What is Democracy?

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.

~ Aristotle

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘democracy’? For many people, the word calls up images of elections, parliaments, and systems of majority voting. In the dictionary definition, democracy "is government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system." The word democracy first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought, and means rule of the people. The Greek city state of Athens established what is generally held as the first democracy in 507 BCE.

But is democracy just about governments? Someone unhappy with the way decisions are taken in their home, workplace, or community, may complain that the process has been ‘undemocratic’. This might mean that they felt that they were not consulted, or that a few people controlled the decision, ignoring the views of many colleagues.