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Dictatorship vs Democracy

Updated on July 13, 2020

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Living Under a Democracy and a Dictatorship

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Living Under a Democracy and a Dictatorship. By Seb


In this essay, I will be assessing the advantages and disadvantages of a democracy and a dictatorship. A democracy is a political system that allows the people to have a say in how a country is run. A dictatorship is a political system that sees a country run by one person (a dictator) and the people do not get a say. Within a dictatorship, there are two main further political ideologies; these are Fascism and Communism. Fascism is a political ideology run by a dictator, where only one political party is allowed to exist and the society are normally very nationalistic. Communism is a system of government led by a dictator, where everything is shared equally and there is no private property. Only one political party is allowed to exist. In this easy I will be comparing all these political systems and comparing their disadvantages and advantages, by considering multiple factors.


A democracy is much more liberal than a dictatorship. For example, in a democratic system (such as the United Kingdom) elections are carried out. These elections determine who controls the country for the foreseeable future. Every citizen gets a vote in a democracy; every vote is equal and everyone is entitled to place one. The votes are carried out in a secure and safe environment, so the voters are not forced to vote for any candidate. This is an advantage because it prevents political leaders from retaining too much power and making bad decisions. Whereas, in a dictatorship there is no democratic system. In Fascist and Communist countries, there are is only one political party allowed to exist — therefore, the people do not get a choice. If other political competitors arise, they are often oppressed with violence or captivity. In some dictatorships, elections are often carried out — however, they are often rigged to favour one political party, with voters facing violence and prejudice. This is a negative because one person or a group have too much power, can rig the countries they run to favour themselves and the elite and make negative decisions without facing being unelected. Whereas, democracies vote for their leaders, compared to dictatorships, who do not offer the choice for their citizens.


Fascist countries are often very nationalistic and often racist. This is because they often create a common enemy, in order to promote nationalistic ideologies — therefore inspiring a greater love for the nation and an environment of hate for those who do not belong ethnically to it. For example, Hitler was Fascist. He promoted hate towards the Jews and sent them to concentration camps. He burnt foreign books and eliminated all his political opponents by violence and oppression. This is a disadvantage because it creates an extremely hostile environment for those who are not the desired nationality (in Nazi Germany’s case, the Jews). Secondly, it often hinders academic development because of the mistrust of the scapegoated ethnic group’s research and findings. Furthermore, it often creates a nation of hatred and deep prejudice, that can take generations to undo. Therefore, Fascist countries are often racist and this is negative because it creates hate and division. Furthermore, in Communist countries certain races are often scapegoated and imprisoned. For example, in China the Uighur population have been imprisoned involuntarily in ‘re-education camps’. The Uighur population have been imprisoned because they are Muslim and this interferes with the ideology of Communist China, where the idea of God interferes with the honouring of the Chinese Communist Party. Therefore, Communist countries are often racist and prejudice towards certain ethnic groups and minorities. This is negative because it inspires hate. Some people argue that Donald Trump is a Fascist because of his scapegoating of Mexicans and his ‘make America great again’ campaign. However, he is not a full Fascist because America is a democracy and not a dictatorship. This does prove that prejudice can still exist in a democracy. On the other hand, democratic systems are much more allowing of different ethnic groups because if a politician inspires too much hate they are unlikely to be re-elected. Furthermore, people are rarely imprisoned or killed for their ethnicity because it goes against the inclusive ideology of democracies. This is positive because it prevents racial groups from unfair persecution and protects the culture of groups. Therefore, dictatorships are often nationalistic and racist, whereas democracies are much more inclusive — but not always, in the case of Trump and possibly even Boris Johnson, with his Islamaphobic comments.


Religion is often an essential part of a citizens life. It may be important to have freedom of religion in your home country because it can control the way people live their lives. Democracies allow freedom of religion. This means that the citizens who live in a democratic country are allowed to choose their own religion to follow and abide by. For example, in the United Kingdom the Church of England is the national religion, however all religions are allowed and practiced — with religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Sikhism widely practiced. This is an advantage of a democracy because it allows diverse societies that are multi-talented — also, it creates an atmosphere of diversity and inclusivity. Within a dictatorship, religion is often very tightly controlled. For example, in North Korea, they are predominantly atheist. This is because the ruling family are perceived as Godly and the idea of religion interferes with this belief; it is a very similar system in China. This is probably negative, for the citizens who live in dictatorships, because it creates prejudices and in extreme cases can lead to genocides, such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. Therefore, dictatorships control freedom of religion and democracies do not.


In a democracy, there is often vast inequality. This is because citizens are free to earn what their employer pays, with taxes applied varying on the amount of money earned. Moreover, democracies are not always like this — with democracies splitting into two further branches. Socialist democracies, such as France, tax the rich the majority of their incomes and redistribute the money to the poor — this is effective at creating less inequality. However, in capitalist nations, the rich are not taxed as much, so their incomes can rise, whilst the poorest people’s do not. This creates more inequality. Whereas, in Communist nations (a form of dictatorship) everyone is theoretically equal. In an ideal Communist nation, the society is classless; this suggests that inequality would be eliminated. However, in practice the idea of a classless society is difficult to achieve. It normally equates to large amount of poor people and a few select people with most the money. Therefore, Communist nations often have wider inequalities. Within Fascism, there is no clear form of fascist economic organisation and it is really up to the nation to decide how money is implemented. Therefore, in a democracy there is often lots of inequality, but not always. Within Communism there is often less inequality and Fascism is unclear. It really depends on your financial status when deciphering the best choice of political system for you. If citizens are rich, Capitalism is the best choice. But, if citizens are working class — communism or socialism is the best option because wealth is divided more equally.


Within communism, terror is often used to control a nation. For example, Stalin’s regime saw a huge secret police force patrolling Russia. Spies and informants were everywhere and anyone who opposed Stalin was arrested or executed. This created a massively uneasy atmosphere for the citizens in Communist Russia and is a negative of Communism because of this. Whereas, in democracies people cannot be arrested without a fair trial. This gives the citizens many more rights and freedom of speech — without constantly fearing arrest. To summarise, in Communist nations terror is often used to control the citizens, whereas in a democracy the courts control the citizens fairly.


To conclude, a democratic system leaders are elected, they are inclusive of all nationalities, there is freedom of religion and there is sometimes more inequality. In a dictatorship, the citizens do not get to elect their leader, Fascist countries can be prejudice towards certain citizens, religion is controlled and there is sometimes more equality. Therefore, democracies are definitely better for citizens because the citizens get much more freedom and choice; Dictatorships are worse for citizens because everything is tightly controlled, however there can sometimes be more equality.

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    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Sebastian Willcock 

      12 months ago from London, England

      Some interesting ideas. I am not so sure about the freedom element, but I do not have extensive experience with dictatorships and the suppression that often comes along with them. I will definitely use your feedback. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Sebastian Willcock 

      12 months ago from London, England

      I completely agree with you. Thanks for your feedback, I will definitely take it on board -- and you're right, I could have elaborated on the religious elements. As a new member, it is reassuring to know that someone is reading my articles. Thanks again!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      12 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      A pretty good article here. I would say You covered the most important topics relating to dictatorships and democracies.

      I might have expanded on the idea that "Within a dictatorship, religion is often very tightly controlled." This is very important. Dictators often use religion for their own benefit. This goes back to the Sun King (Louis XIV) but we can see it nowadays as a best example in Russia, where Putin uses the Orthodox Church to instigate nationalism and to control people. Saudi Arabia does this as well, together with Mr. Erdogan of Turkey. Religion works great to subdue people.

      Now, I have to comment regarding Mr. Chris' comment because it was quite striking. Among other things he wrote: "As long as people do not politicize, as long as they don´t get into the way of leading administrations, people can do whatever they want to do."

      That is such an erroneous and misguided comment, as I have not seen in a long time. So, that's like saying You get in the car with me and You cannot tell me where to drive but You have all the freedom You want, in the back seat. So, play in the back seat while I can drive-off a cliff. You have great freedom and can do whatever You want in the back seat!

      Mr. Chris continued to say that: "From my personal experience with Soviet Union and China this sometimes leads to much higher levels of freedom than in democracies." - How? Examples? None. Just empty words.

      If I seem a little strong with my words here it is on purpose. I was born and raised in Nicolae Ceusescu's dictatorship. It was not funny. It was not a joke. We had no freedom. It was all oppression. I grew-up hungry and cold in the winter. What the $%^& is Mr. Chris talking about? Haha!!

      Anyway, I appreciate your article. Cheers!

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 

      12 months ago from Northern Germany

      When i started reading, it was not clear to me what dictatorship was supposed to be. Then i read further and your examples on Nazi Germany, China and the Soviet Union explained a little of your mindset.

      Please allow me to comment and possibly object.

      First of all, it is a false conclusion that in authoritarian regimes (i prefer this expression over dictatorship) people are primarily supressed because of their desire for freedom.

      Of course people are supressed, meaning are not allowed to do what they see as their freedom of choice. But that is a side effect to the true reason for supression: Fear of the ruling people to be overthrown by rival political powers.

      While Nazi Germany is a good example for scapegoating to secure economic assets, PR China and the Soviet Union under Stalin and successors are perfect examples of fear.

      Stalin had strong opponents (going back to internal struggles in the communist party in relation to Comintern).

      China´s Xi is not afraid of the US, but its own people. And as muslim cultural background is less easy to control than confucian culture, Uigure are more prone for supression, Han Chinese simple follow suit more easily.

      What i want to say: As long as people do not politicize, as long as they don´t get into the way of leading administrations, people can do whatever they want to do. From my personal experience with Soviet Union and China this sometimes leads to much higher levels of freedom than in democracies.

      The recent Corona virus outbreak in China was a good example that Chinese government is not a monilitic block. There was serious quarrel between Wuhan and Hubei Province administration and central Bejing administration. This lead to delays in action and communication.

      You rightly point out that democracies often show inequalities. Actually not democracies show inequality but the corporate character of democracies. If you buy yourself into political power, that has consequences for the wellbeing of all fellow citizens. Can be well observed in the United States.

      Things are not as simple as you describe. Could contribute more. Only want to show where to really look at.

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