Democracy is the worst form of government. Except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. On the other hand, there are plenty of systems that haven’t been tried yet.

Are there alternative forms of government yet to be tested? New types of democracy, for example? Or completely different ways of organising society, perhaps using the internet or related technologies? Or is such utopian dreaming dangerous? There must be a reason, after all, why democracy has been such an enduring system (albeit one that has mutated many times over the years).

What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Rishabh, who says: “Democracy is the best form of government” partly because democracies are more stable and hold up better in times of crisis. Is that the reason they have endured?

To get a response, we put Rishabh’s comment to Sheri Berman, Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University in the US and author of the book Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day. How would she respond to Rishabh’s comment?

For another perspective, we put the same comment to Anna Wojciuk, Professor of Politics at the University of Warsaw. How would she respond?

Is democracy the best model of government? Are democracies more stable? Are they more dynamic and innovative? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash


20 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Borislav

    Nope! But nobody gave a better one…

  2. avatar
    Alexandra

    There is no democracy whatsoever. Just a lie!

  3. avatar
    Sakis

    Democracy without private money influencing elections. That is the worst form

  4. avatar
    Osmen

    democracy is not allways the same it is evolving you dont have same model od democracy it is changing evolving

  5. avatar
    André

    Everything can be improved. All democracies around the world have little fauls that can and should be repaired.

  6. avatar
    Sergio

    There should be some combination of democracy and meritocracy. Like a requirement for anyone on a high level public office to have a minimum level of university education and a minimum experience in the private sector. People managing public finances should know first hand the difficulties the private sector goes through to generate the wealth and income so they can then tax it.

  7. avatar
    Craig

    A very good question!
    Democracy is a strange word. Our governments claim it is the only legitimate form of government and are working to undermine every other form of government in the world. How democratic our governments actually are is open to debate: studies have shown that, whether on domestic policy or foreign policy, where elite opinion and popular opinion clash, it tends to be elite opinion that wins out in the end. In recent decades, elites have tended to ignore popular opinion on fundamental issues: immigration, transference of sovereignty to transnational institutions, and foreign wars, to name just a few. The populist wave seems to be a backlash against this.
    In practice, no pure democracy can or arguably should exist. Critics have long pointed to a basic tension between democracy – whether conceived of us as majority rule or individual freedom – and values. In practice, if you have any values at all (rule of law, ecology, minority rights..), these will tend to be imposed by elites on the majority or by the majority on individuals.
    According to ancient Greek thought, which I tend to follow, a democracy is only as good your people, an oligarchy only as good as your elite, an autocracy only as good as your dictator. Most people would say Lee Kuan Yew did a good job and few would (today) criticize the wartime Winston Churchill for never having been elected. The secular dictator Kemal Ataturk generally enjoys a better reputation among Western elites than does the elected Islamist Recep Erdogan. Western elites have happily supported military coups against democratically-elected governments whenever these were deemed dangerous (to whom?): Iran, Chile, Egypt…
    With the rise of populism, it’s been interesting to see liberal elites become more critical of majority rule (let alone direct democracy in the form of referenda). A lot of people seem to believe in democracy, but with so many qualifications and conditions, one wonders what meaning the word retains. The word seems principally used as a cudgel to attack political rivals.

  8. avatar
    Tihomir

    do not separate government systems from social systems. Such questions imply such separation and that is incorrect. The governing system must fit the way society interacts with/comprehends itself to be functional.

  9. avatar
    Rick

    Which kind of democracy? This term has multiple meaning.
    There are two types of democracy: direct and representative. In a direct democracy, the people directly deliberate and decide on all legislature. In a representative democracy, the people elect representatives to deliberate and decide on legislature, such as in parliamentary or presidential democracy. Liquid democracy combines elements of these two basic types. However, the noun “democracy” has, over time, been modified by more than 3,500 adjectives which suggests that it may have types that can elude and elide this duality.

  10. avatar
    José

    There is no democracy , a system without direct election is not democratic, representative democracy is a sham, a hoax, a make-believe that fuels injustice, the lack of scrutiny by government officials and nominees including by the judiciary.

  11. avatar
    Maria

    Yes Democracy seems to be the best one. Justice, fight against corruption, freedom of speech seems to be lacking. Now is the time to question, because we are living a Pseudo Democracy.

  12. avatar
    Paulo

    Democracy is the best system independently of its form ( direct or representative) as long as it guarantees freedom of assembly , of speech, equality before the law, minority rights, voting and consent of the governed.

  13. avatar
    Kati

    it needs to be worked on & sometimes new thoughts should be given a chance – van reybrouck‘ s book – against election – the case for democracy is a nice start!

  14. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Is democracy the best model of government?

    There is only one way to experience an honest democratic system of government and have a vote that counts in Europe today, and that is via its people demanding a Swiss style ‘Direct Democracy.’ And to do it quickly. Without it, indigenous peoples of Europe will be without any kind of open voice in their future leadership. What is presently represented to the tax payer, or, funders of organisations presenting as democracy, is not what people understand Democracy to mean. Democracy, in the true sense, is a system which enables its citizens to have the ability to stop those in power from destroying their lifestyle and cultural beliefs. Any other kind of governing process is not that. ‘Direct Democracy’ is the only method Europeans can use in order to be the arbiter against government deviance. Or, to stop them from taking their collective future in a direction they do not want to live under.

    This video gives an understanding of what it means to hold any government accountable for the actions they take without having a collective vote to do so. Direct Democracy, Swiss style, stops them being able to breach your consent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yiSa4aepRM

  15. avatar
    Filipe

    It’s the worst system. Except everything else.

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