Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Why does democracy work so well?

  1. Sep 26, 2011 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2011 #2

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    If you think democracy works so well, you must not be paying attention to the antics of the US Congress these days!
     
  4. Sep 26, 2011 #3
    LOL
    As an European I must admit that I find USA strange, but even if you get a lot of bad laws in a democracy it often works out anyway. USA is still one of the richest countries on earth in income/capita and they have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan in a decade.
     
  5. Sep 26, 2011 #4

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think the real question is "works so well" compared to what? I think when we look at systems of governments that aren't democratic, it's obvious not why democracy works so well; it's obvious why non-democratic countries DON'T work so well. By definition, something only works well if it can be compared favorably to other systems.
     
  6. Sep 26, 2011 #5
    Hahaha!

    And just look at the meteoric rise of China. Democracy may have created the conditions that allowed us to get where we are, but that doesn't mean this progress can't be co-opted and done better by a non-democratic entity.
     
  7. Sep 26, 2011 #6

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Read a blogger for an answer to an age old question?

    Federalist #10, Madison:
     
  8. Sep 26, 2011 #7

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    In the US, it was made virtually idiot-proof.
     
  9. Sep 26, 2011 #8

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The trick is to set up the system so the idiots think they are running the show, but everbody else can ignore then.
     
  10. Sep 27, 2011 #9

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    We should put the China issue on hold and revist it in 20 or 30 years. China's 'working as well' as western democracies, in terms of the quality of life of the people is still too far off to even predict when or if it will happen.
     
  11. Sep 27, 2011 #10

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't see that "idiot" is the right word. If you can vote yourself more services, and vote that someone else has to pay for them, that's a pretty great deal.
     
  12. Sep 27, 2011 #11
    Neither the US or the Eurozone democracies can, at the moment, claim that they're handling financial matter that good. In the top of China, the fast majority holds an engineering degree; one could call it a state-led technocracy. I prefer democracy myself, but there isn't a good reason to assume that a technocracy can't outperform a democracy.
     
  13. Sep 27, 2011 #12

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Huh? Could you please cite that education stat...
     
  14. Sep 27, 2011 #13

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Uhh - what? No way do 'the vast majority hold an engineering degree'. Here's an article on engineering graduates in China:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051901760.html

    If you accept that they turn out about 350,000 engineering graduates per year, with a working career of 30 years, that amounts to about 10 million working engineers, which is less than 1% of their 1.3 billion population.
     
  15. Sep 27, 2011 #14
  16. Sep 27, 2011 #15
    I actually think swing voters are more informed than those who simply vote the party line (not that a party line voter can't be informed, I just think a swing voter is more apt to be informed).
     
  17. Sep 27, 2011 #16
    Agree, and I'm not well informed enough to compare democracies with other forms of government(with benevolent rulers). But what I was thinking about was that most people are idiots and some how the collective decision of all the idiots doesn't turn out as bad as one could imagine.
     
  18. Sep 27, 2011 #17
    No system works "well" so much as it's what systems function the least badly. For example, socialists oftentimes love to point out all the flaws of market capitalism (stock market bubbles, corporate corruption, etc...). But no one claims market capitalism works flawlessly. It's that, in comparison to the other systems, it is the system that works the least badly.
     
  19. Sep 27, 2011 #18
    What makes you think that China is doing the progress of the Western world better? The country is ripe with corruption on a monumental scale and they do not have the protections of private property, freedom, regulations on pollution and worker safety, building safety standards, etc...that we have in the United States.
     
  20. Sep 28, 2011 #19

    mheslep

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I first took the OP to be solely a historical question, best answered by historical reference. On further reflection of the OP and the links I see more there. I hear the old totalitarian impulse rising up from the statists who, when observing popular sentiment strongly against the One True Agenda, can only conclude popular sentiment is stupid and requires a strong hand to place it in check. The bloggers (Drum, Smith) and OP are not alone:

    Too Much of a Good Thing
    Why we need less democracy

    Hopefully this is just another cycle and not a trend. In the 1920's and 30's there were many singing the praises of Mussolini in the US, seemingly at every other desk in the FDR administration.
     
  21. Sep 28, 2011 #20
    vs.
    the U.S. graduates only 70000 engineers a year,

    http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/dec2005/nf20051223_7594_db039.htm [Broken]


    350.000 is a big number. trying to make it less significant by making it a percent of population does not make it a lesser number.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Why does democracy work so well?
  1. Why does gravity work? (Replies: 18)

Loading...