A century ago, perhaps a democracy was the best way to rule a state.
However, there are many more implications and complexities today as issues such
as conflict, war and terrorism are even more of a threat than before. Moreover,
building a functioning and successful democracy free of corruption is a slow
process that requires the hard work of many mature people. In the end,
democracy isn’t a one-size fits all and is definitely not suited for every
Today, the biggest challenge to democracy actually lies within the
voters themselves and not those who are part of the government body. Under a
democracy. citizens “live from day to day, indulging
the pleasure of the moment” as quoted from Plato. Democracies have become
so competitive that campaigning parties have resorted to populism, fulfilling
the voter’s desires in the short run to garner votes, only to forsake the
long-term future of the state. Economically, this is extremely risky as it
makes the country more prone to debt as proven by France and Italy that have
been debt-financed democracies for the past 30 years.
Following the downfall of democracy, there has
also been growing cynicism towards the system. As a result of the lack of
confidence in a political scene run be democracy, voter turnout has declined by
10% between 1980-1984 and 2007-2013. In 2012, a survey carried out in seven
European countries revealed that more than half of the voters “had no
trust in the government”. The very same year, a YouGov opinion poll of
British voters found that 62% of those who polled agreed that “politicians
tell lies all the time”. The shocking statistics show how the people lack
trust in the reliability and transparency of the government.
On a more amusing note, in 2010, Iceland’s Best Party, promising to be openly corrupt, surprisingly
won enough votes to co-run Reykjavik’s city council. It claimed all
other parties are secretly corrupt, and thus promised to be openly corrupt
instead. Among its original goals was to satirize common themes in Icelandic
politics, riding on backlash against establishment parties in wake of financial
crisis. The irony in Iceland’s example shows a toxic mix between dependency
on government on the one hand, and disdain for it on the other. The dependency
forces government to over expand and overburden itself, while the disdain robs
it of its legitimacy.