Is a Democratic Government a Necessity for Modern Society Today?

A democratic government can be found in approximately 120 countries today, however the direction of travel in the last four years points towards freedom declining around the world. Although a democratic government is best for popular opinion being listened to it is not necessarily best for economic growth in a country.

Human beings are generally rule-following by nature and they conform to the social norms that they see around them. A democratic government would therefore normally make laws based on popular opinion – especially if this supports the governing party gaining re-election – which would be followed by the majority of people in the country because that is what their innate nature would tell them to do. However, in America, people’s ideological views can be seen by where they choose to live. Therefore a democratic government across the entirety of the country would be less beneficial than a system of state governments which make decisions for the local citizens. This results in more satisfaction and agreement amongst the local population as it would be aimed directly at their needs. Overall though, only social and limited financial policies can be dictated on a state by state basis with (for example) foreign and military policies requiring a national decision as it would affect the entire country and therefore some form of national government would be needed.

The positives of a democratic government can be seen in Denmark where good political and economic institutions have been put in place. It has a stable government, is democratic, peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive and has low levels of political corruption. However, it is not clear whether Danish political order could be implemented into different cultural contexts where technology is less advanced and people have been under the rule of a dictatorship all their lives. A prime example of this is when the US administration was under the impression that once they had removed Saddam Hussein as President of Iraq, conditions would automatically revert to a democracy with a free market economy and were surprised at the levels of looting and civil conflict that resulted. Therefore, although a democratic government would be ideal for most countries, it is a laborious process that must take place with technological improvements and many countries are not at the stage where this transformation can take place. The recent political unrest in Egypt is a prime example of this.

Location can also play an important part in whether democracies are necessary. In Europe, most countries are full democracies though there are a few flawed democracies, particularly some of the countries which were part of the former Soviet Union. However, when looking at East Asia, successful authoritarian modernization is commonplace with countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and China benefiting. However, the question must therefore be asked as to why similar systems are not successful in Africa and the Middle East. Overall, it is therefore evident that different locations are seemingly better suited to different forms of government.

In conclusion, democracy seems to be the best form of government only in areas where technology is advanced enough and also where there are high levels of entrepreneurship that will benefit a free-market economy and where a robust law-and-order regime is in place. However, in other locations authoritarian governments are more suited because it is a system where the economy can develop more effectively when it is regulated, such as China.

Contributed by Gregory Lobo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *