which is the difference and similarities between this two types of democracy? Is there any political structural differences or philosophical differences among them ? Which type of political system helps country to be more progressive and helps to increase transparency?

  • 1
    I wrote you a brief answer, but you could've probably answered your question yourself in 5 minutes by typing direct and indirect democracy in google and clicking on the first link that comes up.
    – redleo85
    Oct 30, 2018 at 12:00
  • I find this interesting in that direct democracy was common when people were organized in bands or small tribes. The image was everyone would meet in the barn and have a say in governance. That is impossible in city states where everyone does not know everyone else. However, with social media technology, could it be possible for everyone to meet in a virtual barn and once again have a say? Oct 30, 2018 at 14:39
  • I would refer you to the last sentence in my answer.
    – redleo85
    Oct 30, 2018 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


In Germany the term "direct democracy" generally refers to political issues being decided directly by a public vote of the people. In ancient Greece laws were actually made by all voters (male citizens) coming together in a public space to vote on public issues.

Today, virtually all democratic countries are representative democracies, meaning the people do not vote on laws themselves, but vote for representatives, who make laws and deal with political issues on behalf of the people. This can be referred to as indirect democracy, because the will of the people is implemented indirectly (via representatives).

Structurally, this lead to the people being less powerful, because they transfer a part of their power to the representatives. The representatives are not bound by the will of the people, but can decide themselves what to vote for in parliament. The people can only express their will by voting for or against a representative from time to time. This leads to a typical principal agent problem. Furthermore, in an indirect democracy the people do not have to vote on every issue. Since political issues are abundant and complex, having a purely direct democracy would require the people to spend most of their time dealing with these issues leaving little time for anything else.

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