top-rated free essay

Democracy vs Dictatorship

By Marckenson1 May 12, 2013 887 Words
Dictatorship and democracy are two concepts with numerous views and differences. The first is not ideal for a society which seeks free press, human rights and equality. The second is, even though many facets have to be taken into account. Throughout history, scholars have laid out a range of arguments regarding the advantages and disadvantages of both systems in terms of development. Here, we will try to enumerate some of them.

An authoritarian government is a form of government in which the power is centralized (single person or a group). Dictatorship have ruled in many countries and region of the world for years; Latin America, Africa, Caribbean and Asia (especially the Middle East). In all cases, it was not all evil, where genocide, assassination or corruption were common like with Saddam Hussein. Scholars agreed that some countries have seen a boost in socioeconomic development under authoritarian governments. It was the case for Dominican Republic under Trujillo, Argentina in the 60's, Chile in the 70's under Pinochet, Singapore or Turkey. For these leaders, their countries were not ready for democracy because “ dictatorial governments could better impose rational, long-term development plans” (Handelman, 2011, 35). The father of Singapore’s authoritarian political system, Lee Kuan Yew, declared that discipline is more essential for a developed country than democracy.

Lee also stated that “Democracy leads to indiscipline and disorderly conduct, which are inimical to development” (Handelman, 2011, 35). His strong statement was somewhat carried out by many LDC's around the globe, especially in Africa where ethnic issues are common. In a dictatorship, there are no riots against the government or its affiliates, a single party is more likely in power, the ruler has unlimited power, plans are executed efficiently and in a fashion manner, most efficient during emergencies, and less room for corruption. Dictatorship also promotes obedience to the ruler, strict discipline is a MUST. There are also some advantages for an authoritarian government.

The negative side of a dictatorship relates to absence of freedom of speech (the people has no say in how the system works, follow the leader blindly), no fair elections, oppression of people or member of the opposition, power to a small group, no civil rights (violation of human rights), poor governance, lack social welfare, social inequalities and the gap between rich and poor is very significant. Also, when it comes to ruthless dictatorship like Syria, atrocities and spread of war prevail. In short, dictatorship does not agree with international peace and even advocates of authoritarian governments admitted that most dictatorships have caused great damage to many countries education, economy and infrastructure systems (Handelman, 2011, 35). Dictatorship can be a burden for a country's socioeconomic development.

Democracy is the promotion of fairness, social equality, transparency, freedom and speech. Today, it is perceived the best form of government. A full definition from our book (Handelman, 2011, 31) pointed out that democracy is obvious when:

most of the country’s leading government officials are elected; there is universal or near universal suffrage; elections are largely free of fraud and outside manipulation; opposition-party candidates have a realistic chance of being elected to important national offices; and civil liberties—including minority rights—are respected, with guarantees of free speech, free assembly, free press (media), and freedom of religion.

Others define it in regard to fair election and governance. A democratic government will make sure that its people grasp the importance of its policies, promote fundamental rights and support a stronger middle class (Handelman, 2011, 30). Unlike dictatorship, a democracy does not use fear or force to govern its people. It is a free society where the civil society is empowered not weakened and where the rule of law prevail, not the rule of a person or a group (Geddes, 2004, 5). History has shown that most industrialize countries are democratic, perhaps because “industrialization leads to increases in wealth, education, communication and equality” (Handelman, 2011, 30). However, like dictatorship, democracy has some shortcomings.

Scholars underlined that democracy can be as bad as dictatorship; unstable, promotes party interest and it can also be a waste of time and resources (enacting laws like the ban on gun currently for example). Revolt is less likely to happen in a free society because the people elected their representatives via fair elections. Some critics emphasized that democracy will not be efficient in the LDC's if these states do not have a literacy rate of at least 50% as well as a socioeconomic modernization, which would narrow the gap between rich and the middle class (Handelman 2011, 34). Other critics insisted on the fact that democracy encourage corruption, and industrialization/globalization are western strategies to better exploit Third World countries (Handelman, 2011, 30).

The paragraphs above showed several advantages of having a democratic society than an authoritarian one. They also have similarities and in some circumstances, they have to work together. Democracy is ideal because it promotes an equal society where everyone has a fair shot at success. Dictatorship does not. Thus, it might be fair to say that it is better for a society to experience another type of government (like a single-party) to consolidate a democratic development.

Reference List

Geddes, Barbara. 2004. “Authoritarian Breakdown”. Manuscript. Department of Political Science, UCLA.

Handelman, Howard. 2011. The Challenge of Third World Development. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Democracy vs Dictatorship

    ...power either through force or by force and consent both. In a dictatorship, power is exercised in an arbitrary manner.In a democratic government, people elect their representatives and every person enjoys equal political rights; in a dictatorial form of government the head of the state is not elected. In a democracy people enjoy rights and libe...

    Read More
  • Democracy vs. Dictatorship

    ...Democracy is a government of the people, for the people, by the people. In this government, people are the rulers and the ruled. Government is formed through elections. All the adult citizens cast votes and elect their representatives. This democracy is run through their elected representatives. Dictatorship is a form of government in where ther...

    Read More
  • Democracy vs. Dictatorship

    ...range throughout the world, whether a country may have a democracy, oligarchy, monarchy or a dictatorship depends on the head of state and the citizens themselves. Two well-known forms of governments, that are both found more often than others, are a democracy and a dictatorship. These forms of governments hold their strengths and weaknesses, an...

    Read More
  • Democracy vs. Dictatorship

    ...Democracy vs. Dictatorship. From the beginnings of the times, from ancient civilizations dated as back as 2000 B.C.E., the world had been based upon political systems and philosophies of governments. A country’s philosophy of government determines the economic system and the amount of rights that people have within that country’s bor...

    Read More
  • Dictatorship and Democracy

    ...Dictatorship and Democracy Benazir Bhutto was a renowned politician and the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan during a time that changed the face of the world; the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 95. She was outspoken against the policy, rhetoric and agenda of Al Qaeda. On the 4th of ...

    Read More
  • Democracy vs. Dictatorship.

    ...There are basically two types of government, Democracy and Dictatorship. Democracy is a majority ruled government. The origin democracy government formed in 400 B.C. in Athens. There are three kinds: Direct democracy where people directly vote in decision; indirect democracy where people elect representative to make decisions, such as our Congre...

    Read More
  • Democracy vs Dictatorship

    ...Imagine the next time you step into the voting booth your ballot only lists one candidate to choose from. Or perhaps your ballot lists four candidates, but they are all from the Liberal party. Dictatorships are one party political systems that are ruled by one leader or an elite group of people under the principle of authoritarianism. Some feel ...

    Read More
  • Democracy vs Dictatorship

    ...Democracy in any country is based on principle of representation. The legislature is attended by                             elected representatives. The people (citizens) of country vote in an election. The citizens have                           power to vote and change their representative in next elect...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.