Direct democracy is a democratic system where those eligible to vote decide on policy by direct votes. Direct democracy is common for running clubs, families and other small organisations. It doesn't work so well for running towns or nations, partly because it's a slow process having to organise ballots for every single action the country takes.

Problems with direct democracyEdit

Direct democracy can be inconsistent - you can have a majority voting for doing something like educating children, but then have a majority (including at least a few of the same people) vote not to raise the taxes to pay for this. Of course most people are far too sensible to support two incompatible propositions; But if 49% want schools and are prepared to raise taxes for them, and 49% don't want schools because they don't want to pay the taxes that would fund them and 2% want schools but don't want taxes... In a Direct Democracy sometimes it will be like that, and the 2% will win.

But its main flaw is that it doesn't work well when things go badly wrong. In a representative democracy when things go badly wrong you blame the Politicians, kick out the incumbents and elect someone else. In a Direct Democracy when things go badly wrong changing the decision-makers means ending the Direct Democracy and appointing a King, tyrant or whatever.

Representative democracyEdit

Most people realize this, and prefer to elect people with the best face on TV to govern on their behalf, rather than who can actually run a country. Still, politicians who do badly can be voted against. This is called Representative democracy.


However Conservatives are not above arguing for Direct Democracy when in opposition, or just for issues where lots of people who would never vote for them would vote with them. This is known as cynical opportunism.

External linksEdit

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