Merits and Demerits of Democracy

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Advantages of Democracy

Democracy is considered to be the best form of government these days. Most of the countries in the world have adopted it. The following arguments have been given in favour of Democracy:

(i) Safeguards the interests of the people:

Chief merit of democracy lies in that it safeguards the interests of the people. Real power lies in the hands of the people who exercise it by the representatives elected by them and who are responsible to them. It is said that social, economic and political interests of the individuals are served better under this system.

(ii) Based on the principle of equality:

Democracy is based on the principle of equality. All members of the State are equal in the eyes of law. All enjoy equal social, political and economic rights and state cannot discriminate among citizens on the basis of caste, religion, sex, or property. All have equal right to choose their government.

(iii) Stability and responsibility in administration:

Democracy is known for its stability, firmness and efficiency. These days tenure of the elected representatives is fixed. They form a stable government because it is based on public support. The administration is conducted with a sense of responsibility. In representative democracy, people's representatives discuss matters more thoroughly and take reasonable decision.

Under monarchy the Monarch takes decisions as he pleases. Under dictatorship, the dictators do not involve people at all in decision making, people have no right to criticise the decisions of the dictator even when they are bad and against people's welfare.

(iv) Political education to the people:

Another argument given in favour of democracy is that it serves as a training school for citizens. People get impetus to take part in the affairs of the state. At the time of elections political parties propose their policy and programme in support of their candidates. All means of propaganda-public meetings, posters, radio, television and speeches by important leaders of the parties- are used to win public favour. It creates political consciousness among the people.

(v) Little chance of revolution:

Since democracy is based on public will, there is no chance of public revolt. Representatives elected by the people conduct the affairs of the state with public support. If they don't work efficiently or don't come up to the expectations of their masters i.e., the public, they are thrown in the dustbin of history when elections are held again. Gilchrist opines that democracy or popular governments always function with consensus and therefore question of revolt or revolution does not arise.

(vi) Stable government:

Democracy is based on public will. It conducts state business with public support. It is, therefore, more stable than other forms of Government.

(vii) Helps in making people good citizens:

Success of democracy lies on its good citizens. Democracy creates proper environment for the development of personality and cultivating good habits. D. Tacquville is of opinion that "Democracy is the first school of good citizenship. Citizens learn their rights and duties from birth till death in it."

(viii) Based on public opinion:

Democratic administration is based on public will, public opinion lends it strength. It is not based on fear of authority. Gettel is of opinion that democracy stands on consensus, not on power; it admits the existence of state for individual, not individual for the state. It lends development and progress to individual and arouses his interest in social activities. Individuals readily take active part in such a government. And this is because of the eminence, devotion and conviction in man found in the nature of democracy itself.

Demerits of Democracy

Following arguments have been given against Democracy:

(i) More emphasis on quantity than on quality:

It is not based upon the quality but on quantity. Majority party holds the...
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