The Democratization of Poverty

Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and good governance in Africa by Abrahamson,R. Zed Books.  2000.

Democracy appears to be unproblematic and unquestionable yet this is not true because democracy is the most contested and controversial concept that there is in political theory. It is contested because it is so ambiguous.

Electoral democracy itself provides society with another problem which is that it does not address social ills and inequalities that the marginalized people are experiencing. Democracy should be addressing the political and social rights of citizens as well as ensuring that citizens have these rights initially. In addition to this, governments need to ensure that citizens have civil and political liberties as well to ensure that they can obtain some sort of freedom. It does not benefit the poor or the illiterate but rather alienates them because there is an active disregard for their well-fare rights.

The main issue with democracy is that it requires political participation which is something most states struggle with because of their lack of faith in the government due to corruption and self-interest.

The problem in society is that there is democratic elitism where voters have little influence on decision-making process in a state where they are convinced that their voice matters and that they should be heard.

Democracy is sometimes described as a system of organised uncertainty and unknown outcomes. Whereas it should be one’s ability to change the government that is in power as well as having equal legal and formal rights. Anybody should be allowed to compete for political leadership but this is not easy as not everyone has access to the same resources. Time, money and education aren’t equally resourced or equally distributed.


The political sphere of states is very classist and is based on who has the most power because that entity will most likely make most of the decisions.


Liberty is not only about enjoying equality but it is about merely having access to that equality. And that is the problem, that equality is inaccessible for the marginalized person in society.

There are issues such as socialist ideals, distributional justice, oppression, stagnation and economic collapses that need to be dealt with before democracy can be fully successful and implemented. Western discourse has regarded democracy as being intrinsic of capitalism, which is not far off from the reality and lived experiences of people who are living in democratic states.


Democracy is not only rooted in one’s vote but also in the knowledge that one’s vote matters and can make a change in the society you are living in . Democracy encompasses tangible and abstract changes as opposed to  tick on the ballot box. It is imperative that more discussions about democracy are had to educate people on what it really means.