Fair System?: Showing Vulnerabilities

Fair System?: Showing Vulnerabilities

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7558-0.ch004

Abstract

From a general perspective, the concept of democracy is surrounded by the idea of optimal government systems. Any supporter of democracy argues that it is the system that allows the voters to freely choose a representative. Thus, the country's future is decided ultimately by the people. Interestingly, when looking at the current democratic situation, it seems that the reality is different. Once democracy is implemented in a country, a monopoly of two major parties is established, and these perpetuate and alternate in power. So, in theory, the options for voters could be many. In practice, there are usually only two, and these two replace each other every 4, 8, or 12 years at most. There are not many questions and not much discussion about democracy being the right system of government. Compared to dictatorial systems, there is no question that it is fairer. However, is it the fairest? This chapter focuses on the vulnerabilities of the democratic system and how these are used by the elites.
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Democracy: Fair System?

Democracy is often compared with dictatorship. When comparing both, it is clear that democracy seems a fairer system. However, a good question to ask is: is any other form of government comparable to this democracy?

When comparing the quality of a second hand old car with a bike, there is no question that the car is much faster and maybe better to travel long distances in shorter times. But are other cars in the market faster, safer, and ultimately better? Instead of doing the same comparison over and over again, it would be wise to compare the car with others that offer better quality.

So, democracy is understood as if there were no different way, a different, fairer, way. Either there is democracy or dictatorship, as there was no real form of government other than one or the other. It is like the car salesman who suggests the buyer get the second hand car because it is much better than the bike. Then the buyer could respond, Well, this car is not very safe, it breaks down very often, and it is not very stable. The salesman would ask: Are you crazy? Do you want the bike instead? And then the buyer could reply: No, I want a safer and a faster car.

Politicians play the car salesman role to stay on the political map.

Anyone who does not support democracy as a good valid system might be seen as a supporter of fascism, as the only options of government are dictatorship or democracy. Politicians always remind the people that democracy is fair, and that has been one of the biggest historic achievements of the people. Trying to improve the quality of the current system does not seem much of the public’s interest. It is not fair that the voter has only two choices (Disch, 2009). Democratic societies are the main engine to try to improve democratic systems to make them more fair and to make more parties accessible to the media, so voters will have more choices and information to decide the best government.

In many cases, leaders admit errors and problems (Bush, 2010; Blair, 2010; Clinton, 2004). They even admit big mistakes in administration and management. However, they all say that the current democratic system is right and untouchable. This system let them go unpunished for their mistakes in most cases and allowed them to become rich and powerful. They may know that while this is still accepted, the monopoly will exist and citizens will have two options. If they and the big corporations convince us that the alternative to democracy is the dictatorship (a lousy car or a lousy bike), there is no possibility for change. We will keep having the same system that benefits the few who control the population and establish their monopoly. This idea is unfortunately something close to a dictatorship.

Paul Collier, a professor of economics at the University of Oxford, has won several awards as a writer, specifically for his work The Bottom Billion. In his book Wars, guns and votes, Collier (2010) carries out an analysis and a description of democracies and the choices of government systems. In particular, he focuses on developing democracy in African countries.

Tim Besley, Collier’s student, asks whether politicians are influenced by what their citizens want (Collier, 20010. One question that a priori has an easy answer is not always trivial, especially in underdeveloped countries. In large economies, “it is clear that if a government does not do what voters asked, re-election is complicated” (Collier, 20010. Collier (2010) asserts that politicians are attracted to remain in power in “part, hopefully, by vocation but also by a great lifestyle” This tells us again about the benefits that politicians enjoy and of course attract to greedy non vocational and corrupted people.

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