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Sample Paper on Government and Democracy

Majoritarian vs. Consensus Democracy
The concept of democracy has been with us since the first city states were established in ancient Greece. However, the debate over the form of democracy which is best for us and the way a democracy is established, governed and should be implemented is still heavily debated. Often the debate will come to a passé between Majoritarian and Consensus democracies and it will be up to the individual analyst to pick one as the best. Between the two, I consider the Majoritarian model to be most applicable and closer in theoretical intent to democracy than the consensus model but I feel that the consensus model is more applicable in the real world.

The first thing to be noted about democracy, as it is presented by Dahl (1956) is that it is "a state of affairs" (Pg, 50). It is not considered a system of government since democracy has several prerequisites in terms of the level of civilization which a particular group of people must have before they can implement democracy. In fact, this level of social sophistication is so important that it has been suggested that "The first and crucial variables to which political scientists must direct their attention are social and not constitutional" (Dahl 1956, Pg. 31). The problem comes into play when we notice that the demands of a truly democratic system can only be met by only a few countries. On the same page, Dahl makes the observation that,"To say that perfect attainment of political equality and popular sovereignty is, by definition of terms, consistent only with the majority principle is not to enunciate a wholly useless proposition, but neither is it very helpful (Dahl 1956, Pg. 31)."

The Majoritarian model depends on several things which must be present in a system before such a democracy can be established. The first requirement is a mass participation in politics by people who know how democracy functions and are politically well-informed. Of course this would be an ideal situation if everyone was more interested in the way government functions and was perfectly knowledgeable about the democratic system. However, it would appear that in the present times, most of the people are not interested enough in politics even to be bothered about voting.

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