Last Updated on March 16, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Direct Democracy is a form of democracy where all policies and laws enforced by the governments are decided by the citizens themselves, and in contrast to the representative or indirect democracy, citizens’ direct participation is allowed in the making of the democratic decision.
It is the purest form of the present structure of the government and hence is also referred to as the pure democracy. Here, each individual in that country or community has the change of choosing the outcome. The operation of direct democracies can be done via citizens’ assembly or via the medium of initiatives and referendum where voting is done by the citizen on problems instead of parties or candidates.
Direct democracy can be known to be political institutions’ full-scale system, however, in current duration, this form of democracy usually comprises of institutions of deciding on a broader representative democracy’s system. Within a pure democracy, each bill, law, and rulings of the court are decided via the vote of all individuals within that community or country.
In the current world, it is very rare to find the practice of direct democracies in any country or community. The nearest widespread example of a pure democracy currently in Switzerland that engages this structure of government’s elements. The Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus’s cantons in Switzerland are the only identified direct democracy’s pure forms existing today.
Within a direct democracy, each qualified citizen is provided with the ability to vote for controlling the government’s direction. Hence, a higher transparency level is attained between the individuals and the government, however, it limits the implementation rate of any declaration, procedure, or policy. Regardless of the benefits offered by this form of democracy, one should be equally conscious of the restrictions or limitations it brings for deciding its likeliness of developing the nation on implementation. Detailed information on the merits, as well as demerits of such form of democracy, is provided in the following section.
Pros of Direct Democracy
The illustration of the benefits provided by direct or pure democracy is done below:
1. Importance of Vote
In a pure democracy, regardless of the decisions being per the vote of the majority, every individual can place their say and the counting of their vote is done in case of their desire to be involved in a decision. Because of this benefit, every citizen wish to remain active politically and attain insight on the issues as they have a say in its mitigation procedure.
Within a direct democracy, the government and each of its officers are mandated to deliver complete and accurate information to its citizen because of the influence of each vote in making decisions concerning any procedure, process, or policy. This form of democracy grants an open form of communication among the government and the people for the occurrence of cooperation in place of prejudice.
3. Boosted Personal Responsibility
Each individual inside a pure democracy is accountable for their respective influence on the process of governing. Rather than communication semantics or dogmatic double-talk, which attempt to downplaying the individual responsibility, every individual possesses a clear and developed record of voting concerning every challenge.
4. Enhanced Cooperation
Inside a pure democracy, for the realization of the desired result, networking and cooperation are encouraged. Negotiation is performed via several affiliations and groups by uniting for enhancing the chance of realizing something applicable for everyone.
5. Happier Citizens
Due to the dependency of the operation of the government as per the people’s pleasure, within a pure democracy, there is enhanced happiness with the government’s structure and the life of each citizen. There is always an assurance in the public of having their say in any decision, which heightens their satisfaction and happiness.
Cons of Direct Democracy
The illustration of the drawbacks provided by pure or direct democracy is done below:
For an effective and accurate operation of direct democracy, countless factors adding to the cost are required to be considered. Every individual must be provided with sufficient knowledge of the ongoing issue for making a correct decision through training, webinar, seminars, etc., that increase the cost associated in this form of democracy.
2. Difficulty in Decision-Making
Due to the importance of every vote in deciding a solution for an issue in a direct democracy, there is a difficulty in making decisions fast and effectively. Deciding for any issue requires the vote from each citizen, leading in the increment of the steps for forwarding towards the solution and delaying the decision making procedure.
3. Manipulation Possibility
In a pure democracy, each election is faced with the chance of the deviation of the outcome towards the one with higher socioeconomic status in contrast to those with lesser resources. In this form of democracy, every decision being per negotiation, there exists a higher possibility of the involvement of special interests and its manipulation on the way others perceive that information.
Suppose a majority vote to support in the restriction of the opportunities of employment for people as per their skin color. Such instability of decision is possible within this form of democracy where various decisions could be made per the emotion rather than logic.
5. Limitation of Public Participation
The purpose of direct democracy in serving the people’s interest is met only if the majority of individuals take part in the process of making the decision. With the increment in the time essential for voting and debating, the participation and interest of the public inside the process reduces, leading to the decisions without the reflection of the majority’s desire.
To summarize, direct democracy provides the citizens with the transparency of the government activities and encourages cooperation towards the realization of the common motive.
In a pure democracy, every vote is considered important in addressing an issue, leading to a much happier life of the citizen. Also, this form of democracy encourages the responsibility of an individual and demands a definite discipline level to be maintained.
However, this form of democracy is highly unstable and requires a large amount of time for making a decision, leading to the limitation of public participation. Pure democracy is an expensive government form where a large quantity of indirect costs is also considered.
Also, there is the presence of a possibility of high manipulation of a decision within a pure democracy. Hence, regardless of it being pure and transparent, such form of democracy isn’t practical in the current world, as high influence individuals can alter it as per their need, leading to the nation’s doom.