Plutocracy and death of representative democracy
Posted by picard578 on March 21, 2017
“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
–Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)
West is thought of as a primary example of a democratic society. Free people freely elect their representatives, who then pass policies they were chosen for. But is the truth really that rosy? Have people gotten complacent, taking for granted something that should never be taken for granted? Democracy was won after a long and difficult fight, and even the early forms of democracy were only borderline democratic. It should not be assumed that democracy will last forever, or even until tomorrow, unless it is well cared for. In fact, it should not be assumed that it still exists in the first place. Democracy is frail, and plutocracy – rule of the wealthy – was, in its various forms (oligarchic plutocracy – Sparta, dictatorship, republician plutocracy – Rome, Athens) – predominant form of government for most of human history.
Indeed, it is the Greek historian Plutarch who first realized that concentration of wealth is the greatest danger the democracy can face. As he wrote: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”. First came the abuse of buying and selling votes. Then corruption spread to the law courts and the army, and finally the generals utilized the army to establish an Empire.
Corporations are the primary danger to democracy nowadays. Their internally authoritarian structure, predatory practices and pathological lust for profit, combined with limited accountability and ability to influence elected decision-makers, means that they have the ability to dismantle democracy and turn it into plutocracy. As early as 1932, Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means identified the potential of large corporations to rival the power of states. More than a threat to political freedoms and democracy, they present a threat to ecological viability of the planet and consequently to very survival of humanity.
World War I was the first attack against democracy in United States. Big business, and its political allies, did everything they could to bring United States into war. Before the war, big business had lost public confidence. They needed the cause to bring the public behind them, and the war provided that cause. Germany was just a scarecrow; real reason for the war were interests of the big business. After decades of opposition and condemnation, business interests had found themselves part of the mainstream. And thanks to the war, big business took over the government. But when in 1917. German submarine blockade threatened US profits generated by exports into Entente nations, US entered the war. Workers were forced to buy the so-called „Liberty bonds“ that helped Entente nations – but also generated massive profits for the plutocrats. Censorship was instituted, and any anti-war protests violently supressed. Overall, World War I was a major victory for the forces of plutocracy – they won the right to supress the common man, and to supress the freedom of speech.
Much later, Ronald Reagan heavily damaged representative democracy and its institutions. After him, the process continued, until George Bush Jr. Instituted a clear plutocracy, as extant today. Reagan began the process by emulating Milton Friedman’s anti-government fundamentalism. Neoliberal policies led to massive but deliberate weakening of the public sector in all areas – economy, security, military, health care and governance. This gap could only be, and was, filled by the increasingly more powerful private sector. But the weak state was unable to keep tabs on the private sector, especially after the 9/11 events. Result of that were massive corporate frauds which robbed the nation of hundreds of billions of dollars in stock values and depleted the pension savings of millions.
Reagan was the one that kicked the process in the high gear. His antigovernment and antistate policies promoted and supported criminal practices and personal greed. Media, also in hands of the corporations, failed – in most cases – to even try to investigate what was happening, and in fact supported Reagan’s antigovernment rhetoric, delivering it to the public already predisposed to trust it. Reagan destroyed the government and the economy alike. But United States were never a complete democracy. The Electorial College always meant that a candidate with less votes could actually win. Still, it was Reagan that destroyed democratic legacy of the Founding Fathers of the US. As Walter Williams finds, up until 1981., branches of government did not usurp each other’s prerogatives. But from 1981 onwards, United States have suffered from a polarized, deceitful and incompetent government. It should be noted that this danger was known and forewarned about: Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, rejected usury in favor of national bonds; a move that, temporarily, saved United States from bankers’ aspirations. He also refused to establish a private reserve bank – few weeks later, he was assassinated. A private reserve bank – Federal Reserve – was finally established in 1913 by Woodrow Wilson, who was firmly in the corporations’ pockets. When John Kennedy attempted to rebel against the system he, too, was murdered.
World War II was another step forward to plutocracy. Hitler was brought to power by American, British and French bankers and capitalists as a way to villify nationalism – the very basis of democracy – and open way for the transnational plutocracy. After Nazis’ defeat, transnational institutions immediately sprung up in large numbers. All of them are hostile to democracy, and attempt to destroy any semblence of constructive nationalism, especially in Europe – the cradle of democracy. They do this by immediately comparing any nationalistic thought and movement to the Nazi ideology. Consequently, they are free to promote anti-democratic ideologies of political correctness, multiculturalism, transnationalism and international integration (note that integration does not equal cooperation; international cooperation is possible without formal integration).
A study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page shows that economic elite and business interests drive US Government policies, while mass-based interest groups and independent citizens have no influence at all. While there does exist a correlation between preferences of majority and electorial policy, this correlation is entirely coincidental. Much stronger is the correlation between preferences of economic elites and electorial policy. This goes to beginnings of United States. Chief aim of the framers of the US constitution was to protect private property, favoring economic interests of wealthy large-scale merchants and big plantation owners. Small merchants, farmers, laborers and craft-workers were ignored.
Today, all major think-thanks, foundations, media and other parts of the opinion-shaping apparatus are either owned, controlled or influenced by the rich. Politicians are influenced (controlled) through lobbysts and direct financing. Consequently, in United States as well as most other „democratic“ countries, elites dominate and determine key issues in governmental policy despite the existence of a formal democratic apparatus. Another part of a problem is the „free rider“ mentality, where everyone thinks that somebody else will do their work, so even things which could be done by action of majority do not get done because the critical mass is not reached. And since politicians are well aware of the problem, they ignore the masses and act in favor of the interests pursued by the lobbysts. This is especially problematic since politicians require presence in the media to be elected. But this presence requires two factors: willingness of the media to follow a particular politicians, and money to pay for the presence. Both mean that a politician has to conform to interests of large capitalists if he is to remain in power. This is made worse by revolving doors connecting the public sector to the private sector. And because there is little profit in representing the poor or the middle class, vast majority of interest groups and lobbysts represent powerful capitalists.
However, interests of elites often correlate with interests of ordinary citizens. This correlation produces biased results and consequently false results of observations – since citizens are often observed to „win“, scholars incorrectly assume that system is a democracy. But once these and other factors are accounted for, impact of average citizen’s preferences drops to near-zero level. In contrast, economic elites have decisive independent impact on government policy. While organized interest groups do have impact on policy, and could in theory balance out influence of economic elites, majority of those are owned by the elites and thus increase imbalance in favor of the elites. The probability of policy change remains unchanged (0,3) regardless of wether a small minority or massive majority of common people support proposed policy change. But with other factors held constant, proposed policy change is adopted 18% of time if there is low support among the economic elite, and 45% of the time if support among the economic elite is high. If support is low among interest groups, possibility of change is 16%, and rises to 47% if support among interest groups is high. It should be noted (again) that most interest groups are controlled by the economic elite. Consequently, there is a reinforcing relationship between these two factors. If both economic elite and interest groups support a policy change, said change is adopted 56% of the time. This is due to heavy status quo bias inherent in the US political system and society in general. Effect is made that stronger by the fact that in 55% of cases, interest groups opposed change. While not outright stated, it is likely that economic elites oppose change with even greater frequency than interest groups, as it is typically the current system which made and kept them rich. In fact, the net alignment of the most influental interest groups is negatively related to the average citizen’s wishes on most important topics.
Powerful interest groups not only oppose change on the topics that politicians do consider, but also heavily influence which topics politicians will or will not consider. Only those topics favored by the oligarchs are even considered in the first place. Lastly, their ownership of the media also means that they can relatively easily shape preferences of the general public.
In the end, document clearly shows that United States – and by extent, the rest of the Western world – are a democracy by coincidence: people only get what they want as long as it coincides with wishes of the rich elite. This is becoming quite obvious in Ukraine, where due to a new law a party boss can expel a chosen MP, replacing him by the next on the respective party list – and keep doing so until a plutocracy-friendly representative is installed.
As Larry Bartels reveals, senators are considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of bottom third constituents have no effect on senators’ votes. Power of the rich has made the mockery of the voting process, political parties and individual politicians alike are bought and sold like commodities.
Plutocracy uses several ways to rule. Politicians are pimps, selling their services to the highest bidder. These payouts take several forms. Obvious one, and legal, are campaign donations. Politician has to become known, and the only way to do so is to spend money. But most politicians do not have enough own money to spend, and so require funds from people – and those who can offer the most are those with deepest pockets. There is little to no limit on how much an organization or individual can donate for a political campaign. In 2014., billionaire Tom Steyer challenged his fellow liberal plutocrats to match $50 million he has pledged to help elect politicians who share their views on climate change. Steyer, while claiming that he “represents vast bulk of citizens of United States”, has opposed the Keystone XL pipeline – the pipeline is supported by 65% of Americans. Additionally, in 2010, five members of the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations are „persons“ with the right to speak during elections by funding ads – despite such ruling being contrary to both letter and spirit of the US Constitution, as it de facto allows legal entities to vote in elections (a right reserved solely to actual persons). And due to power of the media, politician that receives most funding will typically win, and in any case, his countercandidate – and there is typically only one – has been bought by the corporations as well. In United States, Senator Dick Durbin and Chairman Collin Peterson have both stated that banks own the politicians – simply because they put three times more money than the next biggest group. Banks alone have 12.000 lobbysts working in Congress. Republicians and Democrats both are solidly in the banks’ and other companies’ pocket. Congressman Alan Grayson had described the situation as: “We’re now in a situation where a lobbyist can walk into my office…and say, ‘I’ve got five million dollars to spend and I can spend it for you or against it.’” – and no politician will dismiss such an offer (actually a threat). In such conditions, any reform is impossible. Even Thomas Hoenig, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of the Kansas City, has warned that United States have been taken over by the oligarchy. And because banks and Wall Street are incentivized to lie, politicians are incentivized to lie as well. Racially, sexually, economically and ideologically, Congressmen resemble more closely the executive ranks of large corporations than they do society at large.
Banking lobbies have also bought all of the key Congress members and senators on committes overseeing banking and finances (they are not the only ones – defense industry has done the same to the defense sector). Just House Finance Committe took 63 million USD from the industries they oversee. And just like with anyone else, they do not go against the hand that feeds them. This creates a handy return for the banks. Companies that lobbied for TARP spent 77 million USD on lobbying and 37 million USD on campaign contributions, a total of 114,2 million USD. In return, they received 295,2 billion USD, a factor of return of 258.449%. Top recipients of contributions are the same members of the Congress who chair commettees overseeing the financial sector. President Obama himself collected millions from the financial sector. In general, companies that spent the most on lobbying also received greatest returns: General Motors, Bank of America and American International Group. Bank of America spent 14,5 million USD on contributions and lobbying, receiving 45 billion USD payment – a 309.335% return. Citigroup INC spent 12,4 million USD and received 50 billion USD – a 401.194% return. This pattern repeats itself across the list. On average, a company received 270 times more money than it spent on buying politicians. In a most extreme case, Wesbo Bank spent 208 USD on campaign contributions for a return of 75 million USD – a 36.057.592% return. US Chamber of Commerce is nothing more than a front for corporations, and it relies on small collection of large corporate donors.
This has major consequences: bills that pass are invariably those that receive greatest financial support. That is to say, they only pass if major banks and/or corporations find them to be in their interest. In one such example, when Trade Promotion Authority bill passed with 219-211 vote, yes-voters received a total of 198 million USD compared to 23 million USD given to the opposition. This was despite many no-voters having received far greater sums to vote „yes“ beforehand, and still voting „no“ despite it. It seems clear that the bill would not have passed without major financial backing from banks, corporations and Wall Street. And Congress almost defied the Supreme Court.
In United States (as well as in Croatia, and likely other countries as well) representatives often get reelected despite disastrous approval ratings. Are people really that mind-boggingly stupid? More likely explanation is that the votes are simply not being counted. And even when they are, politicians typically renegade on their preelection promises as soon as they experience the trappings of power and the corporate money. In many cases, representatives vote on issues by „fast-tracking“ – that is, they vote without even reading or knowing anything about the issue they are voting on. This is very often the case in the US Congress, and is a regular practice in the EU Parliament. TPP, NAFTA and other corporate pet projects were fast-tracked. In 2008, 90% of voters were opposed to bank bailouts, yet every high profile politician supported it.
Consolidation of both banks and corporations has other effects as well. Biggest banks and corporations not only control the politicians, they control the market as well. This system, called oligopoly (a monopoly by a small group) does to the economy what oligarchy does to the politics. In such conditions, market economy cannot exist. It is indeed ironic that freeing the market has destroyed it. Tax cuts and financial deregulation have enabled – or at least helped – the formation of anti-market monopolies, since only large corporations and wealthy individuals were able to lobby for such policies. Runaway redistribution of wealth caused by the plutocracy, from bottom to the top, has unbalanced the economy, causing it to become extremely fragile. Protectionist laws were repealed, allowing corporations to shift their operations to Third World countries (Mexico, Southeast Asia). As a result, US economy and product quality alike have suffered. Between 2001 and 2008, about 40.000 US manufacturing plants have closed and six million factory jobs disappeared – one third of total. Since 1980, when free market ideology firmly established itself and brought about other factors discussed here, consolidation included, average income increased 303 USD in 28 years – compared to 13.222 USD increase in previous 30 years (all in constant 2008 USD). Corporations cut jobs at the same time that profits soared, and instead of spending money on job-generating activites that produce economic growth, capitalists instead stuffed that money into banks or used it to prop up share prices on Wall Street.
Once in a while, a genuinely useful law or a regulation passes. But once it does, it is immediately beset by hordes of lobbysts and lawyers in service of the big capital. One by one, its teeth are pulled out through bills until nothing is left. And politicians, having sold their souls to the plutocracy, help as they can. That was the fate of the Dodd-Frank Act (Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010). Dodd Frank was beset by the servats of the plutocracy from the very moment it came to life, and bill by bill, the Act was destroyed. More often, plutocrats attack the legislation as soon as it is proposed. When US Congress considered raising the tax rate on Midas income of the rich, financial titans flooded Washington with lobbysts armed to the teeth with cash, and ended the debate right away. That way, the plutocracy always wins against rare forces of democracy left. Democracy is left for the sale to the highest bidder, and ordinary citizens are not allowed to compete.
It was in the late 19th century that plutocrats have bought the government from right out under the voters, during the First Gilded Age. That age ushered the purchase of votes, widespread political corruption, the bribing of legislatures, lobbying and the flagrant disregard for laws – all the ailments that plague modern representative „democracies“. That age inspired the makers of the new neoliberal order, including Milton Friedman and Karl Rove, who used to be George W. Bush’s brain. Rove was a fan of Mark Hanna, a characteristic American capitalist of the Gilded Age, who used his money to make William McKinley the governor of Ohio and then the President of United States. He also got help from other capitalists, largest of them being oil baron John Rockefeller. Installation of McKinley ensured governance in favor of the big business. He won because he was able to raise ten times the money that his opponent – Democrat-populist William Jennings Bryan – was able to raise. Hanna believed that “the state of Ohio existed for property. It had no other function…Great wealth was to be gained through monopoly, through using the State for private ends; it was axiomatic therefore that businessmen should run the government and run it for personal profit.” He succeeded – Washington was run by plutocrats, and government served as a wallet for the capitalists. Conservatives of the day stole the liberal vocabulary and turned „progress“, „opportunity“ and „individualism“ into justifications for opportunistic plunder. Neoliberalism is nothing more than 19th century conservativism revived.
Ronald Reagan began the Second Gilded Age and massive decades-long programme of wealth redistribution into hands of the rich. Bill Clinton kicked the programme into the high gear, and George W Bush even more so. By 2007, the wealthiest 10% were taking in 50% of the income. And this is justified by the „invisible hand of the market“, even though market is created by the people and controlled by the rich – this „invisible hand of the market“ is nothing but nicer expression for „interests of the rich“, „economic plutocracy“.
This produced a closed circle, or a spiral. Buying off politicians allowed capitalists to accumulate wealth, and accumulation of wealth allowed capitalists to buy off even more politicians. But they did not buy off only politicians. They also bought think-tanks, which started churning out a falsified study after falsified study, with results invariably favorable to plutocrats’ interests. Economic right managed to either buy or fool the religious right into making an alliance that will assault the middle class. President Reagan intentionally fostered federal deficits of historic dimensions in order to achieve two goals: force the Soviet Union into an arms race it could not win, and force the government to cut domestic social programs. And plutocrats who soaked up the money are now saying that deficits require Social Security and other public services to be put on a chopping block, or discontinued alltogether. This in turn would impervish the people, producing large quanities of cheap workforce for capitalists.
Other Western countries also have governments that benefit the big business, thus indicating plutocracy or a movement towards the plutocracy. In Argentina, Christina Kirchner’s government helped redistribute the wealth to the rich. In Australia, 65 per cent of the richest people have amassed their wealth via political connections as opposed to innovative business practices.
But even this is not enough. In US, economic right supports voter ID laws precisely because it makes it hard for the working class and the poor to cast ballots. End goal is to remove the right to vote from anyone but the rich. But this right is allready largely removed by the above, as well as by the increasing inequality and working hours. A high degree of economic equality (egalitarianism) is necessary for democracy for one simple reason: people who are barely securing basic necessities (food, water, shelter, education) will not have time, energy or will left to even follow, let alone participate in, the political process. Political pluralism cannot exist without economic pluralism. This requires the wealthy elites to be balanced out by a strong middle class, but it is precisely the middle class that is being destroyed by neoliberalism.
European Union in particular, with government dependance on hard money, free movement of capital, austerity, privatization and labor flexibilization, is aimed against democracy. Supraparliamentary transnational bureocracies ruling it are slowly gaining power and influence typical of totalitarian regimes. Lack of regulation is destroying small economies and making all economies more vulnerable to asymmetric shocks. Currency of Euro itself is aimed at destroying independence of democratic national governments, and transferring power into hands of international plutocracy. A country that has no power over its economy has no power at all, and Euro transfers ability of countries to control their economies to European plutocracy. Youth in these countries has little choice but beggarhood or exile.
In United States, there are two systems of justice: one for the big banks and capitalists, and one for everyone else. Courts consistently privilege the rich, and court members are often „in bed“ with corporations. Social state itself is being dismantled all across the West. In United States, it no longer exists. Yet it is crucial for existence of the democracy itself, since people who cannot properly survive cannot properly vote either. But even with voting, things don’t change much. President of the United States, APAIC, or other democratic institutions – in United States or any other country – are in reality powerless.
Western countries are increasingly plutocratic and fascist entities. Fascism was defined by Benito Mussolini himself as „merger of the state and corporate power“. This is what can be seen all across the West, but nowhere as clearly as in United States. Just like in fascist economies, the state pays for mistakes and blunders of the private enterprise. Profit is private, and oftentimes individual. Loss is public and social. That this is so can be seen on example of banks. When (private) banks started failling all across the West, they were bailed out with public money. Yet they were never asked to compensate financial loss caused by the bailouts, or to return the billions, possibly trillions, they have stolen from citizens. In fact, capitalists have mostly saved bailout funds into their own pockets. US Government alone has spent trillions of USD on bailout or other emergency funds to private companies.
Thus, United States do have a socialism. But it is a socialism for the rich. All across the West, not just in United States, losses of financial institutions have been socialized, and profits privatized. States pay for the mistakes of private entities. United States, aside from being fascist, are also a banana republic, as they fit the bill: privatized profits and socialized debts; devalued paper currency; politicians only concerned with their personal gain; unchecked corruption; politicians that have no actual power. Only thing lacking are an actual bananas, but even there, United States have the military industry. Much like Nazi Germany in 1930s-1940s, US economy is dependant on military industry, which results in perpetual warfare.
This combination of rule of the rich and state socialism for the rich is the defining characteristic of Fascism. Fascism is defined as the marriage of the highly concentrated corporate power with an authoritarian state that services the politico-economic elite at the expense of the people. As shown before, United States fit the description perfectly. In United States, just as in the Fascist Italy, profit is private and individual – loss is public and social.
In Europe, Euro killed democracy. European Comission is controlled by plutocrats, and its decrees easily override democratically elected European Parliament as well as national governments. After the Greek elections came in (a Trotskyst party won), the German finance minister said „elections change nothing“. And he was entirely correct. European plutofascism, supported by Germany, is in full swing. As Jean Claude Juncker put it, „There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.“. That same European Comission engaged in antidemocratic coups in 2011., replacing elected prime ministers of Italy and Greece with technocrats.
Going back to Plutarch, it is clear that – in United States, Russia, European Union and likely China as well – government and the law courts are already controlled by the plutocrats. In United States at least, plutocrats also have control of the military as well. And this is a closed circle. In the past, market-friendly governments have through their favorable treatment allowed the rich to prosper. Rich have gotten richer, which allowed them even greater influence on the governments. This in turn ensured even more favorable treatment, with interplay creating a spiral that leads straight down to Hell. As the Citigroup concluded, the „dynamics of plutonomy are still intact“. In fact, they are better off than ever.
People are, somewhat, seeing this. According to the European Commission, 68% of the Europeans do not believe that their voice counts in Europe. In the United States, 81% of the Americans trust the government „some of the time“ or „never“.
Above clearly shows that representationalism – so-called „representational democracy“ – is no democracy at all. Power corrupts, and leadership becomes self-validating. Moreover, it allows decision-making process to be transferred elsewhere, away from the public scrutiny and control.
But there is a new danger. Plutocrats have moved to the global scene. Several agreements are being, or have been, pushed through governments: TTIP, TPP, TiSA and NAFTA. TTIP and TPP in particular will result in the death of national and state sovereignity and democracy in general, to be replaced by global plutocracy. In that system, only stockholders will be able to vote on decisions, and even then importance of their votes will be proportional to monetary worth of their stocks. This transfer is already happening through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, which destroys the ability of national governments to make policy decisions. In order to avoid damaging settlements, governments will make decisions tailored to have as small negative – or as large positive – impact on the profits of multinational companies as possible. This will be especially problematic for the nations of the Eurozone due to limitations caused by the common currency. That in turn will lead to abandonment of many solutions that can harm multinationals’ profits: solutions to energy and climate sustainability issues, development of new energy foundations, as well as social safety nets. Favoritism to corporate interests over citizens’ interests will gradually but surely cause democratic / plutodemocratic states to morph into totalitarian fascist entities, with corporations using states and their security/surveillance apparatus to crack down on any opposition, as was the case in Mussolini’s Italy where corporations used Fascist security apparatus against workers.
Nation-states are critical for democracy, since their governments are less removed from their people than those of supranational entities. They are critical to equity, economy and suppression of plutocrats. Most importantly, nation states generate multipolarity, which itself is necessary to liberty, and generates diversity necessary for progress. Nation state is a sweet spot between optimum democracy (city state) and power necessary to actually preserve democracy; it is in fact an upper limit of democracy and political legitimacy. In order to destroy nation states, elites have started promoting transnationalism, supranationalism and multiculturalism. Keynesian welfare state, which provided the basis of democratization (such as it was) is being destroyed – its role of preventing a revolution being gone with disappearance of communism. European integration is a direct attack against democracy in Europe. IMF/ECB/EU Troika is pushing globalization as a way of ensuring dominance of elites precisely so as to destroy democracy. Other counter-plutocracy forces are also being either dismantled or brought under capitalists’ control: unions, socialist parties and churches, Catholic Church in particular.
Class strugle has created modern nations; leftist dismissal of nations in favor of class, and rightwing dismissal of class in favor of nations, are both equally wrong, and equally deadly. There is no klass without folk; and no demokratia without demos. Tribal consciousness derives from hundreds of millions of years of evolution, and it still plays a vital role – there is no replacing it. To quote Phillipe Seguin: “[F]or democracy to exist there must be a feeling of community belonging strong enough to bring the the minority to accept the law of the majority! And the nation is precisely that by which this feeling exists.”. Without demos, there is no democracy, and nationalism is the main force in formation of demos. For this reason, social democracy is easier – in fact, only truly possible – in ethnically homogenous society. Nations are the primary facilitator of both democracy and social equality. In multiethnic / multicultural societies, elites can easily use splits along ethnic / cultural lines to create divisions and use them to weaken social democracy. Democracy, especially social democracy, requires high degree of spontaneous agreement on fundimental values and equally high degree of mutual identification. Neither of these can be present in a multicultural society. Ability to debate ideas and decide by majority is only possible if people already agree on enough things to preserve civil peace, and identify with one another for minority to willingly submit to majority. Democracy thus formed in (then) Anglo-Saxon United States, England and France, whereas it failed to form in multicultural Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia or Soviet Union. Where democracy developed in spite of multiethnic/multicultural structure (Canada, Belgium) it remained a complex and fragile affair. Switzerland countered multiethnic society with high levels of both direct democracy and national identity, coupled with separation between various ethnities (made possible by their geographic disposition). Even then, multiethnic/multicultural democracies only formed where all ethnicies had similar cultural background (Christianity).
For these reasons, elites are trying to undo this process through borderlessness and multiculturalism. Integration – European and global – is a capitulation to forces of plutocracy. Billionaire terrorist George Soros is particularly active in promoting globalist policies. He profits from the social destruction he causes, and is attacking nationalism and nationalist governments as being “extremists” because they limit his profits (George Soros is an international parasite, nothing more, nothing less). George Soros and his entities promote typical leftist policies of white genocide, open borders, exploitation of workers and government by unelected plutocrats. He is using foreign invasion of US and Europe to destroy their historic cultures and peoples, including the Catholic Church.
It is democracy and national determination that should trump hyper-globalization. When the right to protect democracy’s social arrangement clashes with requirements of the global economy, it is the latter that should give way. Social-democratic nation-states are both more democratic and more viable economically than any other option. Dogma of borderlessness, and especially free movement of capital, goes against the experience of economic development; but to elites, this is irrelevant, since borderlessness is used to justify their power. Free movement of capital allows organized tax avoidance; offshoring and low-skill immigration allow massive reduction in wages; removal of protectionist policies allows formation of massive transnational corporations. All of these serve to reduce financial flow, thus destroying economy. Another danger is a propensity for specialization: borderlessness means that countries specialize in what they do the best, but this makes them vulnerable to one sector doing badly, and to changes in foreign demand. Combined, the effects described lead to boom and bust cycles, and economic instability means reduced long-term growth.
It is for this reason that Anglo-Saxon plutocratic elites have brought Hitler to power and started World War II. Evils of Nazism were attributed to nationalism, socialism or a combination of two, whatever plutocracy required at the moment. For Anglo-Saxon plutocracy and international monetary institutions, nationalism is the most dangerous enemy because it fights for well-being of nations. Therefore, Hitler was used in what was basically a smear campaign against the nationalism. Today, the so-called “left-wing” internationalism and so-called “right-wing” corporatism are used in tandem against nation-state democracies. Greatest sponsors of leftist movements and organizations such as “Occupy Wall Street”, “National Immigration Law Center” and others are Wall Street plutocrats such as George Soros. These plutocrats are also promoting islamic invasion of Europe.
Dependance on foreign-imported products is also highly harmful to democracy, making it hard for governments to create national policies. Diversity of firms within a country allows for a diverse workforce with possible synergies, while diversity between the nations allows for more pluralism and experimentation, thus encouraging political liberty, social progress and economic development. Overall, nationalization of economics (as opposed to current internationalization) will lead to increased economic stability as well as increased long-term growth. If globalization truly is achieved, it will mean massive language, cultural and economic homogenization and standardization. Few firms will dominate the planet, and government will be completely in the hands of capitalists. All of this in turn will mean near-cessation of cultural and economic development, and death of democracy.
Arguments in favor of globalization go directly against the historical record. Every single major industrial nation violated free trade and laissez-faire dogmas in order to get where they are today, and during their most successful times, all had varying degrees of protectionism, Statist industrial policy and rather strict capital controls. What borderlessness does is indiscriminately import world’s problems directly into one’s country. Rather than making everyone better off, it makes everyone and everything worse off. Without borders, nation-states cannot resist negative factors, and so are – to stay competetive – forced into a race to the bottom. National diversity is the only way of maintaining socio-political-economic diversity necessary for advancement.
It is indeed telling that the same leftist liberals that oppose nation-states and nationalism currently garner more Wall Street wealth than right-wing nationalist conservatives. The shriller the populist or nihilist, the better the home, as seen with Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. The Obama populist team regularly hired Wall Street insiders to bail out friends’ firms. Rev. Wright is sermonizing on the joys of socialism as he himself is enjoying three-story 10.000 ft2 mansion paid for by the flock he gathered with his racism. Nancy Pelosi shouts slogans from the barricades, while her husband subsidizes her aristocratic liberalism through a network of arcane deal-making. Chris Dodd worries about the roguery of credit card companies while he finagles an Irish getaway “cottage” through influence peddling. “Liberal” “human rights” candidate Barrack Obama was supported by a network of mega-wealthy donators, such as George Soros. Obama himself moved into a multi-million mansion, all his “ideals” forgotten. Maybe this is a way to ease guilty conscience, or maybe it is simply a way to deflect criticism; it is hard to tell. Sometimes it is simply snobbism: “I want higher taxes because for me they are as superfluous as white lace and crystal”. In many cases however, there is genuine material profit coming from certain leftist activities, as shown with George Soros.
Is there any way to bring back democracy? Maybe. But to do that, two main problems have to be resolved. First, capitalists’ influence on the ruling class – politicians – has to be removed or severely limited. Just electing more ethical politicians will not do the trick – power corrupts, and money corrups even more (because it is, in itself, power). Consequently, even if an ethical person is elected, they will soon betray their values – and those few that do not are invariably rendered impotent by the rest, or murdered (as happened to Abraham Lincoln, Archduke Ferdinand, John Kennedy and others). Second, decision-makers have to be made directly and immediately answerable to the citizenry. Representative democracy, as it is now – periodic election of a group of dictators out of a preselected lot – is no democracy at all, because only two types of people get to rule: those who are rich, and those who answer to the rich, in good part thanks to the escalating cost of the media (and corporations are trying to get Internet under control, too).
First step would be to limit the election and other political campaigns to public funding. This would also have to limit donations by any single individual and any single organization to certain (low) values. As long as private interests pay for politicians’ campaigns, democracy cannot exist. The rallying cry of North American colonists during the war for independence was „No taxation without representation!“, but that is precisely the situation that Western citizens, and US citizens in particular, are currently in. Politicians should be chosen among ordinary citizens by a lot. This would remove a separate political class and allow formation of a government that actually resembles the society, and may be the only way to actually create a representative democracy. Ordinary citizens should form discussion groups, which would then discuss issues but also monitor the newspapers and other media, removing them from plutocratic control. They would also sometimes write articles for the media, and propose guests on radio and TV discussions of important issues.
But first and foremost, democracy requires rough economic equality and a social safety net, so that a common person has time to spend on politics, and is not existentially jeopardized by his or her political activism, if such is opposed to his/her economic or political superiors. Having a class of powerful capitalists means that they can buy the votes, so that class should be either disbanded or removed from politics. This can be done by breaking up large corporations or transferring them to state ownership, while at the same time helping privately owned small and medium business. Said privately owned business should be the backbone of economic activity. Prerequisites for political activity – leisure, education, acceptable standard of living (own flat, ability to feed and educate a 5-member family – parents and three kids) – have to be widely avaliable. But plutocrats naturally do not want that, and Milton Friedman’s neoliberal ideology is just the latest ideological attack of plutocrats against democracy.
Even such a „revival“ of a parliamentary democracy would be only a deficitary democracy, albeit far closer to an actual democracy than the present charade. True democracy is only achieved through direct participation, and an ongoing citizens’ interest in politics. This requires political education from the young age, aimed at developing understanding of politics as well as the culture of participation in politics. People must be appointed to offices through merit (or a lot), not through financial backing. Globalisation also has to be stopped, as it widens the gap between the rich and the rest, increases size of polities to an utterly ungovernable scale (China, India, EU, US etc.) thus reducing the influence that people can have on the government, removes the ability of countries to defend themselves, and creates supranational institutions (UN, WTO, WB) that can roll back any democratic advance. While those in power claim that people would never achieve sufficient consensus, „large scale experiments demonstrate that if people have access to the same exhaustive information, consensus is invariably above 97%.“ – as demonstrated in a suburb of Darwin. Further, dogmatic individuals became tolerant, reticent personalities opened up and the behavior of suburb’s youth displayed a marked improvement.
Consequences of failure to revive democracy can be apocalyptic. Gross inequality is invariably fatal to the civilization, for various reasons. Inequality creates a hierarchical society, but all hierarchies are inherently weak. They can only survive by repressing the dissatisfaction and stealing the productivity of others, which leads to poverty, colonialism and war. Accumulation of wealth at the top slows down and reduces circulation of wealth and thus the economic activity. Wealthy people tend to seclude themselves at top, and delude themselves that everything is fine until it is too late and the infrastructure supporting them is utterly destroyed. This includes the nature: Mayan kings were, much like modern capitalists, either oblivious or uncaring to the damage done to their environment. As forest disappeared, soil eroded and water supply deteriorated, they were insulated from the effects by their wealth. They did nothing until it was far too late, and Mayan civilization disappeared. Roman Emperors and wealthy landowners ignored problems that the Empire faced until it dissolved. Their fate should serve as a warning: either civilization will destroy plutocracy, or plutocracy will destroy the civilization. There is no third possibility. And time is running out.