Democracy

Outcomes Of Democracy of Class 10

If some of our expectations are not met, we start blaming the idea of democracy. The first step towards thinking carefully about the outcomes of democracy is to recognise that democracy is just a form of government. It can only create conditions for achieving something. The citizens have to take advantage of those conditions and achieve there goals.

Democracy

Revitalizing democracy at home

ACCOUNTABLE, RESPONSIVE AND LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT:

One of the basic outcomes of democracy is that it produces a government that is accountable, representative, responsible and legitimate to the needs and expectations of the citizens.

  • Democracy produces an Accountable and Representative Government: In a democracy people have the right to choose their rulers and people will have control over the rulers, i.e., the representative government. Whenever possible and necessary, a citizen should be able to participate in decision making that affects all. So, a citizen who wants to know if a decision was taken through the correct procedures can find this out. He or she has the right and the means to examine the process of decision making. This signifies that democracy produces an accountable government.
  •  Democracy produces Responsible and Legitimate Government: Democracy is a responsible government, is responsible to the people of the country.
  • (A) It promotes the formation of public opinion and cares about the opinions, needs and expectations of the citizens. Besides, democracy is a legitimate government as well, because a democratic government is people's own government.
  • (B) In India after every five years the representatives of the people are elected by secret ballot and the majority party or groups of political parties form the government.

COST OF DELAY IN DECISION MAKING PROCESS IN DEMOCRACY

  • Democracy is based on the idea of deliberation and negotiation. So some delay is bound to take place. Does that make democratic government inefficient?
  • Imagine a government that may take decisions very fast. But it may take decisions that are not accepted by the people and may therefore face problems.
  • In contrast, the democratic government will take more time to follow procedures before arriving at a decision. But because it has followed procedures, its decisions may be both more acceptable to the people and more effective.
  • The cost of time that democracy pays is perhaps worth it.
  • Democracy ensures that decision making will be based on norms and procedures.
  • A citizen who wants to know if a decision was taken through the correct procedures can find this out. She has the right and the means to examine the process of decision making. This is known as transparency.
  • This factor is often missing from a non-democratic government. Therefore, when we are trying to find out the outcomes of democracy, it is right to expect democracy to produce a government that follows procedures and is accountable to the people.
  • We can also expect that the democratic government develops mechanism for citizens to hold the government accountable and mechanism for citizens to take part in decision making whenever they think fit.

Democracy

Legitimate government

HOW TO MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DEMOCRACY:

To measure democracies on the basis of this expected outcome, you would look for the following practices and institutions :  

  • Regular, free and fair elections.
  •  Open public debate on major policies and legislations; and citizens’ right to information about the government and its functioning. The actual performance of democracies show a mixed record on this.
  • Democracies have had greater success in setting up regular and free elections and in setting up conditions for open public debate.
  • Most democracies fall short of elections that provide a fair chance to everyone and in subjecting every decision to the public debates.
  •  Democratic governments do not have a very good record when it comes to sharing information with citizens.
  •  All one can say in favour of democratic regimes is that they are much better than any non-democratic regime in these respects.
  • In substantive terms it may be reasonable to expect from democracy a government that is attentive to the needs and demands of the people and is largely free of corruption.
  •  The record of democracies is not impressive on these two counts. Democracies often frustrate the needs of the people and often ignore the demands of a majority of its population.
  • In most of the democratic countries majority of the people are poor.
  • The routine tales of corruption are enough to convince us that democracy is not free of this evil. At the same time, there is nothing to show that non-democracies are less corrupt or more sensitive to the people.
  • There is one respect in which democratic government is certainly better that its alternatives: democratic government is legitimate government.
  • It may be slow, less efficient, not always very responsive or clean. But a democratic government is people’s own government. That is why there is an overwhelming support for the idea of democracy all over the world.
  • Democracy’s ability to generate its own support is itself an outcome that cannot be ignored.

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT:

If you consider all democracies and all dictatorships for the fifty years between 1950 and 2000, dictatorships have slightly higher rate of economic growth. The inability of democracy to achieve higher economic development worries us. But this alone cannot be reason to reject democracy. As you have already studied in economics, economic development depends on several factors: country’s population size, global situation, cooperation from other countries, economic priorities adopted by the country, etc. However, the difference in the rates of economic development between less developed countries with dictatorships and democracies is negligible.

Democracy

India’s economic growth

Overall, we cannot say that democracy is a guarantee of economic development. But we can expect democracy not to lag behind dictatorships in this respect. When we find such significant difference in the rates of economic growth between countries under dictatorship and democracy, it is better to prefer democracy as it has several other positive outcomes.

Democracy

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