( Six minute Read)
You might think this is a stupid thing to contemplate.
But just look around you.
Every minute on the web there is a new petition to vote on.
People are invited on Facebook and twitter to vote and for that matter to get killed ( as reported on the Shooting in Germany)
And now Hillary Clinton has just released a mobile game app that allows the user to build your own campaign headquarters by completing ” Fun” challenges to earn credit stars which you can cash in a virtual shop. You get a free Autograph and a Trump or False Quizzes and a lovely virtual plant to be watered.
You don’t have to be a genius to know what is behind the App.
And just the other day Paddy Ashdown in the UK set up a new political group called MoreUnited.UK which intends to support political candidates it agrees with – regardless of their party affiliation – with cash and on-the-ground campaigners.
So where or what next.
This is a serious question as the world is shaped by big, powerful forces or trends that nobody can control.
These forces are now driven by technology.
Right now these forces are driving the biggest change in 500 years and I don’t have to tell you that they are not all good despite the new environmental spirit.
Governments are preoccupied with cloaking democratic sovereignty in order to do business for the kept classes. A source of great social unrest, state violence, and public pressure for institutional reform. I.E. the English referendum to leave the European union.
The modern capitalist system has been charged more and more by its critics with crushing the spirit and substance of representative self government.
The subject of capitalism versus democracy is back.
Market failures are having political effects: they are breathing new life into demands for fresh thinking and a new democratic politics that, so far, has not happened on any scale.
Capitalist markets have been a mixed blessing for democracy in representative form. The dynamism, technical innovation and enhanced productivity of the free market have been impressive. Equally notable with the free market is the rapaciousness unequal ( class-structured) outcomes, reckless exploitation of nature.
Pauperism mixed with plutocracy is today a feature of practically every democracy on our planet.
Enough is Enough.
With the gap between the rich and poor grows even wider there is political trouble ahead.
This is why every form of democracy worth its salt has stood against the presumption that the wealthy are ‘naturally entitled to rule.
Is capitalism the only moral economic system or a deeply flawed socio-economic system that has to be addressed by more government intervention and control? Or is it foundations no long based on individual rights? Each individual is an end in themselves and not a means to achieve the wishes of others.
If you adopt the view that capital belongs to everyone it is the only moral system because it respects the volitional reason of the individual to engage with others and further their own happiness as they see fit and it allows them to fail and learn from the consequences if they should make a mistake.
But the above is no longer true as we enter a new form of Capitalism which Oliver Stone recently christened as ‘ SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, ROBOT TOTALITARIANISM .
POKEMON GO’S collects names and locations of the user. It can also access the contents of your USB storage, your accounts, photographs, network connections, and phone activities, and even activate your phone when it is on standby mode. It reserves the right to share all the data it collects with a third parties such as advertisers. It is a sinister trade-off for playing a game that you think is free.
So the question asked in the heading of this blog is more than serious.
Are Politicians representing or will they be able to represent the people in the future?
In democratic election campaigns, do political parties any longer compete freely for votes?
Do Political parties (in this world of fast developing technologies) any longer provide a way for voters to easily identify a candidate’s positions?
As Parliaments gain greater control, the issues on which they disagree often are not goals so much as means: how best to keep the economy growing, protect the environment, and maintain a strong national defense.
Such competition is one of the hallmarks of democracy.
Parties’ views on government’s role often depend on the specific issue or program in question.
A political party use to be a group of voters organized to support certain public policies. The aim of a political party is to elect officials who will try to carry out the party’s policies. This is no longer true.
In the modern age where everything is connected to everything.
The United States has a two-party system.
Political parties are often a standard by which a country’s political freedom can be measured. Some countries have only one political party. In China, for example, there is only one party, the Communist Party.
Democracies usually operate under either a two-party or a multiparty system. Like the United States, Britain has a two-party system. The major parties are the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, though there are active third parties.
Multiparty systems are common in Europe and other parts of the world. In this system, three or more parties each enjoy substantial support from voters. France, Germany, Israel, and South Africa are just a few examples.
In these countries there may be many parties representing a wide range of political views. Because of the number of competing parties, it is sometimes difficult for any one party to get a clear majority of the votes. In such cases, leading parties that can agree on general policies form a coalition (a combination of parties) to run the country.
In the past 30 years, party membership has dropped significantly across Europe, whereas other forms of political participation have developed.
Social Media has rapidly grown in importance as a forum for political activism in its different forms.
Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube provide new ways to stimulate citizen engagement in political life, where elections and electoral campaigns have a central role.
Personal communication via social media brings politicians and parties closer to their potential voters.
Although the presence of social media is spreading and media use patterns are changing, online political engagement is largely restricted to people already active in politics and on the Internet.
Social media has reshaped structures and methods of contemporary political communication by influencing the way politicians interact with citizens and each other. However, the role of this phenomenon in increasing political engagement and electoral participation is neither clear nor simple.
In the past few years, the way that citizens communicate with one other about politics has been fundamentally altered by the emergence of social media.
In view of recent political developments as diverse as Occupy Wall Street in the United States, the rise of Indignados in Spain, protests in Moscow and Tehran, and the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, it has become increasingly clear that social media are now intertwined with political activity.
However we know surprisingly little about exactly how social media affects political participation.
We are only beginning to scratch the surface of developing theories linking social media usage to political participation.
At the same time, the data being generated by users of social media represents a completely unprecedented source of data recording how hundreds of millions of people around the globe interact with politics.
The M5S Movement in Italy has evolved rapidly to become a significant political player by using social media to engage like-minded people in virtual and real life political action.
The impact of social media on political communication.
New ways of building an online campaign and the trend of personalisation in politics. The possibility to communicate directly with voters via social media is groundbreaking and essential for the development of citizens-initiated campaigning.
Well known cases such as the Obama Presidential campaign, the Arab spring uprisings and UK Uncut demonstrations.
A new concept of virtual political support.
Freedom became capitalism’s self-celebration which it largely remains.
Yet the reality of capitalism is that the mass of employees are not free inside capitalism or any other system for that matter to participate in the decisions that affect their lives ( e.g., what the enterprise will produce,what technology will it use, where production will occur, and what will be done with the profit workers’ efforts help to produce)
In fact their exclusion from such decisions modern-day employees resemble slaves and serfs.
Parliaments and universal suffrage have accompanied capitalism – an advance over serfdom and slavery. An Advance undermined by inequality of opportunity and income a discomforting fact mostly overlooked.
It is not likely that Capitalism is going to disappear in the near or distant future.
There is every likelihood with the arrival of AI ( Artificial Intelligence) that democracy as we know it will be eroded further.
At the moment it all boils down to Smart phone Democracy.
Perhaps in the near future we see a Smartphone political party.
Which might not be a bad way to go provided everyone has a Smart phone and everybody is requested to vote on any project that costs us the taxpayers and the nation over a billion.