... 1 ... the word 'democracy' gets used a lot these days, it's a word you're probably quite familiar with. So what exactly is 'democracy' ? Most people think of it as 'a good thing'... 2 ... some people would say that the word is over - used. It ıs a combination of two words ... 3 ... we have borrowed from the Ancient Greeks. 'Demos' described 'the common people' and the '-cracy' bit of the word meant 'power' or 'rule' ... 4 ... you know that, it's easy to work out that 'democrecy' means a system of government by the people, a system ... 5 ... everyone's opinion matters ... 6 ... important decisions are made. ... 7 ... that sounds an excellent idea in theory, in practice it is obviously impossible for everyone to have their say. Governments get round this problem by electing representatives ... 8 ... will speak in their parliament or assembly on behalf of the people ... 9 ... they represent. But ... 10 ... steps are taken to protect the honesty of the system, it is inevitable that it will be less than perfect.
From its original meaning, 'democracy' has also come to mean the type of government ... 11 ... for all the people. 'Freedom' and 'democracy' have almost grown to mean the same. ... 12 ..., 'freedom' is rather an abstract term that is difficult to define precisely ... 13 ... one person's freedom can so easily become his or her neighbour's restriction. ... 14 ..., everybody's idea of freedom tends to be just a little different. ... 15 ... in practice no democracy can operate with complete freedom for everyone.
We also use the term 'democracy' to talk about fairness and equal opportunity for everyone in a society. There are no class divisions in a true democracy ... 16 ... upholds the principle that everyone has been created equal. But what society lives up to this principle ? In practice it is all to clear that everybody is not actually equal ... 17 ... democracy remains a high ideal to ... 18 ... we all can only aspire.
Exercises 1 . Answer these questions from the passage.
1 . What is the original meaning of the word democracy ?
2 . What language is it derived from ?
3 . Can everyone in a population of say 60 million possibly have their say ?
4 . How do we get around this problem ?
5 . What other word do we associate with democracy ?
6 . Does the writer think there are class division in democracy ?
7 . Does the writer think that everyone is equal ?
8 . Can everyone within a society be completely free ?
9 . Do you think democracy is an effective method of goverment ?
10 . Which country do you think has the most democrative goverment in the world ?