Democracy

3 March 2017

It is a government in which the will of the majority of citizens rules without overriding the rights of the minority. The ideal of democracy is about equality, freedom and welfare for all. It involves the abolition of varies form of restriction and privilege. Democracy is a system of government in which is rule by the people. Abraham Lincoln defined it as Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Individual freedom ( i. . freedom of speech, assembly and association, freedom of press, right to education, right to own property, freedom of religion, periodic free and open elections to choose people’s representatives ( Leader), political equality, competing political parties, the right to vote and stand for elections; an independent judiciary and the rule are the essential characteristics or features of the democratic government.

Democracy in Greek mean Demos= People & Kratos = Power It is a form of government in which the supreme power vested in the people and power exercises directly by them or by their elected representatives under a free electoral system.

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It is simply a mechanism to enable all adult citizens to be involved in a decision making process, which gives the decision binding legitimacy. Democracy is a political government either carried out by the people or the power to govern is granted to elect representatives .

The term is derived from the Greek : Demokratia “the power to the poople” which comes from the work ‘demos-people and kratos-power”, in the middle of the fifth fourth century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of ‘ Democracy’ there are two principles that any definition of democracy includes equality and freedom.

These principles are reflected by all the citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to power and freedom is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution. Since the end of cold war, many countries across the globe have chosen democracy as the form of government. Today, most of the world’s powerful countries, international organizations and political science experts see democracy as a natual choice in comparison to dictatorship. Yet democracy remains a far more complicated form of government as compared to dictatorship.

Some decisions that for the common good of the entire community might require some group of people to make some sacrifice e. g. farmers might have to leave their family land and go to some other place in order to make space available for some new industry. While this new industry can bring prosperity to the whole area and can offer better jobs and standard of living to the farmer’s own children, many farmers would be reluctant to leave the land that has been ploughed by their forefathers, espacially if the land is fertile.

Convincing them to accept monetary compensation or another piece of land can be a very difficult task in a democracy as compared to a dictatorship. Displacing millions of people for building a dam, as the the case when constructing the Three Gorges Dam in China, might have been much more cumbersome in a democracy. Democratic system of governments generally have an extensive system of election of government. Dictatorships do not need to spend effort in developing and mainitaining such proceses and are hence free from this hassle.

A comparison of recent elections in Zimbabwe with the current ongoing US presential campaign clearly shows the former to be much simpler than the latter. Democratic systems by nature prefer to have a system of check and balance so that all power is not rested in one indivdual. This can sometimes lead to situations where doing any legislation becomes very complex or nearlly impossible. In a parilamentary form of government a hung parlaiment or in a presidential form of government a President and Parliament from different political parties are examples of such complicated scenarios.

A dictator can however carry out this action throught a decree. The problem faced by Indian governemt in convincing its coalition partners to accept the nuclear deal with US is an example of such complication. Democracy can bring even more complications to the developing nations, where resources are scarce and political infrastruture might not be developed enough to help people make the right democratic choice. In order to increase their chances of victory politicians sometimes play up the racial sentiments of a community.

Such actions can produce big problems in the long term and can lead to cracks in the social fabrics that can be very complicated to hear for the government. Many democracies agree to this arguemnt of complexiteis in a democracy. Hence many democracies provide options whereby head of state or parliament can suspend goverments and granting powers to one person or group of people under special situations. During the second world war, Norwegian pariliament disoveld itself and handed over all the powers to the cabinet.

While democracy today apperas to be the most popular choice when it comes to choosing a form of government, it brings with it many complications that would be absent in a dictatorship. Making bold decisions for long term proposerity, executing controversial decisions and making bitter choices for the common good can be very complicated processes in a democratic form of government. Types of democracy Direct democracy (or pure democracy) is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives.

Depending on the particular system in use, it might entail passing executive decisions, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are Participatory democracy and Deliberative democracy. Many countries that are representative democracies allow for three forms of political action that provide limited direct democracy: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall. Referendums can include the ability to hold a binding vote on whether a given law should be rejected.

This effectively grants the populace which holds suffrage a veto on a law adopted by the elected legislature. (One nation to use this system is Switzerland). Initiatives, usually put forward by members of the general public, compel the consideration of laws (usually in a subsequent referendum) without the consent of the elected representatives, or even against their expressed opposition. Recalls give public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term, although this is very rare in modern democracies.

Writers with anarchist sympathies have argued that Direct democracy is opposed to a strong central authority, as decision making power can only reside at one level – with the people themselves or with the central authority. Some of the most important modern thinkers who were inspired by the concept of direct democracy are: Cornelius Castoriadis, Hannah Arendt, and Pierre Clastres Direct democracy was very much opposed by the framers of the United States Constitution and some signatories of the Declaration of Independence.

They saw a danger in majorities forcing their will on minorities. As a result, they advocated a representative democracy[citation needed] in the form of a constitutional republic over a direct democracy. For example, James Madison, in Federalist No. 10 advocates a constitutional republic over direct democracy precisely to protect the individual from the will of the majority. He says, “A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party.

Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. ” John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, said “Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state – it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage. ” Alexander Hamilton said, “That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this.

The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity Despite the framers’ intentions in the beginning of the republic, ballot measures and their corresponding referendums have been widely used at the state and sub-state level. There is much state and federal case law, from the early 1900s to the 1990s, that protects the people’s right to each of these direct democracy governance components (Magleby, 1984, and Zimmerman, 1999).

The first United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of the citizen lawmaking was in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U. S. 118 in 1912 (Zimmerman, December 1999). President Theodore Roosevelt, in his “Charter of Democracy” speech to the 1912 Ohio constitutional convention, stated “I believe in the There are now a total of 24 U. S. states with constitutionally-defined, citizen-initiated, direct democracy governance components (Zimmerman, December 1999). In the United States, for the most part only one-time majorities are required (simple majority of those voting) to approve any of these components. citation needed] In addition, many localities around the U. S. also provide for some or all of these direct democracy governance components, and in specific classes of initiatives (like those for raising taxes), there is a supermajority voting threshold requirement. Even in states where direct democracy components are scant or nonexistent at the state level, there often exists local options for deciding specific issues, such as whether a county should be “wet” or “dry” in terms of whether alcohol sales are allowed. [citation needed] REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY

Representative democracy is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected people representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. For example, two countries which use representative democracy are the United Kingdom (a constitutional monarchy) and Germany (a federal republic). It is an element of both the parliamentary system and presidential system of government and is typically used in a lower chamber such as the House of Commons (UK) or Bundestag (Germany), and is generally curtailed by constitutional constraints such as an upper chamber.

It has been described by some political theorists as Polyarchy. [citation Characteristics The representatives form an independent ruling body (for an election period) charged with the responsibility of acting in the people’s interest, but not as their proxy representatives nor necessarily always according to their wishes, but with enough authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances. Moreover, democracies in the modern and contemporary world as so called since the representatives are voted for by the people.

Such a method makes them solely accountable to the people. [citation needed] It is often contrasted with direct democracy, where representatives are absent or are limited in power as proxy representatives. Edmund Burke was an early proponent of these principles: … it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight ith him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable.

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. There is no necessity that individual liberties be respected in a representative democracy: one that does not is an illiberal democracy. A representative democracy that emphasizes individual liberty is a liberal democracy. [citation needed] Today, in liberal representative democracies, representatives are usually elected in free and fair multi-party elections.

Different methods of selecting representatives are described in the article on electoral systems, but often a number of representatives are elected by, and responsible to, a particular subset of the total electorate: this is called his or her constituency. CONCLUSION In identifying the common good of the society, the process of public deliberation or deliberative democracy must be implemented. Through this process, civil society has a strong role to contribute views, debate and deliberate in the decision-making process. A public policy is the outcome from a consensus politics between the government and civil society.

The strong civil society can also be able to check and balance the power of the state. This process would definitely produce the common good wanted by the people and political freedom could be practiced effectively in the society. Regardless of its form or its justification, a democratic government is likely to face two possible implications (Raz, 1994): 1. Government responses to the wishes of the public can only be deemed as positive if those wishes made by the public are not entirely the product of government’s manipulation. 2. Other things being equal, a better-informed public would be ble to evaluate information at their disposal better and would provide a stronger case for the government to accede to their wishes. These two considerations are important foundations for the democratic defence of political freedom. Furthermore, the role of civil society is crucial in ensuring those two agenda can be fulfilled. Therefore, in managing their relations with the state, the civil society movements employ two methods namely micro and macro deliberative 8408 Afr. J. Bus. Manage. democracy. Both are effective and both can give a pro and cons impact factor in the state-civil society relations.

In Malaysia, the government is sometimes hostile against the civil society and accuses them as local operatives for foreign government’s agenda. This makes the civil society movements rather weak because they do not have support from the government except for the government’s closed link NGOs. Although from time to time, the government listens to the grievances expressed by the civil society and the public, several important considerations are always caused the anxiety among the people and the government especially when the sensitive issues are involving race relations and religious.

Therefore, even though the micro and macro deliberative democracy are effectively employed by the civil society, problems and difficulties can always be surfaced when debating the sensitive issues. This lets the process of managing the state-civil society to sometimes become antagonistic. This becomes worse when the government manipulates the relations and also, sensitive issues to strengthen its grasp on political power. Without doubt, the state-civil society relation is essential for democracy. The strength of relations can be benefited for the common good of the people.

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