The Benefits and Problems of Democracy

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The benefits and Problems with Democracy

In the famous words of Sir Winston Churchill, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” As a staunch supporter of democracy, Churchill is admitting that although there may be a variety of flaws in a democratic government, it is still a far more suitable choice of governing as opposed to alternate forms of government. Widely accepted as the most popular and working form of government, democracy is, in a nutshell, a political system in which the power is given to the popular vote of the people. In fact, the very origins of the term democracy hail from the Greek term for ‘ruled by the people’. The basic form of our modern democratic system originated in Greece as a polar-opposite alternative to a dictatorship. This form of democracy is by far the most purest in its original form as there were no elected representatives, and every eligible citizen voted on all issues in the government. Unfortunately, women and slaves were not considered eligible to vote at this time even though they made up more than 50% of the population. Despite this, the basic principle that the power of the government is directly influenced by every eligible citizen was most strongly incorporated at that time. Nowadays, many of our modern democratic governments have altered this form of government by electing a few official representatives to vote on issues which makes many of our modern democracies more of an elected oligarchy as opposed to being a democracy. The question at hand then, is what the benefits of this modern form of democracy are as well as the issues and potential problems that a democratic society would have to face.

To start off, we can look at some of the clear advantages and disadvantages of having a democracy in terms of dealing with corruption, a serious issue in both democratic and non-democratic countries alike. First of all, we must see that most democratic styles of government and any of the slight variations do give a great deal of power to the people and since the people have the power to elect individuals to represent them, the individuals who are in power should sufficiently reflect the view of a majority of the population. Furthermore, in most democracies, the people have the power to vote to oust the current leader if his or her performance is sub-par or contrary to the view of the mass. This constant “threat” of being removed tends to keep the individual politician to work toward the popular view of the mass instead of the politician’s individual view. This final check system also seems to do well to prevent blatant corruption in consolidated democracies. However, although most analysts would suggest that there is a negative relationship between corruption and democracy, extensive research has shown that there appears to be an increasing spike of corruption that occurs in newly formed democracies, which eventually dies down but nevertheless shows that more countries and sudden change to democracy can mean an increase of corruption for a short period of time. Overall though, democracy is known for usefully combating corruption that is prevalent throughout nearly all other forms of government.

The stance of democracy in pertaining to the economy of a country is interesting. It has been argued that the political stance of the country has little to do with its economic output after looking at the economic power of the United States and China; although they have different political standpoints, both are economic powerhouses. In contrast, Iraq and North Korea, which have different political standpoints, are both economically dead. However, I believe that the political standpoint does have a major effect on the economy of a country. For instance, the growth and progress of economy is directly related to the political stability...
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