International Trade Theory and Policy
by Steven M. Suranovic

Trade 105-1

Some Features of a Democratic Society

1) Government represents the interests of its citizens. As Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address, a democratic government is meant to be by the people and for the people. Thus, in a representative democracy, government officials are entrusted to take actions that are the interests of their constituents. Periodic elections allow citizens to vote for individuals they believe will best fulfill their interests. If elected officials do not fulfill the interests of constituents then those constituents eventually have a chance to vote for someone else. Thus, if elected officials are perceived as good representatives of their constituent interests, then they are likely to be reelected. If they follow their own individual agenda, and if that agenda does not match the general interests of their constituents, then they may lose a subsequent bid for reelection.

2) Citizens in democratic societies are traditionally granted the right to free speech. It is generally accepted that people should be allowed to voice their opinion about anything in front of others. In particular people should be free to voice their opinions about government policies and actions, without fear of reprisal. Criticisms, as well as recommendations, for government policy actions must be allowed if a truly representative government is to operate effectively.

International Trade Theory and Policy - Chapter 105-1: Last Updated on 3/3/01