Three Paradoxes of Democracy

Topics: Democracy, Government, Election Pages: 3 (662 words) Published: March 8, 2006
Three Paradoxes of Democracy
1.Consent vs. effectiveness
2.Conflict vs. Consensus
3.Representation vs. Governability

What's effective may not be what is popular
-economic policies are a good example – hyperinflation and other painful unpopular reforms -even in established democracies you are thinking about getting elected not long term policies
•Free trade – job loss
•Terrorism – loss of personal liberties
•Deficit spending – people like low taxes but also like government programs •Environmental issues
Conflict vs. Consensus: debate needs to happen but shouldn't go too far (need a healthy medium) – people still need to trust and follow their government's decisions Representation vs. Governability: local interests vs. effective national policy

Is democracy the best system?
Marxism would assert that in a capitalist system – the owners of the means of production control the government…challenges to democracy were fascism and Marxism

Fascism: democracy is too weak and ineffective – need a strong leader to lead the nation to new heights – main proponents defeated in WWII

New enemies? Islamic extremists what people call "Asian Values" – but Asia is a vast area with VERY diverse cultures

SEN – democracy is a universal value (accepted worldwide)…not whether or not you have the right condition, it can work anywhere! Dispels the economics first notion – yes some auth regimes have been fast growing but it can go either way DEMOCRACY HELPS THE POOR – no famines in democracies…people are allowed to put pressure on their governments

Elklit and Svensson
-freedom is more important than impartiality/fairness
Two aspects of fairness:
Regularity: impartial application of the law (this has to be there) Reasonableness: securing roughly equal opportunities for exercise of political freedoms – more general and much harder to obtain – no democracy has managed it!

Pre-elections are very important but often overlooked
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