Democratic States: Economic and social policies

With the emergence of democratic states the economic and social policies underwent a sea change especially in countries which shifted from communism to capitalism which was the by product of having a democratic governance. Under communism and socialism the economies were highly centralized and were under state control. This enabled the state leaders to access the resources to reward their supporters and punish their detractors. Something which was started as welfare measure became a fanatic control of power and was abused. So many states opted for democracy when they became free from foreign yoke.

The new system had decentralized market economies. With that the power of the top government officials also was reduced. There were many factors which helped to speed up market economy.

  • Easy access to reliable and correct information.
  • High levels of education
  • Safe and easy personal movement
  • Implementation of the rule of law

As the market economies grew, there was an increase in the middle class of people and they became more important. They in turn demanded for more democratization and the market economies kept expanding.

The social policies are based on democracy but over a period these policies have been misused and separatism and class system has raised its ugly head. However over the years in the 20th century people in the democratic countries have been given the right to vote. In the initial stages, the labour class, women were not allowed to vote. But when progressive leaders began to head governments this situation has changed and now any adult has the right to vote their leader or party to power. The systems that you find in communism are missing in capitalism. The founders of modern democracy John Stuart Mill and James Madison regarded democracy “as powerful but imperfect mechanism.” If it is designed properly then human potential can be harnessed to the maximum.

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There is a lot of freedom given in a democratic government and this has affected some areas of lives adversely. There young adults have taken on to smoking, drugs and there is nothing much the government can do. On the other hand when the state watches over its citizens there was more control of drug abuse. As said before a great divide happened in the society and in most countries it made the rich richer and the poor poorer. Into the 20th century the statistics say that many democratic states cannot meet the mounting pressure. However they do not think of communism as an answer to this pressure.