Each country has its own unique take on governing its people, and with the similarities that bind countries together, political systems can create broad categories on which people classify their types. One popular form of government in the US and other countries is the democracy, which is created and managed by the people, ensuring representation of the citizens. However, representation does not always occur, as every nation is different from others, where some democracies evolved to reflect the people’s needs better.
One of the evolved forms of democracy is direct democracy, which places power directly in the people’s hands. A political system based on an unmediated and direct participation of the people, it pursues a certain goal of the government. This is seen as a convenient and effective type of democracy that allows people to speak out for their worries and entail to pass their needs to the government to be familiar with such issues. To make sure all consequences direct democracy would bring can be prevented, it is important for the people to be aware of its advantages and advantages.
List of Advantages of Direct Democracy
1. It promotes transparency.
The progress and improvement of society can lie in the hands of its people, which means that direct democracy gives people a greater responsibility to deal with fair and honest laws to be implemented. It gives people the opportunity to get access to necessary information for them to clearly and widely understand issues within the government and its laws, bringing about transparency and allowing the citizens to informatively discuss political issues due to their involvement.
2. It provides direct responsibility.
Since every person has their right to speak out their needs and worries in direct democracy, government officials and politicians would take much care and concern to the people, being held accountable for every decision made by the people. Whatever concern and issue the public would want the government to recognize, it will always be given attention.
3. It promotes a well-cooperative community.
As people have the power to speak for their opinions that the government needs to articulate, a sense of harmonious participation among politicians is promoted, which also leads to civic involvement and a meaningful society, where well-informed decisions are made not only by the government, but by the public as well.
List of Disadvantages of Direct Democracy
1. Its votes would require understanding and expertise.
In direct democracy, some issues would be black and white, and more often than not, would involve a complicated set of benefits and drawbacks that should be examined carefully before votes go out. Citizens should then elect the right candidate to answer challenging and complex questions. The system should work as it should, and people voting on others’ behalf should make the same choice, spending enough time for careful considerations.
2. It could create un-involved and un-educated people.
Because direct democracy promotes public involvement, people need to get in touch with all activities and seminars the government would be facilitating. However, there will be cases, where not all people could participate, especially during elections, necessitating the government to create a reliable answer by rendering continuous seminars and conducting elections until it has reached the exact amount of people living in the area. This would not only mean additional expenses for the government, but would also mean spending more time and effort.
3. It creates room for manipulation and corruption.
With direct democracy out in place, every individual can vote directly, creating room for manipulation and corruption, like what can be seen in indirect democracy. With the complexity of some issues, it would be easy for one party or another to flood the streets with promotional materials to try and influence the way people would decide to vote. This is not difficult to imagine happening, if for example, the country would suddenly change its style of voting.
4. It poses difficulties in decision-making.
Since this type of political system provides greater public involvement, difficulties in decision-making can be always observed, which is evident when the government uses decisions that come from the least-equipped citizens, who do not even know what the issues are all about. Though direct democracy allows people to speak for their own opinions and concerns in public to receive immediate attention by the government, these two parties still need to be careful before putting their decisions into action to make sure that everything that they will be doing would be for the betterment of society and not to add burden that can cause their region to decline.
5. It instills the fear of instability.
In the past, there have been many situations when the consensus, popular vote was not the right one, which made civil rights immediately coming to mind. It was not until later in the movement that these rights would have passed a popular vote, but by employing indirect democracy with people who are able to see the bigger picture, there was a greater deal of security and continuity in the election processes, while a quick change is hindered and instability can quickly grow in direct democracy.
6. It can slow down a country’s progress.
Unlike in indirect democracy, progress in indirect democracy cannot be made easily and quickly. Also, it would be more difficult to reach a consensus among small groups of elected officials, more so in the entire population. As you can see, indirect democracy gives every individual the right to balance his responsibility in the government with his full-time life and moves legislations very quickly compared to direct democracy. Furthermore, people in direct democracy would not have the time to read these words and would have a difficult time to elect officials who can pass necessary and immediate legislations. As a result, it can sometimes slow down the country’s progress.
Like any other form of government, direct democracy can certainly bring about changes in a certain country one way or another. Based on the advantages and disadvantages listed above, do you think it is good for society, or not?
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.