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Democracy Definition

Democratize, which translates to "power of the people," is a system of governance that relies on the consent of the governed. The Greek terms "demos," which means "people," and "kratos," which means "power," are the roots of the English word democracy. Because there are so many different types of democratic governance in use today, it can be easier to understand the concept of democracy in terms of what it most clearly is not. Democracies are neither autocracies, dictatorships, or oligarchies, in which a single person or small group of individuals rule, thus they are not these things either. "Rule of the majority" should not even be applicable if it means that the interests of the minority are completely disregarded if democracy is to be understood properly. A democracy, in theory, is a form of government in which every individual is represented and their "desire" is granted. "

Democracy Definition

Why democracy?

The moral authority of democracy and its widespread appeal are derived from two fundamental principles:

  1. Individual autonomy: The principle that no one should be bound by laws imposed by others People ought to be in charge of their own life (within reason).
  2. Equality: The notion that each individual should have an equal opportunity to influence social decisions.

These ideas are logically compelling, and they contribute to the reason why democracy is so well-liked. Of course, we believe it is just that we should have the same opportunity as everyone else to choose common rules.

The issues come up when we think about how the principles can be applied since we require a method for selecting how to handle opposing viewpoints. Democracy is often "rule of the majority" because it provides a straightforward method, yet this might result in certain people's interests never being represented. Using consensus decision-making, where the goal is to identify common points of interest, is a more sincere way to reflect everyone's interests.

The development of democracy

Ancient history

The ancient Greeks are credited with inventing the first democracy, despite the fact that there were probably earlier instances of rudimentary democracy in other parts of the world. The Greek model was created in the fifth century BC, close to the city of Athens. The autocracies and oligarchies that predominated at the period made Athenian democracy stand out in a sea of them.

However, there were two significant differences between the Athenian model and modern democracy.:

  1. They practised direct democracy, which means that rather than electing representatives to carry out the will of the people, "the people" met in person to deliberate issues of governance before putting those decisions into action.
  2. Since "the people" was a fairly narrow category, such a system was made practicable. Since women, slaves, aliens, and kids were all barred, only a small portion of the population was able to participate directly. Even yet, there were still considerably more participants than in a contemporary democracy: of the approximately 300,000 male citizens, 50,000 or so were directly involved in politics.

Democracy in the modern world

As many distinct types of democracy exist now as there are democratic countries worldwide. There are no two systems that are exactly alike, and no system can be used as a "model." There are monarchs that are also democracies, presidential and parliamentary democracies, federal or unitary democracies, majoritarian and proportional voting democracies, and more.

The use of representatives of the people is one aspect of contemporary democratic systems that connects them and sets them apart from the old model. Elections are used in modern democracies to choose representatives who are sent by the people to govern on their behalf instead of allowing citizens to directly participate in the creation of laws. Democracy in this sense is referred to as representational. It can claim to be "democratic" to some extent because it is founded on the two aforementioned principles: the equality of all people (one person, one vote) and the right of every person to some measure of personal autonomy.

Improving democracy

People frequently refer to nations "becoming" democracies as they begin to hold elections that are largely free and transparent. However, democracy encompasses much more than simply elections, therefore when determining how democratic a nation is, it truly makes more sense to focus on the notion of the will of the people rather on institutional or voting arrangements. Instead of being something that is either there or not, democracy is better viewed as something that can always be had in greater or lesser quantities.

The democratic framework

In a liberal democracy, power is defined and constrained in order to promote legitimate government within an environment of justice and freedom (i.e., one that supports the growth and well-being of the person). The framework consists of four crucial parts:-

  • Legitimacy
  • Justice
  • Freedom, and
  • Power

1. Legitimacy

A legitimate government is one that is in possession of the necessary power or mandate. This typically denotes strong popular support as evidenced by regular elections and a free electorate.

For instance, policies are formulated to maximise the welfare of all or most citizens. Likewise, many candidates in a majority of electoral zones receive the majority of the vote to elect the government.

2. Justice

When people live in a society where everyone is treated fairly and with respect, justice has been attained. This may occur under a representative democracy constrained by constitutionalism, free elections, and power constraints.

For instance, society encourages talent and rewards citizens based on merit rather than rank, privilege, or status; and it questions the claims made by special interest groups seeking special rights.

3. Freedom

The following conditions must be met for there to be freedom:

  • Self-determination, which allows people to make decisions, learn from them, and take responsibility for them.
  • The ability to choose between alternatives.
  • The freedom to do whatever the law permits, with the caveat that any restrictions should be made for the benefit of all.
  • Respect for civil and political rights. For instance, while government intervention in matters affecting the citizenry's politics, economy, and morals is limited or regulated, the scope of citizens' religious, political, and intellectual freedom is unconstrained.

4. Power

Power is defined and limited in a liberal democracy, frequently through a written constitution. There are established checks and balances, such as the division of the power between the Parliament, senior government, and the judiciary. A judicial system that supports the political system also exists, along with social norms.

One such example is the protection and expansion of civil liberties against the invasion of governmental entities, institutions, and strong social forces.

Key democratic practices

  1. Elected individuals are given constitutional authority to make policy-related choices on behalf of the government.
  2. Elections are held frequently and fairly, and compulsion is comparatively infrequent when choosing candidates.
  3. Almost all adults have the right to cast a ballot in elections for public officials.
  4. Almost all grownups have the option to run for elected positions in the government.
  5. People have the right to their own opinions on widely construed political issues without fear of being severely punished.
  6. People have the right to look for alternate information sources. In addition, there are other information sources that exist and are legally protected.
  7. People enjoy the freedom to establish comparatively independent groupings or organisations, such as independent political parties and interest groups.
  8. Elected authorities can use their authority without worrying about being overthrown.
  9. The polity is self-governing and able to act without external restrictions.
  10. Individuals are allowed to express and publicise divergent opinions.

Different types of democracies

  • Direct democracy
  • Representative democracy
  • Constitutional democracy
  • Monitory democracy

Direct democracy

In a direct democracy, like the one that existed in ancient Athens, all citizens are expected to participate in all political decisions (only adult males who had completed their military training were citizens; women, slaves, and plebs were not). Democracy as we know it is no longer practised. Citizens are constantly active in the exercise of power in this type of democracy, and majority rule is used to make decisions.

Representative democracy

In a representative democracy, representatives are chosen by the electorate and given the authority to conduct government affairs. A representative democracy exists in Australia.

Constitutional democracy

In a constitutional democracy, the constitution specifies how and by whom the people shall be represented. Additionally, Australia is a constitutional democracy.

Monitory democracy

Political scientist John Keane claims that a new kind of democracy is evolving in which the government's use of power is continuously being examined by several public and private organisations, commissions, and regulatory agencies. See the 2009 publication by Simon & Schuster UK of John Keane's book Life and Death of Democracy.

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