Who suggested that democracy in its clearest form can occur only under capitalism? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Democracy in its Clearest

Question: Who suggested that democracy in its clearest form can occur only under capitalism?

  1. Marx
  2. Durkheim
  3. Weber
  4. Merton

Answer: (3)

The MA CUET exam question focuses on the relationship between democracy and capitalism, particularly in the context of which sociologist or thinker suggested that democracy in its clearest form can occur only under capitalism. The correct answer is (c) Weber, referring to Max Weber, a prominent sociologist and economist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The response explores the ideas of Max Weber and Joseph Schumpeter, emphasizing their perspectives on the connection between democracy and capitalism.

Understanding Capitalism and Democracy:

To comprehend the relationship between capitalism and democracy, it is essential to define both concepts. Capitalism is a social and economic system characterized by private ownership of the means of production, individual rights, and a separation between the state and the economy. Democracy, on the other hand, is a political system where power is vested in the people, and the government is elected by the citizens.

The dictionary definition of democracy describes it as a system where the supreme power is vested in the people and is exercised directly by them or through elected representatives under a free electoral system. The question delves into the idea that democracy, in its clearest form, is intricately linked to the economic system of capitalism.

Max Weber’s Perspective:

Max Weber, a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist, made significant contributions to the understanding of social structures and institutions. He argued that democracy, in its purest form, is closely tied to the conditions of capitalist industrialization and the principles of individual responsibility.

Weber’s view posits that modern democracy emerged alongside capitalism, and the two systems are causally connected. In the presence of capitalism, individual responsibility becomes a significant factor. His analysis suggests that the development of democratic governance is facilitated by the economic and social transformations associated with capitalist industrialization.

Joseph Schumpeter’s Emphasis:

Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian economist and political scientist, further emphasized the interplay between democracy and capitalism. According to Schumpeter, modern democracy is a product of the capitalist process, and the two systems mutually support each other as integral components of a rising modern civilization.

Schumpeter’s perspective aligns with Weber’s in highlighting the symbiotic relationship between capitalism and democracy. Both thinkers argue that the economic dynamics of capitalism contribute to the emergence and sustenance of democratic governance.

The Link Between Democracy and Capitalism:

The provided response also introduces the notion that democracy and capitalism are often perceived differently in terms of their impact on development. While democracy is sometimes thought to dampen development, capitalism is seen as favoring development.

In non-communist states, private individuals play a crucial role in inspiring economic development, as they typically own a significant portion of the nation’s resources. The argument suggests that individuals, driven by self-interest, contribute to economic development in an environment characterized by ‘fair freedoms.’ This concept implies that a social environment where individuals enjoy fair freedoms is key to economic development in non-communist states.

Weber’s Impact on Sociological Thought:

Max Weber’s ideas have had a profound impact on sociological thought, particularly in understanding the complex interplay between economic systems, political structures, and societal values. His emphasis on the connection between capitalism and democracy challenges simplistic views and encourages scholars to consider the historical and social context in which these systems evolve.

Weber’s insights have influenced discussions on the relationship between economic systems and political ideologies, prompting scholars to explore the nuanced dynamics that shape societies. The examination of the historical birth of modern democracy alongside capitalism offers a lens through which we can better understand the evolution of political and economic structures.

Critiques and Counterarguments:

While Weber and Schumpeter offer compelling perspectives on the link between democracy and capitalism, it is important to note that these ideas are not without critiques. Some scholars argue that the relationship between the two systems is more complex and contingent on various factors, including cultural, historical, and institutional elements.

Critics also point out instances where capitalism may not necessarily lead to democratic governance and cases where authoritarian regimes coexist with capitalist economies. Additionally, debates persist regarding the impact of capitalism on social inequality, with concerns raised about economic disparities that may challenge the principles of democracy.

Contemporary Relevance:

The examination of the relationship between democracy and capitalism remains relevant in contemporary discourse. Societies around the world continue to grapple with questions about the compatibility of these systems, the role of economic structures in shaping political institutions, and the implications for social development.

Global events and shifts in economic and political landscapes prompt ongoing reflections on the principles that underpin governance and the distribution of resources. Discussions about the role of capitalism in fostering or hindering democratic ideals persist in academic, political, and public spheres.


In conclusion, the response to the MA CUET exam question delves into the perspectives of Max Weber and Joseph Schumpeter regarding the relationship between democracy and capitalism. The analysis underscores the idea that, according to Weber, democracy in its clearest form is intricately tied to the conditions of capitalist industrialization and individual responsibility.

Weber’s and Schumpeter’s insights contribute to a nuanced understanding of the historical emergence of modern democracy alongside capitalism. The examination of the symbiotic relationship between these systems provides valuable insights into the complexities of political and economic structures.

The question encourages students to explore the intersections of sociological thought, economic systems, and political governance. It prompts critical reflections on the historical and theoretical underpinnings of democracy and capitalism, inviting scholars to consider the multifaceted dynamics that shape societies across time and space.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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