Democracy is a term used to describe a political system of government, an idea, and a concept based on the principles of people’s power. Literally, the word “democracy” means “power of the people” and has Ancient Greek origin, because it was there that the basic ideas of the democratic concept of governance were formed and implemented.
In simple terms, democracy is a system of government in which the source of power is the people themselves. It is the people who decide what laws and regulations are necessary for the harmonious existence and development of the state. Thus, each person in a democratic society receives a certain set of freedoms and obligations formed with the interests of the entire community in mind. Based on the above, it can be concluded that democracy is an opportunity for every person to freely participate in the direct management of their state, society and personal destiny.
Having learned the definition of the term “democracy,” questions naturally arise such as: “How exactly does the people govern the state?” and “What are the forms and methods of democratic governance?” At the moment, there are two main concepts of the exercise of people’s power in a democratic society. These are:
Direct democracy is a system in which all decisions are made directly by the people themselves through their direct expression of will. This procedure is made possible by holding various referendums and polls. For example, it may look like this: In the state “N”, it is necessary to pass a law banning the consumption of alcoholic beverages at a certain time. To do this, a referendum is held where residents vote “For” or “Against” this law. The decision on whether the law will be adopted or not is based on how the majority of citizens voted.
It is worth noting that, given the development of modern technologies, such referendums can be held quite quickly and efficiently. The fact is that almost all citizens have modern gadgets (smartphones) that can be used to vote. But, most likely, states will not use direct democracy, at least not in full. This is because direct democracy has a number of problems, which we will discuss below.
The main problems of direct democracy include such an aspect as the number of people. The fact is that the principle of permanent direct popular governance is possible only in relatively small social groups, where constant discussions and compromises are possible. Otherwise, decisions will always be made to suit the mood of the majority, without taking into account the opinion of the minority. It follows that decisions can be made based on the sympathies of the majority, rather than on the logical and reasonable opinions of the minority. This is the main problem. The fact is that not all citizens are, so to speak, politically and economically literate. Accordingly, in most cases, the decisions made by them (the majority) will be wrong in advance. To put it in very simple terms, it would be wrong to entrust the management of important political and economic affairs to people who do not understand them.
Representative democracy is the most common type of government in which people delegate some of their powers to elected officials. In simple terms, representative democracy is when people choose their government through popular elections, and then the elected government is responsible for governing the country. People, in turn, reserve the right to control the government using various levers of influence: impeachment, resignation of the government (official), revolution, lustration, referendum, etc.
At this stage of human society’s development, representative democracy proves to be the most effective way of governance, but it is not without its drawbacks. The main problems of this form include: bureaucracy, populism, corruption, usurpation of power and other unpleasant moments. It is to prevent such problems that society must always be active and constantly keep the authorities under control.
Moving on to this relatively large section, it is first of all worth listing the main points or the so-called “pillars” on which the whole concept of democracy is based.
Thus, having familiarized ourselves with the basis, we can move on to analyze the concept in more detail.
For a better understanding of all the key points of democracy, it is necessary to break down the concept into its main key elements. There are four of them in total, these are:
Figuratively speaking, we will now analyze the above points in detail and find out what the conditions for democracy to flourish should be.
In conclusion, I would like to end this article with the words of a truly great man, Winston Churchill. He once said:
Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.
And apparently, he was right.