IS DEMOCRACY THE PERFECT FORM OF GOVERNANCE?
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time – Winston Churchill
There is no such thing as the “perfect form of government”, but any other form has shown less desirable outcomes. No other form of government has been invented that administers a nation better than democracy.
Non-democratic rulers do not have to be concerned about deliberation in assemblies, majorities or public opinion. So, they can be very quick and efficient in decision-making and implementation.
Democracy, however, is based on the idea of deliberation and negotiation. So, some delay is bound to take place. But it takes into consideration the will of the people. Decisions made democratically are more acceptable to the people and therefore more effective.
So the cost of time that democracy pays is perhaps worth it.
Accountability and Transparency
The various laws, constitutional provisions, and internal regulations found in most democracies reflect the idea that those who work for the government, whether appointed, elected, or hired, owe a high level of accountability to the public. Accountability means that an individual should be able to explain and answer for their actions and may be legally obliged to do so. Transparency requires that the decisions and actions of those in government are open to the public and that the public has a right to access such information. We can see the proceedings of our Legislative houses on Live TV or get information from their websites.
Moreover, our free press enables us to receive information about the actions and decisions of our elected representatives.
In India, we have provisions like the RTI act that enables citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable and transparent.
Non-democratic governments like dictatorships have no such protections or safeguards. Leaders in a dictatorship do not have the same incentives as leaders in a democracy to avoid violating the law and abusing power to their own advantage.
Democratic governments are legitimate because they are elected by the people. They are not inherited like a monarchy or taken by force like a military dictatorship. They are legitimate because the elected government abides by democratic principles in governing, and thus is legally accountable to its people.