Democracy is a social organization in which political control is exercised by the people. It is a system of government that results from the free choice of rulers, which is expressed by the unity and will of the majority of the governed, confirmed by votes.
A democratic system of government encompasses all elements of a country’s political organization.
In this sense, democracy is not just a form of state or constitution, but constitutional, electoral and administrative order, the balance of state powers and organs, the political priority of Parliament, the alternative system of government and opposition groups.
Democracy is a form of government based on a combination of principles of political organization within a social system in which it prevails:
- individual’s freedom from all representatives of political power, especially from the state
- freedom of opinion and expression of political will
- equal political rights and favorable opportunities for the people and parties to comment on all decisions of general interest.
Origin of Democracy
The concept of democracy emerged in ancient Greece in 510 BC, when Clisthenes, a progressive aristocrat, led a rebellion against the last tyrant, overthrowing him and initiating reforms that implanted democracy in Athens.
Athens was divided into ten units called “demos”, which was the main element of this reform. Therefore, the new regime was renamed “demokratia“, which is formed by the radical Greek “demo” (people), and “kratia” (power).
Liberal Democracy and Social Democracy
The conceptions about the extension attributed to the guarantees of freedom oscillate between two poles: the one of liberal democracy and the one of social (socialist) democracy.
This is also the case with the participation of citizens of social groups and the people as a whole in shaping political wills.
Liberal democracy is one in which the development of economic and financial organizations is not subject to restrictions. In it individuals enjoy complete freedom of contract with each other.
Liberal democracy is characterized by the non-interference of the state in the economic and financial affairs of its citizens. Business is delivered to private enterprise and production is subject to the law of supply and demand.
Social democracy is one in which the development of economic organizations is subordinated to the interests of the people as a whole. In it all contracts are subordinated to the interests of the community.
The state controls economic and financial affairs and production is determined by the state according to the needs of consumption.
Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy
Democratic systems of government, by virtue of the different historical conditions on which they are based, have less unitary features than autocratic and totalitarian systems.
Direct democracy is characterized by direct voting, where political decisions are made directly by the citizen who expresses his opinion without intermediaries. This system is only practicable in tiny, self-enclosed communities.
The plebiscite is a direct voting instrument used to appreciate the will of the people over a proposal presented to it.
The Brazilian Constitution of 1888 provides that the people may exercise direct democracy in three distinct ways: referendum, referendum and popular initiative.
The country has already held some plebiscites. These included the change in the system of government in 1963 and 1993 and the ban and marketing of firearms and ammunition in 2005.
Representative democracy is a democratic system in which political decisions are not made directly by citizens, but by representatives elected by them with specific mandates. These representatives serve in positions in the Assembly, Chamber, Congress or Parliament.
Modern democratic systems adopt a kind of liberal-representative democracy.
Neoliberal democracy is based on a set of political and economic measures.
Among these measures, we mention:
- state intervention in the labor market
- privatization policy of state-owned enterprises
- free movement of capital
- highlight to globalization
- anti-excessive tax position
- measures against economic protectionism
- defense of the economic principles of capitalism
- state size decrease
Democracy in Brazil
After 20 years of dictatorship, Brazil began its democratic transition with free elections, electing, by indirect vote, the first president in 1985. In 1988 a new constitution was promulgated.
Brazil has gained important space in an “electoral democracy”, but a complete democracy presupposes equal opportunities for all citizens. It is in this sense that Brazil still needs to evolve.