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Democracy

Y1 Barriers lecture 2/3
by

Mike Yule

on 11 October 2016

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Transcript of Democracy

Democracy
demos
kratos
right to vote
right to be elected
right to compete for support and votes
elections that are free and fair
freedom of association
freedom of expression
freedom to alternative sources of information
institutions for making policy dependent on votes
Lijphart 1999
rule of the people for the people
all eligible people are entitled to participate equally in the development and creation of laws
essential equality among participants
UK political info
http://www.ukpolitical.info
collective decision making, (binding on all)
characterised by:
Athenian democracy
direct representation
limited eligibility
Alternatives to democracy
tyranny
oligarchy
power in the hands of a few
timocracy
power derives from wealth/
property ownership
Democracy
Pre-democratic
monarchies
"divine right to rule"
The social contract
authority for government springs from the people
Hobbes
Locke
Rousseau
modern liberal democracy
expanded with
modern capitalism
autonomous individuals acting in their self interest
Adam Smith
Globalisation
Does Democracy still work in an age of trans-national corporate power and wealth?
Is there enough equality?
Is
power in the hands of the people?
Democracy
Benefits
representative (unlike direct)
Problems
school council?
Representative government:
laws established by consent of the people
Everybody has a voice
equality of participants in deciding rules
no ruler above the law
Democracy is the logical expression of equality
Conforms to the wishes of the majority
Allows for participation of wide range of people
Better laws result because everyone has been consulted
Flexible ways of delivering democracy
"No substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press."
Amartya Sen, 1992
i.e. Democracy requires governments to take into account the views of others, their interests and rights
Broad based discussions enhance the critical assessment of moral ideas by decision makers
messy though!
Hobbes, and lots of teachers, disagree!
Intrinsic qualities that are good

EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS A RIGHT TO LIBER
TY
,

EACH SHOULD BE IN CONTROL OF HIS/HER OWN LIFE,
INCLUDING DECISION MAKING

Democracy is founded on notion that:
EQUALITY OF THE PARTICIPANTS,
SO THAT DEMOCRACY ALLOWS FOR A FAIR COMPROMISE BETWEEN COMPETING AIMS
LIBERTY
EQUALITY
It's argued that Democracy has a beneficial
impact on people's
character
helps people stand up for themselves

people become more
people think rationally and carefully about decisions...
because they can influence them
AND because they are accountable for them
Does a nation of moral, rational people make better laws?
Do good people make a good society?
Does a good society with good institutions make good people?
OR
British are only free when they vote every 4 -5 years
now, more direct involvement...
(tho perhaps govt aware thru polls, focus groups, media of public opinion)
e - petitions
direct action
pros and cons
e.gs stop sell off of forests
debate re curriculum
MG to teach!
Democracy conforms to the wishes of the majority...
or does it?!
Persistent minorities
Are they given a voice?
How are their concerns met?
Exclusion from political proc
ess
Disenfranchiseme
nt

Marx
disengaged voters
consumerist desires
voters become manipulable (Plato)
power of corporations
Effect of global capital
unaccountable
elected officials increasingly powerless
decrease of role of state
recognition of need to regulate corporate power - big fight!
free market unable/unwilling to tackle e.g climate change
biodiversity loss
"Capitalism ensures that it's not the people that are in charge but their manufactured desires"
Hann
ah Arendt
Jurgen Habermas
The illusion of democracy
Plato: electorate are ignorant superficial treatment of issues
Illusion of democracy
• Separation and balance of power
• Independence of the judiciary
• A pluralistic system of political parties and organisations
• Respect for the rule of law
• Accountability and transparency
• Free, independent and pluralistic media
• Respect for human and political rights; e.g., freedoms of
association and expression; the right to vote and to stand
in elections
UN General Assembly 2004
How does school 'democracy'compare btw?
Is it meaningful to make the comparison?
Every individual...intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention...By pursuing his wown interest he frequently promotes that of society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it."
(which benefits society
autonomous
(allegedly!)
Probably never said or wrote it
Rousseau:
openness to engagement
doors opened
very direct (and so uncomfortable)
allows people to hold politicians to account
allows minority interests to be voiced
clicktivism
removal from process
people are not experts
could minority interests come under threat

democratic politicians are on a short term time scale
not appropriate to fix long term problems
IFG Koch Prezi
Nietzsche:
Democracy supports the weak at the expense of the strong
What about affirmative action?
The electorate is duped
OR
Plato's ship of fools

Aristotle
Rousseau
Mill
All thought about the necessary characteristics of the rulers
Are some people deserving of more sway/votes?
Syria
crisis?
Democratic response to the
USA playing chicken
with world economy
interested only
in private rights
and what about schools?
or is it:
"people who are able to think critically for themselves about right and wrong, who make a good society"?
Full transcript