A recent study revealed that a growing number of citizens living in western nations are becoming dissatisfied with their democratic governments. But why is this the case?

What is Democracy?

A democracy can be best defined as a governmental system in which the people have the power to choose how they are governed. There are several different types of democracies, but in this day and age, the most common is representative democracy. In this system of government, people elect individuals who will run their government. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, are examples of representative democracies.

In contrast, countries like Saudi Arabia and North Korea are run by a king or dictator. These are societies in which citizens are not free to choose who runs their governments, and they are not even allowed to criticize the people in charge.

While most in the West favor a democratic form of government, this system is not without flaws. In this type of government, leaders are elected by voters who are often uninformed on the issues, meaning they support candidates who may not be fit to govern. Another problem is that the government can take longer to make decisions because many actions require a level of cooperation between politicians serving in the government. Of course, to many, a slow-moving government is ideal in that it makes it harder for the state to restrict the freedoms that their citizens enjoy.

Why are People Losing Faith in their Democratic Governments?

A recent poll revealed that the number of citizens living in countries with democratic governments has grown increasingly “dissatisfied” with the people responsible for running their nations. These figures are particularly high in developed in western societies. The number of dissatisfied individuals has increased from one-third of the population to half over a 25-year period.

One of the reasons people living in these countries have grown unhappy might be that they believe things are not changing for the better regardless of who is elected to positions of power. The perception is that no matter who they allow to be in positions of power, things are handled as ineffectively as the people who came before them.

Perhaps the growing dissatisfaction with democratic governments is what resulted in the elections of people like President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The U.K., in particular, is an interesting example with their recent decision to break away from the European Union.

In democratic governments, it seems inevitable that times such as these would pass. Sometimes the election of outsiders might shake things up enough to affect real change — sometimes for the better, other times for the worse.