In recent years, there has been a lot of work by economists looking for factors that could explain the bias and inconsistency of the political process. The system of concentration of capital has led to the fact that large financial and industrial corporations and banking groups have become stronger than the state. However, by weakening the state, modern democratic tendencies fight against their own values and goals. Indicators of gigantic socio-economic inequality lead to the fact that members of society do not have equal rights. Hence, it is essential to explore why contemporary political processes have negative tendencies within the scope of the current democratic tendencies. It is assumed that modern democracy does not contribute to coherent and fair political processes nowadays.
The sources – that were explored and analyzed using the method of qualitative comparison – have revealed the following. The period from 1990 to the present day is characterized by a gradual strengthening of the financial sector in the world economy. The modern economy is characterized by two important features. First, the vast majority of the world’s largest companies are not engaged in the production of goods; manufacturing companies have become the property of financial corporations. Their immediate goals are to maximize short-term profits. Secondly, out of 37 million companies in the world, the 140 largest multinational companies own about 40% of all financial assets (Ikenberry). Whether a big business operates directly or uses informal lobbying, it has much more access to politics. It has more opportunities to influence political decisions than most other constituency groups whose interests are not professional or not represented at all.
Voters have one vote in each electoral cycle. At the same time, business circles, along with other interest groups, have a second voice when they can finance political parties and express their opinion through their representatives in official government discussions. Representatives of big business can directly influence government representatives and enter into negotiations (Zigerell 722). This is denied to all other citizens, whose interests are often not represented at all. As a result, the interests of the majority of citizens are not taken into account at all.
The existing mechanisms within the current democratic institutions do not allow solving the problems associated with the asymmetry of information, with the great influence of large companies and corporations. Rather, the current state of affairs means sustained social control by large companies and multinational corporations or a group of dictatorial companies over poorly functioning democratic institutions. Therefore, it seems that democracy is not a panacea in society.
Democratization can be understood as a process according to which the function of state power, its usefulness, is to reconcile the various interests in society and, in particular, to take into account the interests of the poor. There are well-known arguments pointing to the difficulties that arise in the task of reconciling public interests (Thomas 27). The existing approaches in the modern theory of voting do not allow forming an unambiguous attitude to the effectiveness of any single form of coordination of interests.
Democratic processes, unfortunately, can increase inequality when lobbyists for the interests of the upper stratum actively intervene in social processes and change the function of the state in a way that is beneficial to this stratum. In particular, Nikoloski found no statistical relationship between the level of democratization and income inequality (2). Similarly, the level of poverty is not significantly associated with the level of democratization. Therefore, in the absence of a government policy to combat poverty in the context of economic growth, the level of poverty can increase.
Democracy presupposes the independence of public opinion from external influences and free choice during various types of voting. However, as shown, in particular, in the works (Thomas 24) and (Berman 33), the media can influence consciousness in a decisive way, which actually reduces the freedom of choice to zero.
People do not react to actual events but to the model of events presented in the media. Hence, if the media pays more attention to some event or a problem that has arisen in society, then people perceive this as an important event or an important problem (Berman 25). Frequently presented information and its assessments turn out to be very far from objectivity and real importance. As the influence of the media grows, so does the political and economic influence on society of those who own it. This fact is confirmed by the authors of numerous works.
At this point, it should be said that the chosen literature has several significant strengths. The sources shed light from the particular on the settled ideas about modern democracy and liberalism. They debunk myths within the scope of today’s liberalistic tendencies’ flawlessness and their impact on socio-economic affairs. Moreover, the existing literature in the field not only criticizes modern democracy but also justifies and shows the alternatives to the current issues. Such an approach allows for formulating a clear understanding of the problem and developing an individual opinion on the problem.
However, it seems that there is a notable weakness that is inherent to the literature explored. In the analyzed sources, the position prevails that either liberal tendencies or state regulation are necessary for successful socio-economic development. However, it must be recognized that in different sectors, either market mechanisms or public administration provide advantages. In certain niches, either small and medium-sized enterprises or TNCs turn out to be the most effective. It is quite natural that in various countries, the distribution of democratic and state administration over different socio-economic sectors turns out to be different for various reasons.
The presented literature seems to be significant in the framework of the issue given. The sources demonstrate a great extent of objectivity by referring to particular numbers, facts, and reliable research. The rationale is developed founding on the best evidence-based practices without falling into biased polemics of destroying the opposite position. Then, the source’s credibility is achieved by the use of developed research methods – both quantitative and qualitative – as well as by appealing to the existing doctrine in the related theoretical dimension. However, these sources’ validity – in terms of generalizability – does not seem to be impeccable. The crucial point here is that the explored literature tends to skip the fact that various states cannot have exactly the same model of democracy and socio-economic affairs, taking into account numerous factors.
Then, it seems that all the explored sources support the idea that modern democracy does not contribute to the smooth and fair political process. It was shown that today’s corporations have too much influence on politics, which does not align with the notion of equality in terms of participation in the socio-economic affairs of a state. Moreover, the results demonstrate that mass media tend to manipulate public opinion and direct it toward the desired outcomes.
To conclude, the above investigation shows that modern democracy has negative effects on today’s political processes. The literature review has revealed that TNCs, financial institutions, and mass media have too much impact on politics nowadays, which hinders citizens’ right to fairly and equally participate in governmental affairs. Hence, the initial assumption is supported by each of the sources explored. Further research is required to investigate the issue of an appropriate democratic system referring to different factors and conditions inherent to different states.
Berman, Sheri. “The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism.” Journal of Democracy, vol. 28, no. 3, 2017, pp. 29–38.
Glaser, Charles. “A Flawed Framework: Why the Liberal International Order Concept Is Misguided.” International Security, vol. 43, no. 4, 2019, pp. 51–87.
Ikenberry, John. “The Next Liberal Order.” Foreign Affairs, 2020.
Nikoloski, Zlatko. “Democracy and Income Inequality: Revisiting the Long and Short-term Relationship.” Review of Economics and Institutions, vol. 6, no. 2, 2015, pp. 1–24.
Thomas, Connor. Campaign Finance: Problems and Solutions to Today’s Democracy. 2022. Ohio University, Undergraduate thesis. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center.
Zigerell, Lawrence. “Left Unchecked: Political Hegemony in Political Science and the Flaws It Can Cause.” Political Science & Politics, vol. 52, no. 4, 2019, pp. 720–723, doi:10.1017/S1049096519000854.