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Operating A Successful Democracy Is Not Easy

Operating A Successful Democracy Is Not Easy


By Kamala Sarup

A successful democracy requires cooperation among the government representatives of the people to get things accomplished that are useful to the people rather than the representatives themselves. When representatives are immobile because they cannot agree on courses of action to help each other's constituents and/or they are selfish and care more about their individual wealth rather than the wealth of the people in general, then the people will continue to be poor and may rebel.

To assist the above two requirements for a successful democracy, it is necessary to have a free media and a people literate and educated enough to read the media. That way, when noncooperation and selfishness are exposed by the media, a literate population can put effective pressure on the politicians to run the government to better serve the people.

Because of ubiquitous conflicting goals, incompetence, and selfishness, democracies are not easy to maintain. If the histories of countries in South America and Europe, many more failed democracies that preceded the eventual successful ones. In the U.S., there were many stresses on democracy. The slavery issue was the most significant and bloody and almost resulted in the U.S. becoming two countries, North and South of the 36th latitude in the 1860s.

The War of 1812 with Great Britain almost split the New England states that benefited from G.B. trade from the other states. In the last half of the 19th century in the U.S., excessive wealth and power concentration associated with industrial development resulted in many bloody work stoppages and strikes that ultimately were reduced pressure applied to the government that produced labor law changes that resulted in more powerful labor unions and, consequently, a more equal distribution of U.S. wealth among its citizens.

If these labor reforms had not taken place, then war might have broken out between the rich and poor classes and U.S. democracy would have been threatened.

There is and always will be incompetence, noncooperation and corruption in every government, including that in the U.S., but they are kept to a tolerable level when brought to light in the media and literate people are informed of them, so that they can pressure the legislators to eliminate at least the worst faults. This happened thousands of times in the U.S. at all levels of government, but especially at the local (municipal or city) levels where laws are more easily circumvented.

Nepalese Democracy

Nepalese democracy brought increased riches to select people associated with the legislators and not the entire population, it is not surprising that it would be replaced by another form of government. It is a familiar scene experienced by democracies everywhere from time to time.

Even in the U.S. in the 19th century, democracy worked to the excessive advantage of a privileged group, but gradually it was reformed so that the people at the bottom gained some share in wealth. It appears that in Nepal neither of these conditions has been fulfilled.

We have to remember each country is sufficiently different that what works well in one country will not do so in another country.

War threat Democracy

There have always been wars, threat and violence because people are aggressive by nature and ignorant of the consequences of aggression. The only way to eliminate war and violence completely is to eliminate groups, i.e., or bring them for peace talks.

People have limited knowledge of the consequences of war; otherwise, they might not wage it. If Germany, Japan and Italy had foreseen that the allies were capable of defeating them, then they surely would not have tried to conquer the world during WW II. If the U.S. leaders had realized their impotence of war against communist governments in Indo-china, they would not have wasted blood and treasure being defeated.

Because of the aggressiveness, acquisitiveness, and ignorance of people and their leaders, we can expect wars to continue indefinitely in spite of peacemaking organizations like the U.N. and other multinational organizations. All altruistic people can do is reduce the number and magnitude of wars by strengthening economic and diplomatic relations, outlawing the use of gas, land mines, etc. However, eliminating wars altogether is impossible without eliminating the group or bring them for justice.

Operating a successful democracy is not easy!

*************

(Kamala Sarup is editor of http://peacejournalism.com/ )

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