Why is Democracy a Good Thing?

Nilakantan Rajaraman asks. Well,  because it provides stability…

…for the ruling class. Dictators can get deposed and they can get executed, especially by other dictators.  Bad rulers like Mayawati, Lalu Prasad Yadav or Y S R Reddy can at worst expect to lose the next election and continue to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Likewise, if you are running a major political party and you aren’t a strong and charismatic leader like Indira Gandhi, allowing intra-party democracy at the local level is a good bet to protect you from the convulsions of periodic splits and rebellions. 

It is debatable whether a dysfunctional democracy like India is good for its citizens, but I rather think that India’s democracy has been better for the Nehru-Gandhi family than Pakistan’s system has been for the Bhutto family.

7 thoughts on “Why is Democracy a Good Thing?

  1. For one, it prevents rulers from taking some extreme steps. For example China could force one-child-norm but no Indian leader, however popular, will be able to do that.

  2. Gaurav,

    How the heck is the explanation for the sky being blue so “obvious” that people who don’t know are to be called “too dumb”?

  3. Nilu, couldn’t you come up with a more imaginative and convincing sock-puppet name than V? Hard to believe you have even heard of Thomas Pynchon or Alan Moore, much less read them.

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