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Democracy Is For The Rich
03-31-2007, 04:52 AM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
Democracy is for the rich

By Kevin Barr

03/30/07 "Fiji Times" -- -- Democracy is a system of government where the political power rests with the nation's population either directly or through elected representatives. It is government of the people, for the people, by the people.

From this one should be able to infer that the purpose of democracy is to build a just society where the interests of all the people are cared for rich and poor, men and women, minorities as well as the majority and the economy works for the benefit of all. Democracy should be about the ordering of society to bring about justice for all. If it does not work for the common good then there is something seriously wrong.

The United States, in particular, has been a staunch promoter of democracy and has fought to have democracy entrenched throughout the world. Yet some writers have raised a number of important questions about the nature of US democracy.

For example, why is it that only those from wealthy backgrounds are able to become presidential candidates?

Why is it that the US not only champions democracy but champions extreme individualism and unbridled capitalism and has strongly opposed any form of socialism (which might spread the benefits of development more widely among people)?

Why is it that America's wealthy elites are able to exert such strong influence on political elections and economic decisions?

Alesina and Glaeser in their book Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe (2004) point out that all the American political institutions are ultimately the product of an 18th Century Constitution which was crafted by a minority of white and wealthy men of property determined to stop the State from expropriating their wealth and to limit the amount of redistribution the poor could demand of the rich.

Hence, the concerns of the rich are strongly protected and the US has a bias against welfare for the poor and redistribution of wealth. Comparing the US and Europe they note:

"Not only does government spending in the Europe favour the poor much more than in the United States, but government tax policy as well is much more distributive. Income tax rates are more progressive than in the United States."

Phillips in his book, Wealth and Democracy: a Political History of the American Rich (2002) provides hard evidence of the extreme prosperity of America's wealthy elite and shows how they are able to use their strong political influence to structure economic policy (e.g. tax policy) in their own self-interest. On the other hand, Barbara Ehrenreich in her Nickel and Dimed (2001) shows how the US economic system so adversely affects the lives of the working poor.

So, while all Americans may be able to vote in elections, does democracy in the US work for the benefit of all the people or mostly for the benefit of those with wealth and power?

If democracy is for the benefit of all the people of a nation, why is such blatant inequality tolerated? Does democracy necessarily work in the interests of justice for all?

William Blum once of the US State Department in his book Rogue State (2000:170) notes that: "Americans are raised to fervently believe that no progress can be made in any society in the absence of elections. They are taught to equate elections with democracy, and democracy with elections."

Yet, as we know, elections alone do not guarantee real democracy.

Some would say that liberal democracy in the US (and some other countries as well) has become an integral part of the capitalist system and, therefore, is class-based and not fully or truly democratic or participatory. It is "bourgeois democracy" where only the most financially powerful people have their say.

Consequently it is fundamentally un-egalitarian and facilitates economic exploitation of the poorer classes. Certainly the cost of political campaigning may mean that the system favours the rich (who may be a small minority of the total number of voters) and thus in reality the elected government becomes a form of plutocracy (or rule of the elite).

Thus, according to Marx, parliamentary elections are an opportunity citizens of a country get every few years to decide who among the ruling classes will misrepresent them in parliament.

Or again, modern democracy may be regarded as a dishonest farce used to keep the masses from getting restless by providing the hope that things might get better when they have another election.

Reforms are needed in the electoral process so that the power of big money is removed. Otherwise democracy can never be "of the people" i.e. poor or middle class people. It will always be class dominated. Democracy will be for the rich.

In this connection ownership of the media by a few of the rich elite may lead to more specific distortion of the electoral process. The media are themselves a vital element of the electoral process. They can be used to protect the interests of their own class and suppress any criticism of the status quo.

It is important for us to understand this US bias towards individualism and wealth and against welfare and redistribution because the US dominates decisions made by the World Bank and other financial institutions.

Moreover it is a key player in the decisions of the G8 countries which advise us on development.

The US will obviously side with regimes which think as it does and try to mould us in their own image. Consequently the benefits of its form of democracy will not benefit all the people but only the elite. We have seen this happen even in our own country. In this connection it is interesting to note the words of Epeli Hau'ofa (1987:101): "One very important development that we have to watch carefully is the emergence of privileged classes in the islands of the South Pacific for it is certain that the fates of the island communities are being decided by the ways in which these groups act, first, in relation to their own underprivileged people and, second, in relation to their important connections with each other and with similar groups elsewhere. It is the privileged who decide on the needs of their communities and whose rising aspirations and affluence entail worsening conditions for the poor."

Father Kevin Father is the program co-ordinator economic justice for ECREA. The views expressed are his and not necessarily that of his employer

Copyright © 2007, Fiji Times Limited. All Rights Reserved.

source - ICH -
Vitam Impendere Vero
03-31-2007, 05:12 AM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
If democracy is for the rich then a republic is for the people. It used to not bug me so much, but so many writing about America as a democracy really is starting to grate. We may be in some form now a democracy, but that has only evolved in recent generations and because we lost control of our money supply. It's very much in the bankers' interest to have a democracy and to obscure the concepts which established this country. Also talk about taxes and how to justly distribute them - was a time when taxes either didn't exist here or where virtually nil, and even then congress knew it's place and that it didn't have the power or right to spend any money except within strict predefined boundaries. The problem is that we're a nanny state, and the author wants us to be a friendlier, softer nanny state. I don't know man, I just give up. Not you Moth, just babbling about Barr and the article.
[Image: 13703654.jpg][Image: rock1.jpg]
03-31-2007, 07:56 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-31-2007, 08:17 PM by Moriani.)
Democracy Is For The Rich
03-31-2007, 08:13 PM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
i don't disagree with you Henry - and i share your frustration. And although i accept your argument, (it is after all the 'battle hymn of the republic', not, 'the battle hymn of the democracy) i also think, the days of the republic, as in representing the public, if it ever really existed at all, disappeared centuries ago (perhaps with the murder of Lincoln?)

democracy is a scam - and i think that's what Barr is saying

but don't give up Henry, that's what they want you to do - and you should never do what they want. i cannot tell you how fucked up and twisted i think the debate is - nor my fears as a consequence for humanity. it overwhelms me sometimes - but the fight gives my life meaning, no matter how futile and i will never submit.

i think it is also worth remembering - that although they use silly, meaningless words, like 'peace' and 'freedom' to further their objectives, in reality the only place one can actually find peace and freedom are in oneself - and that's far more achievable - it comes through patience and acceptance, and belief.
Vitam Impendere Vero
03-31-2007, 09:20 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-31-2007, 09:22 PM by mothandrust.)
Democracy Is For The Rich
where the fuck's your post gone man???? - ah well, i'm posting my reply anyway

Quote:Barr's name gets added to the Dumb Jackass List, Special Propaganda Section.
i don't agree with you Moriani. not saying i agree with everything Barr says but i think his view on what democracy has actually become is not far away from the truth.

Quote:All governments are of the people, by the people, for the people, regardless of the type of government.
theoretically perhaps. no doubt that is what the princes and popes will tell you. but generally, historically, they invariably claimed "God's Will" as reason for their enthronement. the point about democracy (or republic) is that it is there in the name - demos, Greek, meaning common people (or Latin - publicus)

Quote:The concept is self-determination and it is your right to choose a form of government that will work best for you, and that form may not work for others, for any number of reasons, including geographic, cultural and economic reasons.
agreed, sort of, different demographics, terrain and resources perhaps lend themselves to different government, but realistically, as a commoner, one's say is all but worthless.

Quote:From this one should be able to infer that the purpose of democracy is to build a just society where the interests of all the people are cared for rich and poor, men and women, minorities as well as the majority and the economy works for the benefit of all.
No, one cannot infer that. The purpose of government is to make decisions, organize and coordinate. Democracy is merely one way of determining who shall do that.
the purpose of government is open to debate. some would argue it is no more than war and funding it and creating an economic environment in which their most powerful can prosper. others would argue it is a social cushion, there to provide basic needs and support for all. a few would argue, all governance is poison and must be replaced with self-empowerment at a foundational level.
Vitam Impendere Vero
04-01-2007, 01:24 AM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
Yeah, decentralisation all the way guys.

Nice post Moth. Career politicians are poison. We need a more vigilant people and more tougher safeguards to detect and snuff out corruption. Also, the secret service has to go.

Transparency all the way. And a people taught how to think. Not what to think...
04-03-2007, 02:09 AM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
Democracy IS a SCAM....where the majority rules.
If Anyone knows anything about American History at all, According with the constitution, We ARE A REPUBLIC.
what is a Republic?'s when EVERY SINGLE PERSON is Able to exercise his/her rights...
being a republic, has nothing to do with the Republican party by the way......

If you wanna have a more Educated opinion about this topic, study American History. before you even "open your mouth" to talk about of which "you" little UUNDERSTAND. Here's a GREAT link where FREE classes can B taken.
Click where it says " ultimate online DVD Library" and you gonna see Constitution Classes. Which is where you wanna go.

You gonna B surprised how much You don't know......
04-03-2007, 09:38 PM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
Quote:Also talk about taxes and how to justly distribute them - was a time when taxes either didn't exist here or where virtually nil, and even then congress knew it's place and that it didn't have the power or right to spend any money except within strict predefined boundaries. The problem is that we're a nanny state, and the author wants us to be a friendlier, softer nanny state.

US gov (a representative constitutional republic) was not designed to provide all of the things people our asking it to. Child and health care for example.

Our Constitution does not grant rights to anyone. The U.S. Constitution implicitly recognized the principle that Thomas Jefferson had enunciated in the Declaration of Independence — that man has been endowed with certain fundamental rights that preexist government; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The purpose of government, the Declaration said, is to protect the exercise of these rights. Thus, the cornerstone of the American political system is that government is not the source of people’s rights but simply the entity charged with protecting the exercise of those rights.
While our Constitution does not give people rights, it does delineate the powers of the federal government. The idea was that if the Constitution did not grant a certain power, then the federal government was prohibited from exercising it.

Liberty entails every person’s right to live his life without being coerced to serve another. All the extras that people are asking for and in some cases demanding from gov. forces one person to work for or serve another person.

Quote:James Madison, known as the father of the U.S. Constitution, wrote in "Essay #10" of The Federalist Papers: "... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

America is a Constitutional Republic . . . NOT a Democracy
By Daneen G. Peterson, Ph.D.
&Alice laughed, &There's no use trying,& she said: &one can't believe impossible things.& &I daresay you haven't had much practice,& said the Queen. &When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.&
- Lewis Carroll

&Things are seldom as they seem ... Skim milk masquerades as cream.&
- Gilbert and Sullivan (Pinafore)

At NASA, it really is rocket science, and the decision makers really are rocket scientists.
But a body of research that is getting more and more attention points to the ways that smart people working collectively can be dumber than the sum of their parts. .. Irwin Janis? &Groupthink:& is a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' striving for unanimity override realistic appraisals ? It is the triumph of concurrence over good sense, and authority over expertise.&
-John Schwartz & Matthew L. Wade
04-03-2007, 11:19 PM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
...Lol....did ya watch the link I'd posted?.....U're right on the money.......
It's a fact that the function of having a government is Only to protect our rights in case they're infringed....WE THE PPLE GRANT the government this priviledge.......
Read & Understand the Constitution!.....More over, Know Ur "God Given" rights.....if we really did Know our rights we wouln't need a Constituition or The bill of rights to make us realize so.....
04-04-2007, 01:46 AM,
Democracy Is For The Rich
Quote:Also, the secret service has to go.

The rest from this discussion here about democracy I don't understand, it's too complicated for my simple mind. But secrecy has to go away for a free society, that's something my simple mind can grasp.
I am my savior

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