„The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Winston Churchill, politician
The term democracy comes from the Greek term dēmokratía, which means "government by the people".
Democracy can be seen as the opposite of the classic dictatorial regime.
In many Western countries, democracy is the foundation of human freedom and economic success.
Stop food speculation!
Stop food speculation!
However, there are also some disadvantages related to democracy.
This article examines the pros and cons of democracy.
advantages of democracy
- low inequality
- guarantee of human rights
- freedom of religion
- freedom in cultural values
- educational rights and opportunities
- Strengthen individual opportunities.
- Low level of discrimination
- high degree of freedom
- decentralization of power
- Democracy gives people a sense of belonging
- human empowerment
- voter turnout
- Change of political power after a certain time
- equal justice
- Almost anyone could become a politician.
- People are more willing to accept the system.
- Increases identification and patriotism
- Democracy can avoid conflict
- Smooth transition as political leaders change
- Avoid mass extremism
- Companies are more likely to invest in democratic countries
- Democracy makes trade easier
One of the benefits of democracy is that it reduces levels of inequality compared to other regimes.
For example, in a dictatorship there are usually huge inequalities, since the dictator can choose which group of people he wants to favor.
On the other hand, in a democracy there is at least a certain degree of equality guaranteed by law so that no minority group is unduly discriminated against.
guarantee of human rights
Democracy also guarantees respect for human rights.
Laws and other legal frameworks promote and guarantee human rights in most democratic countries.
On the contrary, when we look at dictatorships, human rights are often suppressed and not valued.
In fact, dictators often completely neglect human rights and act only in a radical political direction aimed at maintaining the power of the dictator.
freedom of religion
Democratic countries also tend to uphold people's freedom of religion.
For example, if you live in a democratic country, you may be allowed to pray and practice your religious beliefs without fear of punishment, as long as you do not harm others or participate in extremist activities.
In dictatorships, on the other hand, freedom of religion is often severely restricted, and in some countries, people are even sentenced to death for their religious beliefs.
freedom in cultural values
Like religious beliefs, many democracies also guarantee the freedom of cultural values.
For example, if you come from a foreign country and have particular cultural values and norms, you are free to live according to those values as long as they are in accordance with the law.
In countries without an intact democracy, cultural freedom of values may not be achieved, since dictatorships often suppress all other forms of life that do not correspond to one's own cultural attitude.
educational rights and opportunities
Education is crucial to succeed in all walks of life.
That is why it is so important that everyone has access to an adequate education.
But while access to education is quite easy in most democracies, at least in many Western countries, it is quite limited in non-democratic countries.
Those in power in these countries often do not even want the general public to receive a proper education, fearing that these educational improvements will lose power to them in the long run.
It is far better for dictators to keep the general public uneducated in order to maintain their power.
Strengthen individual opportunities.
In a democracy, people have many more opportunities than in radical dictatorships.
For example, people in democratic countries are generally quite free in their job preferences, and gender discrimination can also be much less in most democratic countries.
Alternative lifestyles may also better express people in democracies than in dictatorships.
Therefore, the overall chances for the individual in a democratic country are generally much better.
Low level of discrimination
Although the majority are better off than the minorities, there is generally much less discrimination than in radical dictatorial regimes.
While in democracies people have a certain tolerance that can vary from country to country, minorities in dictatorships are often mistreated and not treated equally with the rest of the population.
high degree of freedom
Furthermore, the level of individual freedom in democracies is much higher compared to other political regimes.
In democracies, people are generally free to do what they want, as long as they don't harm others and abide by local laws, which are often quite lenient.
In contrast, the level of freedom in dictatorships is quite limited, as dictators often struggle with individual freedom, fearing revolutions when people become overly aware of what is happening in their country.
decentralization of power
The decentralization of power is another great benefit of democracy.
History has taught us that too much power on the part of individuals can lead to disastrous results.
By limiting the power of politicians, terrible decisions like starting wars can be avoided, since other politicians or political parties can veto those decisions.
Democracy gives people a sense of belonging
Because people are free to vote for the politician or party they trust, they can have a greater sense of ownership and identification with the political decisions that politicians will make.
Therefore, democracy can lead to a state in which people can recognize more political decisions, which in turn leads to greater public acceptance.
In a democracy, compared to other regimes, the general level of empowerment of the people is usually much higher.
Generally, people are free to do what they want as long as they obey local laws.
People can pursue hobbies, make friends, and do many other things they enjoy.
Conversely, this type of empowerment can be quite limited in dictatorships, as dictatorships don't want people to get involved and talk to each other too much, for fear that people will fight for a political revolution at some point.
In a democracy, people can and are even encouraged to vote in elections.
This gives people the opportunity to vote for their favorite politicians or parties and thus have a say in what the future of the country will look like.
In contrast, in dictatorships people can never vote and the dictator determines what is best for the country and often more importantly for himself.
Change of political power after a certain time
In a democracy, political power is also often guaranteed to pass to other politicians or parties over time.
In many countries there is a limit to how many years a politician can remain in power.
After that period, you are legally required to hand over that power to another politician, which is usually determined by the general public.
Thus, by setting these limits, democracies can avoid autocracies, which can have adverse consequences for the majority of the population.
It is also crucial for a liberal democracy that people are treated fairly in many areas of their daily lives, including in judicial decisions.
Most democracies have laws that guarantee fair and equitable treatment in court.
Conversely, in other political systems, this justice may not be guaranteed and minorities can often be victims of very unfair judicial treatment.
Almost anyone could become a politician.
In principle, if you want to become a politician in a democracy, you are free to join a political party.
If party members share your opinion, you may have a good chance to break into politics and one day become a leader with the power to make a real difference.
This would often not be possible in other political regimes, as the rulers are often unwilling to give up their power and might crack down on other parties that want more power.
People are more willing to accept the system.
Since people can vote in a democracy, the probability of revolutions and civil wars decreases.
People are generally willing to support the decisions of politicians as long as they have voted for them and are comfortable with their political views.
Even if people do not submit to all political decisions, the probability that people will be willing to accept the entire political framework is quite high in a democratic country.
Increases identification and patriotism
Many people in democratic countries are even proud of their political values.
Therefore, democracy can also contribute to patriotism and a high level of self-identification of the population with political decision-makers.
Democracy can avoid conflict
Democracy may also have the power to prevent global conflicts.
For example, in a dictatorship, a single person can start a conflict if he wants to.
By contrast, politicians in democratic systems can veto decisions so extreme that, in the worst case, they can prevent conflict or even war.
In this way, democratic systems can possibly prevent many people from dying in war.
Smooth transition as political leaders change
The transition process related to changes in political leadership tends to be quite smooth and uneventful in democratic countries.
This ensures that the political and social stability of a country is preserved.
By contrast, in other political regimes, political leaders are often assassinated or overthrown through revolutions, often creating a political power vacuum and high levels of instability for the country in question.
Avoid mass extremism
Democracy and related freedom of thought and attitudes make many people less likely to engage in extremist activity, as flawed arguments can be exposed quite easily through press releases on social media or other platforms.
Therefore, democracy can also, to some extent, mitigate the formation of radical organizations.
Companies are more likely to invest in democratic countries
Also from an economic point of view, democratic countries usually have an advantage over dictatorships.
For example, companies in countries with stable democracies tend to be much more willing to invest and establish branches because they do not have to fear expropriation.
It is also much easier to find qualified personnel in democracies than in dictatorships, since highly educated people value their individual freedom and prefer to stay in a democratic country than in a country with a political regime that suppresses human freedom.
Democracy makes trade easier
Countries with democratic regimes generally have a much easier time finding global trading partners.
Many countries refrain from trading with dictatorships due to civil rights violations and other issues, giving democratic countries an advantage when it comes to revenue from international trade.
disadvantages of democracy
- Democracy can delay important decisions
- Too many unnecessary discussions
- Political inefficiencies can be costly
- Minorities may be left behind
- Economic interests x social interests through lobbying
- Politicians can act opportunistically
- Politicians often do not fear the consequences
- Donations can determine election results
- Politicians can lie to get more votes
- Short-term thinking of politicians
- Voters may not have any information.
- Elections can be expensive
- Citizens can only vote in their own interest
- corrupt political systems
Democracy can delay important decisions
While democracy has many important advantages, it also has some disadvantages.
One problem with democracy is that important decisions often take a long time to get everyone's approval.
Most of the time, many concessions must be made to pass a law.
This can be a big problem, especially when decisions are urgent and long delays can lead to serious economic or social problems.
Too many unnecessary discussions
Politicians in democracies also often waste a lot of time needlessly arguing over trifles that don't really matter in the larger context of an issue.
These minor discussions can further delay major policy decisions.
Political inefficiencies can be costly
Democracy can also have significant costs.
There are a lot of people in Congress who want to get involved in political discussions.
However, all these people want to get paid and many of them earn a good income.
So when a lot of politicians are away from home, it can be very costly for the taxpayer.
Minorities may be left behind
While minorities are treated better on average in democracies compared to most other political systems, in some countries minorities can still be left behind.
Because politicians often focus on getting the majority of the population to vote, the needs of minorities may not be the focus of many politicians.
Economic interests x social interests through lobbying
In the context of political decision makinglobby activitiesthey often play a crucial role in democracies.
For example, if an industry is quite strong and important in a country, it may have many influential people who are in good contact with policy makers, which can influence policy decisions.
So when economic and social interests diverge, politicians may prefer to act based on economic interests rather than social ones.
Politicians can act opportunistically
Like dictatorships, politicians can also have their own interests in mind in a democracy.
When your political survival is at stake, politicians may act in your favor instead of the general good.
Politicians often do not fear the consequences
In many democratic countries, politicians need not fear prosecution if they cause harm in connection with their political decisions.
This can give politicians the possibility of acting in their own interest rather than representing the interests of the general public.
Donations can determine election results
In many democratic countries, the outcome of an election is largely determined by the amount of money a candidate can spend on advertising.
So if one candidate receives a lot of donations from big business while the other struggles to raise enough funds, the candidate with the most money usually wins the election.
Even if elections are often proclaimed to be fair, the outcome of the election largely depends on how much money a candidate can spend on his election campaign.
Politicians can lie to get more votes
Most of us have experienced this many times.
Politicians promise a lot, but once elected they will not be able or willing to translate those promises into actual political decisions.
To get elected, politicians are often willing to lie to the general public.
Short-term thinking of politicians
Knowing that they only have a certain amount of time to achieve their political goals, politicians can act in the very short term and ignore the long-term negative effects of their decisions.
This can include popular decisions like tax cuts that benefit people in the short term.
However, due to the rising national debt, this tax cut could hurt society in the long run.
Voters may not have any information.
Although political parties in many countries provide a lot of information about their political goals over the Internet, many people still lack information about their respective party.
This may be due to insufficient access to the Internet, or it may also be due to the fact that people simply do not care about this matter.
However, uninformed people can, at best, vote for parties that are not in line with their beliefs and, at worst, vote for extremist parties, which can lead to serious social problems.
Elections can be expensive
Elections are also generally quite expensive, as many people have to work to ensure the objectivity of election results.
Additionally, candidates often spend millions or even billions of dollars on election campaigns.
Therefore, the general electoral process in democracies can be quite expensive.
Citizens can only vote in their own interest
Another disadvantage of democracy is that people often only vote for their own interest, even though doing so can be detrimental to society.
For example, some people worry about pollution or noise from construction work at an airport near where they live.
Therefore, these people will probably vote for a party that wants to stop the construction of this airport, even though it is very beneficial for the general public in terms of tax revenue and also for the creation of many jobs.
Therefore, free political decision-making in democracies sometimes also implies results that may not be beneficial from a social point of view.
corrupt political systems
Politicians are also often involved in corruption cases.
Big corporations bribe politicians to act in the best interest of the economy instead of doing what is best for the general public.
Especially in democracies in poor developing countries, politicians are very susceptible to corruption, as they can earn a lot of money compared to the average income of the local population.
|pro democracy||disadvantages of democracy|
|guarantee of human rights||Slow decision-making processes.|
|freedom of religion||inefficiencies|
|decentralization of power||unnecessary discussions|
|public empowerment||Inadequate representation of minorities|
|voter turnout||Economic interests x social interests|
|limited terms||Opportunistic behavior of politicians.|
|very low inequality||short term thinking|
|limit extremism||unrealistic promises|
|economic advantages||expensive choices|
Democracy is crucial to guarantee the freedom of people in a country.
It has many advantages, but also some problems related to democracy.
In general, however, democracy can be seen as the best political system, since only democracy allows people maximum freedom and individual opportunities.
Therefore, it would be desirable if even more countries around the world managed to build a working democracy over time.
About the Author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can help alleviate these problems.
When I went to university and did my master's degree in economics, I did a lot of research in the field of development economics.
After I graduated, I traveled all over the world. From then on, I wanted to help ensure a future worth living in every corner of our beautiful planet for the next generations.
Would you like to contribute to the protection of our environment? Share!