Nickeled & Dimed

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By Ashit Kumar Srivastava

           “We have given the vote to all without connecting it to that of wisdom


The idea of democracy is a phoenix which grew more out of necessity than as an ingenuity of political science; it was a redeeming goal against the tyranny of the monarch (The King can do no wrong). In the early days of American democracy, the idea was limited only to few elites of the society who were allowed to vote, the voting rights were so parochial in nature that women, persons with no property and the black community as a whole were not given voting rights.

However, the story begins to change after the coming of the 20th century. In the present piece, we shall concentrate on the comparison of the pre-twentieth century scenario in America and the present scenario. The great downfall of the limited franchise was that it brought forward only limited interest, which made sure their interest got the formal mandate (being recognized by the legislative enactment).

Now the very purpose of having a limited franchise was to create a monopoly on the resources of the State. So the elected members were working in consonance with the elector. However, with the turn of the century, the idea of the limited franchise was scrapped away, with the new community being recognized laying the basis for the franchise right.

However, one of the essentials for exercising the right of franchise is a sound intellect which was never streamlined. They just poured the right to vote upon everyone, irrespective whether they are educated or civilized or not? Who chose their leader invariably on the basis of their inclination and not on any scientific reasoning. Making nightmares of Socrates, per se, demagoguery a reality


The purpose of political democracy was to inculcate the principle of fairness. So when the State makes an allocation of resources of the society, every member of the society has a say in it via equal voting right. Among other functions, the function of allocation of resources equitably is an important functionality of the State (the allocation of resources has to be on political will and not on market orientation) which is one the biggest downfall of the modern day democracy, whereas, the voting rights are exercised by the substantial portion of the society but the resources of the society are bestowed only on few. This gives the color of laissez-faire to a liberal democracy, the whole and sole function of which is to bring fairness in the public policymaking. The allocation of resources to few converts the Welfare State as an oligarch institution working for few but levying burden on all. Under the present scenario, where many state governments across the globe are being alleged to be working for the welfare for Private Corporations; it is of utmost necessity that a re-look arises as to the scope and working of the democracy and the form of government this modern evil requires.

Ashit Kumar Srivastava (AKS) is an Assistant Professor of Law, National Law University, Odisha   

Image Source- TheTrumpet


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