Home / Debates / Politics / Democracy Is the Best Form of Government

Democracy Is the Best Form of Government

Churchill said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Essentially that democracy has many flaws and problems but all the others have more problems. Now authoritarian countries such as China are potentially challenging this assumption by proving that authoritarian regimes are better at creating economic growth. Is Democracy still the best form of government?

All the Yes points:

  1. Freedom
  2. Represents the people
  3. Better governance due to transparency
  4. Respect of Human Rights
  5. Promotes Human Rights

All the No points:

  1. Economic growth
  2. Increasingly about money
  3. Electorate is not motivated

Freedom

Yes because…

Democratic states nearly always have freer people than autocratic states. They obviously have the right to vote for their government so by extension deciding the policy of their nation and what their nation should be like. They have more freedom of speech and expression than in autocracies. In particular they are free to criticise their own government.

No because…

Except for the freedom to choose the government there is no reason why people cannot be as free under an autocracy as in a democracy.

Represents the people

Yes because…

The biggest virtue of Democracy is that it is government by the people for the people. The government represents the views of the people who elect them and can throw them out if the government does things that the people do not like. Unlike other forms of government democracy is about the little man, everyone rather than the elite that are often disconnected from how everyone else lives their lives.

No because…

Democracy does not do very well at representing the people. In first past the post systems a government may not even have the support of a majority of those who voted not even including that many will not have votes and many more will not have the vote. This means that it is often a small minority of the population who determines which party gets in to government. Once they are there they are rarely representative of the people as they have several years to do what they like. Yes they need to think about re-election but that simply means they need to do more that the people like than the people dislike (or else have a good advertising campaign).

Better governance due to transparency

Yes because…

Democracy is as much about having checks and balances to the executive and having transparency of decision-making as it is about elections and the populace throwing governments out of power. In a democracy the parliament, the media and sometimes the judiciary all keep an eye on the executive and what is being done with the people’s money. They are therefore able to see if the executive is doing things that are detrimental to the country, are immoral, or even illegal. This can then be brought to a halt. Even where such actions are not visible on the surface there are separate institutions that have the power to investigate the executive and watch any ‘secret’ deals or actions that are going on away from public view.

No because…

While this is mostly found in democracy it is not something that has to be exclusive to democracies. Autocracies can potentially be transparent and have checks and balances they however often do not simply because an autocracy often has the time, and the willingness to use force to prevent these from occurring.

Respect of Human Rights

Yes because…

Democracy as much it is understood, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.

If democracy is put at it appropriate performance, then, all facet of human rights is respected. The citizens would have the rights to exercise freedom of speech concerning the well-being of the populace in areas of the economy, education, health, infrastructural development, etc.

No because…

It is impossible for a state to accommodate all conflicting views on a subject. Thus, majority rule is practiced. This puts the rights of minorities into jeopardy.

Promotes Human Rights

Yes because…

As much as Democracy is understood, it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The ability of the people to have a voice in the running of the State, in the economy, health, education, infrastructural development, etc creates a bit-balanced environment for governance to thrive; this can only be achieved in a democratic governance.

No because…

Economic growth

No because…

Autocracies are better at big projects, they can get things done and as such they are likely to be better at creating economic growth if they have the will. In an autocracy there are not the avenues for dissent that can block building projects, the police or troops can be used to clear protests that in the west would slow down large infrastructure projects. As a consequence of this all the infrastructure that is needed to create a modern economy can be produced quicker and cheaper than would be the case in a democracy. Also the resource base of the country can be accessed faster (no pesky environmentalists preventing drilling and mining!) and used more efficiently.

Yes because…

This is not the case. The most developed and richest countries are all democracies. While they may well have been developing their democracies during their initial industrialisation democracy and the freedom it brings is increasingly necessary for economic growth once the country has moved to being mostly dependent upon services rather than manufacturing or natural resource exploitation for economic growth. Once this occurs then creativity becomes important and the freedoms associated with democracy are needed to foster this creativity that is needed for industries such as information technology, creative arts, research and development etc.

Increasingly about money

No because…

In some countries democracy seems to be increasingly about money. The U.S. is the obvious example where millions are spent on elections with big events and glitzy advertising campaigns. This is not what democracy should be about and it discourages other countries from moving along the path to democracy. Indeed it undermines the very idea of democracy. Democracy when money is involved to the extent that it is in the U.S.A. becomes elitist and corporatist because only the elite and rich businessmen can afford to fund the campaigns for congress let alone for the presidency. The 2008 campaign for the White House cost $1.6 billion and the whole 2008 election including senate and house of representatives races cost $5.3 billion. Autocracies obviously avoid this immense expense by avoiding elections.

Yes because…

Electorate is not motivated

No because…

You can drag the electorate to the ballot box if you like but you cannot make them interested in most of the topics. It’s an idea that seems appealing if your are one of those people who is interested (I would love it), but if you try to discuss political issues with most people they either change the subject or nod politely without comment.

A lot of people are also keen to express their views, but clearly haven’t done any research into their validity. An elected representative can take more time to consider the idea, discuss it with peers, and explain themselves if it is contrary to popular opinion. Of course, most politicians are weasels and will support popular opinion over educated opinion, but the result of this is no worse than direct democracy.

Yes because…

Subscribe
Notify of
35 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ink
7 months ago

On the point of economic growth, in disagreement with the ‘Yes’ argument:

The richest and most developed countries were not full democracies until after World War I. The USA is no exception, even if the USA got to a full democracy earlier than most. The only reason they are rich is because of centuries of conquest and domination over the rest of the world, whose people were never given the same rights as the people who conquered them.

Spain, which is still technically a Kingdom, would never have been anything if not for its conquest of the Aztec and Incan Empires. The UK (note that the K stands for Kingdom) would never have been anything without first its American colonies, and then its empire on which the sun never set. The USA would have been nothing if it had not relentlessly murdered its way westward, all the way to the Philippines, and then had the good fortune of Europe owing it a lot of money at the end of World War II.

Did democracy bring these countries wealth? No. Colonialism and war brought them wealth, and then the newly rich people began to ask for more rights, and thus democracy was created.

Manie
7 months ago

Democracy is dumb.
Democracy suggests that people are wise enough to rule (or choose a ruler) a nation. And that is not true in the slightest.
If the majority of people voted and there was no restrictions on advertisement, most of the people would vote for the guy who promised free taco for everyone. People are greedy and dumb, and the people who are willing and/or wise enough to vote are much less than the people who don’t understand or aren’t interested in politics, which leads to corruption or incompetence.
A fair voting would involve only the men and women who understand the nature of politics and are interested and confident in taking matters into their own hands. But that would undermine the fundamental principle of democracy; “The people run the country”. In this case, the ‘people’ won’t run the country. The country would be run by competent, willing people who have control over their nerves, and that is not democracy anymore, it’s aristocracy

Wagwu chinunam
7 months ago

Yes

annemichelle
1 year ago

yes democracy is the best form of government since it delivers a better quality of life. Most people are being exploited because there countries are not practicing democracy. Everyone’s thouhts or way of leaving deserves to be expressed

Ross Assink
8 months ago
Reply to  annemichelle

Everyone’s thoughts? That simply is not true. Whatever culture it is that is in question will determine who gets a voice and who does not. Children do not vote, criminals do not vote, and the insane do not vote, to name some examples. We can name these categories of non-voters and we say that it seems reasonable but that is because our culture has decided that it is reasonable. The real danger of democracy is in the freedom for “everyone” to have a voice. There are plenty of people who can legally vote but ethically should not. As education continues to decline, especially in western countries, people will be less and less qualified to make intelligent decisions. Simply put, many people simply do not have the intelligence or wisdom to make assessments about the categories of politics, society and ethics.

Kurtus H
1 year ago

Democracy is based on the idea that ALL Citizens have the same rights within the Government and the laws it creates, everyone. The problem is when the Government creates laws or programs that single out one class of people from others. If a law is created, it applies to All citizens (with exception to laws to handle Non-Citizens). The Punishment for a crime is also handed out, in as much as it can, with equal results. When the Government creates a program, these programs should apply to ALL citizens. A good example is our tax laws. Seems one class of citizen has no choice but to pay, but others have loop holes granted to them by our Government where they pay nothing. For this to be Democratic, a single tax payer system is required. You cannot segregate citizens needs without segregating the citizens themselves. This will create a climate of “He who yells the loudest, gets the most attention (or bennefits).”. You will create divisions within Democracy where it’s meaning differs to the different classes. Democracy survives with unity, not division. If Democracy fails, we enter Dictatorship or Socialism where we are told what to do, accept class separation, and loose the power for future changes.

Dan Palacios
2 years ago

I like democracy because it theoretically gives me a say in my government. But in reality representatives rarely represent me. I didn’t want us to attack Iraq after I looked at the info that was available in the internet, books, and the media but we did, twice. I wanted universal health care and we don’t. I wanted access to national forests to remain free to everyone, supported by our taxes and it isn’t. We get breadcrumbs from our government representatives, and spin from their paid advisors, attempting to convince us what to think is good for us rather acting to fulfill what we the people want and need. Democracies especially ones like the us seem to get into as many stupid wars as banana dictatorships. So I can’t even say that democracies are more peaceful. At least with a democracy you don’t have to have an arrogant ruler who mostly kisses up to the wealthy and powerful aristocrats and his own family. Oh, wait…

Vansh Malara
2 years ago

Democracy is a method for taking decisions. Decisions are taken by voting. This has nothing to do with freedom. At this moment in time, there are no democracies on Earth where people are suppressed as slaves, but it is very well possible and well within reach. Simply put: two wolves and a sheep vote what they will have for dinner. That is the other face of democracy. The sheep has all the freedom to vote, right? Democracy is all about the majority. The minority has very little to say. Suppose that a muslim leader is elected in the USA and he turns the USA into a bad tyrant country and changes all the laws. I know that’s not gonna happen anytime soon, because much less than half of the population is muslim. But let’s just say that changes in the future (can you predict the future?) and about 50% of the population is muslim and votes for a muslim leader. In that case you have no right to complain, because it was a fair and free election. Although this was just an illustrative example, please don’t ever say “it’s not gonna happen anyway”. A hundred years ago, if you talked about walking on the surface of the moon, you would hear people say “Stop talking rubbish – moon landings are never going to happen anyway”. Want another disadvantage? Democratic countries have elections every now and than. Clinton didn’t want Guantanamo Bay. Bush did want it, and Obama doesn’t want it but can’t abolish it. What will the future bring for Guantanamo Bay? There is no long term planning because all leaders have different opinions. Long term planning is really needed when it comes to retirement laws/tax/deductions, mortgage laws etc. Just look at the national debt of a democratic country and you will see it only increases (not counting glitches), because democratic leaders make budget plans for the next year only. This means national debt will only increase and economic cuts will also increase when you have democracy. You choose for democracy, you choose for debts.

Susan
7 months ago
Reply to  Vansh Malara

The example where you suggest that a Muslim Leader will “ turn USA into a BAD TYRANT country and change all laws”. Is that really your mindset? That Muslims are uneducated, cruel people and cannot be leaders? Please get your facts straight before you post something on the internet which frankly isn’t true. Furthermore, I don’t understand if you are for or against this topic as you gave a lengthy paragraph about how Muslim Leaders would not be fit for elections and then say: please don’t say it won’t happen anyway. Please. Gather. Facts. Period

dfrgr
3 years ago

yes democracy is good because This is not the case. The most developed and richest countries are all democracies. While they may well have been developing their democracies during their initial industrialisation democracy and the freedom it brings is increasingly necessary for economic growth once the country has moved to being mostly dependent upon services rather than manufacturing or natural resource exploitation for economic growth. Once this occurs then creativity becomes important and the freedoms associated with democracy are needed to foster this creativity that is needed for industries such as information technology, creative arts, research and development etc.

shruti
4 years ago

democracy is not best but it is a better form of government than autocracy

Thomas Stark
4 years ago

If I may be so bold. IMO, assuming educated moral population the United States of America’s Constitutional REPUBLIC enacted 3/4/1789 is the best for of government ever divided by man. With the structure set forth, land mass matters not due to federalism. However, like any self governed [(ish) eg democracy or Republic] maintaining an educated and virtuous population is paramount to its perpetual existence. As of yet the average life span of most democracies is about 250 years. Facts are stubborn things.

Thomas Stark
4 years ago

Interesting article, I believe there is too much focus on the government and not the governed or territories involved. Read a lot covering good and bad tendencies in government giving favor to this form and that. Like in the real world, little consideration given to those subjected to said government. A educated, moral, civil society will thrive in a Demacracy. Whereas less organized “survival of fittest” populated land would require more iron fisted control to maintain order, such people would fall into chaos every time in a democracy.
What kind of land? Large spanning continent with diverse lands or a city state or something in between?Both of these questions must be answered before one can logically assign the best form of government. With out this knowledge there can be only one answer “it depends on the governed”.
Ironically IMO this article is a microcosm for how people think of these problems and questions in regard to government… No thought or regard for the subjugated people or the lands evolved.

Muneeb Ali
4 years ago

Well in times where we discuss what is less evil, democracy is best. No doubt it has numerous flaws, and the basic, in my view, is that in democracy we count heads not wisdom!! A voter should have certain qualities before being qualified as a voter. Such as he must be a university graduate. People with knowledge and true understanding of issues can take better decision than those who are illiterate. The principle of adult franchise, on which most of the democracies are based, is wrong. Collective wisdom of the learned people is better than the confused, whimsical and fervent decision of the many.

Susan
4 years ago
Reply to  Muneeb Ali

All forms of government have their flaws, but overall, democracy has less. That doesn’t necessarily make it ‘the best’, but I believe that democracy is statistically proven to be a more effective form of government. As long as the citizens are happy, and human rights aren’t being ignored, democracy is my government.

Davey boy
4 years ago

True democracy in my opinion is the best form of government, the trouble is a lot of so called democracies use a first post the post system which rarely gives a result reletive to what was voted for. Also countries should encourage participation by teaching children about civics and politics from an early age to increse enthusiasm. People should stop linking systems of government with economic success, I can make arguments both for and against as to whether democrocy is best in achieving this but regardless surely freedom to choose is the main benefit. Who in there right mind would want to live in a country where you have no input into how your country should be managed.

anusha
4 years ago

i understand democracy as something that gives weak same chance as the strong-mahatma gandhi

Rahila Khan
4 years ago

Because democracy is by the people for the people and of the people it means the power of the people

Anwesha
6 years ago

democracy is good and bad. if used properly its the best but if misused its the worst. currently its being extremely misused which is leading to security problems, corruption, economic loss etc. the good part is people can overthrow the govt. and they should do so if they feel the leaders are misusing their powers

Birdie Whinns
7 years ago

I believe that there really is no better or worse form of government. It all really depends on the situation that the country is in. Take for example the in India. In a situation like that, autocracy would be the better form of government because they can act quickly. However, if you lived in an autocratic country where the citizens didn’t like what the leader was doing, too bad. It has the ability to keep doing what it was doing. In a democratic country, its the citizens who control the government.

Thinker123
7 years ago
Reply to  Birdie Whinns

Very true, yet Democracy is slowly falling away. The USA seems to be swallowed (very slowly) through medical services by Socialism, so is it better? It IS dying…

Thinker123
7 years ago

This page is interesting. All the points are well stated, but democracy has obviously devolved into a worse government than it was intended to be.

soni
7 years ago

it would have been worse with some other form of government.

Thinker123
7 years ago
Reply to  soni

Maybe, but the monarch would have quick and absolute speed. No need to get the order constitutionilized; just send the army already! Democracy is obviously not the best form of government.

er
7 years ago

democracy is good and bad both but i think more good . lets take an example , we the ppl of india are getting the right to vote !! right to freedom of speech and expressions . right to reside in a any part of the country .. !! isnt that a big thing DEMOCRACY IS BETTER THAN AUTOCRACY …

King
7 years ago
Reply to  er

i live in the U.S which has a democracy since day one they always say liberty and justice for all but manage to exterminate an entire race of people and keep another in a perpetual state of slavery for than a 100 years when they agreed to free them in 20 and then continue to deny them basic rights and liberties to this present day.

kk
8 years ago

but why autocracy is the bad? I don’t agree a bit here because sometimes power hungry leaders take advantages if it and mostly for developing countries autocracy is an ideal form of govt.

D-man
8 years ago

democracy is the best.has any other form of government worked

tamizh
7 years ago
Reply to  D-man

i think democracy is better than autocracy, but sometimes autocracy better than democracy. you see like many of them affected in the form of democracy. take an example of delhi student raped and murdered. autocratic country like china always maintain a GDP rate level high.

SKR
3 years ago
Reply to  D-man

I support u gentleman.
Democracy is that form of government that recognize each and every citizen as one.It improves the quality of decision making.

John Smith Jr
8 years ago

Democracy is a method for taking decisions. Decisions are taken by voting. This has nothing to do with freedom. At this moment in time, there are no democracies on Earth where people are suppressed as slaves, but it is very well possible and well within reach. Simply put: two wolves and a sheep vote what they will have for dinner. That is the other face of democracy. The sheep has all the freedom to vote, right? Democracy is all about the majority. The minority has very little to say. Suppose that a muslim leader is elected in the USA and he turns the USA into a bad tyrant country and changes all the laws. I know that’s not gonna happen anytime soon, because much less than half of the population is muslim. But let’s just say that changes in the future (can you predict the future?) and about 50% of the population is muslim and votes for a muslim leader. In that case you have no right to complain, because it was a fair and free election. Although this was just an illustrative example, please don’t ever say “it’s not gonna happen anyway”. A hundred years ago, if you talked about walking on the surface of the moon, you would hear people say “Stop talking rubbish – moon landings are never going to happen anyway”. Want another disadvantage? Democratic countries have elections every now and than. Clinton didn’t want Guantanamo Bay. Bush did want it, and Obama doesn’t want it but can’t abolish it. What will the future bring for Guantanamo Bay? There is no long term planning because all leaders have different opinions. Long term planning is really needed when it comes to retirement laws/tax/deductions, mortgage laws etc. Just look at the national debt of a democratic country and you will see it only increases (not counting glitches), because democratic leaders make budget plans for the next year only. This means national debt will only increase and economic cuts will also increase when you have democracy. You choose for democracy, you choose for debts.

Speaker for Tribunocracy
8 years ago
Reply to  John Smith Jr

Most democracies are constitutional democracies that include protections for minorities or individuals that supersedes simple majority votes. Wolves having sheep for dinner would violate most democratic constitutions.

There is no empirical evidence that non democratic rule results in wiser decision making even for economic issues. Cuba and North Korea may not have big debts, but even if they suffered the “evil debts” of democracy it is clear they would economically be better of. Do you know a country without democracy that you think provides better lives, even just economically for its citizens as a whole?

Stephen Lucas
6 years ago

What about democracy as a “tyranny of the majority”? Obamacare, as an example, passed with no support from opposition party.

Arsha
8 years ago

Democracy is the best form of govt. as it is based on discussions and opinions..

RAVI KANT TYAGI
4 years ago
Reply to  Arsha

First thing different countries have different democracies.If you are talking about parliamentary discussions,it is hardly of any significance,because a majority party is always there. Also at the most what it do,just halt the process of decision making.A monarchy with philospher/learned king like Rama,krishna,Bharta,chandergupta etc, is best form of democracy

Top