6 Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Democracy

There are many forms of democracies, and one of them is direct democracy. In this form of government, the people can directly determine the laws and policies of their land through a show of hands, instead of leaving this task to elected officials. Direct democracy has been around since ancient times. It was notably practiced in Ancient Athens, during which people actively participated on voting for legislative and executive bills. It can also be observed in the Swiss cantons of Glarus and Appenzell Innerrhoden as well as in certain municipalities in New England in the U.S., which hold town meetings to encourage people to participate in local affairs.

With these in mind, it’s easy to conclude that direct democracy must have positive qualities since it has been used by several societies. However, many people think that it can bring about several disadvantages and may not be the best form of government. To learn more about this, let’s take a closer look into the pros and cons of direct democracy.

List of Advantages of Direct Democracy

1. It makes sure that people’s voices are heard.
In representative democracies, the people are only directly involved in choosing the leaders that would represent them in government; they don’t have a say when it comes to creating the rules and regulations that would govern them. This isn’t the case in a direct democracy, which gives each and every person a chance to voice out his opinion and make sure he’s heard.

2. It encourages people to participate in the government.
Since they know that their vote would count, people become more eager to educate themselves about how the government works and participate in governing their country. They also become prouder of their nation and develop feelings of patriotism as well as self-confidence and self-worth.

3. It reduces the chances of corruption.
Direct democracy removes power from politicians and puts it in the people’s hands, making elected officials less influential and preventing them from using their authority to get what they want.

List of Disadvantages of Direct Democracy

1. It takes a huge amount of time and effort.
Counting people’s votes requires days or even weeks, which means it’s difficult and time-consuming to pass a simple bill or making policy changes. It also requires lots of funds and hard work, since voting stations would have to be set up when the people need to decide on something.

2. It prevents great ideas from being implemented.
Many excellent political ideas have come from a single person or two. Unfortunately, in a direct democracy, these concepts won’t get to see the light of day since they’d be overpowered by what the majority says.

3. It prevents minorities from speaking out.
In a representative democracy, minority groups have the chance to elect someone who’ll stand up for them in the government, ensure their plight is heard, and create laws that protect their rights. This won’t likely happen in a direct democracy, which prioritizes the decisions made by the majority.

Final Thoughts

Just like any other form of government, direct democracy has its own pros and cons. So, for the societies that practice this type of democracy, they must find a balance between its advantages and disadvantages and see how they can make it work for them.