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Debates Forum

  1. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    22 Feb '10 00:26
    A truly democratic system requires not just political democracy, but economic democracy as well. Where most people go terribly wrong is to assume that having a political democracy is the full extent of a democratic system. This, however, is far from being the case. Political democracy without economic democracy is a hollow shell. It gives the people the illusion of being in control, when in fact they control almost nothing of any importance. Corporations control the vast economic resources of the nation, and they are run as a collection of private dictatorships where there is no democratic decision making at all.

    A purely political democracy may even be worse than nothing because it channels all discontent into the political system which is set up specifically to maintain the status quo. The wealthy elite keep a tight control on the nation's economic sphere while they carefully restrict the scope of the political sphere. A purely political democracy is simply a more effective way of controlling the populace than naked totalitarianism is. If the people have the illusion that they have a meaningful democracy then they're much less likely to take up arms and send the rich to the guillotine.

    Of course on some level many people realize that American political democracy is largely a sham (as chronic voter discontent indicates) but too many don't seem to be able to figure out why. They labor under the illusion that a redress to their grievances can be obtained through the political system, when in fact the political system is specifically set up as a venue to allow them to let off steam while leaving the economic sphere completely outside the realm of democratic control. Politics changes nothing of substance. When corporations are democratically run and operated, when the economic sphere is democratically run and operated, just as the political system is democratically run and operated, then we will have a real, meaningful democracy. Until then, for all practical purposes, democracy is an illusion.
  2. 22 Feb '10 00:58
    Originally posted by rwingett
    A truly democratic system requires not just political democracy, but economic democracy as well. Where most people go terribly wrong is to assume that having a political democracy is the full extent of a democratic system. This, however, is far from being the case. Political democracy without economic democracy is a hollow shell. It gives the people the ill ...[text shortened]... real, meaningful democracy. Until then, for all practical purposes, democracy is an illusion.
    Then what exactly defines economic democracy for you?
  3. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    22 Feb '10 01:03
    Originally posted by rwingett
    A truly democratic system requires not just political democracy, but economic democracy as well. Where most people go terribly wrong is to assume that having a political democracy is the full extent of a democratic system. This, however, is far from being the case. Political democracy without economic democracy is a hollow shell. It gives the people the ill ...[text shortened]... real, meaningful democracy. Until then, for all practical purposes, democracy is an illusion.
    Why do you think the economic system is completely outside the realm of democratic control? Our democratically elected representatives have enormous power over the economy.
  4. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    22 Feb '10 01:14
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Why do you think the economic system is completely outside the realm of democratic control? Our democratically elected representatives have enormous power over the economy.
    If the representatives are de facto functionaries of the economic system they can end up protecting the system from democracy rather than subjecting it to genuine "democratic control".
  5. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    22 Feb '10 01:20
    Originally posted by FMF
    If the representatives are de facto functionaries of the economic system they can end up protecting the system from democracy rather than subjecting it to genuine "democratic control".
    Isn't that why the populace gets to vote them out?
  6. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    22 Feb '10 01:33
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Isn't that why the populace gets to vote them out?
    Given what choice? The political classes have been inducted by the power elites and a 'two party' facade has been erected in front of the economic system.
  7. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    22 Feb '10 02:26
    Originally posted by scherzo
    Then what exactly defines economic democracy for you?
    Worker ownership of business. And not some crappy ESOP either.
  8. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    22 Feb '10 02:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Why do you think the economic system is completely outside the realm of democratic control? Our democratically elected representatives have enormous power over the economy.
    All corporations are virtual dictatorships. You have either a single owner, or a small board who run a corporation. They are accountable solely to their stockholders. The vast majority of the stakeholders directly involved in them have no input into either how they will be run, or who will run them. Never mind all the people who are not directly involved in them.

    Being able to vote for political representatives who set the parameters by which these virtual dictatorships will operate, but who would never think of subjecting them to direct democratic control, is the most minimal form of democracy that is imaginable. It is the absolute minimum qualification necessary to pass oneself off as being ostensibly 'democratic.'

    A truly meaningful democracy would involve democratic control over both the political sphere and the economic sphere. When you can vote for both your president and for your boss, then you will have a democratic system worthy of the name. Until then, what you have is a pale imitation of democracy. A purely political democracy is merely a more efficient means of controlling the populace than naked totalitarianism is.
  9. 22 Feb '10 04:27 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by rwingett
    All corporations are virtual dictatorships. You have either a single owner, or a small board who run a corporation. They are accountable solely to their stockholders. The vast majority of the stakeholders directly involved in them have no input into either how they will be run, or who will run them. Never mind all the people who are not directly involved in cy is merely a more efficient means of controlling the populace than naked totalitarianism is.
    I think an important thing to note (for those who are not brain dead already) is that the current political system accurately reflects the economic system. The stupidity and incompetence of government are mirrored in every board room in the world. Some patriots who work like slaves to make a success of a small business don't realize this is the case because in their environment they have such a small margin for error. Banks do not have such limitations. They have to screw up really, really badly to fail (and even then they can count on assistance from the government to 'paper' over their errors.) Ross Perot sent me into fits when he said he was going to run the government like a business. If they had ran the US government like a business during WWII we would all be speaking German right now. That is why rational observers know that business control of the government is not a Bilderberg conspiracy because a conspiracy requires intelligent organization. You will not find that in most business in America. Instead, you'll find a network of tall and good-looking flunkies who compare unfavorably with maze rats in general intelligence and initiative. If real capitalism actually operated in this state then these people would destroy their feathered nests and cream might rise. It does not often because the primary goal of every large business is to bend the rules to prevent real competition and ensure profits by any means available (and I mean "ensure" as in remove all risk of failure - can't afford that risk if you are an idiot. Cheney's tenure at Halliburton was a perfect illustration of this. Until he chose himself as VP he had effectively bankrupted that company.)

    When questioned I have to admit to being a capitalist. I would like to try it. We sure as heck do not have it here in the good old USA and as long as we cater to the rich and stupid we never will.
  10. 22 Feb '10 05:10
    Originally posted by rwingett
    A truly democratic system requires not just political democracy, but economic democracy as well. Where most people go terribly wrong is to assume that having a political democracy is the full extent of a democratic system. This, however, is far from being the case. Political democracy without economic democracy is a hollow shell. It gives the people the ill ...[text shortened]... real, meaningful democracy. Until then, for all practical purposes, democracy is an illusion.
    Well said. Rec'd.
  11. 22 Feb '10 05:12
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Worker ownership of business. And not some crappy ESOP either.
    UAL discovered the value of ESOPs. The employees were screwed and left hanging. Management lost nothing.
  12. 22 Feb '10 08:11
    Democracy in the workplace has some merits, surely, but how are you going to stop that CEO candidate who promises wage increases that will bankrupt the company?
  13. 22 Feb '10 09:02
    Democracy means "power of the people".
    It has not solely to do with the voting system. We don't elect a dictator for 4 years. We 'the people' are in charge during the whole period. That's what I call a true democracy.
  14. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    22 Feb '10 10:17
    Originally posted by FMF
    Given what choice? The political classes have been inducted by the power elites and a 'two party' facade has been erected in front of the economic system.
    .....that's a yellow card!
  15. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    22 Feb '10 11:27
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Democracy in the workplace has some merits, surely, but how are you going to stop that CEO candidate who promises wage increases that will bankrupt the company?
    How do you stop a CEO who operates from short term stockholder interests to the long term detriment of the company now? You don't.

    You assume that workers would be prone to endanger their long term prospects through inflated short term gain. It's possible. But certainly no more so than stockholders do now. My bet is that since their very livelihood is at stake, workers would be more inclined to take the long term view into account. If they run the company into the ground then they're out of a job. If a CEO runs a company into the ground, the investors can simply cash out and invest somewhere else. The relative immobility of labor vs. the highly mobile nature of capital ensures that the former has a greater interest in maintaining the profitability of any specific enterprise, while the latter treats any specific enterprise as being expendable.