Pros and Cons of Direct and Representative Democracy and Referendums

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  • Created on: 31-03-12 15:08
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Direct Democracy
Advantages/Benefits ( Disadvantages/criticisms)
o Genuine Democracy ­ only pure type. Makes o Problems of scale ­ modern day electorates
people obey laws as they made them ­ have are too large
to take responsibility for their actions. o Tyranny of the Majority ­ in a direct
People directly involved. democracy how would the rights of the
o More responsive to public opinion ­ unlike minority be protected?
representative democracy o Mob rule ­ direct democracy would lead to
o Increases popular participation as it's an people ruling who have no skill in governing
active form of democracy o Problems with efficiency ­ direct democracy
o Might deal with disenchantment with politics is quite slow in decision making
o Personal development ­ better informed
citizens. Encourage understanding of society.
o End of professional politics ­ removes
dependence on selfserving politicians.
Representative Democracy
Advantages/Benefits (Disadvantages/criticisms )
o Most practical for modern societies. Solution o Representation of society ­ MPs in HOCs do
to popular rule. not accurately represent society there are
o Government by experts politicians have less women and less ethnic minorities.
better expertise. Relieves public of day to o Politicians may act in self interest or govern
day decision making. Govt is complex ­ not taking into account public opinion.
politicians have resources to make informed
o Relies on elections ­ ensures popular
participation and high accountability ­ public
can remove govt. e.g GB at 2010 election.
o Political stability ­ representatives more likely
to compromise than citizens.
o Division of labour in politics ­ direct
democracy means politics is job for all
citizens, representatives job for politicians.
Advantages/Benefits (Disadvantages/criticisms )

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Direct Democracy ­ Unmediated control over o Biased Media ­ unfairly influence campaign.
decision making. Views properly represented E.g. if referendum on Euro, most UK
o Political Education awareness of politics. newspapers are eurosceptic and would not
Better informed. debate about the issue. support it.
o Responsive govt ­ forced to listen. Public o Decision Making ­ govt are elected to
opinion expressed on issue. represent public so should be left to.
o Reduced govt power ­ check on power Undermines Parliamentary Sovereignty.…read more


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