Democracies Around the World


The most widely practiced form of government is democracy. As of 2018, 96 of 167 countries around the world were categorized as democracies. These governments were rated according to a range of 60 indicators in five categories. The average score for each category reveals the democracy level of a country. This percentage has steadily increased since the mid-1970s, and currently stands just shy of the post-World War II high of 58%.

In industrial society, the political terms have become more ambiguous. Instead of concern with wage-earners and employers, the dominant terms are now about private property and subjectivity. The definitions of democracy have changed radically since then. These new terms have caused the debate over the future of democracy to shift towards a more ideologically minded perspective. For example, the term “liberal” was once associated with capitalism and the profit motive. Today, we see this distinction blurred in a global society where economic and political power has become the primary goal.

Democracy involves two types of government. Direct democracy is where people vote directly on decisions that affect them. Representative democracies work to protect the interests of all citizens by electing officials who represent their will. While direct democracy is preferred, most governments have a combination of both. During the election process, a candidate will be elected to serve as the prime minister. A representative democracy will require the prime minister to be elected by the majority of citizens. But this is not always possible.

Democracy is natural in groups that are well-bounded. In ancient Greece, democracy began with the development of a political system centered in Athens. A few hundred years later, the concept was applied to several smaller city-states. In these cities, direct democracy reigned and eventually gave way to representative democracy. These systems were very different from the democratic forms we have today. In the early years of human history, people lived by gathering and hunting for food.

In a democratic society, law plays an important role. In the UN Declaration on Human Rights, Article 21 states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government.” As such, democracy is the only form of government compatible with human rights. Therefore, the right to vote is an inherent human right. The UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions on democracy annually. The Millennium Declaration and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development both call for the protection and promotion of human rights.

In a democracy, voting rights are equal for all citizens. The word democracy derives from the Greek words demos, meaning people, and demokratia, meaning power. This means that the power of the people is ultimately derived from the will of the people. By making democracy the most popular form of government, the rights of citizens are enriched and people feel empowered in their daily lives. If you want a democracy to last, you have to involve the young in it.