Dysfunctional Democracy: What, Why and How?

Democracy Jul 12, 2021

In recent times we can see the failing Democracy in many states. The purpose of democracy is left behind and politicians or leaders of several states and countries are more akin to self-interest and the power race rather than serving for the good.

What is Dysfunctional Democracy?

We can call democracy Dysfunctional when it is not functioning properly and does not take into consideration the welfare of the society. In democratic settings, people choose their leaders to represent themselves for that particular geographic region and work for their needs and expectations. When that leader fails to work towards the state’s welfare and is involved in power politics and oppresses the people, we can call that democracy dysfunctional.

When we talk about Dysfunctional Democracy we can see nations like Pakistan and Iraq. Also, we can see that America’s self-government experiment has failed.

Causes of Dysfunctional Democracy:

One of the prime reasons for dysfunctional democracy could be the failure of solidarity.  Where personal interests matter more than mutual interest and well-being.

Then comes the flawed system. Corruption in the political and economic environment leads to distrust and economic losses. The reason behind corruption can be said to be the lack of transparency in laws and processes.

When leaders or candidates give false hopes and are more inclined towards promising a brighter future rather than focusing on current problems and manipulating people and using their emotions as tools to overload their banks, such leaders cannot form the base of a strong democracy.

When a basic body of democracy such as the judiciary, voting machinery, and state and local body institutions are at fault then it leads to dysfunctional and in some cases autocratic government.

Contribution of people:

As much as leaders, people also contribute to the dysfunction of democracy. Most of the time certain communities keep their alliance with their community leaders without taking into consideration whether they are eligible for a certain position or not. This blind faith can lead society towards hardships and failures.

Also, when certain policies fail, people and other politicians don’t take into consideration the “why” behind the failure of the policies, rather they concentrate on the policymakers and interpreting their intention behind those policies which could be flawed.

Furthermore, the media also contributes a lot when it comes to forming opinions and misleading people about certain acts, laws, and political parties. General Public form their opinions based on the media’s representation of politics rather than looking at the facts.

The only way to stop being Dysfunctional in Democracy is to be aware of the power in people’s hands and mindfully practice the leader’s responsibilities towards the society and the state.

When citizens will be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities, then, those elected leaders will also not dare to fumble with the system and will try to create a more transparent way of functioning.

This article has been written by Prajakta Pargaonkar for the Paradigm.

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