Democracy means a rule by the people and its evolution of Greek government evolved as a direct opposite from the dictatorship form they hated. Therefore, democracy has developed in a setting where people feel oppressed and generally being dictated upon or where unfair means are perceived to exist or a combination of more than one of these. From definition, Lowi & Benjamin, democracy is a form of government that seeks to have representation and participation of the people in the process of governance. Therefore, the initial disadvantages from the concept of democracy should arise in the fact that the people have a say and the process of governance should be what they want and wish. The application of the concept of democracy eliminates one of the problems of other forms of governance like a dictatorship where only a few contribute to the formulation and implementation of the governance process. Democracy in concept is itself flexible first because people applying it can choose between direct and indirect models of democracy. In the former, the people are actively involved in decision-making whereas, in the latter, people are represented by people of their choice (Green). The fact that democracy allows people to choose representatives allows for means where they can decide how many people can represent them and so allows controlled spending in a way where people feel that they need fewer representatives. In addition, people have a chance to look around and choose who they feel would better represent them. One of the advantages of direct models of democracy where people may participate in decision-making through worker’s councils and neighborhood assemblies, for example, could be allowed to make decisions over a range of other issues like the running of political, social, and economic institutions according to theorists. Democracy contributes to the freedom of people because many people tend to follow social justice while making decisions and making their judgments rather than a few who may collaborate for their advantages like sharing power through understanding and corruption. One of the theoretical models of indirect democracy is the protective model which claims the protection of the liberty of citizens and allows the citizens to check the power of representatives by voting out those they felt were inefficient and for other reasons. In addition, Hudson (10-12) felt competitive individuals people should be let to enjoy “maximum freedom to pursue material wealth”. Participation of citizens in the government for example through membership in social organizations and voting has been proved by the study to be worth contributing to better governance.
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The problem with democracy includes the lack of a participatory citizen group and radical individualism. The latter means that if democratic ideas are implemented, they tend to result in an individual who is more individualistic in mind and practice, which tends to protect himself against others in pursuance of his rights. The individual also has a sense of “detachment from others”, autonomous and a feeling of self-sufficiency (Hudson, 69; qtd. in Barr, Taylor & Baird, 1999). Although democracy in its ideal situation seeks to boost participation of individuals within the system, to better the collective status of the community, and to ensure that all contribute to national or community goals (Tocqueville 192-194), representation is a form that may easily deviate from the principles of democracy. A few individuals chose to represent people, usually, have had laws that protect and give them preference over the majority of the citizens meaning that they may dictate over the majority through enjoying these privileges. This has always been a problem in the implementation of such democratic ideals of representation, a problem more badly in underdeveloped and developing countries. This type of democracy tends to result in the “individualism of many people” who assume to have preferences over others. Implementation of the ideas of democracy of direct representation and achieving fair means through the participation of as many people as possible may lead to a delay in the implementation of decisions since many have to reach a consensus. People may approach democracy for many years without really enjoying it.
Barr, Eric, Taylor Rankin, and John Baird. A more perfect union. An exploration of American democracy. 1999. 2009. Web.
Ginsberg, Benjamin and Theodore J. Lowi. American Government: Freedom and Power. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996.
Green, Carl R., and William R. Sanford. Basic Principles of American Government. New York: Amsco School Publications, 1977.
Hudson, William E. American Democracy in Peril: Seven Challenges to America’s Future. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1996.
Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.
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