Democratization or Shift of Control?

by Sharon White - Date: 2007-01-11 - Word Count: 516 Share This!

However, the humankind has determined a few successful democratization processes which seemed to truly represent people's will. The history has shown such processes having held in some European countries, e.g. Germany, Britain, France, Italy etc. Are their 'people's representatives' ruling systems really working?

History of Britain demonstrates well the gradual, vast and successful democratization process in this country. It began in the beginning of the nineteenth century with the franchise expansion which reflected further Reform Acts of 1832 and 1884. The British democratization was due to internal process which was reflected in mass marches and protests for electoral rights. The British Parliament was the body which reacted actively to the public movements and promoted human rights on the institutional level. This active participation in social reforms effected significant parliamentarian reforms which brought public direct influence on political decisions and democratizes' presence in the House of Commons. The restriction of monarch power by the Parliament started the Parliamentary monarchy in Britain. The British Parliament greatly influenced the British internal affairs and external politics.

One of the greatest advantages of British form of democratization was demonstration of democracy success and its initiation in other countries. However, it is obvious the British democratization resulted in the shift of real power and control to the Parliament and compromising restriction of the British monarch family expenses on its living.

Now the Parliament has the House of Representatives who are elected by British citizens and the House of Lords which is not elected and, therefore cannot represent the people's will actually. Next, the Great Britain foreign policy towards Canada, Australia and New Zealand looks like authoritarianism rather than democratic reflection of Canadian, Australian and Zealand people's will.

Another bright example of democratization process is the history of Germany. While democratization in Britain was caused by internal sources the Germany was involved in this process mainly by external demands. It can be explained by German rather late participation in democracy movement. It can also be explained by historical background of this country which suffered from autocrats' periods and, therefore forced segmentation of German society.

German democratization is featured by growth of corporative unions. The popularization of such unions can be explained by historically segmented society and promotion of 'people's interests' by these unions. The corporatist organizations, established and developed during democratization process in Germany, gained so wide-spread and great power as their influence on social processes and impact on political decisions significantly surpassed the state power. These corporatist organizations could ignore the state institutional decisions and make their own issues which obtained legitimacy by public decisions. Such cases occurred when corporatist activists were involved in defending social reforms aimed to improve employees' social programs and to pull down unemployment in the country. In fact, unions did much for German citizens and managed to establish excellent working conditions, social guarantees and prosperity for working class. This lasted till corporate unions' interests and employees' needs coincided. The modern history globalization wave has offered cheap workforce and manufacturing outside Germany. Yet, trade unions keep attempting at German employees' rights protection but no any significant progress has been shown.

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