Pros and cons of representative democracy

Pros and cons of representative democracy

Generally, representative democracy involves people electing officials into office who will then create laws and policies. The elected officials are meant to represent the people in all government dealings and decisions. This is a type of democracy that is common in many nations including the U.S, U.K, France, and India. Representative democracy is used in states that feel the citizens can’t all be involved in government matters. If all the citizens were to vote and decide on every policy or law then it would take a lot of time and also it will be difficult to manage the process.

 

Pros:

1. It is efficient. This comes first on the list because this type of democracy works better than direct democracy. In this case, an official is elected to represent all the needs and desires of the people. This saves time and money that would have been spent conducting national elections. This money is then channeled into useful government projects.

2. The people are empowered. The people are given the right to choose representatives who will actually work in their interests. The chosen leaders have to make the voices of the people be heard by the government. If they fail to do so, the voters can replace them with more capable officials.

3. Encourages people’s participation. Citizens who feel that they actually have a say in the decisions made by the government are usually more interested in whatever in going on in the country. They will also be more willing to vote.

4. It’s easier for the government to address any issues. A voted official is well versed with all the problems citizens face. For this reason, any pressing matters can be solved with ease since the government is made aware in due time.

5. The citizens are represented better. The legislative body is elected by the people. Hence, the views from the citizens are presented to the government. When there is unfair treatment or poor implementation of policies, then people only have to voice out their stand or opinions and the representative will do the rest.

6. Well-balanced decisions are made. The legislative body consists of people elected and given the responsibility to make prudent decisions. With the different mind put together, it will be easier to come up with proportionate and practical decisions.

7. The rights of the minority are considered. In a representative democracy, everybody has a right to be heard. The minority will not be overridden because the interests of each citizen are considered as important.

8. Controls all action of the voted officials. The elected officials in representative democracy have to act accordingly. In addition, they are required to meet the expectation of the citizens. If the people believe their representative does not have their best interests in mind then there are measures put in place to deal with such a situation. The person can be removed from office and the election recalled.

9. Governing is made simple. Representative democracy is easy to manage and maintain. Government policies and laws can be implemented easily and at a lower cost. In fact, it makes the government so responsive to the needs of its citizens.

10. It benefits all. Whether you choose to vote or not, you still stand a chance to benefit and receive the same level of representation just like everyone else.

Cons:

1. Encourages polarization. With representative democracy, you can’t possibly make everyone happy. There will always be people who feel left out in a certain way. In addition, there will be a specific group of people who think they are better than the rest and this will create conflicts. This also comes with neighborhoods that are specific to a group of people.

2. Effectiveness relies on good communication skills. The elected official will have to frequently be in contact with the constituents. This calls for effective communication skills to be able to represent the views, opinions, and desires of the people.

3. Representative democracy largely relies on trust. As long as people have trust in their representative, they hardly recognize if their interests are being met. Sometimes the politicians represent their personal interests rather than those of the people. It can take 6 or 10 long years before a new and more capable leader is elected.

4. It may not be that cheap. While this type of democracy is cheaper than direct democracy, there are also some associated costs with it. Billions of money are spent in national presidential elections. On top of that, the state, as well as local elections, has to be conducted. All these costs put together would total to trillions of money.

5. Encourages deception. In the past, we have seen a politician make promises they can’t keep simply because they want to get elected into office. Once they have gained enough votes to get them elected they disappear and no longer care about the very same citizens who voted them in.

6. It may discourage participation. When a representative is elected, people no longer pay attention to what is happening in the government. They completely leave everything to the politicians.

7. The minorities are under-represented. In this case, the elected officials will concentrate more on the views and interests of the majority. This happens because they want to secure votes for the next election.

8. At times, representative democracy is not balanced. With the introduction of political parties, representative democracy is often not balanced. One party can dominate and take over the entire legislation.

9. The voice of the people literally ends after the election. People may present their opinions and demands to their representatives, however, they can’t control the decisions that will be made by the legislative body.

10. It invites corruption. After an election, politicians will only push their own personal agendas and nobody can stop them. In some cases, politicians only want to benefit themselves and don’t care about people.

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