This subject has vexed many a mind, and will continue to do so for yonks with no solution.
Capitalism is paraded as the indomitable system that brings prosperity and democracy, the system that would prevail unto the end of history.
Is there is no alternative to market society, or capitalism, and to democracy neither.?
If you’ve ever pondered the issues surrounding the tenuous relationship between democracy and capitalism, most likely, you’ve considered them as both foreign and abstract (much as the elite media often does).
Most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world is neither prosperous nor particularly democratic. In fact, we must question the very possibility of genuine democracy in a society in which capitalism is the basic economic system real democracy is absent in both.
Democracy is now more than ever under threat from a variety of forces originating in the transnational capitalist economy.
Are, say, China and Russia authoritarian, capitalist or both at the same time? Can Middle Eastern countries use their sovereign wealth funds to build prosperous free-market economies while those nations also deny their citizens basic freedoms? Do transnational corporations that operate under the aegis of repressive regimes prove that capitalism can exist wholly without democracy?
The challenge of resolving these conflicting views is perhaps the most fundamental issue facing the world apart from Climate Change which they both created in the first place and now has the potential to destroy them both.
For a quarter of a century, we have tried the approach of polite incremental change, attempting to bend the physical needs of the planet to our economic model’s need for constant growth and new profit-making opportunities. The results have been disastrous, leaving us all in a great deal more danger than when the experiment began.
Free markets were supposed to lead to free societies. Instead, today’s supercharged global economy is eroding the power of the people in democracies around the globe. Welcome to a world where the bottom line trumps the common good and government takes a back seat to big business.
The savage global capitalism we have today is already entering into crises that will create enormous social and ecological damage, some of which is already obvious. In the corporate world of “free-trade,” the number of billionaires is increasing faster than ever while the number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population.
Poverty spreads as wealth accumulates.
Finding new ways to privatize the commons and profit from disaster is what our current system is built to do; left to its own devices, it is capable of nothing else.
Taxpayer-sponsored bailouts of — and direct subsidies to — particular politically connected industries effectively employ our democracy’s public power to undermine capitalism’s notion of “creative destruction. Which leads me to wonder then, why aren’t people (like you?) who claim to align themselves with democratic ideas and ideals insisting on it at every turn and railing against all the non-democratic and anti-democratic systems and structures that stand so obviously behind this thin façade called social democracy?
In a democracy, the social contract is ours to forge and ours to live. Our freedom of thought and action to pursue happiness liberates us from a life of slavery to someone else’s ideals. But nothing comes for free, and to say yes to something we usually need to say no to something else. This leaves us with a few choices: what do we do as individuals–how can we become the change we wish to see in the world?
Democracy isn’t a difficult concept to grasp and it doesn’t require specialist knowledge or years of education to be practiced – in fact, illiterate and uneducated people can ‘do’ democracy just as well as the most scholarly…it’s a great leveler in that respect.
So why is that democracy must be diluted and subverted, smothered with disinformation and media puffery.
Perhaps it is because a populace with high expectations about its standard of living and a keen sense of entitlement, pushing for continually better social conditions, is not the plutocracy’s notion of an ideal workforce and a properly pliant polity. Corporate investors prefer poor populations. The poorer you are, the harder you will work—for less. The poorer you are, the less equipped you are to defend yourself against the abuses of wealth.
If you want an example just look at what is happening in the USA where capitalism is wedded to democracy,
It costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a Senator, and $1 million to become a Member of the House.
These conditions have corrupted American democracy, turning it into a system of rule that favors the wealthy and marginalized ordinary citizens. This is why corporations are now citizens, money is political speech, limits on corporate spending are a form of censorship, democracy is a free market, and political equality and democratic integrity are unconstitutional constraints on money in politics.
Don’t tell me that this is not reflected in the European Union.
Taking a step nearer home we see another fine example in the recent referendum on Scottish Independence. Where the sense of Nationhood became blurred in the face of Capitalism. Hopefully it’s knock on effect will see the replacement of the first past the post system of election in the UK which is designed to blunt the impact of popular demands. Conservative forces continue to reject more equitable electoral features such as proportional representation. They continue to create barriers to voting such as electrical boundaries while rolling back democracy’s social gains, such as public education, affordable housing, health care, befits, collective bargaining, a living wage and immigration.
We can have democracy with wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. You can have one or the other.
The case for free market capitalism is one of efficiency.
Interference is a burden and drag on performance that generates cost to all of us and thereby limits how well and how quickly we evolve.
Capitalism essence is the transformation of living nature into mountains of commodities and commodities into heaps of dead capital. When left entirely to its own devices, capitalism foist its diseconomies and toxicity upon the general public and upon the natural environment–and eventually begins to devour itself.
The immense inequality in economic power that exists in our capitalist society translates into a formidable inequality of political power, which makes it all the more difficult to impose democratic regulations.
We are subjected to power, as opposed to being the rightful and democratically empowered wielders of power… Are ‘modern societies’ necessarily democratic societies and capitalist (or: market) societies?
Take of instance the conflicts that have arisen in our societies in recent years—the backlash over globalization, the financial crisis, the European debt crisis, and many others—have parallels in history that led to global conflagration.
Worse still, the government bailouts are themselves being turned into an opportunity for pillage. Not only does the state fail to regulate, it becomes itself a source of plunder, pulling vast sums from the central bank money machine, leaving the taxpayers to bleed. We now have banks and their share holders anticipating fines, setting aside large sum.
Free-market corporate capitalism is by its nature a disaster waiting to happen.
The pressing questions are:
How or should we stop the capitalist system from devouring itself?
How can we promote a fair allocation of benefits and burdens.
How can we affect the changes in the social contract that will achieve the objective of social and economic fairness for which we can all subscribe?
How can we become the best we are capable of becoming and what changes to our economic system and our systems of governance are necessary to achieve that across society without undermining the real benefits to society of property rights and the freedom to contract?
How do we contract the in sustainability of the lack, or weakness, of comprehensive regulatory mechanisms the revival of the nation-state as the political form that created the historical possibility of inclusive collective self-determination. While remembering that together with basic human rights, property rights and the freedom to contract have done more to advance mankind than any other force in history to date.
As you see it’s almost impossible to separate one from the other. Both are contaminated by each other.
We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world be what our lives are really about. Each of us now has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity, and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet.
Capitalism excludes workers from deciding what is produced, how it is produced, where it is produced and how profits are to be used and distributed.
Good government must be able to create strategy for where our society should be heading and plans to get there for the common good of the people, future people, and the planet – all about true sustainability.
Private companies may fill a role to provide goods and services to fulfill that strategy within the plans.
So the question is.
Will the social progress of the twentieth century be preserved as we return to the wealth disparities of the eighteenth century? And will reform be impossible – is this tyrannical system now essentially permanent?
Imagine a country where the majority of the population reaps the majority of the benefits for their hard work, creative ingenuity, and collaborative efforts. Imagine a country where corporate losses aren’t socialized, while gains are captured by an exclusive minority. Imagine a country run as a democracy, from the bottom up, not a plutocracy from the top down.
It is my belief that no matter how we address the subject mans greed will never be removed.
There is only one solution and that is to tap into profit.
This can be done by creating a World Aid Commission of 0.05% on all Foreign Exchange Transactions (Over $20,000) on all Foreign Wealth Funds Acquisitions and all High Frequency Transactions.
( Foreign Exchange Transactions are 3 Trillion a day.
Marauding Sovereign Wealth Funds are tapping directly into the money streams of the world economy itself.
High frequency trading is secretive and mysterious. It rigs the markets in favor of the big guys with data cables. )
Such a Commission would create a perpetual fund of billions to tackle the world problems.
Will the Capitalistic world or any of our Democrat world leaders adopt such a commission. Of course not. So how can it be achieved?
When I started this blog it was my mission to use the power of Mobil/Smart phones to effect change. If we were to use our phones to send the United Nations millions of Twits/e mails requesting a people resolution to implement the Commission they would eventually have to table it as their communications could be jammed ever time we flooded their Organisation with the request.
The power of the mobile phone is only in its Democratic infancy.
You have the power to fire the shot heard ‘round the world.
This site might interest you: http://www.democracyatwork.info/