The study of democratic governance is an effort to make a module on “Theories of Democratic Governance and Research”. For this study, one of the most popular topics “Democracy” discussed and analyzed from the point of theoretical aspect, contemporary research, and application aspect. Objectives This Knowledge Area Module (KAM) looks at democratic governance. This breadth component begins by discussing the theoretical characteristic of democracy.
For this study, democratic thoughts of Aristotle, Milton Friedman, Robert Dahl, and John Dewey will be used as guides; will find out the different ideas about democracy. In Breadth component, theories of democracy of Aristotle, Milton Friedman, Robert Dahl, and John Dewey will be discussed, compared, and contrasted. The Depth demonstration will prepare an annotated bibliography that reflects contemporary research of democracy in promoting freedom and equality. In the Application part, I will come across the democracy in South Asia, its advantages and critics for a positive societal change.
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Summary The breadth component will demonstrate a scholarly discussion about traditional democracy theory of Aristotle; Milton Friedman’s the role of government in a free society, Dewey’s democratic ends need democratic methods for their realization, and Dahl’s dilemmas of pluralist democracy. All these thoughts are discussed, compared, and presented contrasting view points. Aristotle’s Democracy Aristotle’s democratic thoughts are based on bad and good form of ruling (Jowett,1885). Democracy is the rule of many, and not only the best form of government.
Rather he thought monarchy is the required government, if it works for the well being of common people. Kingship has a tendency to turn into tyranny; therefore, kingship is not good enough. He was at variance with Plato’s philosopher king, but suggested for the citizen king. Aristotle’s aristocracy is run by the virtuous, whereas, democracy is ruled by and for the needy. In his book Politics Aristotle four types of democratic regimes: a) Democracy is ruled by farming sorts; b) Democracy is based on herdsmen and need military capabilities c) Democracy is run by middle class- merchants. ) Democracy includes all citizens those who are able to participate in the polis. This four categories democracy is based on equality between poor and rich. In his Politics book four Aristotle viewed fifth democracy which is alike with previous four types but the multitude. Finally, Aristotle presented polity- the best alternative, mixed form of oligarchy and democracy. This polity may more incline to either oligarchy or democracy. Oligarchic polity would rule by few selective individuals and democratic polity is operated by common people.
Aristotle is a promoter of the latter, because it involves rule by the middle class. Dewey’s Democratic Ends Need Democratic Methods for Their Realization Democracy is a social idea to John Dewey (Cunningham, 2002). Dewey viewed people’s actions have permanent and broader effect over other people of the society. People form leaders under political democracy to regulate the actions. When leaders imposed force to achieve private gain, the public became defunct. Democracy is the combination of responsible sharing as per their ability and regulating activities among the groups. Dahl’s Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy
Robert Dahl’s (1989) democracy is a combination of typical and substantive equality. He describes at least five standards for a democratic polity. a) To have equality of voting that allows every citizen’s vote to be counted equally; b) Citizens’ effective participation in cooperative decision-making processes with ample and equal opportunity that will bring out their full potentiality; c) Each citizen has enough and equal chances to get the outcome he/she wants; d) Citizens reserve the full control over or delegate the authority to the program; e) All adult citizens under the law of the polity (Dahl, 1989).
Milton Friedman’s Government in Free Society Democracy, according to Friedman, does not represent the people’s rule rather it stands for the majority’s will (Clarke and Foweraker, 2001). Therefore, he doesn’t believe in democracy, rather he advocates in the individual’s freedom to society minimizing oppression and collusion. Majority voting is an agreement to some issues, and constitution works as a catalyst to legitimate it. He further suggests establishing freedom prior to equality which accelerates the highest output. The role of the government is to get involved in externalities with some costs.
The government role has to be cost effective. Compare and Contrast of Aristotle, Dewey, Dahl, and Friedman Theories Aristotle’s thought on the democratic theory was based on traditional concepts of democracy. He was greatly influenced by his teacher Plato and great thinker Socrates. Aristotle found a solution for the seemingly “defective” form of government called Democracy. He convinced on polity, a combination of oligarchy and democracy. Pragmatic philosopher Dewey viewed that democracy consists of people’s social responsibilities (Cunningham, 2002).
It tends to create a bigger effect on other people than intended. The chosen leader becomes captivated with achieving personal gain, and forgets about the people, even stealing from the people for his gain, and thus the people becoming inactive. All he wants to see is a better democracy, a democracy where all people have equal chances for their voices. Dahl’s (1989) pluralistic democracy formed on equality theory. Dahl viewed ideal democracy has the ingredients of equal voting, opportunity, effective participation, opportunity, controlling power over own agenda, and adults are under polity law.
He found no modern country meet the standard of an ideal democracy. Like Dahl, Friedman did not believe that democracy is not what it seems. Freidman seems to think democracy doesn’t stand for the people’s rule, but rather, majority voting. Therefore, not everyone might agree to the same thing on an issue. That’s not a democracy. Freidman doesn’t agree with democracy being as simple as it seems with Dahl’s description. As much as it may want the people’s opinions, fights will always break out between opposing parties, and the government has to step in.
Friedman wants point C in Dahl’s standards for democracy. Rather Friedman suggests putting freedom before equality that will get a high result for both equality and freedom (Clarke & Foweraker, 2001). What is Democracy essentially? The people gather and make a party, with an opposing party present. They both choose a leader, with one losing most of the time. When that leader works for individual betterment, the public becomes enraged, and non-functional. Again, Democracy isn’t as clean as it seems to be.
Dahl’s standards lay out the foundation of what democracy should be. Aristotle, Dewey, and Freidman seem to disagree with all of the points, but also sort of agree. Aristotle says that he wants a polity; he wants to improve the government called democracy, to remove the problems and clean it out. Freidman says democracy is not the democracy we think we know; again, it’s the same need to see a perfect democracy. They all essentially want the same thing, for everyone to have equal opportunities, equal power, and everyone to be open and speak out their part.
Bryce, J., 1921. Modern Democracies. New York: Macmillan, Vol. 2. Clarke, P.A.B. and Foweraker, J., 2001. Encyclopedia of Democratic Thought. Routledge; 1 edition (July 25, 2001) ISBN-13: 978-0415193962. Cunningham, F., 2002.Theories of Democracy: A critical introduction. Routledge Contemporary Political Philosophy. ISBN 0-203-77448-5. Dahl, R., 1989. Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN: 0300049382. Dewey, J., 1991. The Later Works, 1925-1953: 1939-1941/Essays, Reviews, and Miscellany, Vol. 14. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN: 9780809316809. Jowett, B., 1885. Aristotle: Politics. Forgotten Books Publication. ISBN: 978605063379. Peretz, P., 1996. The Politics of American Economic Policy Making. M.E. Sharpe, Business & Economics. ISBN: 1563245671.