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Thread: Democracy : the law of the richest ?

  1. #1
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    2 members found this post helpful.

    Question Democracy : the law of the richest ?

    I am becoming seriously annoyed by the attitude of media towards democracy. The French and Belgian media have this naive, mistaken image of democracy as an idealised system that would solve all of the world's problems. I think this is a common view in Europe, though less so in Britain.

    I hear all too often people complaining about companies relocating or offshoring to developing countries. But that is a fundamental right of democracy. Why wouldn't companies be allowed to do that? Private entreprises have not vowed or pledged to help the local population by providing work to them over foreigners. In fact, most large companies today are multinationals and owned by shareholders from all over the world.

    In any case, democracy in ancient Athens was never about protecting the workers. Democracy was just a voting right for the elite of free citizens. The bulk of the population was composed of slaves, who had no rights. In modern political democracy, it is still the same: only citizens have the right to vote.

    It is the right of company owners and decision makers to do whatever they want with their company. A company's owners are its shareholders. Decision makers are the board of elected directors (CEO, CFO, etc.). Both can be seen as the citizens in the corporate democracy. Workers have nothing to say unless they are stockholders. It is naive to think that things work otherwise in our current democratic system.

    The same thing applies to the state. In so-called democratic countries, only legislative assemblies, like parliaments or municipal councils are democratically elected. The government (i.e. the ministers) is not directly elected, but indirectly via the parliament. Civil servants are not elected. Magistrates aren't either. So in all the structure of the state, among the executive, legislative and judiciary powers and the administration, only the legislative body is democratically elected. Yet most people seem happy with that. Why would employees of a private company think that they have more democratic right to make decisions about relocation or mass layoffs than they have to appoint or fire judges or civil servants in their country ?

    The issue is that they don't understand what democracy really means. Democracy is only a right for some people and about politics. The basic principle of democracy is that it is always the majority of votes that win. Too many people mistakenly believe that democracy is listening to the minorities. It's not how it works. This is something I hear almost every week on French-speaking TV. I wonder where they got this idea. In fact, if governments were to bend to the will of the minority (or minorities) it would be the opposite of democracy. Democracy is by definition a rule of the majority (among those who have voting rights). Those who wish otherwise need to rethink the system.

    But who controls the people? Now think about it. People elect parliaments, who in turn elect governments, who assign civil servants, and so on. Nowadays it is undeniably the media who control the people, because most ordinary people are essentially simple-minded, credulous and sheepish. Sorry it that sounds cynical, but that's how it is, even if I wish it weren't.

    And who controls the media? Some countries have public TV, but these often have to rely on outside sources. There are hardly any public newspapers, and most of the big international news agencies are also non-governmental. It may sound like a good thing since the government in power shouldn't influence (or brainwash) the votes of the people who have the power to re-elect them. But in the globalised world of corporate democracy it basically means that those who own the big media companies have the population at their mercy. So the combination or political and corporate democracy is essentially the recipe for the law of the rich, and even governments have to bend to the pressures of global media. The media are also the best way to control the stock market. Controlling the media equals controlling the stock market and make as much money as you want.

    That was modern democracy explained in brief. I am not saying it is a bad system, because it did work out better than any other system so far in history. I also don't see how it could be improved easily, in a manner that the ordinary masses can still understand.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 02-10-21 at 10:44.
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  2. #2
    Advisor LeBrok's Avatar
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    For some time now, I'm thinking about ways how to make democracy more productive, in sense of smarter governance. Even though democracy gave us freedoms and participation into directing polices of government, it is still pretty mediocre tool, bringing likewise effects.
    Democracy - mediocracy, it pretty much averages smarts of society, therefore more often or not electing not the smartest people to run our countries, sometimes even crazies.

    We prize our health immensely, so when we are sick, we go to the specialist. Almost always it is a MD with 7 years of medical education and many years of practice. But how we treat health of our countries it is a different story. We choose leader by the look, by eloquent language spruced up with countless promises. We choose actors, lawyers, electricians, soldiers, etc, to run countries of millions. We chose carrier politicians that don't have basic understanding about economy.

    I don't think democracy works very well in current form. Something has to be done.

    At the end of a day I would like to see the smartest and most honest people governing us. I just don't know how it can be done yet.

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    Elite member edao's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Whenever voter turnout is mentioned to be low the media talk about this being a negative thing.
    I don't see how democracy can work if you have people voting who don't care and don't understand the implications of what voting for one or the other would actually means.

    I not sure about ideas of voter equality, that a man who can barely read or write, has never worked a day in his life and is living on the dole has the same voting weight as someone who runs their own business, employs people, has a university education and is paying thousands in tax a year.

    Often when speaking to people about politics it is remarkable how their only reference point for their opinions is something they saw on tv or read in a paper. "Well it must be right 'cause the paper said so"

    The UK media has largely backed Cameron's 'bulldog' spirit in snubbing Johnny Foreigner. They refer to the FTT as a tax on the British economy, yet in the same news programme talk about how RBS was under regulated, the FSA failed, the government failed, how it's a scandal that tax payers are out of pocket on Northern Rock with the government loosing money in the sell off while retaining all the toxic debt.
    At this point you wonder if the journalists themselves actually have a clue what the FTT is actually all about

  4. #4
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    Whenever voter turnout is mentioned to be low the media talk about this being a negative thing.
    I don't see how democracy can work if you have people voting who don't care and don't understand the implications of what voting for one or the other would actually means.

    I not sure about ideas of voter equality, that a man who can barely read or write, has never worked a day in his life and is living on the dole has the same voting weight as someone who runs their own business, employs people, has a university education and is paying thousands in tax a year.
    The problem is that democracy was founded on the mistaken Christian belief that all human beings are born equal before God and therefore should have perfectly equal rights. The truth is nobody is equal, neither in abilities, nor in experience, nor in open-mindedness, nor in altruism, nor in motivation to participate in a democratic system... That's also why it is so hard to come up with a better system.

    Often when speaking to people about politics it is remarkable how their only reference point for their opinions is something they saw on tv or read in a paper. "Well it must be right 'cause the paper said so"
    These are people without an opinion of their own, the simple-minded, credulous and sheepish masses I was referring to above. They are the people who are endangering the future of democracy because they can be so easily manipulated by the media.

    how it's a scandal that tax payers are out of pocket on Northern Rock with the government loosing money in the sell off while retaining all the toxic debt.
    They should have done like in Belgium with Dexia; the government nationalise all that was good and left all the toxic assets to shareholders (including many Belgian families who had invested in what used to be considered a safe company) !

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Before there was mass-media, the average people were informed by the church or by labor unions, or simply by a literate family member. Which wasn't any better! Also, after recently having read newspaper articles from 1905, I concluded that lust of sensation, gossip, misinformation and propaganda has never been better than today either (actually quite the contrary!).

    In today's world it has become some sort of irreversible 'force majeure' that people will become automatically uncooperative or even violent if they don't feel represented in politics. So there is nothing much to do against it! But I have to note also that IMO there is nothing much to complain about for the people in most Western democracies. Most of them have either proportional voting systems with a variety of parties which have to find coalitions, or they have 'first-past-the-post' elections with two major 'catch-all' parties.
    On the other hand, I know a lot of East Germans who mourn about the loss of the benevolent single party of unity, under which everything was easier, better, safer, warmer, less complicated, and people felt to be cared for...

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    Well I do not believe that democracy is the law of the rich

    But I admit that many times Rich can rule in Democracy Bad times, especially when people do not have the right of ostracism,
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