Diminishing Democracy

Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman and Member of Parliament, was against Democracy in Britain. He was of the opinion that common people are seldom endowed with the kind of intelligence that’s required to comprehend the complexities of government. He thought if they had the vote, common people could be easily misled by demagogues for securing their vote bank.

Burke foresaw a major flaw with democracy- the most pravelant form of government in the post industrial revolution modern nation states- it’s complexity and people’s inability to fully understand the principles on which modern bureaucratic system functions. It means common people make decisions based on misinformation or no information at all. Government-Corporate-Media nexus ensures that truth never reaches the masses. 

The pre industrial society based on community and kinship ties was fairly simple. It ensured participation of every member of the society in the smooth functioning of village community. It’s not that these societies were ideal but they were devoid of complexities. Modern complex bureaucratic structures are impenetrable and inaccessible to the common people. No wonder, people do not relate to government anymore. Decreasing participation of people in elections world over testifies to this fact. 

Technology, especially, internet and IT revolution have been touted as democracy intensifying breakthroughs. It might be seen as a resurrection of Taylorian “ONE BEST WAY” in new avatar. One latent implication of this tech frenzy might be the further increase in the complexities of bureaucracy and taking democracy further away from the people it claims to serve and contracting its reach to a select few. Afterall, post-structaralism posits that grand theories are suffocating and oppressive. If we need multiple decision making centres in modern democracy then we need multiple means of accomplishing goals as well.