Democracy, the most justifiable form of government, accords power to every citizen to assure the action of governing for all people. The democratic form of government eventually confiscates the final resolution by incorporating the approval of all those who get influenced by those decisions. It endows the right of freedom and equality. The fundamental beliefs and constitutional principles are the core values of democracy. These essential propositions also include Liberty, Equality and Justice which serve as the foundation for the system. Though democracy is strengthened by its belief, it has flaws too. The essence of democracy complements its flaws.
The flaws of democracy restraint a nation from its development, henceforth, the contemporary world is looking for a desirable alternative called epistocracy. Epistocracy is a form of government which is governed by those who are recognised as knowledgeable. This form of government is an amelioration of notable exchanges of divergent views. A large number of people are of the view that epistocracy is the incomparable substitute for democracy. They condemned the idea of ceding power to common people over the government. But, epistocracy gives power to those who have the right to participate in decision-making based on their political knowledge. Whereas democracy is based on the principle that only a degree of knowledge does not matter.
Many philosophers like Plato criticize democracy and propounded that democracy is a rule by the unknowledgeable, or amateurish, rule by the mountebank. Also Jason Brennan’s in his book “Against Democracy” put forward the idea of “Competence Principle ” which states that power should be given to those who are genuinely capable of using it in a bona fide manner. Brennan does not claim that people without political knowledge are inferior to others; he just asserts that they do not have the right to rule and exercise power as power also confers responsibility which they are incapable to perform. He acknowledged that democracy is better than any other forms of government like oligarchy or dictatorship but these are not the only possible substitute for democracy.
India, the largest democracy in the world, like other democracies also has those flaws. The Indian Constitution under Article 326 gives right to vote on the basis of adult suffrage i.e. a person who is 18 years of age or above has the right to vote irrespective of race, colour or previous condition of subjugation. Knowledge is not the criteria of voting in India. Due to illiteracy, a large number of citizens are not aware of the political issues.
Among the vast population, there are people who have less political knowledge but are not keen to learn political subjects. The majority of the voters consist of these people. Since the majority of the population is ignorant and does not possess the knowledge required to make a rational decision for making the government hence it affects the formation of good governance. This incompetency has created a political class which has been destroying the country for centuries. Democracy distributes authority extensively and eliminates any inducement for individual electors to use their authority wisely. Individual elector has no opportunity to make a difference in a significant election or referendum other than winning Powerball for the parties . They also indulge in their worst prejudices. Democracy is considered as the people’s rule, but it tempts people to be their worst. In India, while voting only few citizens open-mindedly process data and most of the people ignore data that contradicts their ideology or belief . Democracy urges people to choose from distinct policies of the various political parties. To understand and analyse these distinct policies, the citizens require minimum understanding of economic and political science. Their preference will matter only if they are well informed about those policies. As people of the country are not educated enough to understand these policies, the result of a well-informed vote is the same as an irrational vote. The lack of knowledge among people makes democracy a form of government which gives preference to quantity over quality.
The democratic form of government in India is not providing significant results for the development of the country and contains several flaws which hinder the growth of the country. To eliminate these obstructions epistocracy is the desirable change the country need for its development as this form of government may give every individual right to vote, but some votes may weigh more than other, or it may exclude people from voting unless they pass a fundamental political skill exam.
The decision made by this form is based on quality. Although, epistocracy discriminates on the ground of expertise but the intuition behind this discrimination is that rather than living with our mistakes, we should do our utmost to prevent them in their first place. At times the decision taken by majority may not be suitable for the society as the majority consist of uneducated who has limited access to facts and informations and these people can get easily influenced due to their sentiments and perception of the elite class. The end result of epistocracy will be more accurate representation and this form of government will improve people’s understanding of political work and possibly lead to a more accountable government. If the people in power realise that the majority of votes are cast by the people who are aware of the political issues and legal spectrum, the political parties and leaders will refrain from the breach henceforth there will be more transparency and accountability in the governance.
Therefore, we can conclude that epistocracy is better than democracy as it provides more benefits than democratic form of government. It gives a decision based on quality which is in favour of the nation and its people. An epistocracy form of government could also maintain the significant institutions that are there in republican democracy like parties, mass election, constitutional review etc. We assess democracy only as a helpful tool for fabricating effective and efficient policies. If there are better instruments than democracy then obviously we should prefer and use those instruments. Indeed, epistocracy can be a better tool. We should experiment with this tool for the betterment of our nation and future development and growth. Maybe a liberal republican epistocracy could surpass democracy.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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