How Democratic is our Democracy Really?
What is democracy?
Democracy is a system of government in which every member of an organization or society gets to be part of decision making. Demos is Greek for people and Kratos means power, so it literally means ‘power of the people.’ The books tell us that the Ancient Greeks ‘invented’ Democracy, but they’re actually just officially recorded to be the first who implemented this system as a form of political government. The books tell us that in Athens, the capital of Greece, the laws and rules of society were agreed upon by the people. But in reality you had to be an adult man who owns a land in order to have the right to partake in the decision making. Furthermore you had to be a resident, which means that you were either from Athens or you were rich enough to buy residency. So basically only wealthy people got to be part of the decision making. They were about 40.000 out of nearly 300.000 inhabitants. So…what makes this a democracy?
In more general terms an actual democracy is that every member of any community gets to decide what happens to this community, whether it’s an organization or a society. Every member plays a part in deciding about the decision that are being taken. There are also forms of democracy where people choose representatives, who will be in the government of an organization or a country on behalf of a certain amount of people. These people are the ones who elected this person. This is called a representative democracy. Many countries use this form of government.
How democratic is a democracy for real?
We’re used to thinking that our society is being governed democratically. That we are the ones who elect people to be in the parliament. Yes, it is true that we choose people to rule for us, but we don’t get to choose whom we really would want to rule. There is a select group of people we can choose from and we don’t even get to decide who is in this group. We merely get to choose which person fits our needs, our voices, the best. But what if there’s nobody that you really feel confident about, nobody who could really represent your opinion? Nobody of whom you think: “Yes, I want her/him to make decisions for my country!” ?
Because that’s what it should be. We should be able to choose anyone who wants to run for member of parliament. Perhaps people who never thought they could make decisions for a country could get pointed out that they have great ideas and that they should try and be in the government. Maybe you have always thought that your neighbour has such great ideas about how the country should be. What if he could mean something for your country? Wouldn’t that be great? That anyone you think has amazing ideas could rule your country? It could be your friend, your colleague, your professor, even your gym teacher. That way the country gets to be governed by people that are actually chosen by everyone.
But the people you vote for are already in a political party. And that party has more or less fixed ideas about certain topics. And in order to be electable you need to have a certain position in this party. In order to get to this position you have to have status, undergo unofficial rituals, know the right people. This hardly even indirect democracy. It’s not a democracy at all. Democracy is power of the people, of all people, not of a selected group of people who have the luck, people skills, popularity, money, or connections to become electable.
At Oview we take decisions democratically
At Oview, we believe in an equal part for everyone in deciding what happens to the company. We take decisions democratically. And the people who do the actual work get to make decisions. We don’t have a manager, and everything we do, we decide as a team. We believe that the people who run the company are the people who do the work. We don’t have a boss. We all have an equal position, which gives all of us an equal right to have a say in taking any decision. Because we believe that any community, small or large, should reflect the opinions, thoughts and feelings of everyone that belongs to it, not just of a small group of people.