The Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Democracy

Democracy is a government for the people and by the people, but no form of democracy is truer to this than direct democracy. Direct democracy is when instead of voting for who you want to represent you, you represent yourself. The citizens of the country vote on all issues, including bill, laws, and policy changes. These votes are than counted and used as the deciding factor in if it passes or not. This type of government can be very powerful and insight some wonderful things, but it also has the ability to go very wrong, very quickly. Let’s take a look at some of the effects a direct democracy has on it’s country and citizens.

Advantages of Direct Democracy

1. Increased Political Involvement
When people feel that they are actually being heard and making a difference, they are much more inclined to care about what is going on in their country. Direct democracy puts all of the power in the hands of the people, which causes more people to come out and vote, as well as to educate themselves on the happenings of the world and their country.

2. Truly Represents The People
Direct democracy provides the most accurate and transparent wishes of the people. Since with each and every issue, the people are able to completely speak their mind and show their opinion there is no way to misinterpret what they do and do not want.

3. Knowing That Your Vote Matters
In other types of democracies, such as representative, a persons vote doesn’t truly impact the way things are ran. Instead, they only determine who will be making the decisions for them. Direct democracy is when a person’s vote is truly important to the country as a whole, which ignites more pride and patriotism.

4. Corruption Is Reduced
The main source of corruption in politics comes from the politicians. They will campaign for votes by making promises that they do not intend on keeping. Direct democracy removes this problem, because the politicians do not have the ability to make the decisions any longer.

Disadvantages of Direct Democracy

1. It’s Simply Impractical
The biggest argument against direct democracy is the sheer fact that it would be nearly impossible to implement on a large scale. Setting up voting areas and times for every single law, bill, and policy change would cripple a country and slow the entire process.

2. The Minority Has No Say
If every single thing is voted on by every citizen, then no beneficial change could happen for people of minority groups. They will remain the minority on every decision being processed, no matter what.

3. Not Everyone Has The Skills
While in theory, letting everyone have a say is a great thing, in reality it may not be so beneficial. A large majority of the population does not have the education or skills needed to make major decisions on how a country is ran. This could the true intentions of things to be skewed and the wrong decisions to be made.

4. Extremely High Costs Involved
A couple different things happen during a voting time. The first is that designated voting polls are set up, and all of the necessary equipment must be provided. If every small thing is voted on in a wide scale way, these voting polls would have to be put up many different times a year. Along with these costs, the costs for employers to allow their employees to go vote would also be incurred. Another thing is that all information regarding every issue would have to be published and made available to voters prior to voting.

5. It’s About Time
Time is another one of the biggest problems that are involved with a direct democracy type of government. In order for even the smallest of changes to be made to the country, the entire nation would have to vote, and those votes would then have to be counted. This would slow down the entire process and make change a very tedious thing.

6. Corruption Would Still Exist
Instead of people bribing or trying to persuade politicians to vote the way that they want them to, they would now begin to exploit the public. This could greatly harm the integrity of the decisions being made.

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Important Facts About Direct Democracy

  • Switzerland is currently the only country that operates underneath a direct democracy type of government.
  • Even in Switzerland, some things are subject to federal legislation.
  • Ancient Athens is the earliest known direct democracy, which was recorded in 5th Century B.C.
  • Alexander Hamilton believed that direct democracy was the most pure and perfect form of government.
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