Explain any three main social outcomes of democracy.
- promotion of social equality
- all are equal before law irrespective of religion, caste or race
- gender equality
- democracy provides gender equality
- eg:Equality of Women
Most societies across the world were historically male dominated societies. Long struggles by women have created some sensitivity today that respect to and equal treatment of women are necessary ingredients of a democratic society. That does not mean that women are actually always treated with respect. But once the principle is recognised, it becomes easier for women to wage a struggle against what is now unacceptable legally and morally. In a non-democratic set up, this unacceptability would not have legal basis because the principle of individual freedom and dignity would not have the legal and moral force there.
- ban on untouchability
- accomodation of social diversity
Democracies usually develop a procedure to conduct their competition. This reduces the possibility of these tensions becoming explosive or violent. No society can fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups. Democracy is best suited to produce this outcome. Non-democratic regimes often turn a blind eye to or suppress internal social differences. Ability to handle social differences, divisions and conflicts is thus a definite plus point of democratic regimes. But the example of Sri Lanka reminds us that a democracy must fulfill two conditions in order to achieve this outcome.
It is necessary to understand that democracy is not simply rule by majority opinion. The majority always needs to work with the minority so that governments function to represent the general view. Majority and minority opinions are not permanent.
It is also necessary that rule by majority does not become rule by majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group, etc. Rule by majority means that in case of every decision or in case of every election, different persons and groups may and can form a majority. Democracy remains democracy only as long as every citizen has a chance of being in majority at some point of time. If someone is barred from being in majority on the basis of birth, then the democratic rule ceases to be accommodative for that person or group.
- Dignity and freedom of the citizens
- Democracy stands much superior to any other form of government in promoting dignity and freedom of the individual. Every individual wants to receive respect from fellow beings. Often conflicts arise among individuals because some feel that they are not treated with due respect. The passion for respect and freedom are the basis of democracy
Democracies are based on political equality.
All individuals have equal weight in electing representatives.
Parallel to the process of bringing individuals into the political arena on an equal footing, we find growing economic inequalities.
A small number of ultra-rich enjoy a highly disproportionate share of wealth and incomes.
Not only that, their share in the total income of the country has been increasing.
Those at the bottom of the society have very little to depend upon.
Their incomes have been declining.
Sometimes they find it difficult to meet their basic needs of life, such as food, clothing, house, education and health.
In actual life, democracies do not appear to be very successful in reducing economic inequalities.
The poor constitute a large proportion of our voters and no party will like to lose their votes.
Yet democratically elected governments do not appear to be as keen to address the question of poverty as you would expect them to.
The situation is much worse in some other countries.
In Bangladesh, more than half of its population lives in poverty.
People in several poor countries are now dependent on the rich countries even for food supplies.