POLS 101 Essay 1 Assignment Name- Aleef Khoja Instructor- Thorlakson,Lori 1.
Distinguish between direct democracy,democratic elitism and representative democracy. Which is to be preferred? Whatvalues or assumptions does your answer depend upon? What is democracy? When we think aboutdemocracy, the first thing we’ll think about is Freedom or liberty. Freedom ofspeech, freedom to act, speak or think without any restriction.
“Democracy isthe government of the people, by the people, for the people”1This famous quote from Abraham Lincoln best describes democracy. This essay isgoing to argue why ‘direct democracy’ is the best form of democracy (Direct democracy, democratic elitism, andrepresentative democracy) and why? This essay will also distinguish betweenDirect democracy, democratic elitism, and representative democracy. Beforedifferentiating between these Democracies and looking at why direct democracy andrepresentative democracy to be preferred by the state we will briefly look atthe nature and definition of these three democratic theories .
In Direct Democracy Citizens of thenation represent themselves instead of electing a political leader whorepresents the group of people. The people can vote on all issues, includingthe passing of bills, laws and policy changes, this is the best way to definedirect democracy2,3.One of the best examples of direct democracy is Switzerland. In Switzerland,people have a say in almost everything. They can purpose legislation, they canoverturn the legislation approved by the parliament. Anything from building apublic library or legalization of consumption of drugs it must be approved bythe people of Switzerland. Popular votes in Switzerland take place at threedifferent level Municipal, Canton (District) and national.4Example: construction of Projects such as Building of a gym in the city ofGeneva, these types of votes are conducted on a municipal level.
At cantonallevel, people vote on issues such as not smoking in public places oreducational problems. Issues related to the whole of states such aslegalization of same sex marriages orpension policies takes places on a national level. Pros of direct democracy Cons of direct democracy Political involvement: Every person votes matters (freedom of speech) The Majority wins every time. The minority has no say.
This democracy truly represents the people. Wrong decisions because not everyone in the state is educated. Less corruption because there is no interruption by the political leaders in the decision making. Expensive- The amount of money spent is huge on voting. Time consuming- since every person has right to vote on every decision taken by the state. TheDemocratic elitism articulates that the democracy is directly linked to thenature and conduct of political elites.
Elites are a group of people who manipulate politics, selection processes, andhold a lot of money causing more disparity gap between rich and poor.5when you define democratization in regard to elite power, it classifies intotwo things. One being classical elite theorists who argued that democracy isnot possible due to the oligarchic nature of modern societies. Contrary, someidealists claimed that democracy is free of elitism and revolves around theconcept of equality and self legislation. There are two forms of democraticelitism, democratic and non-democratic. Democratic elitism usually adapts aminimal role of leader-based understanding of democratic process.6 Pros of Democratic elitism.
Cons of Democratic elitism. The decision making is less time consuming since the people ruling belong to the same class. Only people in charge have authority to take decision. Corruption is the main problem since there is high involvement of political leaders. Representativedemocracy or indirect democracy is an idea where a group of people elects arepresentative by voting who is going to represent the group of people at thenational level7,Robert Dahl called this theory “polyarchy”.
Perhaps it allows efficient rulingby a small number of people who represent a large number of people in thestate. The first ‘representative government’ was established after the Frenchand American revolution back in 18th century. examples of representativegovernment are India and united states. The country is divided into states andthese states will form their own self-government, all these states can have adifferent rule for example: In India, the state Gujarat is a dry state, peopleare not allowed to consume alcohol in Gujarat but states like Maharashtra andPunjab they allow people to consume alcohol.
However, these states will also bepart of a bigger group, all these states together will form a country and itsconstitution. Pros of Representative democracy8 Cons of Representative democracy9 It offers a legislative body which is controlled by law and order. The minority groups are left out with their own problems. (This causes separation of states) The citizens are free to elect their representative. The elected representative could be deceptive once he is elected. He may or may not fulfill the promises he made before election.
Their will be Judicial independence like supreme courts Once the election is done it is really hard for citizens to eliminate their representative until next elections . High political competition within the state (between the political parties). High corruption because there is enormous involvement of political leaders. Social, political and economical imbalance hence the party in power can alter.10 Difference between Direct democracy, Democratic Elitism and Representative Democracy. Direct democracy Democratic Elitism Representative democracy Election of representative behalf of people.
No No Yes Direct involvement of people in formation of constitution and policies. Yes No No Corruption Low High High Minority has a say No Yes No Legislative body which controls the law and the constitution of the state. No No Yes Judicial Independence No No Yes Social, political and economical imbalance due to elections. No No Yes Thetable above indicates how these three democracies differ from each other.
Allthese democracies have its own compensations and difficulties. Looking at thiswe can say that Direct democracy is the best form of democratic governmentbecause all the decisions, laws passed by the state has direct involvement ofpeople. The problem with elitism is that people do not have any role in thecreation of laws. The representative democracy has problem such therepresentative may not implement the policies and laws wanted by people forexample: The demonetization in India where people were to exchange the oldcurrency (Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes) it lead to country’s GDP loss and most ofthe people were against this decision but they couldn’t directly intervene intothis but if it was direct democracy, people can. There is high corruption inDemocratic elitism and Representative democracy since there is high involvementof political leaders.Welooked at the values of all these three types of theories, we discussed and sawthe nature of Direct democracy, Democratic elitism, and Representativedemocracy. We also looked at all these types of theories have their own prosand cons.
Looking at all this argument we can conclude that Direct democratic is the form of democracywhich is to be preferred by the low populated state (Switzerland), but direct democracy will be less efficientif the population of the state is high (India and US). Representativedemocracy eliminates this problem by operating on a smaller scale in the statewith high population. Bibliography 1. MrJochmann. “Liquid Democracy In SimpleTerms.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Nov. 2012, www.
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%2B%2BWe%2Bapologize%2Bfor%2Bany%2Binconvenience%2Bthis%2Bmay%2Bhave%2Bcaused%2Band%2Bare%2Bworking%2Bto%2Bensure%2Bthat%2Bwe%2Bcan%2Balert%2Byou%2Bimmediately%2Bof%2Bany%2Bunplanned%2Bperiods%2Bof%2Bdowntime%2Bor%2Bdisruption%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bfuture. 8. “Elite and Pluralist GovenanceApproaches.” Elite and Pluralist Govenance Approaches,www.
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%2B%2BWe%2Bapologize%2Bfor%2Bany%2Binconvenience%2Bthis%2Bmay%2Bhave%2Bcaused%2Band%2Bare%2Bworking%2Bto%2Bensure%2Bthat%2Bwe%2Bcan%2Balert%2Byou%2Bimmediately%2Bof%2Bany%2Bunplanned%2Bperiods%2Bof%2Bdowntime%2Bor%2Bdisruption%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bfuture. 6″Elite and Pluralist GovenanceApproaches.” Elite and Pluralist Govenance Approaches,www.academia.edu/3481953/Elite_and_Pluralist_Govenance_Approaches. 7 “What Is a Representative Democracy?” History,25 May 2017, www.historyonthenet.com/what-is-a-representative-democracy/.
8 “Representative and Direct Democracy Are like Oiland Water, They Are Incompatible, One of the Two Principles Must Be givenPriority.” Activatingdemocracy.com,www.activatingdemocracy.com/topics/concept/pros-and-cons/. 9 “Representative and Direct Democracy Are like Oiland Water, They Are Incompatible, One of the Two Principles Must Be givenPriority.