Democracy and Bureaucrary Are Incompatible, Discuss Using Illustrative Examples.

1879 Words Sep 30th, 2010 8 Pages

The relationship between democracy and bureaucracy has generated much debate amongst scholars. Democracy is defined as a political system which supplies regular constitutional opportunities for changing the governing officials and the social mechanism which permits the largest possible part of the population to influence major decisions by choosing among political contenders for political office. Abraham Lincoln as cited in Haralambos and Holborn (1995) defines democracy as the government of the people by the people and for the people. Bureaucracy is defined by Schaefer (2003) as a component of formal organisation in which rules and hierarchal ranking are
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Therefore, bureaucracy is not compatible with democracy in such governments where the wishes of the people do not take paramount importance.

It can be argued that organisation or bureaucracy is death knell of democracy and hence not compatible. Moreso, direct participation by large number of people in the running of an organisation is in practice impossible. Apart from the practical difficulties of assembling thousands of people, direct involvement in decision making will be more cumbersome and time consuming that nothing will get done. Since direct democracy is impractical, it can only be replaced by a form of some representative system, whereby delegates represent the mass and carry out its will. Hurd et al (1991) laments that these political elected leaders want to amass wealth at the expense of the people, just because of their positions. Leaders at the highest authority of the bureaucracy can appoint other leaders on basis of ethnic background, nepotism and favour hence the wishes of the people wont be respected because the leaders would be representing their own selfish needs. As a result, bureaucracy can not be compatible with democracy if the wishes of the majority are ignored. The only thing they will do is to come back with feedback and alerting the mass on their course of action in the future. For example the president went to represent Zimbabwe to the UN summit recently and told the Zimbabwe’s story without prior
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