WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER GOVTS. OF THE WORLD IT HAS BEEN OBSERVED THAT DEMOCRACY IS COMPARITIEVELY A BETTER GOVT. REASONS:1.It promotes equality.
2.enhances the dignity of the individual.
3. improves the quality of decision making.
4.provides a method to resolve conflicts.
5.allows room to correct mistakes.
Q. Is democracy preferred for a moral or a prudential reason?
It means that have we adopted democracy because it is a govt. which all newly independent nations adpot , or just because it is govt. of the people, etc.OR
we have adpoted it because it is a well thought decision because of its advantages ,and long term benefits.
Democracies in different countries have different outcomes and we should not forget that-- it is just a form of govt.
--it can only create conditions to achieve something.
--citizens have to take advantage of those conditions and then achieve those set goals.
To judge democracy we need to examine the records of democratic setups.
ACCOUNTABLE, RESPONSIVE AND LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT.
A)it should be a govt. that is accountable to its citizens
b)responsive to its needs and expectations of the citizens.
c)has it followed the procedures and norms .
d)has the govt. developed a mechanism for its citizens to hold the govt.accountable and a mechanism for citizens to take part in decision making.
Some think that democracy is less effective as it is slow in decision making and the non-democratic rulers donot have to bother about delebrations in the assemblies or worry about the majorities and public opinion, and hence are quick in delebrations and decision makings.
Democracy is based on the idea of delebrations and negotiations. Decisions are taken by the govt., which takes more time to follow procedures before arriving at a decision and there fore the decisions are more acceptable to the people and are more effective. it means that the cost of time that the demcracy pays is perhaps more more but is worth it.
Govt. ie rsponsive if it is attentive to the needs and the demands of the people and is largely free of corruption.
--the record of democracies is not immpressive on these two counts , as they often frustrate the needs of the people and often igrnore the demands of a mojarity of its population.
But at the same time there is nothing to show that non-democracies are less corrupt or more sensitive to the people.
Democracy ensures that decision making will be based on norms and procedures, so if the citizen wants to know if the govt. is working according to the correct procedures can find this out.
--They have the right to examine the process of decision making ,this is called TransperencyThis factor is often missing from the non-democratic govt. and threfore to judge the outcome it is the right to expect democracy to produce a govt. that follows procedure and that is accountable.
--we can also expect that democratic govt. develops a mechanisim to hold the govt. accountable and also mechanisms for citizens to take part in the decision where evre they fit in.
TO JUDGE THIS WE WOULD LOOK FOR THE FOLLOWING PRACTICES AND INSTITUTIONS:--regular free and fair elections,
--open public debate on major policies and legislations,
--and citizens's right to information about the govt. and its functioning.
The actual record shows that :democracies show a mixed record on this.
--democracies have had greater sucess in setting up regular free and fair elections and in setting up conditions for open public debate.
--but most democracies fall short of elections that provide fair chance to everyone and allowing all decisions for public debate.
--democratic govts. do not have a very good record when it comes to sharing information with the citizens.
Thus it follows that democratic regimes are better than non-democratic regimes.
As the democratic govt. is legitimate govt. It may be slow, less efficient, not always very responsive or clean but it is peoples own govt.
--people wish to be ruled by the representatives elected by them, they also believe that democracy is suitable for it has an ability to generate its own support is itself an outcome that can not be ignored.
--Various SouthAsian countries show support for it.
ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT:
Democracies do produce good govt.s but are not always able to produce development.
--if we consider and compare dictatorships and democracies for the fifty years between 1950-2000, dictatorships have slightly showed higher rate of economic growth.
--However the the difference is negligible and over all we cannot say that democracy is a guarantee of economic development but we can expect democracy not to lag behind dictatorship in this respect.
Therefore it is better to prefer democracy as it has several other positive outcomes.
REDUCTION OF INEQUALITY AND POVERTY
--to reduce economic disparities
--wealth should be distributed in such a way that all citizens will have a share in it and lead a better life.
Q. Do democracies lead to just distribution of goods and opputunities?
Democracies are based on political equality.
All individuals have equal weight in electing representatives.
--But we do find growing inequalities..as a small number of ultra-rich enjoy highly dispropotionate share of wealth and incomes, also their share in the total income of the country is increasing and those at the bottom of the society have very little to depend upon, their incomes are declining , can not meet their basic needs.
--in actual life democracies do not appear to be very sucessful in reducing economic inequalities.
--the poor constitute a large proportion of our voters and no party likes to lose their votes. Yet democratically elected govts. donot appear to be as keen address the question of poverty as one would expect them to do so
ACCOMODATION OF SOCIAL DIVERSITY
Do democracies lead to peaceful and harmonious life among citizens?
Democracies usually develop a procedure to conduct thier competition. This reduces the possilbilities of these tensions becoming explosive or violent.
--no society can permanently resolve conflicts among different groups but we can certainly learn to respect these differences and we can evolve mechanisms to negotiate the differences.
Democracy is best suited to reduce this outcome. Ability to handle social differences, division and conflicts is a plus point of democratic regime.
--non-democratic regimes often turn a blind eye or supress internal social differences.
TWO CONDITIONS TO ACHIEVE THE OUTCOME - ACCOMODATION OF SOCIAL DIVERSITY
1.-Democracy is not just rule by majority opinion but the majority always needs to work with the minority so that govt. functions to represent a general view.
2.-it is necessary that rule by majority doesnot become rule by majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group,etc.
Rule by majority means that in case of every decision or in case of every election, different persons and groups can and may form majority.
--democracy remains democracy as long as every citizen has a chance of being in majority at some point of time.,and if someone is barred from doing so then democracy ceases to be accomodative.
DIGNITY AND FREEDOM OF THE CITIZENS.
Every individual wants to receive respect from fellow beings.
--Democracy stands much superior to any other form of govt. in promoting dignity and freedom of the individual. The passion for respect and freedom are the basis of democracy.
--as in case of dignity of women: long struggles by women have created some sensitivity today that respect to and equal tereatment of women are necessary ingredients of democratic society. Once the principle is recognised the struggle becomes easier and acceptable both morally and legally. It is not so in non-democratic society.
--this is also true of caste in equalities in India.
--in India democracy has strengthened the claims of the disadvantaged and discriminated castes for equal status and equal opputunity.
DISTINCTIVE FEATURE OF DEMOCRACY:
Its examination never gets over, as it passes one test it produces another test, as people get one benefit they ask for another and better one; their expectations keep rising so do their complaints.
--the fact that they are complaining is itself a testimony(evidence) that people have developed awareness and ability to expect and judge.
--this transforms them from a status of 'subject' to that of a 'citizen'.
--most feel that their vote makes a difference to the way govt. is run and in turn to thier own self-interst.