democracy n.
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Democracy. a word used in at least three ways in the discussion of government democratic centralism direct or participatory democracy representative democracy. democratic centralism.

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a word used in at least three ways in the discussion of government

  • democratic centralism
  • direct or participatory democracy
  • representative democracy
democratic centralism
democratic centralism
  • Authoritarian governments define democracy as - a system that represents the “true interests” of the people, whether or not they directly affect those interests.
  • The central leadership discusses among themselves and decide on what are the “true interests” of the people.

former Soviet Union operated on this theory – the central committee made all economic and political decisions.

  • In other authoritarian regimes, ruthless dictators, calling themselves democratic based on this concept, conduct the business of the country in the “true interests” of the people.
direct or participatory democracy
direct or participatory democracy
  • Based on Aristotle’s definition of the “rule of the many.”
  • Most practical in the Greek city states in which citizenship was extended to all adult male property holders.
  • These citizens met as a group to decide on issues affecting the polis.

New England town meetings.

  • However, as towns and cites become larger, they are opting for elected representatives to handle the town’s business.

initiativeand the referendum allow a substantial measure of direct democracy in modern political system.

  • Initiatives allow voters to place legislative issues directly on the ballot if enough signature are obtained.
  • This completely bypasses the legislative process in which a proposed bill goes through committee action in both houses.

The referendum allows the legislative branch to place a controversial piece of legislation already approved by them on the ballot.

  • Voters get the opportunity to reject or approve the particular bill.
  • These two methods allow the voting citizenry a sort of direct democratic participation.
representative democracy
representative democracy
  • representative democracy involves leaders acquiring power by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote.
  • For representative democracy to exist there must be genuine leadership competition.
  • Sometimes this theory is referred to as the elitist theory of democracy

This sort of government is supported by those who feel that in a direct democracy it is impractical for the public to make policy across a vast array of issues.

  • They believe that people often decide large issued on the basis of fleeting passions. (ex. Propositions in California – will of the people vs. mass hysteria)

For the representative democracy to function, it is necessary that there be competing elites and free communications.