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#1 12 years ago

I posted a the first roughtdraft two days ago in the pub. I doubt many read it, but as promised, I finished it by today, and I'll post it here.

The gear of Democracy

World War II left a path of destruction and havoc, and forever changed the world. The most affected was Europe and specifically Eastern Europe. For many Eastern European countries, the end of the war was the beginning of a new “era”, a new reign of terror. This new kind of terror was Communism. Although many western countries saw the regime as evil, with nothing good coming out of it, in some cases history proved them wrong. Such cases are Eastern European countries that are no better now under Democracy than they were fifteen years ago under Communism. Democracy is a strong ideology, but the ideology itself will not work unless it blends in with the system in the society. In the United States, for instance, the system would be the US constitution that makes certain laws the roots of the society. In that case, a system of Democracy will work very well as corruption on a high level will be difficult to achieve, and on a low level, would be easy to mask and ignore. As we see from history, the idea of communism usually blends in with dictatorship. This of course will have advantages and disadvantages. Dictatorship itself has advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages of course are that unlike in a democratic system, the people are not in direct control of the government. Although the people are not treated the same as a non communist country, it’s in the best interest of the government to care for its people. The people are often tools used to achieve glory and power for a certain country. This could lead to a miserable and tormented life for many people. The advantage, however, would be an increase in the economy and very little political corruption. A good example of this would be the former Soviet Union. Stalin raised the country from its knees and eventually made it a world super power by the end of WW2. He achieved in a few years what many did not in decades. The country developed technologically, economically, and militarily. However, that came with a very high human cost. Those who did not play by the given rules were liquidated as enemies of the state, and the government had total control over every aspect of a person’s life. Nevertheless, the country developed and perfected its technology, becoming a world super power. The question is whether democracy would have resulted in a better outcome, if it was in place at that time. Whether yes or no, it can’t really be answered. By using facts from history, we can conclude certain things and come up with an educated assumption. Democracy itself would not work well unless the foundation on which it stands is solid and provides the roots for a scrupulous society. As the war in Europe ended, back in 1945, Europe split into West and East, just like Berlin was divided into West and East. The East was dominated by the Soviet Union and its ideology of communism, while the West was dominated by the United States and its ideology of democracy. Unlike the United States who helped rebuilt Western Europe by granting large sums of money, the Soviet Union used Eastern European countries for its own benefits, and left them on their own to rebuilt their infrastructure. It should also be taken in account that unlike the United States who did not fight the war on its homeland, the Soviet Union lost much of its industries and was left with devastated cities. So they had to rebuild on their own, and little time to focus on other countries. Although the strength of their production facilities increased, despite the large losses, the country was left with many devastated cities such as Stalingrad, where the whole city was reduced to rubbles. So, we can assume the Soviet Union did not have the capability of helping Eastern European countries like the United States had. As a result, and because of the type of government, the people in the East lived in worst conditions than those of the West. However, the drug traffic was much lower in the Eastern Bloc countries than Western countries such as the United States. The type of government in Eastern Europe made it difficult for drug lords to operate, while a democratic government would make it a casual operating spot. The United States is such as examples, as it became a central point of drug dealing. The government had little control over it, and as a result the population began to feel the effects, as many became dependent on drugs. As a result, the drug business boomed, and the United States became a victim of such business. Because of the freedom and liberty, gangs were also a bigger problem in a nation such as the United States, and even Great Britain. Eastern European countries on the other hand, did not face these problems at the magnitude as Western Countries. However, the living conditions were worst as communist countries paid little attention to the needs of the people. The years of 1989 to 1991 saw a big change in Eastern European countries. Like the end of WW2, the revolutions of 1989 to 1991 forever changed Eastern Europe. It was also the end of the Soviet Union and ultimately the Cold War, as USSR collapsed in 1991. Many historians argue that the Soviet Union collapsed as it raced to win the Cold War rather than paying attention to it’s satellites who were beginning to crumble. East and West Germany was the point where the East met the West. It was also a place where very similar people lived very different lives in very different conditions. The people of East Germany did not agree with the puppet government installed by the Soviets, and very often tried to flee to the West. In 1989, the wall collapsed as the people of the West met those of the East and Germany was reunified. In the same year, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia overthrew the communism regime. Of course, everybody hoped for the best at that time, but many did not get what they expected. Sixteen years after a democratic government was enforced in these countries, its arguable that the living conditions stayed the same, and in some cases became much worst. According Charles P. Wallance’s “Across the Great Divine” article taken from “TIME Europe 1999”, about 90% of the women in East Berlin held a job before 1989 while in 1999, half the unemployment in the East were women. In the same article, Wallance points out that many people had a higher living condition under the communism regime as they did after the reunification. Such person was Frank Schulz who was being paid less after reunification of Germany and at the same time having to pay 10 times as much for rent. Wallance also points out that even though the city of Berlin came together, in many economic ways, it was still split. In 2005, the unemployment in Germany rose to a 12.6%. Although Germany was able to stand on its knees after the reunification, many Eastern European countries had different stories to share. Years after the fall of communism, and introduction of a democratic reform, the standard living conditions did not change. Not only did they fell, the countries were doing worst economically and militarily speaking. For example, Romania built most of its infrastructure during the communism regime of Ceausescu. At that time, heavy industrialization began, and many contracts with the West were opened. Such is the construction of a nuclear power plant at Cernavoda initially contracted by the Soviet Union, but in the end completed with the Atomic Energy of Canada, because of the Chernobyl disaster and safety of Soviet reactors. Because of Ceausescu’s reforms and plans to industrialize the country, there was obviously huge debt. So, the dictator exported much of the country’s vital food supplies, decreasing the living conditions and making food hard to find.. By 1989, the people revolted, and Ceausescu was executed. It was the end of communism for Romania, and a new change. However, as history shows, the democratic change did not bring prosperity. The country was too fragile for the implementation of a working democratic system. There were too many flaws and holes in the system. As a result, corruption was very high and many politicians were taking advantage of their own people. It is ironic that by the time of Ceausescu’s death the country paid all its debts while at the moment, the country is in huge debt. During the communist regime, it was also the number two exporter of firearms in Eastern Europe. In just a few years, the new, so called democratic government, made a huge debt, but unlike the former regime, the money was not used for the prosperity of the country. Therefore, the people were still living in a bad condition, the country had a debt, and its economy and infrastructure was put to its knees. Recently, the corrupt government sold its most valuable resource away. The state oil company was sold to foreign investors, making the oil in Romania cost more than in other countries. The only difference is that Romania has oil as a natural resource and countries like Austria doesn’t, but they pay cheaper. So, as we see, a democratic government doesn’t solve all the problems, and it will not work unless it is implemented on a solid foundation. There must be a set of rules on which democracy functions, and these rules must be hard to manipulate. The people can’t just rule themselves as there is always somebody who tends to climb the hill faster and take advantage of the rest. The system on which democracy stands must be strategically organize and have little flaws and holes. Such solid system is the US constitution. But, unlike the US, many countries do not have that solid constitution. Therefore democracy will not work well in such countries, and the results will be the same as countries in Eastern Europe. The United States started with democracy form the beginning, making it much easier to be effective. It will be more difficult to implement an effective system, as that of the United States, on a country who previously had a different form of government and the people have different ideologies. Such example is Iraq, where democracy written on paper will not mean democracy in actuality. The people must also believe in the idea of democracy and agree to it. There must also be a balance between the power of the people and that of the government. The more power the government has, the more likely the people will have less rights. Its human nature to race to the top, and once there, to conquer and rule. We see the same principle throughout our history from Alexander the Great, to Julius Caesar, to Genghis Khan. So in order for democracy to be effective, the government must not have absolute power. The people must have control over their government through votes and the government must control the people using laws. If such element is broken, the results will be an impecunious form of democracy. The idea of democracy will not work well unless the foundation on which it stands is strong enough to withstand corruption of any kind. The United States constitution accounts for such foundation. There are many examples of countries where previous forms of government such as communism worked better than democracy. Not only politically, but also economically. Many countries saw the fall of the standard living conditions as their population struggled with higher prices. In many Eastern European countries, certain good were hard to obtain. Today, everything can be obtained, but few can afford it. So it leads to the same thing in the end. In many countries, democracy did not decrease poverty, but instead led to a type of government, which would be easy to manipulate, leading to an even greater poverty. The balance between the rich and the poor became too great, and the people had very little control over the government as voting was corrupted by political tools. So this goes back to the beginning, to the idea that democracy would no work well unless the system on which it stands is hard to manipulate, and strong to withstand the mightiest of mistrals. In the end, we must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. By Decebalus




Mast3rofPuppets VIP Member

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#2 12 years ago

Very good essay Decebalus! Not only you have a good point, the essay isn't boring and longwinded (as some essays can be). I found it to be very interesting :).

:clap:




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#3 12 years ago

You chose an interesting subject for your essay and I know exactly what you are getting at, but to be honest, I don't find it entirely convincing.

Here are some points which I would perhaps look at again:

In the first paragraph you talk about democracy in Russia as alternative for communism. You pointed out that a democracy doesn't really work unless some moral fundament exists on which it can stand. I think this is true but if you look how the first few democratic system came to be you see that it is usally a struggle of the lower classes to change their unpleasing situation. In case of the US it is a bit different as you can't really call the founding-fathers "lower classes", but their relation to Great Britain is perhaps similar. Some European countries were not affected by the revolutions of enlightenment which often created this essential moral fundament, but this doesn't mean that the circumstances in Russia were entirely different when the October revolution began. The unpleasing economic situation for the lower classes was present and there was the moral fundament of communism which was supposed to be more advanced than that of enlightenment. So from this point on a democracy could have worked just as well as in other countries.

Another point you talk about is corruption in the two different systems using drugs or gangs as example. The US did have a drug-problem and criminality isn't very low there either but both is not at a level which threatens the integrity of society. However, if you take a look at communist states you can find a lot of corruption, even in the government itself. In that case the corruption was so severe that it was one of the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. So I wouldn't really say that communist countries are superior, it is just their ability to control information which makes it seem like this.

As for the collpase of communism, it wasn't simply that the arms-race destroyed their economy. Many people say that it was a collpase on different levels with many factors playing a part. Personally, I think that the sudden encouragement to critize the government was one of the most important factors.

As for your statement that a government shouldn't have absolute power, this is of course true, but in case of a communist system it is not so easy. If you want to change the way in which people regard the world you need absoulte power. Getting rid of the class-system which was in the mind of the people for thousands of years is nothing that can be done easily. As a leader you are naturally afraid that people who are not entirely convinced will endanger this critical process. From there it is not a big step to use criminal means to reach a good intention, which is of course not acceptable.

Eventually, your point that eastern European states had a hard time after the revolutions is true, but this is not the fault of the democratic system. It just takes time to re-establish the class-system with all it's consequences in the minds and this time isn't easy (just as the time just after the October-revolution was rather hard for most people). You also should look at the long-term effects; Russia is actually doing quite well right now, economically at least. Russia's democracy is worth an essay of it's own :)

I don't want to say that you are wrong, just what I think about these points. Apart from them I agree with your essay. Good work!




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#4 12 years ago

Thanks guys, I appreciate your comments and the fact that you read my essay.

You chose an interesting subject for your essay and I know exactly what you are getting at, but to be honest, I don't find it entirely convincing.

Its not entirely convincing of course, and it doesn't have to be. Its more theoritical. You can't prove a theory 100% or it wouldn't be a theory. Where Im going is saying what democracy needs to function and giving examples of countries where it doesn't function well.

In the first paragraph you talk about democracy in Russia as alternative for communism. You pointed out that a democracy doesn't really work unless some moral fundament exists on which it can stand. I think this is true but if you look how the first few democratic system came to be you see that it is usally a struggle of the lower classes to change their unpleasing situation. In case of the US it is a bit different as you can't really call the founding-fathers "lower classes", but their relation to Great Britain is perhaps similar. Some European countries were not affected by the revolutions of enlightenment which often created this essential moral fundament, but this doesn't mean that the circumstances in Russia were entirely different when the October revolution began. The unpleasing economic situation for the lower classes was present and there was the moral fundament of communism which was supposed to be more advanced than that of enlightenment. So from this point on a democracy could have worked just as well as in other countries.

Uhmm, I was introducing Eastern European countries which I based my examples on. Of course I had to start in the beginning so I introduced communism since they were all communist states. I was trying to introduce Eastern Europe countries there and give examples of some of their pros and cons under communism. But the point of that was that later on I would have talked about the collapsed of communism and introduction of democracy. Giving examples of democracy not working very well.

Another point you talk about is corruption in the two different systems using drugs or gangs as example. The US did have a drug-problem and criminality isn't very low there either but both is not at a level which threatens the integrity of society. However, if you take a look at communist states you can find a lot of corruption, even in the government itself. In that case the corruption was so severe that it was one of the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. So I wouldn't really say that communist countries are superior, it is just their ability to control information which makes it seem like this.

The corruption point was not only meant for Russia only. My intentions were to show that there was less corruption under the communist regime than it is now under democracy. I used Romania and maybe Russia a little. Anyway, Ill try to get that more clear before submitting it.

As for the collpase of communism, it wasn't simply that the arms-race destroyed their economy. Many people say that it was a collpase on different levels with many factors playing a part. Personally, I think that the sudden encouragement to critize the government was one of the most important factors.

As for your statement that a government shouldn't have absolute power, this is of course true, but in case of a communist system it is not so easy. If you want to change the way in which people regard the world you need absoulte power. Getting rid of the class-system which was in the mind of the people for thousands of years is nothing that can be done easily. As a leader you are naturally afraid that people who are not entirely convinced will endanger this critical process. From there it is not a big step to use criminal means to reach a good intention, which is of course not acceptable.

I didn't get into detail on that since I didnt want to go too offtopic. I tried to stay around my thesis.

Eventually, your point that eastern European states had a hard time after the revolutions is true, but this is not the fault of the democratic system. It just takes time to re-establish the class-system with all it's consequences in the minds and this time isn't easy (just as the time just after the October-revolution was rather hard for most people). You also should look at the long-term effects; Russia is actually doing quite well right now, economically at least. Russia's democracy is worth an essay of it's own

True, but I didnt intend to blame the democracy. Im saying that democracy failed because the system on which is based is not good enough. In the end going back to the need for having a good constitution so that democracy can work.

Anyway, you made really good points:)




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#5 12 years ago

prettey good, but could have been better-written. I thought it was a bit, erm, "choppy" at points.




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#6 12 years ago

....... wow I used to be bored to hell of all history that didn't involve a war from WWII on. This hardly mentions stories of the war (by stories I mean more like an essay on WWII or the like) and isn't boring. Unless there's an absolute nerd in your school or this is a college scholarship from a community college, you're almost 100% guarnteed to win. If it's a community- [insert type here] college, you might have some competition, placing you in the 95-99.9% :P




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#7 12 years ago

LoL, Its a national scholarship competition.... So there might be hundreds of thousand submiting essays. But glad you liked it. Btw, the version that I submited is a little bit modified. I cut paragraph one into two paragraphs, took out some stuff, and made it a little more easy to follow. But the major points are in there.