Democracy: Components and Types

  • Michael Haas


The term “democracy” is ambiguous and multidimensional, applied to very different kinds of political systems, and thus needs to be defined with care, beginning with the origins of the term with Plato and Aristotle. The components of democracy are then identified historically as constitutions, representative legislatures, civil societies, selection of executives, extension of the franchise, secret ballots, referenda, civil and political rights, and many other elements. From among at least fifty definitions of “democracy,” forty are explained, with an emphasis on how mere procedural democracy fails to live up to the standards of substantive democracy. The chapter concludes with arguments against democracy based on the flaws of bureaucratism, chicanery, corruption, cultural inappropriateness, imposition of regime type, inefficiency, inexorable oligarchy, mob rule, moral decay, public naiveté, the tragedy of the commons, instability, and the tendency to go to war.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Haas
    • 1
  1. 1.Los AngelesUSA

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