Democracy and Government: Making Decisions

Democracy and Government: Making Decisions

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7558-0.ch001


Modernism involves establishing a relationship between democratic countries and their economic and social welfare. Democracy, for the most part, can be seen as a consequence of developed countries. Many authors have concluded that a country that enjoys economic development will sooner or later establish a democratic system that allows the governments to be elected. This chapter analyzes the functions of different governments and how democracy might be able to shape their methods to ensure that the decisions they make are optimal.
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This section provides the basis that must be used to build a possible government. What is the government? What exactly do the voters choose every four years? The following could be a valid answer in the form of a definition:

The government is the authority to rule and to manage country/state powers.

In broad terms, the government is one structure that performs various activities, commonly called state functions. This brings us to a different question. What are the powers of state? Any textbook of Political Science can define these as a management status and distribution of the functions of the State/country, in which the ownership of each is entrusted to a separate public institution or corporation and managed through the use of politics. And now, what is politics?

Politics is the human activity that aims to rule the action of the State for the benefit of society. The process is ideologically oriented by the decision-makers to achieve the goals of a group. Anyone who works in politics is called politician.

These definitions shape the political decision-making system, which is one of the key focuses of this chapter. A government clearly has to make decisions for the well-being of its citizens; that act of decision making creates differences in governance. A government must make decisions, hopefully correct decisions, as these can either benefit or harm the population.

Information from various authors who have analyzed the behavior of several governments is compiled in this chapter, including presidents of powerful governments, political scientists, and analysts. Logically, the presidents might not publicly reveal all they know about the system, but with the information they provide, the author draws some conclusions. Some of the referenced authors also analyzed the government’s ability to influence and control the social mass, which could help to define the elements that an optimal government should ideally have.

In “Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision-making,” Stone (1998) proves that it is necessary to keep on analyzing political decision-making as the political world grows from different ideas and definitions. She argues that decision-making is an inner value by nature. According to Stone (1998), policies related to decisions are the manifestations of values ​​and personal evaluations that are interestingly enough made with little rational scientific rigor.

Classified by the type of decision-making, stone describes two political models: a rational model and a citizen model.

The rational model is static, and it works in a structured manner:

  • 1.

    Identify goals

  • 2.

    Identify alternative courses of action to achieve the goals

  • 3.

    Predict the consequences of each alternative.

  • 4.

    Minimize the potential consequences of each alternative.

  • 5.

    Choose the alternative that maximizes the achievement of the objectives

This simple model is based on an economic system.

The citizen model, however, is a dynamic paradigm that does not appear to have any progression or structure. In order to differentiate them clearly, the citizen model is based on a “group, organization or community that has public interest and persuasive influence. In general, it is based on emotional laws” (Stone, 1998). The rational model, on the other hand, is more logic-based.

Furthermore, Stone shows four different targets that control the political process for each model: equality, efficiency, security and freedom. They are called targets, as it is impossible to find a word that better suits their role. Stone offers the following table that includes a definition for policy purposes.

Table 1.
definitions of objectives (Stone, 1998)
   Fairness   Equal treatment
   Efficiency   Get maximum results
   Security   Basic human needs
   Freedom   Ability to act without harming anyone.

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