Back
Asked   about   democracy,   many   people   feel   uneasy:   Either   they consider   democracy   to   fluctuate   between   splendid   goals   and disillusioning   reality   up   to   chaos,   or   they   completely   shift   the issue     away     as     too     complex     to     be     strictly     analyzed.     This impersonal   attitude   sometimes   passes   to   rejection,   influenced by     interpreting     democracy     to     be     a     nothing     but     Western invention.   In   contrast   to   these   views,   a   clear   general   logic   of democracy can be identified. 1. The logic of democracy According    to    Abraham    Lincoln's    Gettysburg    Adress    (1863), democracy    consists    in    government    of    the    people,        by    the people,   for   the   people.   If   we   widen   the   term   government    to governance    (for   any   way   of   coordination)   and   consider   the   three instanced   relations   (for,   of,   by   the   people)   to   be   functionally linked     with     each     other,     the     following     model     comes     into existence (see figure 1). Figure 1: Democracy Cycle According   to   this   model,   democracy   is   constituted   through   a functional    cycle    of    governance    for,    of,    and    by    the    people . Existence   and   strength   of   democracy   can   be   explained   by   the fact    that    this    cycle    is    practically    running.    Democratic    actors operate   bound   to   the   functional   needs   of   the   cycle,   at   least aware   of   it.   Hence   an   own   logic   of   democracy   develops   that fundamentally   differs   from   the   logic   of   unlimited   power   and   the logic of war.   As   to   be   shown   later,   the   logic   of   democracy   is   open   for   diverse context    conditions    and    may    be    used    in    diverse    institutional settings.   Original   sources   and   historic   cradles   of   it   are   located   all over the Earth. Governance for the people In   contrast   to   how   the   word   was   used   in   ancient   Greece   and afterwards   until   the   17th   century,   today   the   people    does   not denote    a    special    class,    such    as    only    the    poor    people,    nor    a certain   gender,   ethnicity,   race,   or   religion.   It   rather   denotes   all humans   in   a   country   or   in   another   socio-political   entity .   In   the final   analysis,   it   comprises   all   human   beings   on   Earth,   with   the ongoing   globalization   the   increasingly   prevailing   socio-political entity. Governance   for   the   people    then   means   working   for   all   citizens, comprising different types of goods: Public    goods    (macro    level):    Collective    goods,    such    as general    safety,    infrastructure,    welfare,    freedom,    cultural patterns, and chances to develop; Personal   goods   (micro   level):   Personal   rights,   properties, values, and chances of self-development; Group    goods    (meso    level):    Belongings,    cultural    patterns, chances of development. Preserving   these   goods   should   be   optimally   combined.    So   if   an airport   is   planned,   there   has   to   be   found   an   optimal   balance between   the   public   interest   in   having   an   effective   traffic   system and   the   interest   of   the   people   living   near   the   airport   in   being optimally    protected    against    noise,    pollutants    and    so    forth. Another   example   concerns   the   challenge   of   balancing   traditional corporative   ways   of   governance   and   behavior,   such   as   religious norms     and     organizational     patterns,     with     strictly     protected individual   rights.   In   sum,   government   for   the   people    implies   the search    for    optimal    solutions.    At    that,    strict    requirements    of protecting    civil    and    political    rights    of    any    citizen    are    to    be respected. With   all   outlined   contingency,   governance   for   the   people   has   to be   effective    -   effective   to   implement   decided   public   policies   and able    to    protect    the    whole    structure    of    decision-making    and implementation.     A     precondition     of     such     effectivity     is     a monopoly     on     the     legitimated     use     of     force.     That's     why democracy    needs    to    have    an    overarching    monopoly    on    the legitimate    use    of    force    -    another    word    for    being    able    to effectively save peace. Governance by and of the people Usually    actors    pursue    goals    in    their    own    interest.    Hence    the people,   interested   in   preserving   public   goods,   group   goods,   and individual   goods,   are   the   most   reliable   and   energetic   instance   of stimulating    and    controlling    the    government    to    act    for    the people.    The    logical    way    to    control    and    to    stimulate    public policies   in   this   sense   is   participation.    That   may   be   structured   in indirect    forms,   such   as   electing   representatives   that   choose   in their   turn   the   government,   and   so   forth.   Aside   of   those   indirect ways,    people    may    also    immediately    participate     in    political decision-making,   so   by   public   communication,   referenda,   and   so forth.    Participation    in    any    way    is    based    on    certain    forms    of empowerment   that   practically   enables   the   people   to   take   part   in politics.    That's    why    there    is    a    logical    connection    between empowerment   (political   rights),   participation,   and   policies   for the people. Democratic     participation,     in     turn,     has     to     be     founded     on practically   disposable   civil   rights ,   such   as   the   right   of   life   and health,   the   right   of   free   mobility,   the   right   of   free   opinion,   and the     right     of     non-discrimination     (equality     of     all     citizens, particularly    men    and    women).    Since    without    those    rights, political   participation   could   easily   be   blocked   or   even   misused   as means     against     democracy:     People's     sovereignty     requires sovereign   people,   based   on   protected   civil   respectively   human rights. Human    rights,    again,    are    practically    realized    in    fair    and    free procedures ,     such     as     juridical,     administrative,     or     political procedures    including    parliamentary    decision-making    and    free elections.    Also    fair    and    free    every-day    procedures,    such    as normal     lining     up     in     a     super-market     and     sports     games, institutionally   frame   human   rights.   Those   governance   systems can     be     called     bound     governance      because     fair     and     free interaction   amongst   the   involved   actors   requires   strictly   valid bonds, such as jointly accepted rules (see figure 2). Figure 2: Bound Governance What   this   type   of   governance   is   about   you   can   best   envisage   by the   instance   of   interactive   games,   from   football   to   any   other interactive      game:      There      are      two      different      levels,      the superordinate   rule   level   and   the   interaction   level:   The   rule   level   is,    in    principle,    constituted    through    the    acceptance    of    all involved    actors;    that's    why    it    represents    the    whole    group respectively    the    public.    In    contrast,    on    the    interaction    level , single   players   operate   freely   on   equal   terms.   Indeed,   both   levels constitute   one   system;   but   in   this   system,   the   rule   level   has   to be   strictly   protected   against   pressure   by   single   operative   actors. In   other   words:   Free   and   fair   interaction   is   only   possible   through independently    valid    rules,    possibly    represented    by    arbiters, judges   and   so   forth.   This   two-level-system   is   not   only   valid   in interactive   games;   it   also   refers   to   any   civil   procedure,   such   as lawsuits,    legislation    or    democratic    election.    Thereby    human rights and bound governance are linked with each other. Output feedbacks There   is   also   a   feedback   from   the   output   side:   If   democracy   is supposed   to   work   for   the   people,   governance   of   (and   then   by) the   people   is   legitimized.   Particularly   public   safety   and   economic well-being    have    this    legitimizing    effect.    But    what    constitutes happiness   (for   the   people)   varies   internationally   and   amongst different cultures.     
Overview In the following figure (3), the democracy cycle is represented, taking account of all outlined demands. Figure 3: The logic of democracy Democracy operates in a functional cycle including human rights respectively bound governance, empowerment and participation, effective governance (state) and public policies as well as a legitimation feedback of the whole system. At that, input and output functions are linked with each other. Democratic actors operate bound to the functional needs of the cycle, at least aware of it. Hence an own logic develops that fundamentally differs from the logic of unlimited power and the logic of war, the logic of democracy. This logic may be realized in diverse, context related forms. Original capacities for realizing it exist in many cultures and areas of this Earth - see above all the globally and historically frequently appearing try to do the best for all members of a socio-political entity. This try is hitherto seldom called democratic, but it has essential democratic character, compared with exploiting, cheating,  harming, or annihilating minorities or even majorities of a population. Under this aspect, a good king may have a democratic feature, and a formally democratic, but highly corrupt or incapable government may be - so far - undemocratic. In   a   similar   way,   you   can   detect   native   democratic   elements   of the   people   or   by   the   people   in   any   region   of   the   Earth.   See   the protection   of   any   member   of   local   communities   in   Africa,   Asia   or any   other   region,   at   least   a   rudimentary   form   of   human   rights and   bound   governance.   Also   rudimentary   up   to   highly   developed forms   of   local   or   regional   participation   can   be   observed   in   old and    young    cultures    all-over    the    Earth.    Even    in    cultures    that usually   are   associated   with   strictly   hierarchical   and   authoritative structures,    such    as    the    ancient    Egypt,    functional    elements    of democracy   can   be   found   in   certain   periods.   Therefore   we   should be   aware   of   native   cradles   and   current   sources   of   democracy    all over   the   Earth   -   a   fundament   for   developing   global   democracy    in a self-conscious and context sensitive way. 2. Challenges Talking     about     challenges     we     recognize     not     only     possible problems,    but    also    necessity    and    opportunities    to    cope    with them.    In    that    sense,    democracies    are    challenged    in    different ways, by functional, competitive, and hostile challenges. Functions Whenever   a   democracy   function   (for,   of,   by   the   people)   fails,   the democracy   cycle   runs   less   well,   in   worst   case,   it   stops   or   runs wrong,   destabilizing   the   whole   system.   Therefore   both,   output failures   (of   policies,   effective   state)   as   well   as   input   failures   (of human      rights/bound      governance,      participation)      constitute significant challenges of democracies. An   example   of   output   failures   is   the   regulatory   failure   of   the international   finance   sector   from   the   1990s   on:   In   the   leeway   of public   deregulation,   big   banks   and   other   mighty   actors   of   this sector   developed   financial   products   (of   speculation)   and   rules around   them   in   their   individual   interests   that   could   hardly   or   not at    all    be    verified    by    purchasers.    Following    a    huge    wave    and bubble     of     financial     speculation     in     diverse     special     markets emerged.   These   bubbles   crashed   in   the   years   2007   and   2008, leading    to    the    global    financial    crisis    of    2008    -    a    process    that delegitimized      not      only      the      responsible      financial      actors themselves,      but      also      the      involved,      obviously      incapable (democratic)     nation     states.     Furthermore,     also     the     financial stability   of   many   involved   nation-states   suffered   during   the   years after   2008,   until   the   so-called   Euro   crisis   from   2010   on.   Because such   policy   failures   usually   correspond   with   too   big   lobby-power respectively       ineffective       governance,       fostering       effective governance   as   well   as   limiting   lobby-power   belong   to   the   main options of preserving or restructuring a vital democracy.    Deficits    of    participation,    human    rights    and    bound    governance seem   to   characterize   above   all   low   developed   countries   -   see frequently     occurring     riots     and     sometimes     even     civil     wars outgoing   from   not   accepted   results   of   elections.   Distinct   input deficits,      however,      are      also      to      be      stated      in      developed democracies,    such    as    Germany    or    the    U.S.    So    50%    of    the deputies    to    German    federal    parliament    (Bundestag)    are    not personally   chosen   by   the   voters,   but   determined   by   the   political parties    under    strong    influence    of    the    party    leaders    -    a    quite authoritarian construction of government by the people. Competition and comparison Competitive    challenges    are    usually    stated    in    the    relationship between     democratic     and     autocratic     systems,     such     as     rich autocratic    oil    states    like    Saudi-Arabia    or    Qatar:    Those    states massively    invest    in    modern    infrastructure    and    spread    wealth amongst   their   population   without   realizing   broad   participation, human    rights,    and    bound    governance.    Also    China    and    other newly    industrializing    economies    often    are    considered    to    be examples   for   attractive   matches   to   (Western)   democracies.   At that,   India   is   regarded   as   an   old   democracy   while   China   counts   as completely autocratic country. According     to     the     here     presented     model,     another     way     of comparing   political   systems   is   to   be   recommended:   Any   country should     be     soberly     compared     regarding     its     production     and distribution   of   happiness   (wealth,   chances   and   so   forth   for   the people),   its   degree   of   participation   and   the   status   of   its   human rights/bound      governance.      Comparing      the      registered      data according   these   criteria,   a   comparative   image   of   the   status   of democracy   all   over   the   world   arises.   A   necessary   basis   for   this kind     of     comparison     is     a     functional     democracy     index     that corresponds with the presented democracy cycle model.  Hostilities A   particularly   urgent   and   deep   challenge   of   democracies   consists in   hostilities   against   democracy,   from   diverse   forms   of   extremism up   to   terroristic   networks   and   states.   In   order   to   cope   with   this kind     of     challenges,     at     first     police     activities     and     military operations   seem   to   be   unavoidable.   It   would   be   facile,   however, to   stop   thinking   at   that   point.   Since   hostility   against   democracy   is produced    and    reproduced    in    certain    ideological    and    narrow- minded   religious   formations   in   the   logic   of   war   that   cannot   be solved   up   by   military   or   police   actions.   In   the   contrary:   As   long   as extremism   and   terrorism   is   only   combated   by   military   and   police methods   as   long   the   logic   of   war   is   reproduced   -   a   kind   of   victory for   one-dimensional   thinking   and   organizing   in   the   logic   of   pure power   and   war.   The   foreseeable   consequences   of   that   strategy may   consist   in   short-handed   local   victories   over   the   (terroristic) enemy,    but    gives    rise    to    a    middle    range    strengthening    of extremism    and    terror.    Therefore    aside    of    unavoidable    police measures   to   protect   from   extremism   and   terrorism,   the   main strategy   towards   hostilities   should   be   the   energetic   try   to   stop the   production   of   hate.   Significant   means   of   this   strategy   are deeply   analyzing   what   people   need   under   given   preconditions and   what   sources   of   hate   obscure   their   minds.   With   almost   eight billion   humans,   hundreds   of   different   religions   and   ideologies, and   an   immense   mass   of   deadly   arms,   we   have   to   practically develop    a    consensus    about    jointly    accepted    rules    of    living together on this Earth. The balanced way: Conclusions As    the    logic    of    democracy    results    from    being    interested    in stabilizing    the    whole    democracy    cycle,    different    challenges    of democracy are to be met in a balanced way. In    a    case    of    emergency,    such    as    fighting    against    a    flood    or preventing    a    military    threat,    needs    of    centralized    meeting    an urgent    danger    may    be    shortly    predominant    towards    formal requirements   of   political   participation.   Already   soon,   however, democratic   hazard   defense   has   to   be   checked   under   the   question how    long    it    needs    to    be    in    force;    since    special    situations    of hazard   and   risk   defense   tend   to   be   enlarged   by   interested   actors in   a   precarious   way.   In   other   words:   After   having   successfully dealt     with     a     danger,     institutionalized     input     patterns     of democracy   have   to   be   strictly   practiced   again.   And   even   during special   situations,   at   least   minimal   standards   of   human   rights should    be    respected.    Vice    versa,    in    situations    of    democratic routine,   often   too   much   bureaucracy   and   a   deficit   of   energetic policy-making   is   the   main   challenge.   Then   creative   people,   good communicators, and innovative actors are the real democrats. Democracy   should   go   on   in   a   balanced   manner:   Output   needs   as well   as   input   needs   have   to   be   realized   in   the   best   possible   way, according   to   the   individual   situation.    A   basic   orientation   may   be got by looking at the presented democracy cycle.           ------------------------------------- Reworked and complemented version of a lecture given on August 02, 2014 in Paris (Mantes-la-Jolie): Greater Europe Forum: http://www.greater-europe.com/#!instagram/c1w7v
The Logic of Democracy and its Challenges Volker von Prittwitz (August 17, 2014/Worked over January 25, 2015 ) 
Outputs
Inputs
IPA Institute for Political Analysis Prof. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz