From my Notebook: Pointers for UPSC Essay on Democracy

UPSC Essay on democracy
UPSC Essay on democracy

I made some notes from different articles for UPSC Essay on Democracy. By no means this is exhaustive but is only meant to give you some pointers which you could use in your essay. Please refer to important quotations for UPSC essay article for quotes on Democracy. The rest of the material for essay on Democracy has been reproduced from my notes below:

Negatives (Arguments against)

  • creates gridlock in administration
  • inefficiencies
  • delayed decision making and slow progress
  • Pew Survey says 85% Chinese (one party rule) are happy with country’s direction but only 31% Americans (democracy) are happy with USA’s direction
  • trivializes decision making
  • allows sweet-talking politicians to mislead the masses
  • Democracy discredited due to American imperialism in garb of exporting democracy
  • “Democracy is a figleaf for imperialism.”
  • Challenges from above
    • supranational bodies like UN have curtailed national powers, making it difficult for democratic leaders to walk on their promise
  • Challenges from below
    • local self government leading to fragmentation. E.g. Catalan, Scottish, Texan, Kashmiri demands for separate nations.
  • Party membership is declining. Only 1% of British citizens are members of political parties while the figure was 20% in 1950.
  • Popular cynicism: Iceland’s Best Party openly promised to be corrupt. Italian political party set up jokingly by a comedian won ample votes.
  • There is dependency on the government and disdain for it too at the same time.
  • Democracy’s appeal was linked to USA’s success. Now China presents a different model for growth and economic development, so people started questioning the need for democracy.

Positives (Arguments for)

  • Democracy was troubled in 1920s and 1930s too by Communism. But it came out victorious. When Italy returned to Parliamentary democracy in 1931, Mussolini likened it to the returning of oil lamps in the age of electricity.
  • China’s underlying problems–legitimacy of the rule will be challenged once economy heats up and growth slows down, massive inequality, lack of political freedom, suppression of ideas, thought policing
  • Resilience of democracy due to alternate leaders and alternate policies; not available in any other form of rule.
  • Democracy provides creative solutions due to open deliberations even if they come delayed via zigzag routes.
  • Democracy avoids majoritarianism and thus reduces social conflict: lasting peace
  • Ruler elected by majority but rules through consensus
  • Limits on the powers of the government
  • Protects individual rights

Reforms Needed

  • Transparency in party funding and lobbying
  • Greater powers to Election Commission
  • Rational limit on dole out by the political party in power
  • Not promising the moon during poll campaigns
  • Good governance with ICT
  • Sunset clause to review laws every 10 years
  • Delegation of powers to lower levels: decentralization
  • Better fiscal discipline
  • Protect masses from hyper-democracy (online referendum etc.)
  • social accountability and participatory governance

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