A discussion on political, capitalism and democracy
That’s the problem.
Let’s be clear what we are talking about.
The term “democracy” first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens during classical antiquity. The word comes from demos, “common people” and kratos, strength. Led by Cleisthenes, Athenians established what is generally held as the first democracy in 508–507 BC. Cleisthenes is referred to as “the father of Athenian democracy.”
Capitalism is the best system for global growth and stabilization that we have come up with yet.
Are there better systems?
Maybe. We have not found them yet.
Does capitalism have it’s problems?
Capitalism has existed in primitive forms before humans existed on planet earth.
Animals will trade with each other. Primates, fish, birds, mammals all trade with each other
Trade is a form of capitalism, goods & services being exchanged by market values.
A fur pelt is more valuable than a single piece fruit of because fruit is readily available for all to pick and provides short term value, while a fur pelt is harder to acquire, takes increased skill and effort to create and provides utilitarian value.
Money or currency entered the equation as a means to facilitate trade easier in a large economy where market prices for items regulate the value of the currency.
Humans complicated this by adding in more sophisticated financial instruments in the economy. It allowed for greed through the understanding of arbitrage.
Purchasing or manufacturing at one price (cost) and selling at a profit. Margins and volume dictate profitability.
In order to succeed, capital (resources) need to be leveraged.
If I have a small farm that makes six eggs a day from three chicken and it allows me to trade for most goods and services that I need comfortably.
I should be happy enough but what if I want more? I do not have the resources to acquire more. I can’t buy more chickens because I am too poor – I have nothing to exchange.
So I go to a lender and ask for 10 dollars to buy 10 more chickens.
I promise to pay him back over time, 1 dollar per month because that is the profit per chicken, so in 10 months time I will have paid back the loan.
At the end of the 10 months I now own these three chickens and after the debt is paid off that increased profit is all mine.
Wow I am making so much more money!
Let me buy 100 more chickens. So I do and sure enough in not so long I have paid all those off and I now have even more profits.
You get the idea.
It can help people elevate their wealth.
But what if I was just happy being a simple farmer with a couple chickens?
Then OK, but understand that you may at some point need more capital for an emergency or to make a big purchase, if you get sick or to retire.
Having capital helps minimize risks and can ease unpleasant situations. It provides security.
Humans are competitive by nature. It’s in our evolution, hell it’s why we are the dominant sapien or species on the planet.
Nature is cruel, only the strong survive. A lazy wolf doesn’t eat, a weak moose doesn’t mate, a dumb rabbit gets eaten.
We forget that we are hairless apes.
The veneer of our societies, social customs, political and legal systems help refine those qualities into something productive and stable for everyone.
Even still we are greedy warring apes, or at least some of us and the news shows us that daily.
Wars exist as the highest level of competition we have evolved to. Large groups of one tribe (country/peoples) vs another.
Without uniting as a planet and sharing a global collective of ideals with everyone’s best interest in the system working and continual improvement / progress we will never end war on this scale.
One theory is to do away with global boarders, share one currency and government and legal system.
The idea has appeal. It would make things so much easier.
The “conspiracy theorists” that say the illuminati or deep state is already doing this but not for shared mutual growth, but for control, profit and subjugation.
People are easier to control in collective groups, we see this with cult leaders and dictators.
Controlling a population would be easier under this system, provided you are at the top.
This is where the idea breaks down. Remember leverage?
Due to a natural human wealth / power distribution a certain percentage of individuals will occupy those top positions. In those top positions, they have wealth, power, influence and can do whatever they like without consequence.
Would you want to give that up? Would you want more people with your power? Would the elevation of these classes take away from your wealth and power?
Capital leverages resources and humans are a resource.
If the product my worker makes sells for $100 and I pay my worker $25 to make it and $25 in materials/overhead, then I profit $50. Would I want to pay my worker more than the minimum he would accept? Why would I? Unless paying him more improved the work/product.
If I suddenly paid him $50, then my profit would be cut to $25.
This impairs my ability to acquire more capital.
Certainly, there are varying ways capital treats humans, some better than others. The problem is that there is no incentive for capital to pay workers more than the minimum they would do a satisfactory job for.
If I paid my worker more then maybe he would have enough money to open his own shop and make 100% of the profits.
It violates human nature and our competitive and greedy instincts.
Ugh that sounds ugly, humans are better than that!
No we aren’t and the evidence is all around you. We see moments of benevolence but that’s nothing compared to the greed that exists.
Large multinational corporations are the best example of this.
Their profits are immense. If they were “benevolent” they would work at basic operating costs sharing all profits equally with everyone who worked that.
A factory worker making as much as the CEO? Sounds like communism.
Communism didn’t work because of this, people didn’t want to share equally so they figured ways to work around it. Keeping people from doing this has resulted in millions of deaths. Even when in place the massive inefficiencies proved that the system sucked.
Perhaps in a future technocracy some model could work, but it would have to take into account human nature.
Social Democracies provided a much better alternative and did this having higher collective sharing of wealth while still encouraging private enterprise and capitalism. It works well in small homogenous populations who have voluntarily opted into the values system.
Pure capitalism without regulation does not work and in the long run damages nation states and capital.
Capitalism is the prevailing world ideology that we all exist in whether we like it or not. It will naturally find a distribution curve of wealth. The ideal is one where the standards of the lowest end are pushed more towards the middle.
Wealth does not need to worry about losing all their capital, they won’t. They will have to lose some capital to push that lower end up through social programs and access to a middle class life.
The pay off for wealth is that it will create stability. Stability is good if you are wealthy.
Government coups, shaking financial systems and wars all increase the risk for the loss of wealth.
When the poor dislike their conditions too much they revolt and this causes instability. Not good.
The idea for wealth is to pacify the lower classes and prevent the access to capital by keeping them uneducated, distracted, in fear and apathetic so they do not attempt to compete for resources.
- This can be done through entertainment products (sports, TV, social media) and the arts.
- It can be done through limiting access to good schools and making higher education prohibitively expensive.
- It can be done through drugs and health care. It can be done through war.
- It can be done by debt – probably the strongest control tool.
An external existential threat keeps people in fear and willing to give up their rights, civil liberties and access to capital for security.
At this current moment in history, capitalism and democracy cannot be separated in Western Ideals.
Democracy – freedom or choice – is the price wealth pays for pacifying the masses. The freedom to participate in government and matters of the state.
We may submit to massive violations of civil liberties but if the United States turned into an obvious military dictatorship headed by a general in a coup, quickly instilled martial law and enslaved the population people might revolt.
So what’s new in government?
Nothing. That’s the problem.
The United States government is controlled by wealth, the parties do not represent the people accurately.
We cannot all fit into Republican or Democrat.
But we are forced to. The system makes it MUCH harder for independent or third party candidates to win and people have gotten used to it being a two party system.
The first step of government is to regulate funding for political parties, increase transparency and put in stronger anti-corruption measures.
We need to overhaul the election process, it’s antiquated.
For starters, the United States needs a President and Prime Minister.
The President is the figure head who attends to stately affairs – the ambassador and lead negotiator for international affairs.
The Prime Minister oversees the bureaucracy of running the government.
The second step is to add more parties to the system. Encourage third party candidates and reward them for participating with equal media coverage.
If we could have just one credible independent candidate win and reform the government it would be a huge win regardless if you agreed with the politics and changes. It would prove that change IS possible and would encourage others to participate.
We need higher standards for federal agencies like the EPA and FCC and civilian oversight.
Increased oversight in the financial markets. This is the sticking point for wealth. The markets work for them, they don’t want them to change. They work because there are opportunities that exist only for wealth to increase wealth.
The bare minimum standard of government care needs to increase.
- universal free health care.
- access to the highest quality of education in public schools and free access to universities.
- Increased civil liberties that empower and protect the individual.
- Safe and stable society with minimum crime.
- Access to minimum standard shelter.
- Access to nutrition through a healthy balanced diet.
- Access to work for the willing.
- Access to capital.
- Access to transportation.
- Access to high speed internet.
What if someone is a lazy bum who just sits at home doing nothing but mooching on the system?
All scientific models and test cases have pointed to this being a very small percentage of the population. Providing people with the basic needs allows them to concentrate on higher level functions, such as self awareness, thought, creativity and personal development. It doesn’t always happen, some people are just lazy dumbasses but those people would have existed anyway and are a small number.
How long would you be satisfied with the bare minimum?
You wouldn’t, this is why socialism needs capitalism. Capitalism placed onto the above described social landscape motivates people to work.
Sure you may have the bare minimum but perhaps you would like to paint because you are an artist. Paint is not free, you will need to buy paint and a canvas and other art supplies. You don’t have money to do this, so you get a job part time to pay for your art supplies.
You are participating and contributing to capitalism in your own way.
Wealth is scared of the rising poor. The above model elevates everyone to lower middle class and pacifies them. There will be no revolts. Sure, then that class starts demanding more and more. The fear being they will never stop until a natural equilibrium wealth distribution falls naturally and this is not good for everyone.
It still allows the lower classes to be controlled but at least they won’t revolt, you can still exploit them and will cost something but that stability is worth it.
So where are we?
Not too bad overall. We don’t have mongol hoards raiding us, quality of health care is increasing, our societies are pretty stable.
Can we get a little appreciation for this?
This is a remarkable achievement for a species. It’s the farthest we have come.
We will eventually be an intergalactic species, it is the natural outcome of human evolution.
Imagine we meet intelligent new life and they ask about how our planet works, our culture and values. What would you want to tell them?