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Lesson Note

Subject: Civic Education

Topic:  Political Apathy

Lesson Objectives: by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:

  1. Define the term Capitalist Democracy;
  2. State the characteristics of capitalist democracy;

Lesson Summary Aids: See reference materials below contents.

Lesson Summary / Discussion


Democratic capitalism is a type of political and economic system characterised by resource allocation according to both marginal productivity and social need, as determined by decisions reached through democratic politics. It is marked by democratic elections, freedom, and rule of law, characteristics typically associated with democracy It retains a free-market economic system with an emphasis on private enterprise.

Simple Definition

Capitalism is an economic system whereby the major means of production and distribution in a state are owned and controlled by the individuals or private sector. Democracy on the other hand is a system of government whereby all qualified adult citizens participate in the administration of the state either directly or through their elected representatives.

Direct democracy is a situation whereby all the qualified adult citizens are physically present to get involve in decision making in the affairs of the state. Indirect democracy otherwise known as representative democracy or modern democracy is a situation whereby all qualified adult citizens participate in the affairs of the state through representatives who are periodically elected by them.

Capitalist democracy therefore is the operation of the principles of representative democracy in a capitalist economic system.


  1. Supremacy of the Constitution: Under capitalist democracy the constitution is the ultimate authority that determines what is acceptable and what is unlawful. Nobody, or institution or group of people can act beyond the provisions of the constitution.
  2. Periodic Election: Capitalist democracy allows for periodic change of representatives through popular election. In Nigeria, elections are conducted every four years to select new and fresh leaders into various elective positions in the state.
  3. Respect for Fundamental Human Rights: Capitalist democracy makes provision to ensure that human rights are guaranteed. Infringement on human rights or abuse of human rights can lead to punishment of the offender.
  4. Operation of Rule of Law: There is equality of persons under capitalist democracy. Everybody is equal and nobody is above the law. No matter the stature, education, position or possession of an individual he has the same rights as other people.
  5. Existence of Multiparty System: Capitalist democracy allows for the operation of more than two political parties in a state. This will allow the citizens to have alternatives to choose from while electing their representatives.
  6. Free Press: The press or media, both print and electronics is allowed to carry out its duty of information dissemination and constructive criticisms without government interference or intimidation.
  7. Separation of Power: Under capitalist democracy there is separation of governmental functions between the various organs of government i.e. legislature, executive and judiciary. They act separately but cooperatively in discharging their constitutional duties.
  8. Tolerance of Opposition: Constructive opposition and criticisms of government policies by the citizens or groups is allowed under democracy.
  9. Economic Freedom: Under capitalist democracy the individuals have right to spend their money as they like and can engage in any legal business without restriction. Their consumption is based on their financial capacity and the effects of demand and supply.

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Lesson Evaluation / Test

  1. Define capitalist democracy.
  2. What are the characteristics of capitalist democracy?

Questions answered correctly? Bravo! Do stay connected to itsmyschoollibrary.com for more educational contents.


Image Credits: photodune.net

“Wolfgang Streeck, The Crises of Democratic Capitalism, NLR 71, September–October 2011”. New Left Review. Retrieved 18 April 2022.

Muller, Jerry Z. (March 2013). “Capitalism and Inequality“. Foreign Affairs.