Basic Concepts of Democracy in the United States These ideas form the very minimum that anyone who believes in Democracy must agree to: Worth of the individual Equality of all Persons Majority Rule, Minority Rights Necessity of Compromise Individual Freedom Worth of Individual The recognition of the fundamental worth and dignity of every person. Equality of all persons Government works to promote the kind of equality in which all people have an equal opportunity to develop their talents to the fullest extent. Example: Americans with Disabilities Act Majority Rule, Minority Rights The majority must always recognize the right of any minority to become, by fair and lawful means, the majority. Necessity to Compromise The process of blending and adjusting competing views and interests. Important for two reasons: All people are considered to have worth. There are usually more than two sides to any public policy. Individual Freedom Each individual must be as free to do as he or she pleases as far as the freedom of all will allow. Striking the balance between freedom for the individual and the rights of society. Democracy and the Free Enterprise System The Free Enterprise System- (often called Capitalism) An Economic System that is characterized by three things: 1. 2. 3. Private or corporate ownership of capital goods; Investments that are determined by private decisions rather than state control; A free market. Based on 4 Fundamental Factors of the Free Enterprise System: Private Ownership Individual Initiative Profit Competition The Law of Supply and Demand When supplies of goods and services become plentiful, prices tend to drop. When supplies become scarcer, prices tend to rise. Mixed Economy An economy in which private enterprise exist in combination with a considerable amount of government regulation and promotion. “Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.” – E.B. White Assignment You find yourself on an island after your ship has wrecked. Food, fresh water, and shelter are in short supply; Your chance of rescue is zip! Your group must form a government, develop laws and penalties. Choose a place and a period in time. At the end of class your group will be required to turn in the following written work: A description of the type of government that you have chosen. A list of laws that the new government has developed, And a list of the penalties for violation of these laws. (a social contract) Use your notes and your book!