The Relationship between Democracy and Equality

TheRelationshipbetween DemocracyandEquality

Themodeof governance adoptedby mostinstitutionsin the21st centuryinclinestheir pillarsof governanceto democracyandequalaccessto justiceforeverycitizen.Democracyandequalityare two conceptswith an intimaterelationshipand onecannot geta comprehensivedefinitionwithout theother.Therelationshipintrinsically has rootsin theproceduresundertakento facilitatedemocraticandfairprocessesin thesociety.Althoughdemocracypavesthewayforequality,thelattercan alsobringjustice especiallythrough fairtreatmentsextendedto citizensin their differentcontexts.Itis importantto getinsighton their standarddefinitionsin orderto understandtherelationshipbetween thetwo.

Democracyis an elasticsynonymforgoodgovernance. Itstandsforall thedueprocessesadoptedby a governmentinstitutionto ensurefairnessin accessof services,givingopinionandgetting attentionfrom thestate.Itis a methodof rulingrooted in creatinga senseof autonomyin thecitizenssothattheycan arriveat conclusionswithout waitingforimpositions.Itis thedirectoppositeof autocracythat raisestyrannicalplatformsforleadersto exerciseunlimitedauthorityon thesubjects.Itis differentfrom thepopularwaveof sovereigntywherebypeopletakeadvantageto holdthegovernmentto ransomuntil itmeetstheir demands.Itis alsodifferentfrom majoritarianism wherebythevoiceof themajoritycarriestheday.Theminorityfollowsthewill of themajority(Giddens 14).

Ontheotherhand,equalityis inseparablewith justicewherebyeverypersonreceivessimilartreatmentwithout anyreservations.In an equalsociety,peopleenjoythefreedomto practicetheir valueswithout havingto followthewavesof themajority.Thebasicservicesrenderedto citizensby thestateas a matterbearingbasicrightsare accessibleto all thepeoplein their differentcontexts.Such a societyis not possiblewithout thegovernmentholdingall thepeopleequalin its eyesandexecuteits procedureswithout prejudice.Theapproachis a consequentialcombinationof thetwo aspects.Discussingseveralaspectsin thesocietythat makesthem overlapwill exposetheir relationshipsin a validway(Giddens 16).

First,democracyrequirestheequaltreatmentof all themembersin a state.In fact,impartialtreatmentof all thecitizensis thestrongestpillarof democracy.Thenon-preferential treatmentrequiresmembersto be autonomousin orderto developtheaspectof self-governance. Itis, however,notablethatautonomyis not a gateway to a freesocietywith norulesto follow.Itimplicatesa societywherebypeopleunderstandwhatis goodforthem, andtheyare, therefore,betterplacedto designrulesto guidethem. In a representativedemocracy,itis thedriving powerof thepublicin choosingonlythequalifiedleaderswhocan deliverwithout beingcoerced.Thesusceptibilityof individualsto giveto politicalconvictionswithout a causeis a signof unequalaccessto informationandpower.Whenpeoplehavea feelingof superiorityover their counterparts,theytendto makeitknownthrough influencedfocusedon personalratherthan thecommunalgains(Giddens 45).

Intheabovepostulation, allpersonsreceive justicefrom thestate.Itis differentfrom a heterogeneousconditionwhereguideddecision-making with inputsof influentialpeopleis common.Suchconditionsweakentheabilityof membersto makedecisionson their own.Theindirectimplicationof thesituationis theactof allowingsomepeoplemorefreedomthan others. Thevalueof equality,therefore,becomescontraveneddue to theostracization of theprocessof decision-making.

Mostof thedemocraticsocietiestodayare exercisingrepresentativedemocracywherebyviable leadersbecomeelectedto holdpublicofficesfora stipulated period.Democracyrequiresthepresentationof equalchancesforpeopleto vieforthepositionsprovidedtheymeettherequirementsof theelectoralbody.Individualsare freeto joinanypoliticalmovement,anditis lawfulto runon theticketof anypoliticalpartyfollowingits registrationwith therelevantbodies.Equalitycomesin whengivingpeoplethesamechanceof voting.Equalitydemandsequallevels of influenceforall thepeopleparticipatingin an election.Althoughsomecountriesupholdthemonarchsystem,themajorityopt to havetheir countriesranin thedemocraticway.Thereasonrejectinginheritedkinshipsdatebackto themedievalerawhenJohn Locke questionedthelegalityof somepeopleexercisingauthorityon others. Thecontemplation-needy natureof thequestionarrivedat theconclusionthatpeoplegiveothers theconsentof exercisingpowerover them (Tronto 35).

Therefore,ifpowerbelongsto thepeople,theyshould havea chanceto decidewhoshould haveit.Thekinshipsystembecameunder threat.Besides this,theeffectsof thepowertrickledown to thesubjectswith equalmagnitude.Therefore,theyshould haveequalchancesof electingtheleadersof their choice.Thenotionof “one manone vote”reignsup to today.Itis thebestexpressionof equalityin a democraticstate.Theideaproofthatnone of thetwo ca existindependently.Mostcitizensin thedifferentpartsof theworldhaveacquaintancewith thisbasicright.Whenever theysuspecta malpracticeorfoulplayduring elections,theydemonstrateandcallforre-tallying orthedissolving of theresults.Itwould be veryunfairwhensomepeoplegettheprivilegeof votingtwicethrough unconstitutionalmeansto givesomecandidatesan upperhandover their competitors.Equalinfluencein puttingleadersin officepavesthewayfora consequentialdemocraticwayof governance (Tronto 67).

Anothermajorrelationshipbetween democracyandequalityis observableby theneedforparticipationof allcitizensin a matterrelatingto their lives.Mostof thelawsgoverningpublicactionsare not an impositionof thestate,buttheir institutionhappensthrough an interactive process.Thefeelingsof thepeopletowards acertainlaware imperativewhenevaluatedbecausetheywill be thesubjectsunder theprovision.Thecontributionsof thepublicwhengivingopinionsregardingthelawsof anylandcan onlybe takenon boardas democraticiftheyemanatefrom theparticipationof all thepeople.In thiscontext,contextual equalityshould givean allowanceforthelevel of autonomyof heterogeneousgroupsof peoplewith referenceto literacylevel, geographicalsettingsandaccessto information.

Forexampleduring nationalreferendumsto votefororagainst laws,a lotof awarenessis necessaryforthewholepopulation.Themethodsusedto passinformationshould be customized to meettheneedsof thecitizens.In thethirdworldcountrieswhereliteracylevels harborbigdisparities,an explanationof thecontents andimplicationsof thelawon thelivesof citizensis necessaryfora languagetheycan understand.Equalityalsodemandsnon-discriminative approachesin givingchancesof opinionsharingespeciallyduring publicdebates.Thedocumentpreparedby publicparticipationcan comfortablyformpartof thenationalregulationwithout anyexpectations of reproach.

Theegalitariantheoriesof leadershipadvocate forequalityin democraticsocieties.Theprofessorsof thetheorygoaheadto definewhatconstitutestheprocessforequalityto manifest.Democracygivespeoplesimilarchancesto vote,giveopinionsormakedecisionsconcerningmattersin thepublicdomain.However,itwould not be completewithout allowinga justprocessthat takescareof theneedsof allparticipants.Variouslegalprovisions,whenvotedin by thepeople,leadto theestablishmentof institutionsin thesocietythat extendservicesto thepeople.Forpeopleto associatethemselves with theseestablishments,theymust be partof theformalprocessleadingto their existence.Givingpeoplethepowerto giveopinionorvotewithout thecorrectinformationregardingtheissuein questionwill onlyencouragemajoritarianism. With notangiblereasonto pickanysideindecisivepolls,mostpeoplewill courtotherfactorslike their friendsortheprevailinggeneralfeelingbefore castingtheir votes(Sanyal 415).

Thelackof astrongstandbackedby informedinformationgivessomepeopleundueadvantagesover others to misleadanddrum supportforthemselves ortheir friendsin badfaith.Forexample,itis commonto havetwo conflictingsidesespeciallyin thepoliticalarenadividedon issuesof publicinterest.Democraticgovernmentswill provideunlimitedinformationon theimplicationof thelawin thesocietyandleavethematterto thecitizens.Theideologypromotesequalityin all thevoters.Since allpeoplehavethesameofficialinformation,theywill havethegutsto questionanyundueinfluence.They,therefore,becomepartof theinstitutiontheyform.Whenever itgoesbeyond its mandate,thepeoplewhoputitin motionwith a clearconsciencewill be thefirstto raisetheir brows.Thegovernment,therefore,doesnot becomean alienated institutionfrom thepeopleitgoverns,andthispromotesequalaccessto its services(Sanyal 430).

Democracyoutlinestheneedforpeopleto havethesamelevel of accessto resourcesandservices.However,itis not practicalwith theobservablediscrepancyin thedistributionof resourcesin thesociety.Theconditionsare worsein developingcountrieswherewealthis at thedisposalof a minuteportionof thewholepopulationyet theyflythebannerof democracy.Itis an acceptedfactthata considerableamountof powerandinfluenceliesin wealth.Peoplewith enoughresourcecan accessbetterservicesespeciallyin placeswith lifted governmentprovisionof basicservices.Forexample,theycan geta bettereducation,healthservices,shelter,andsecurity.Their chancesof achievingautonomyare higherthan thoselivingbelow thepovertyline.In such a situation,there is a completethwart on theeffortsto upholddemocracy.

Itremainsa contentiousissueo havethereachdistributetheir resourcesamong thepoorto reducetheinequalityexistingamong them. Ademocraticstategivesroomforcitizensto exploitlegallythenaturalresourcesandachieveself-actualization. Theunwrittenruleis that,a governmentcannot makethepoorrichby makingtherichpoor.Taxingthericherandleavingout thepoorcan discourageinvestmentsandaccumulationof wealth.To avoidpayingtax,thepoorcan decideto retaintheir statusto avoidtheburdenof givingreturnsto thestate.Iftheideaof democracyis to prevailandserveits higherpurpose,equalityin thesocialarenais inevitable.Everybody has to playhis partin thestatedevising long-term methodsof achievingequalityin resourceendowment.Therichcan payhighertaxesthan thepoorto equatetheproportionof incomepaidas revenueto thegovernment(Cohen 727).

However,somescholarsfeelthatdemocracyis not achievablewhensomepeoplewhonot haveanyresourceswhileothers havemorethan theyrequire.Accordingto thisschoolof thought,thestateshould implementdirectmeasuresto distributethewealthto thepoor.Amethodknownas maximin can favorablyassistin redistributing wealthto attainan equalsociety.From their ideology,a theoryemanatesthatifthelawstheypasshaveinclinationsto democracy,thenallpeopleshould be equal.Their genuineconcernsfora bettersocietycannot questiontheredistribution of resources(Cohen 729). Ifthefewadvantaged geta pinchin theeffortsto uplift thedestitute,thenthelittlepainis worthin a democraticsociety.Thesuccessof theapproachis, however,dependenton theprocessfollowedby thegovernment.Itis possiblefortheinstitutionsmandateto givethesocietya newfaceto courtsomeautocraticmeasuresat somepoints,andthisis likelyto jeopardizethehigherpurposeof democracy.Acustomized setof effortsthat aimat thelong-term wellbeingof thecommunitycan be favorable.Thegradualprocesswill resultin afairlyequalsociety.

Theothermostimperativerelationshipbetween democracyandequalityoccursin givingsimilarattentionandtreatmentto bothgenders.On a global ranking, somecountriesthat masqueradedemocraciesappearat theendof thelistbecauseof discriminationexercisedtowards one gender.Menandwomendonot receiveequalchanceswhenitcomesto makingdecisionsin somecountries.Te stereotyped,andculturally constructedbehaviorsassociatedwith menandwomenonlyserveto putone genderon thereceivingend.Asdiscussedearlier,democracyandequalitygohandin hand.Goingby theegalitariantheory,a societycannot achieveequalityiftheinstitutionstasked with overseeingthetransformationprofesscontradictingbeliefs.Itis unfortunateto realizethatsomecountriesdonot givewomenchancesto vote.

Inthethirdworldcountriesthat are stillstrugglingwith improvingtheir standardsof living,there existsa significantdifferencein the percentageof womenandmenvoters.Ittranslatesthatthere is noequalityin empowerment through givingof informationregardingtheimportanceof takingpartin, formingthegovernment.Althoughthebarriershaverootsin culturalties,customized methodsthat d not contradictculturalnormsare necessaryto reachout to themarginalized populations(Inglehart, Pippa, andWelzel 424).

Inlinewith givingequalchancesto menandwomen,democracystipulatesthatequalrepresentationis a necessityforanysocietyto be fair.Itis fairto givepositionsto theleastrepresentedgroupsothattheybecomepartof thegovernment.Somepositivemoveshavetakenplacein theconstitutionsof variouscountriesto curtailthetendencyof one genderoccupyingallrepresentativeseats.Theapproachstrengthensthedemocraticprocessof fairrepresentationandat thesametimepromotesequalityof bothgenders(Inglehart, Pippa, andWelzel 431).

Inconclusion,theabove-discussed pointshowtheintimateandcordialrelationshipbetween democracyandequality.Eachof thesingleconceptscannot claimto be autonomouswithout theinputof theother.Democracystandsout as thebiggerword,andithas usablemorethan equality.However,theprocessarrivingat therequiredlevels of democracyin anysocietycannot takeplacewithout theconceptof equalityguidingtheprocedures.Equalityin accesst servicesandpublicresourcesis thestandardmeasureof parameters of democracyin anystate.Agovernmentthat providesbetterservicesto all thecitizenswithout givingpreferentialtreatmentto a selectedfewis on thelineof cultivatinga democraticsociety.Conversely, somestatesclaimto be democraticwhereasthere are observabledisparitiesin accessto informationanda listof imposedlaws.Someof therulesdonot passthrough publicopinion,andthecountriesdonot qualifyto bearthenameof an equalsociety.

Asmuchas peoplestruggleto achievedemocracy,there is stilla longwayto go.However,positiveeffortsare evidentin thedevelopedcountries,andtheycontinueto setthepaceforthedeveloping countriesto followsuit.Equalityis a commonthemein manyconventionsespeciallytheoneinculcatinggenderequalityin thesociety.Since equalitycourts,democracy,theprocessof strivingforitwill weanthecrawlingdemocraticsociety.

WorksCited

Cohen,Joshua. &quotDemocratic Equality.&quot Ethics99.4 (1989): 727-751. Print.

Giddens,Anthony. Thethird way: The renewal of social democracy.New York: John Wiley &amp Sons, 2013. Print.

Inglehart,Ronald, Pippa Norris, and Christian Welzel. &quotGender equality anddemocracy.&quot ComparativeSociology1.3 (2002): 321-345. Print.

Sanyal,Sagar. &quotA Defense of Democratic Egalitarianism.&quot TheJournal of Philosophy109.7 (2012): 413-434. Print.

Tronto,Joan C. Caringdemocracy: markets, equality, and justice.New York: New York University Press, 2013. Print.