Democracy: Concepts and understanding


Felipe Galves Ferrari e Prof. Dr. Clayton Pegoraro

Democracy can be explained, even generically, as a system that is born to oppose the system of totalitarian governments. That is, it is the only existing system where citizens can express their wills and preferences through a formal (voting), so it is also the only system that does not require a revolution, often armed, so that the current government is changed. Thus, it can be concluded that democracy represents in fact a system where the people have greater freedom to make choices and take actions.

We saw in the previous paragraph that the organization of power in democratic systems denotes that citizens are freer, that is, they present a greater level of freedom of thought and actions, provided that within the law, including to question government points of which they do not agree . But one of the most relevant questions on the subject is: Does democracy create freedom for the people? Or is it only with an initial degree of freedom that democracy can exist? There is no consensus in the answer, but it is plausible to say that democracy, when applied in practice, generates satisfaction for a portion, even a majority, of the voting population, even for voters who did not have their elected candidates, it may mean, in the limit , a diminution of their individual freedom. For democracy to exist, there is a need for citizens to be free enough to be guaranteed the right to express their concerns by voting. Therefore, it can be said that freedom is one of the pillars that build democracy, not that it is created by it.

The UN annually publishes "happiness" rankings, where freedom is one of the variables taken into account, but it should be remembered that because it is a feeling (feeling free) and therefore having a very difficult measurement, since it is difficult to call it inclusive, it can not be taken into account in its pure form for the formulation of economic studies.

Given this difficulty, one can use a more measurable "strand" of freedom in general, which is economic freedom. Specific freedom that means that firms and economic agents can allocate their resources and properties in the best way that suits them best, thus seeking the best possible economic result, whether or not to make exchanges (as long as there is no coercion of one of the parties), sell or not workforce, all provided that within the limits provided by law. Finally, economic freedom denotes a certain economic neoclassicism regarding the better allocation of resources through the choice of agents themselves and not intervention by the state in the economy.

If we analyze in detail the rankings of economic development, degree of economic freedom and level of democratization we will find a strong relation between these factors. Developed countries have, as a rule, a greater degree of democratization and economic freedom than underdeveloped countries with lower degrees of democratization and economic freedom. Therefore, it can be said that in order for the market to be free and thus to make the best "individual" choices that result in greater well-being, a high degree of democratization is also necessary in order for the taken into account (even if only in times of election). Thus, it can be concluded that a nation with a higher democratic level tends to present a greater degree of economic freedom and greater economic development, which can be translated as well-being for the average population.