Democracy is easy to introduce to the people but not so easy to implement, theorists then developed different democratic systems to distinguish between these systems. Democracy is an essential element in governance. It is not a new phenomenon yet most people have not come to know its exact meaning nor experience the good or bad side of democracy. These theorists include Rousseau, Schumpeter, Bohman and others that came up with three fundamental democratic systems, the participatory, representative and deliberate democratic systems. Differences and similarities of these systems will be discussed in this essay.
People form part of the state and should be given a chance to voice their opinions on what happens in the nation. The participatory democratic system of governance is a theory developed to give people the power to have a say in how they are governed. This is believed to be a good theory for it can try and ensure equally to a certain extent as it also gives freedom to the people as they able to directly choose what and who they want. Switzerland is an example of a country that uses the participatory system of democracy at the level of the municipalities and other levels of government. For a state to be regarded as legitimate it has to let all those who form part in it be in the decision making of the state’s affairs. One then may wonder how practical can this theory be, in real life how would the whole population be able to be involved in for example a new policy that the government wants to pass do this without incurring extra costs and at no delayed time. People might make errors in their decision because they do not have enough information about that issue in hand even though they are given the power to do so. Society must be small, isolated, homogeneous, and egalitarian (Rousseau, 1930), yet it has been evident that most societies have become large and neighbouring one another which makes his definition of society less relevant in the 21st century. Giving people the right or rather the ability to choose how they want to be governed frees them from slavery, exploitation and ensures that their rights are not violated but how far can someone’s rights take them, can having rights really prohibit those in power from harming or even misleading the masses. It does sound good to part of the decision making of a country one’s part of, in theory though. This theory gives people the ability to come together and put one another’s’ private and public interests forward.
Human empowerment is important in governance, people are empowered through their ability to participate in the state affairs. Giving the citizens power to take part in running the state releases them from chains that enable them to do what they want and be who they want to be as Rousseau (1972) believed that people are chained everywhere yet they were born free. The fact that there is no natural law makes it possible for all the masses to participate in the making of laws that they are to obey and live by. These laws can be seen as the rules which would be appropriate for men to agree among themselves for the sake of the common utility. The opportunity to put in ones ideas into a life changing implementation or even a policy might make the society or state members to be willing to keep order in the society as it is known that most people would start going on strikes because they believe their voices are not being heard or taken to account, but if they are taken into account that would ensure a state is peaceful and a peaceful state is a successful state. Those in power will not always be in power, by allowing the masses to participate in state affairs they learn to take calculated decisions and when the chances present themselves to those in the masses to take over they will be ready and able to govern and make educated decisions with the state members. The strongest man cannot be strong enough forever to remain the master, unless he transforms his might into the right and obedient to duty (Rousseau, 1972) this then shows the importance of transforming power to some of the people in the masses to also reign the states with the inherited knowledge.
The participatory system of democracy has been seen to have some lacking aspects and poses a challenge in it being practiced in most governments. There is too much risk at putting the states affairs in the hands of many people that may not even know for sure of what they want, while some can have different but not so realistic opinions about what needs to be done and how. As much as it has been believed that this theory can ensure equality I fail to understand how can it be that all participate yet some views are taken into consideration while others are not, this is in the case of all members participating yet the majority’s view is the one that is implemented or influences the final decision. In practice this theory poses a challenge as the process of accommodating all the participants can also take more than the estimated time as there needs to be ensured that all the participators’ views are viewed and given a chance. It is not all people that have access to information so can end up making wrong decisions and those with knowledge might have the incorrect knowledge and mislead the nation. The theory does not state whether those who are allowed to participate should be those born in the that state or those that live in that state as it would be a problem to only allow permanent citizens to make such participation that would affect even those who are also citizens yet not permanent.
The representative democratic system relies much on others to advance the interests of others on their behalf. Within the majority rules system, residents get the chance to control the legislature with the utilization of chose delegates. These agents are the ones who follow up in the interest of the general population. In general decisions, voters will choose the people who might speak to them. In practice people select a party or person to represent them in parliament, these people trust this person to put their interests first but what if these interests contradict with those of the representative an example of this would be women that wanted the act of abortion to be legal and say the representative was a Christian that did not believe in the act of abortion, it would be difficult for the chosen representative to represent these women accordingly, the representative would have to choose between their religion and those they represent. It is known that not all people can agree on one thing whether it is an implementation of a policy or basic needs, with this said how does the representative put these in order of importance hence Schumpeter(1987) stated that . People choose a representative because it is much better that a party or person is practically involved in the state affairs as compared to the whole nation, just like it is almost impossible for all people to actively participate it is almost impossible for all the opinions or views to be represented in parliament or other levels of government. Democracy is about freedom and equality so equal are people if their views are seen less important than the others, the representatives are given this big duty to take all concerns of the masses to the government and expect to be given equal responses and treatment.
The theory of representation has been evidently one of the most effective systems of governance. Through representation it is easy to address issues of individuals, this is to say that those who are unable to voice their opinions because of the procedures they have to go through they can let their representative know and trust that the representative will represent them well to ensure they get what they want. At the point when there is settled and chosen representatives, a more steady and dependable government is bordered, the organization is additionally led and administered with sense of devotion and obligation. People under a fair framework exchange knowledge about issues and issues completely so as to think of sensible choices(Shumpeter, 1987). A representative needs to be elected by the people they are going to represent and in order to do this those who want to be representatives have to compete and most often competition leads to some people being harmed, some may be power hungry and not there to do good by the people which is why it has been witnessed that people choose representatives and they advance their interests before of those they represent. Good representation results to people having trust in the government and its ways of doing of things, the citizens then believe that it is in their best interest to support their representatives and ensures social order. People always seek protection be it of their property, interests or even themselves representation then makes it possible for the citizens to feel as if they are protected from any harm or exploitation by the government or other citizens with power and authority.
The representative system of democracy has been criticised for different reasons that make the system not to be as effective as it should. The advancement of the masses concerns are not taken into account when making and implementing policies, majority still dominate making the minority not be given an equal chance to voice and articulate their views in the governance of the state affairs. The representatives can only focus on the concerns of the masses for a short term, after they get power may become corrupt and turn away from the duty of representing and advancing the needs of the people. People have less to worry about as they know someone or party will put their needs first makes them ignorant in knowing about the state affairs and the running of the state even if the information is available for them to use(Schumpeter, 1987) to empower themselves they still choose to be powerless and defenceless. This is how people are exploited and manipulated especially workers as they do not know their rights, acts and regulations put in place to protect them in case the representatives do not do their duty on their behalf. Some representatives are chosen and given power but fail to do their duties then they decline the request or force to step down and give others a chance which does not work in favour of the masses therefore against democracy.
The deliberate democratic system advances central decision making by citizens and government. The theory of deliberate government holds that, for a democratic choice to be legitimate, it must be preceded before authority by valid consideration, not only the collection of inclinations that happens in voting. The theory advances the need for equality in decision making and governance through voting, the idea of voting seems fascinating but when put to test it is not so effective as voters sometimes get threatened, bribed and manipulated by those in power or want to be put in power. Citizens need to be given knowledge in order to make good decisions on how they should vote, on what basis should they vote for a party or person(Bohman, 2000). This then raises concerns on how can the people be educated when they do not want to be educated, how can one make an ignorant person to be aware of what is happening in their country when they are not ready to do so. In trying to ensure equality through voting, can it be said that it is fair to judge the vote of an uneducated and ignorant person with that of an educated person, this then just shows that inequality is indeed inevitable. The central decision making is meant to ensure that all people or rather citizens have an equal input in the running of the state and all its affairs.
A collective decision is emphasised in the deliberate democratic system. The government and the citizens come together in the running of the state affairs. The need for citizens to discuss and know the policies of the state passed and to be passed, this encourages citizens to seek information, raise their opinions then come to a collective decision that might be accommodate all citizens or rather most of the citizens those who do not participate in the process are then left out yet deliberate democracy wants to ensure equality. Citizens are required to have the capacity to introduce their arguments in reasonable and important approaches to their kindred deliberators(Bohman, 2000). These cases should likewise be upheld by argumentation and reason that makes these perspectives freely legitimate to distinctively arranged deliberators. One can say that this theory is good as it is based on the exchange of ideas and arguments by citizens, the outcome is from public discussions rather than that of power and influence by the authorities in this way the theory is doing what it should in ensuring that there is equality among citizens, it is well known that not all people can agree on one thing but engaging in discussions gives citizens the chance to raise their opinions, different perspectives that could assist in the running of the state.
The way in which the theory of deliberate democracy ensures equality, knowledge and discussions of the citizens leaves some questions and concerns. There are modes of expression that are required from citizens when in discussion, those views that seem to be more publicly acceptable yet others are not is a problem, people in a state are regarded as important and “equal” but have unequal opinions when discussing important issues of the state does not sound right or rather is not right at all. Theorists tend to assume that citizens are rational and able to unify yet it has been evident that people can be irrational beings, corrupted and self-interested beings hence there is a state of nature of Hobbes(1941) that believes that humans in nature are irrational, greedy and always looking out for themselves rather than a collective. While most citizens might be thrilled with the idea of voting and being actively involved in the central decisions making of the state affairs others might not want to share that responsibility, preferring representatives rather than themselves doing the work, acquiring information about policies and coming up with the right arguments might be a challenge for some citizens. It is not only the participation that some citizens might be concerned about but also social conditions, for example, legitimately existing basic differences, pluralism, socially complicated quality, the expanding extent of political concerns, and the difficulty of influenced subjects having discussions in which to think are likewise reasons why some are wary of the suitability of a deliberative type of vote based system
Democracy has been an idea for a long time, a good one at that yet some have not benefited from it instead of it making people equal and united in some instances like in Africa it has done the opposite. The democratic systems work well in different states provided they take into account all the factors that form part of the state especially the citizens. The representative system of democracy thus far has been seen to be the most effective system, that citizens have come to accept and trust it in states that utilise it. The systems of deliberate and participatory are good in theory but not so much in practice.