Influence of Democracy on Social Policy : The Case of Defective Democracy in Korea

민주주의가 사회복지정책에 미치는 영향 : 한국의 결함 있는 민주주의를 중심으로

  • Published : 2007.11.30


In democracy basic rights such as political equality and participation through elections have been respected, opportunities of corporation and opposition have been guaranteed, and ability of self-learning and self-correction have been developed. These positive factors give preconditions for the welfare development in the democratic state. Because in this state adults get the suffrage and the open competition for official positions induces political parties use social policies as means to win the election. That is to say, political parties have an incentive to use various social policies to win the election. Democracy, therefore, has affinity with social policy. The affinity between democracy and social policy can be found also in Korea which was democratized in 1987. But, in Korea, the positive relationship between democracy and social policy is very weak due to the problem of constitutional structures. Korean Parliament usually enacts abstract social act and delegates the right to fill concrete contents of the social acts to the executive. Delegation itself has no problem, but excessive delegation is a problem since the executive can overuse its discretion as sacrificing the social rights of the citizen. In addition social consensus could not be achieved in this constitutional structures, which are a obstacle to establishing a political process in the Parliament to promote the welfare development through party competition. Excessive delegation should be reduced, and the Parliament should fill concrete contents of the social acts as exercising its legislative power more. Then a mechanism of welfare development can be launched in Korea.


democracy;defective democracy;delegative democracy;rule of law;social policy