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Talk:Democracy

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Polyarchy[edit]

When I get the chance to, I will add info about Robert Dahl's theories on democracy, especially on polyarchy. Feel free to beat me to the punch, but feel no pressure to do so. Rand0 (talk) 06:02, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Democracy vs Republic[edit]

Maybe this will help.

Democracy Not Democracy
Republic The Republic of the United States of America The People's Republic of China
Not Republic The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The Democratic People's Republic of Korea

- π 11:18, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

What makes China a republic but North Korea not? The One They Call Mars (talk) 14:50, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Technically the National People's Congress is an elected body, though in practise it generally just rubber stamps decisions made by the President and his cohorts. Whether that's enough to call China a republic is another question, since China effectively has a one-party system of government, so elections are kind of a one-way street. That said, North Korea doesn't even pretend to have such an apparatus. - Grant (Talk) 16:31, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
No, that's the point of the explanation model! "Republic" and "Democracy" are not in the same order of categories! China is definitely a republic, just a non-democratic one. Some people (in my experience mostly US-Americans) seem to take "republic" and "democracy" as two different forms of government, but that's wrong - that seems to come straight out of the Civ series :p Historically, a republic is simply any state which is not a monarchy, no matter whether democratic or dictatorial. Now, in case of North Korea, with its divinely revered leading dynasty, things get a bit blurry, as you could say they have in fact adopted monarchial trappings. Still, a better example for a dictatorial monarchy would be Saudi-Arabia. Octo8 (talk) 16:37, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I think you have it a bit backwards. The concept that a republic is any government lacking a monarch is fairly modern, while historically the definition has been restricted to some system of government with electoral representation. This still differs significantly from the definition of a democracy, and I agree that either way you look at it, these are still two different forms of government. By either definition, China still qualifies, even if their elected body is largely toothless. As for North Korea, the Kim family is revered to almost the level of deities. I would say that's close enough to a monarchy to exclude it.
It's also worth pointing out that the lack of a monarch is still pretty much a pre-requisite for a country to be a republic. The differentiation between historical and modern definitions seems to centre on whether the additional requirement of "has an elected body" is in place. Either way, Canada, for example, is not a republic; nor are any Commonwealth nations. - Grant (Talk) 16:58, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Republics have existed all the way back to early Rome, from where the term comes. Sure, historically most of the time they were exceptions, but that's the point: All those territories which were not a kingdom, a duchy or whatever where "republics". The internal order of those republics was irrelevant; what mattered was that there was no monarch. Hence you got all the Italian city-republics, or the Republic of the United Seven Netherlands... which even before their transformation into a proper kingdom at the Congress of Vienna were de facto ruled by the House of Nassau-Orange, but officially were a republic. Likewise, many of the Italian city-republics went through phases of strongmen and dictators, but they kept being republics (unless in those cases where they were in fact transformed into a monarchy, like with the Medici in Florence). Really, the historical coherent definition of republic has always been "not a monarchy". For a modern example of this, consider British or Australian etc. republicanism: Establishing a republic there would simply mean deposing the monarchy, and has nothing to do with representation. As such, there are, just as pi's schematic shows, democratic republic (USA), dictatorial republics (China), democratic monarchies (UK) and dictatorial monarchies (Saudi-Arabia as a better example). Octo8 (talk) 17:08, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm debating neither of the points you're making here, and in fact, I used Canada and the Commonwealth in general as an example of countries that are not republics. I think you might find that the question of whether classical or medieval "republics" had any correlation between what we consider republics today is a disputed one. We can argue back-and-forth about semantics, but the point is that to embrace all of these states throughout history as "republics" doesn't do justice to the change in meaning that term has had over time. Consider, for example, the root of the word "republic" (Latin res publica). Historically, this referred to any state in which matters of governance were a public affair, and thus not governed by divine right, inheritance, or any other such private institution. By this definition, a modern state like North Korea is clearly and unambiguously not a republic, since state control is passed down through inheritance. Consider the difference between this and Venice, where the Doge was elected for life by the city's aristocrats. The point is that while Venice in these times was certainly not a democracy, there was still a rough "electoral" system. Now-a-days, the modern definition has been generalized, since "not a monarchy" also covers countries like North Korea in broad strokes. - Grant (Talk) 17:47, 19 March 2014 (UTC)