Outcomes of Democracy

05 Outcomes of Democracy

How do we assess democracy’s outcomes?

  • Democracy is a better form of government because:
    • Promotes equality among citizens.
    • Enhances the dignity of the individual.
    • Improves the quality of decision making.
    • Provides a method to resolve conflicts.
    • Allows room to correct mistakes.

Accountable, responsive and legitimate government

  • The most basic outcome of democracy should be that it produces a government that is accountable to the citizens, and responsive to the needs and expectations of the citizens.
  • Democracy ensures that decision making will be based on norms and procedures and a citizen who wants to know if a decision was taken through the correct procedures can find this out.
  • The actual performance of democracies shows that democracies have had greater success in setting up regular and free elections and in setting up conditions for open public debate.

Economic growth and development

  • The difference in the rates of economic development between less developed countries with dictatorships and democracies is negligible.
  • Although we cannot say that democracy is an overall a guarantee of economic development, we can expect democracy not to lag behind dictatorships in this respect.

Reduction of inequality and poverty

  • Democracies are expected to reduce economic disparities, more than provide for development.
  • Democracies are based on political equality where all individuals have equal weight in electing representatives.

Accommodation of social diversity

  • Democracies usually develop a procedure to conduct their competition which reduces the possibility of these tensions becoming explosive or violent.
  • A democracy must fulfil two conditions in order to achieve this outcome:
    1. Democracy does not imply rule only by majority opinion.
    2. Rule by majority should not become rule by majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group, etc.

Dignity and freedom of the citizens

  • Democracy is much superior to any other form of government in promoting dignity and freedom of the individual.
  • Although women are not always treated with respect, once the principle is recognised, it becomes easier for women to wage a struggle against what is now unacceptable legally and morally.
  • Democracy goes through tests continuously as people get benefits and ask for more and want to make democracy even better.
  • People’s complain is a testimony to the success of democracy: it shows that people are now aware and have the ability to expect and criticise those who have power or the high and the mighty.

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