Actions and Consequences: Reasons Behind the Scene

Actions and Consequences: Reasons Behind the Scene

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7558-0.ch002
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As the responsibilities for democratic governments are high, the consequences of their actions can have a big impact on the societies they rule, and ultimately on other countries that are affected by their decisions. This chapter debates the consequences of government actions. Some scenarios are described, and the reason behind these is revealed. When governments are proven to be responsible for damaging the society in any way, they should respond and take responsibility for their errors by explaining to the society the implications of their decisions. However, this cycle and outcome is not always the case. The question to be answered is the reason behind government enacting bad policies. Once that is revealed, the vision of ruling will be subject to change.
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Governments’ Actions And Consequences

Regardless of whether the statements in previous chapters from former leaders and political experts are true or not, they all suggest that governments play an important role in the development of our civilization. From there, an analysis of the democratic situation today can be done.

Let us consider possible definitions of Government.

The government's mission is to create a system of social protection for all people living in the country; it must be a long term safe, self-sustainable, high quality and free of corruption. The main priority must be to ensure the future of health, education and housing. (Wikipedia, 2014)

Have all the existing governments in recent years fulfilled their mission in the countries they rule?

Take Italy, Spain, or England, for example. Social protection has been damaged in the past ten years in these countries, education and health have diminished, and the price of housing skyrocketed up to 2008; then, real state collapsed, dragging down other sectors with it. If the economic crisis is to blame, then why do citizens need governments that can’t prevent some or all of its effects? The rulers have some degree of responsibility, in terms of corruption, or maybe lack of foresight, negligence, or just irresponsibility. If one of the government’s missions is protecting the country from external or internal agents, shouldn’t they take responsibility when they do not fulfill its mission?

On January 31, 2012, Emilio Botin, chairman of one of the world's most powerful banks, Banco Santander (BSCH), blamed politicians for the economic and social crisis. Was he right? It certainly seems that governments have at least some responsibility, and it is their duty to be professional in situations of economic and social crises or in whatever other disaster affects the country they represent.

A popular and extended idea about democracy is​​ that a country's government is elected by the people with their vote. This idea implies that any voter performs their voting action in a completely free way and therefore elects the political party that seems best suited to govern the nation, state, or whatever. The result is that a party is elected by the citizens' trust.

When looking at this reality in detail, the author defines as noticeable what happens in a completely different way in many cases. There is a political bipartisanship in most democratic countries, meaning that one party rules, and then the opposition party rules after a while. Typically, these two parties switch roles in power every 4 or 8 years. Any member of one of the two most powerful parties knows it is only a matter of time for their party will be back in power. It is enough for the government to disappoint and irritate the citizens up to a limit, and then what can be called a ‘punishment vote’ comes in place; it is a way to protest against the current government, voting for the opposition in the next elections.

When observing what happens in all democratic countries, the cycle is repeated in virtually all countries that have democracy as the ruling system. There are two consolidated political forces. Generally, left and right, popular socialist, republicans and democrats, or conservatives and liberals.

England, the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Italy Portugal ... once the democratic system is in place, a few parties take power and stays with it. The first political party to rule Spain was the Democratic Centre Party (UCD). After them, in 1983, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) ruled until 1996. At that time, the citizens, tired of suffering extreme corruption, made a change and gave the power to the conservative opposition party, the Popular Party (PP). This party remained in power until 2004. The elections took place on the 14th of March, and polls suggested they would stay in power four more years. However, a clear intended terrorist attack in the train station on the 11th of March made citizens punish the government and gave power back to the liberals (PSOE). This party lost power again in 2012, punished for their disastrous management of the global economic crisis. Again, the conservative PP got to rule.

In the United States, the political situation responds to a similar pattern. Republicans and Democrats alternate in power depending on how much people are willing to endure the errors of the ruling party. (Decisions contrary to popular opinions such as the Vietnam war, the Iraq intervention, or the economic crisis are examples that come with a cost for the party in power.)

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