence from the British rule in 1947.
  • It is the largest and most successful democratic nation in the world.
  • Democracy in India gives its citizens the right to vote irrespective of their caste, colour, creed, religion and gender.
  • Every Indian citizen, above 18 years of age, can exercise the right to vote in India.
  • It has five democratic principles – sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic.
    • Sovereign: This means free from the interference or control of any foreign power.
    • Socialist: This means providing social and economic equality to all the citizens.
    • Secular: This means freedom to practice any religion or reject all.
    • Democratic: This means the government of India is elected by its citizens.
    • Republic: This means the head of the country is not a hereditary king or queen.
  • Various political parties stand for elections at the state as well as national level periodically.
    • A few political parties include:
      • Indian National Congress (INC),
      • Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP),
      • Communist Party of India (CPI),
      • Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M),
      • Nationalist Congress Party (NCP),
      • All India Trinamool Congress (TMC)
      • Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Quick facts:

  • The world’s oldest recognized democracy is the United States of America , which adopted the system of elected politicians after its birth in 1787.
  • Libya is the world’s youngest democracy, becoming one after the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2012.
  • Out of the 193 countries that belong the United Nations, 167 are democracies, which translates as 87%!
  • One third of people in the world still live in an autocratic system, however, that’s because the world’s most populous country, China, is not a democracy.
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