Is Democracy Dead?

To me it appears that a small wealthy elite run the world. They buy the regime they want. In order for a candidate to be elected to office they have to attract enormous financial backing. This backing comes from political parties. The political parties are reliant on donors and in order to attract the donors have to produce policies that appease the donors, not the people. The political candidates are in effect vetted by the powerful and the public presented with candidates all of whom represent the establishment. Nobody else gets a look in. We always end up with a choice between the lesser of two evils and hence a sham democracy.

Coupled with that, this small, wealthy elite own the media and use it as a propaganda machine to manipulate the views of the population. They also use bribes and lobbying to force through their desires against the interests of the public. Our politicians are in hock to these donors. The system is systemically corrupt.

Democracy operates when the people elect the government to introduce the laws that the people want. In order to do this they require the range of candidates, on a level playing field, and clear unbiased information about their attitudes and policies. Clearly this never happens. In effect a small number of wealthy people elect the government. They use their money to organise things for their own benefit at the expense of everyone else.

There is clear evidence that Brexit was bought by a group of American Billionaires and Trump was elected through underhand activities of Russia. Bribery, misinformation, lies, scaremongering and threats are the currency of elections.

In Third World countries it is often even simpler. Direct corruption can be utilised to produce the desired results.

The outcome of this is that the world is run for profit. The wealth flows into the pockets of the wealthy. There is no trickle down. A good portion of the world is exploited and lives in abject poverty.

The vision this elite possess is based on greed and selfishness. People and the environment are there to be exploited. They maximise their profits by cutting back on health and safety, minimising wages and moving operations to Third World countries where they can exploit starving workers more and do not have to meet the same standards. In the process the environment is ravaged and pollution is extreme.

The question remains as to how to change this? How do we return to true democracy and greater equality?

12 thoughts on “Is Democracy Dead?

  1. Good post. We cannot return to real democracy because it never existed. We need to move on from repressive capital based representative democracies and think new. Internet could give us new possibilities. No system will ever be perfect, but there are infinite possibilities which would be better than anything we’d tried so far. I’m imagining a more direct form of democracy, where everyone could vote on anything, or a fluid one where the people representing us would not have four years of secure power, but would loose their power at any point if people were not satisfied as better than the ones we’ve seen in this world so far, just to mention something (the first one better than the second, I think, but the second could be easier to achieve). Another thing that would work a lot better in many ways is democratization of all property, with people voting on how to manage everything. I doubt people would be thrown out of their houses very often in a system like that. Thanks for bringing up an important question.

    1. Thanks for your response. It seems to me that if we can vote on something as trivial as Strictly then we could easily devise a means to enable us to vote on serious matters.
      It would require a more responsible media though.

  2. Democracy remains an aim rather than an achievement, as already said. A long way to go but there are glimmers of light. We’ve evolved physically, the next step is cultural … are we wise enough to make it?

  3. You are making a dubious assumption that we are in control of the world and our intellects can sort things out. The world is the direct result of humanities actions and those actions are a result of human nature. We have moral consciences but we also have ambitious and selfish desires which often take the lead in our activities. As Freud cleverly pointed out ‘ we are at war with ourselves ‘. For example there maybe many very good logical reasons why people should not smoke or over indulge but many do. Charles Darwin pointed out the battle for survival or the pecking order and we see it clearly in human history. Since the dawn of history we have had a pyramid of wealth with elites at the top and destitute at the bottom. All our technology and all our politics and religion has not changed that fact it is the common denominator of animal and human existence. Perhaps the clearest explanation of this unchangeable state of affairs is portrayed in George Orwell’s ‘ Animal Farm ‘.

    1. Aaah Kersten but I believe the wealthy and powerful are controlling things. They manipulate trade and the money markets and exploit people on a grand scale.
      Now as you point out with both the Freud and Orwell analogies we have flawed human nature. However, I do believe that we have greatly improved and can improve a lot more.
      I put my faith in education (of the caring kind) and global government (based on a UN charter).
      I’m an optimistic idealist – but I do have faith in humans putting those ideals into a pragmatic solution.

      1. The question of character improvement is open to debate. Steven Pinker tried to throw some light on this in his book , ‘ The Better Angels of Our Nature ‘ undertaking the huge task of examining history to see if we have become less violent. He claimed the last fifty years have been the most peaceful in human history but went on to say the reason was that war no longer paid. Wealth does increase control and individual freedom which is the reason many strive for it but they are encouraged to do so by the constant obsession with growth. We must judge each individual as we find them , ‘ by their fruits shall ye know them ‘, but when we look at the human race as a whole I do not believe there has been much change. Your post throws out the question can empathy be taught? Some individuals seem very well endowed with it while others have little to share. Quite recently it has been concluded that intelligence has a large inheritance element and the idea that with training any one can do anything is nonsense. I believe empathy is in the same league, largely unteachable. Of course the extreme of ‘ Turning the other cheek ‘ is pure madness and defies the law based on an eye for an eye.
        Did you notice that a human right was to allow parents to bring up their children in whatever religion they choose? How is this to be squared with indoctrination?

      2. That is an interesting set of questions.
        Intelligence has many factors – some genetic and some environment. While we can maximise our potential we cannot alter it outside of the range of our genes. There will always be some bright, some dim and most in the middle.
        In terms of empathy – I think that is different. While some clearly show more than others I believe it can be developed. In my school I did see good results and I would like to see a lot more work done by educationists and psychologists in this area.
        It gives me hope for the future.
        I don’t agree with that bit of the document. I do not think children should be taught religion other than as a comparative study that is undogmatic.

    1. Drew – I think you are right. I put my faith in the power of the internet. I think it can unite people, dispense information and become a pressure group of great power.

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