11 Advantages and Disadvantages of Democracy

Democracy or democratic government is a form of government wherein the people or citizens of a country have the freedom to choose their leaders and get involved in governance. Unlike a monarchy or oligarchy where an individual has absolute power or a small group of individuals have the power, a democracy is a government for and by the people.

However, like all forms of government, a democratic government is not without benefits and setbacks. While officials are elected by the people, corruption is also one possible disadvantage of this type of government.

List of Advantages of Democracy

1. It gives the people the right to vote.
One of the rewards of living in a democratic state or country is the freedom to elect representatives and leaders they prefer through an electoral process. Moreover, they are given the right to decide, by way of voting, on issues in politics, economics and social. As for electing the president who makes significant and major decisions, the people also have the right to vote the right candidate for them.

2. It is open for change.
In a democracy, elected officials cannot stay in power for as long as they want because they bound by the constitution wherein they have to end their terms in office. In the United States, for example, presidential elections are held and the president can only run for two terms, with a total of eight years. Consequently, no one can be in power for a long time just like in a dictatorship. This means that after a few years, people can expect change. If a leader was not able to perform well while in office, the citizens can have the assurance that they can choose a better government official come elections. And with the presence of political parties, there will be many potential leaders to choose from.

3. It offers representation to people.
Democratic officials are elected nationally and locally. That said, residents of the community will be confident that their cities have elected officials they can go to. With the knowledge that they have a representative willing to serve and be their voice, the citizens will have more participation in the affairs of the government even on a national level.

4. It gets the people involved.
A government which is democratic lets the people pick the leaders of the nation and give them a sense of belonging and self-worth. With the freedom to vote, a person can feel he or she is significant and relevant to society. This also shows that every voting citizen can make a difference in the country he or she lives in.

5. It promotes equality.
In a democracy, there is equality among the citizens since anybody of legal age and a citizen of a country has the right to vote regardless of status, gender and religious affiliation. This also goes for any citizen who wants to serve the city or the country as an elected official.

6. It allows people to voice out their issues.
Basically, a democratic government allows people to start rallies and take their issues to the streets so long as they know their limitations. Citizens who are not satisfied with the government or are against a certain government policy can have an assembly and speak their minds.

List of Disadvantages of Democracy

1. It opens an opportunity for corrupt officials.
Elected politicians will have access to budgets for government projects. By having this privilege, there is a possibility that some officials will be tempted to use the money for their personal interests. Moreover, politicians who have supporters and friends who make contributions for election campaigns might feel indebted to these people and might give these so-called cronies favors in the future.

2. It can lead to wrong choices when it comes to government leaders.
Since in a democratic form of government, running for office is easy so long as the requirements are met, people might make mistakes when voting. Basically, a seat in the office is free for all, aspiring politicians who do not have enough skills but are notable figures like actors, will be elected. Moreover, candidates who have the money to spend for advertisements but do not have a concrete platform can have an edge over a politician who is better but lacks the machinery to run a campaign.

3. It makes voting a personal choice.
One of the disadvantages to be thrown at democracy is the freedom not to vote. With the right to choose an individual’s preference for a leader also is the right not to vote at all. This is a setback, according to critics, since voting is a privilege and not an obligation. As such, there might be people who will choose not to practice their right to vote for lack of motivation or awareness. Also, there might be some voters who will not take elections seriously since they think whoever they choose will not make an impact since the majority always has an edge.

4. It takes time to make decisions.
Another disadvantage of having a democratic form or government is the fact that unlike in a monarchial form of government where decisions are made by one individual, this type of government follows protocol when it comes to decisions and law-making. Since coming up with decisions will undergo processes, time is needed to do so and this can take a long time.

5. It favors the majority.
Since elected officials are given the chance to be in office by way of the number of votes or a majority vote, members of the minority might not be given the voice. This is a downside because shrewd officials can make use of their money and power to persuade the majority of the voters to vote for them. And for the minority members that have relevant issues, they might not be able to be represented well because the majority will always win.

There is no perfect form of government – all have its upside and downside. What is important is that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.