Democracy vs Development: 3: Democracy is for the Well Educated Political Elites!

(If you are not ready to accept the Truth, do not ask for it!)

We all learned that the term “Democracy” originates from the Greek word dēmokratía ( “rule of the people” which denotes the political systems that existed in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to aristocratie “rule of an elite”. Often we do not go further and investigate the historical background of these political systems.

Though theoritically the two difinitions are in opposition. But, historically, the distinction b/n the two political system has been blurred.

For instance, if you read the history of Democracy as a political system in Greek Athens, you will find that it only granted democratic citizenship to an elite class of free men, which excluded slaves and women from political participation. Jump centuries forward, you also learn that the US democratic system excluded womens from political participation till the time of Widro Wilso (1918-during first world war) and black citizens until 1963.

So, though its definition talks about the “rule of the people”, both the ancient and modern history of Democracy tell us that it was not what it meant. B/c it excluded slaves and womens.

But, if one look close enough, he will find the weak spot of the political system-democracy.

In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship consisted of an elite class until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Therefore, the fact that history tells us is that democracy comes as a means of empowering the political elites. It is about the well educated and wealhtier part of the society demanding to share power with the existing ruling elites. They are the best educated, best-informed and most politically active people nationwide who often the first of the public to become aware of an issue. In Ethiopia, how many of them do we have? In a country where the majorties are uneducated, impoverished and live in a rural village, what kind of democracy do you want to have? Michael Kebede, pls look for any historical documents, and tell whether Domocracy exists without these political elites? See…? First, a country need to have these group who demands the sharing of power.

I know you and Ethiopia Girma often talks about freedoms such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a free press, and free assembly;….But still these Freedoms are not demanded by any ordinary man..but by these political elites…if the economic, social conditions allow, one dont demand them. For instance, the americans copied these freedoms from the french revolution and the great britians magna carta. It was designed to reserves most of the rights for the people any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the people or the States. However, history also tells us that the Bill of Rights had little judicial impact for the first 150 years of its existence, but was the basis for many Supreme Court decisions of the 20th and 21st centuries. Why is that?
The reason is more of sociological than political. From an examination of historical evidence Sociologists like Seymour Martin boldly concluded that growing wealth mainly encourages democracy, rather than visa versa. The social and economic conditions of USA did not paved the way to demand these freedoms.

..Because in a modern world, as people get benefited from the economic, cultural and social developments, they learn more through newspapers, television, and the Internet about what is going on in their own and in other countries, and communicate by phone, email, texting, and in other way. This what is happening in our country. That is what me and you are doing right here!

So , when a country is developed, people demands freedom in all aspects of life primarily in economic choices, social and political life. These aspirations are not compatible with governments that censor what people read and hear, that try to suppress open discussions on politically sensitive subjects, and suppress challenges from political candidates outside of the officially recognized parties.

This is why many define democracy as a form of government which encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

These social, economic and cultural conditions are not given by nature… but one have to NURTURE them. Development is not only about economic growth, it encompasses the enhancement of social, culural and Even Political conditions….that is why i argue as Democracy is the outcome of a successfull Development.

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