September 28th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Debate: Can democracy solve your problems?

There's an interesting article over in The New York Times about how young people around the world are scorning the democratic system:

Here's an excerpt from the NYT article:

Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strikeIsrael reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.

Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.

“Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.

But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.

Read the rest over at The New York Times.

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Topics: Debate

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Onesmallvoice

    The truth is that democracy more often than not fails in most places. The so-called "elected people" are usually either too corrupt or too incompetent to govern effectively. Yet one hears all these rght-wing fanatics bla-bla-bla over just how "wonderful" democracy is. The main reason being that many of these "elected" officials are already in the pockets of the right-wing thugs in Washington!

    September 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      This wariness shows that people on the street are feed up with their governments, which are mostly made up of mainstream political parties, which fail to deliver what they'd promised.

      September 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Fringe parties in many European countries fill the gap. They win support, as they have more time for people, that are often neglected by authorities and they are quick to respond.

      September 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Fringe parties have to overcome hurdles if they want to be elected. They can be kingmakers in forming coaltions.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:26 am | Reply
  2. krm1007

    As related to the Indian paradigm, "Experimental Democracy" has failed in India. An experiment that was being shoved down India's throat by western countries too eager to progagate their own values on a country that was trying to decolonize itself while trying to shed the communist skin of being a Soviet ally. India was thus trapped. What has become evident now is that this "Experimental Democracy" has marginalised the country. The marginalised groups of the country – Dalits and ‘backward’ castes/classes, indigenous ‘tribal’ people and religious minorities have been disenfranchised. "The belief that corruption is the important issue in the country is shared only by the minority living in urban areas and towns who have been beneficiaries of economic liberalization policies mandated by western countries. The most important challenges of Indian society remain as follows: justice, social and economic equality and equal access to certain standards of life for all Indians. " While India seems too eager to please its western masters and put on a progressive and softer face for CNN for public consumption, people see through it. The consequences of this "Band – Aid" approach will be brutal for India geo-politically when it realizes that the GDP statistics that it has been relying to gage its progress has not amounted to much in the long run. The western nations will siphon this Indian productivity into its coffers. So what we see is "British (now AMERICAN) East India Company" circa 1600

    September 28, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  3. Rz

    Democracy, as clearly indicated is a process. Making cheese or thinking might be other examples of a process. A process does not necessarily solve any problem. People typically solve problems, and yes, they may use a number of processes to do so. The democratic process neither provides me with a job, nor puts a roof over my head, nor puts food on my plate. In the hands of people who do not use it properly democracy will often result in a failure one way or another. Democracy is a process that's supposed to allow us to have a say in something. And I would say that it works much better here (GPS) than it does for any government in the world.

    September 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  4. Basic education

    Democrazy simply doesn't work with illiterate people, India is a good example. 60+ years after independent, Indians are still 40%+ illiterate.

    The end result is that India is still a backward place

    September 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  5. the truth

    While these people may be uneducated, it should not require much common sense to know that the outcome of any type of government that the people do not control ends up in totalitarianism. If the people cannot remember the pains and deplorable conditions of their past, then they are doomed to repeat the past. When the people think that the government should feed, clothe, house and provide medical services to them free, they are totally out of touch with reality. The past and present socialist and communist governments are proof of the horrible cost to humanity for any other type of government than democracy. Be careful with what you riot and burn for.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Reply

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