Bureaucracy or Democracy - Which is better?

Bureaucracy or Democracy

Bureaucracy or Democracy - Which is better?


Various countries faced their own variation of crisis at various levels and it is then that they decided to either embrace bureaucratic or democratic attitude for their governance. For the sake of their safety, development of socio economic status and overall better future, they needed to take a stand, the consequence of which shall decide the future of their nation.

Democracy and bureaucracy basically differs in the way they form their ruling government. In a democracy, it is the people of the nation that have the power to elect leaders and representatives of the government while bureaucracy is when government is formed by officers and administrators working for the government. For the people, by the people and of the people is not something that bureaucracy agrees to.

While there are definite pros and cons of both the types of attitude, there are some features that set them apart from the other and speak of why they should be preferred over the other.


1. In expert hands: When the matter lies at the hands of those who are experts at it, it is more likely to get the best possible solution than it would when left at the hands of some powerful people who have no knowledge of what the problem at hand could be like. They are very qualified and experienced people who know the field well and can be relied upon to take the best step towards bringing the matter under control – without the pressure of having to appease a group or community of people to be later used as vote banks.

2. Better management: It has been seen that bureaucracy always gets the management under proper control, with better division of power and expert distribution of tasks to the best person who could be on charge. There is clear and direct command and execution system running parallel to the effective task management system. Authority lies at the hands of the right panel or person who are responsible for the effects of their decisions rather than shifting blame from one head to the other as in a democracy where everyone has someone above them to blame for even a little stir in the smooth running.

3. Better control: When you are to report to someone who is an expert in the field, you are more likely to work better and harder. When your work is always under scrutiny of a panel of experts, the one good step that could earn you a hike will always be on your mind as you try harder to prove your skills. Decisions are made by people who have a better understanding or what could go wrong if they loosen their control. They together do some real work.

4. Mechanistic: Bureaucracy is rightly famous for its mechanistic qualities. It functions like a machine with the right parts and gears, functioning with coordination and simultaneous efforts from all the sides. Since bureaucracy is more predictable, the functions are well established and designed in a way to ensure maximum outcome from a plan or proposal. There is more stability in any such government and people are usually happy with the functioning, even though they have no say in the election procedure.

5. Boosting economy: When power is divided according to roles and functions, there is better coordination among various department, sharing resources and helping each other achieve their goals. Their requirements are very specialized, which opens up jobs for new roles and positions within the government. Employees are also efficient people who are usually the best that can be hired for that role, which in turn boosts productivity and overall the economy of the state also benefits largely.


1. Better maneuverability: This is one of the pros of a democracy, the people in power, elected by the people, have the quick access to maneuver new proposals and plans that could be in urgent requirement. However, in bureaucracy this is very difficult because the scheme needs to be moved along a chain of commands for approval and then back to where it started for being implemented. Democracy is not very rigid and passing a new law or bill only requires going through a few lawful procedures before it comes to implementation.

2. Freedom of opinion: When a body is to be functioning with the money of people, it must give respect to their opinion too. In democracy people get the right to choose who they want their leader to be and upon whom they could vest the powers to make their nation a better place to live in. Whether the leader stands up to your expectations or not affects your decision in the next election when people get the right to re-elect the same candidate or bring in a new party into power.

3. Fair distribution of power: No one person or party or body gets the absolute power to make a change without being challenged by the others. When authority is kept under check it usually is careful about engaging in corrupt activities since there is always a chance that opposition will expose its face to people who will do what they do best in the next elections. Decisions can be altered and forced to be changed if they are found to be promoting the singular interests of a particular community.

4. Participation in politics: Every common man has the right to hold an opinion in a democracy – an opinion that counts. In democracy, people are always aware of what’s going on within the government; they are well informed of the good and bad decisions made by the ruling party. Being more involved in political affairs makes people a better judge of who their leader should be. All the promises made during elections are for getting the favors of people which empowers common people’s right to question when the promises are left unfulfilled.


While Bureaucracy is found to be the most productive form of government, it should be noted that democracy functions in a fairer way than the other. But democracy suffers from lack of expertise and people with little to no qualifications are elected to be the leaders, framing policies and schemes that are of no real interest to them. What they do is usually for appeasing a group of people to be used later as vote banks. Bureaucracy functions in the exactly opposite way. People are required to prove their expertise in order to continue holding their position.

It has also been seen that democracy rarely faced revolution. It is usually in bureaucratic attitude that people are agitated with being left out of the procedures of making laws and implementing them. In democracy people know one thing for sure – good or bad, the resultant is only a consequence of their own action they took when they elected a particular party to power.
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