The Definition of Democracy

In general terms, democracy originates from two Greek words “demos” which means the people and “kratia” which describes authority or a form of power. Nevertheless, the definition is more than the two Greek word differentiations. It refers to a group method of decision making that takes into account equality among the stakeholders in the critical group decision-making levels (Gilens " Page, 2014). The definition comprises four aspects the first being a collective decision making at group levels that is deemed bounding on all the group members. The second aspect covers the different group types that may be termed democratic. Democracy can thus exist in a family, commercial firm as well as in voluntary organizations. Thirdly, the definition lacks any normative weight but can be generally applied to any socioeconomic and political context involving decision making. Lastly, the equality as outlined in the definition describes the one-person-one-vote for elective posts in either house of representation in a highly contested political position. It may also be associated with a robust dispensation not limited to equality in such political processes of coalition building as well as deliberation (Gilens " Page, 2014). Democracy can, therefore, be defined to include the deliberative as well as participative forms.

According to Diana Mutz, an ideal participative democracy can be attributed to the instrumentalism theory. According to the theory, democracy is associated with two types of instrumental advantages that include relatively good policies and laws as well as participants character improvement (Mutz, 2006). The same arguments are shared by Joan Stuart Mill who holds that the democratic establishment of legislation is more favorable than the non-democratic epistemically, strategically as well as through character improvements of the ordinary citizens. Democracy has a strategic advantage as it coerces the people obligated to make decisions to consider the rights, the interests as well as the views of the general population. Since democracy decentralizes the power of politics, the views of the majority are taken into considerations when compared to monarchy or aristocracy (Mutz, 2006). Sen (1992) exemplifies such a statement by alluding that no significant amount of famine has ever been witnessed in any individual country where democracy is practiced alongside freedom of the media. The relevance of such a statement suggests that a country experiencing a functional democracy as well as gives the media their freedom have a reserved capacity to consider the poor peoples’ needs and concerns.

On the epistemological front, democracy passes as the ideal tool for decision making premised on the belief that the participants can rely on it in making correct decisions. As democracy incorporates the ideas of a larger group of people, it has infinite access to information as well as a reasoned evaluation of proposed laws and policies. The final decision is more informed as well as comprises of the people’s interests as well as the adoption of mechanisms that can be used in advancing such interest. Besides, the broader consultations in a democratic government fashion encourage the exhaustive evaluation of the various moral perspectives that shape the opinion of the decision makers (Mutz, 2006).

The majority of people have associated themselves with democracy on the belief that democracy nurtures character (Mutz, 2006). People in a functioning democracy tend to take active roles in matters that directly or indirectly affect their lives thus democracy tends to promote autonomy. Additionally, democracy makes individuals develop thinking and communication cues which leads to the generation of rational decisions. Diana Martz, for instance, attributes democracy to enhanced citizen moral traits as they are encouraged to listen to other people’s views and interests that they incorporate in making decisions. Simply put, democracy enhances citizen’s autonomy, morality as well as rationality.

Deliberative democracy, on the contrary, tends to limit the possibility of expertise winning an election (Gilens " Page, 2014). Those who use other means to win an election, respective of their track records will always occupy the democratic politics at the peril of an adequately governed society. The most cited reason behind deficiency of expertise in a political space resonates with their incapability to critically think about the issues that encompass political competition and ends up losing. But to effectively govern the state after fronting a successful campaign, the politicians seek help from these technocrats on rare occasions. The state, thus, would be governed by poorly constituted ideas that the propagandists use to ascend to power.

Majority of the theories that examine public choices argue that politics is played in a field full of citizens who are poorly informed on matters of politics and are always apathetic giving leeway for the special interest groups to exploit such flaws for their good (Gilens " Page, 2014). The impacts of their individual and collective actions, nonetheless, are spread to the entire citizen fraternity.  According to Hobbes, both deliberative as well as a participatory democracy have deteriorating effects on the politicians as well as the general population compromising the quality of the decision made.

In conclusion, achieving a fully participatory as well as deliberative democracy is unlikely. The flaws of each reduce their individual capacities to effectively fill the democratic gaps that are created in the course of their implementations. However, combining the two proves viable option as the challenges of participatory may be fulfilled by the strengths of deliberative democracy.


Gilens, M., " Page, B. I. (2014). Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens. Perspectives on politics, 12(3), 564-581.

Mutz, D. C. (2006). Hearing the other side: Deliberative versus participatory democracy. Cambridge University Press.

Sen, A. (1992). Inequality reexamined. Clarendon Press.

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