After Democracy

After DemocracyCan democracy still be saved? Can we address the shortcomings of representative democracy - failing political parties, increasing distrust of government - within the current system or are we set to embark on a journey across a border where nobody ever dared to go?

Should we explore a new political model in order to overcome the current multicrises?

In After Democracy this urgent question is addressed by Fareed Zakaria, John Keane, Hilary Wainwright, William Dobson and Cheng Li.

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time - Sir Winston Churchill.

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Ratings: 8.42/10 from 12 users.
  • Nick Pwnsauce

    I don't want a democracy. Fascism / mob rule of the rich over the many.

    Sound familiar? heh

    Give me a Republic.

  • Nick Pwnsauce

    "Democracy" is a U.S. code word for regime change.

    Until you realize that you will never fully understand American diplomacy.

  • 0zyxcba1

    The route and form it will take I cannot see.

    But ever increasing demand upon depleted resources coupled with run-away population growth must lead, not to War, Inc., which now so oppresses us but, rather, to an all-out, not-for-profit, for-bare-survival, war-without-end of no victors, but of only the vanquished.

    'Democracy' will be the least of anyone's problems.

    0z

  • anuragawasthi

    Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.

  • wald0

    That's laughable. Almost no one worships these jackals you speak of in my experience. But, when jackals are all you have to choose from you can bet one will get elected. The concept of a real democratic republic that operates the way it is defined would be wonderful in my opinion, but we have never had that in America, at least not since my birth in 1971. We have a democratic republic in name only, in reality we have a de-facto corporatocracy that serves the rich at the expense of the poor, continually manipulates its public, and is bent on world domination by any means necessary. The last man to try and correct this was Robert Kennedy, and they gunned him down in broad daylight, just like they did his brother a few months before, to show the rest of us exactly what happens when you try to "take the power back". I think Obama would have also liked to have corrected this issue, but he found out real quick that the rest of the government would not allow that. They no longer kill people, that's too risky, now they simply use tricks and lies coupled with huge amounts of money and power to manipulate the public into not supporting what is really in their best interest.

    As far as a pure democracy, I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. All one need do is read over the comments on many of the threads on this site and others to see that the general public doesn't have a clue and is very easily mislead and manipulated. Besides, majority rule sounds great, until you realize that majority can be just as bad of a tyrant to the minority as any dictator. That's the beauty of a constitutional republic that operates like it was intended, there are protections for everyone's rights, the majority is not allowed to victimize the rights of the minority because their rights are enshrined in the constitution.

  • Guest

    "The game of American Democracy now more than ever subjugates the will and good of the people to the power of corporations, on either side; it's an increasingly dangerous travesty of its original intent, presided over by a conclave of devils in some hidden corner of hell."

  • wald0

    That is an unbelievably accurate and well stated description of both American democracy and American (so called) diplomacy. My hat is off to you sir!!

  • dave.eggermont

    You know, this is a very interesting subject to me personally because I'm Belgian. We have had more than 400 days now without forming an official government. We have 3 main flemish parties and 3 main waloon parties. This seemingly small amount of diversity makes it very difficult to come to any decisive agreements that the debate is never ending. We have become very sceptical towards any notion of real democraty and really don't care a lot either. I mean, we do have a lot of disagreements, as it shows we still have no official government, you don't see us going on the streets blowing eachother's heads off (yet). Should we worry? Or should we just don't care anymore? I got some theories but I don't want to bore you. :p One thing you should still keep in mind.. we're still a kingdom. xD

  • melloyeyo

    Very nice doc as an introduction and get interested in the subject.

  • DaveJay

    Everybody on this comment page stop and think. The world was believed to be flat and you fell off the end. The in word is democracy. I think somebody could make a PhD out of this. WE MUST NOT GET LOCKED INTO OUR LINGUISTIC HISTORIC THOUGHTS. lateral thinking maybe!? Just an idea

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CYNXCXJWJTBUQ636DLV6ISPJHQ Bill

    Any political system is a good system in theory. They would all work if you can find a way to remove the one thing that ruins them all.....the human element. We create the systems then corrupt them to the point where the system itself becomes the corrupting agent. Thats what I believe has happened to our republic, it once belonged to the people, it now belongs to the highest bidder. The best government money can buy. That used to be a joke.

  • wald0

    I am not sure we could say that for EVERY style of government, fascism doesn't seem like a great idea to me even in theory. Its the whole eugenics and racial purity thing that ruins it for me, not to mention the idea of censorship of competing ideas, both of which are central to fascism. There are other forms of government that don't look good even in theory as well, but as far as the big three (democracy, communism, socialism) they all look great on paper. Nice observation though, even if I do somewhat disagree.

  • marcosanthonytoledo

    The problem is we are witnessing a odd political phenomenon the fall of a Democratic Republic and Empire simultaneously for the first time in history. The USA is caught in a theological ideological straitjacket in which the ruling elites seem desperate to turn back the clock to a late 18teeth century society of slavery and genocide and maybe trying to bring on Ragnarok since they are losing their grip on the world. The Republican state governors a running their states like the dictatorships they supported around the world for centuries. They seem hell bent on total destruction of all life they worship death.

  • CapnCanard

    What democracy? We don't have a steenking democracy!!! We live in an plutocratic oligarchy. The most threatening thing to democracy is WEALTH if our so called democracy fails then it is the fault of our WEALTHY leadership. And revolts are successful because it is usually a revolt of the people and not of WEALTH. Hang on this is going to be a rough ride. Is this film Dutch? Belgian? South African? I like what Wainwirght had to say re the distance of the ruling class to the people.

  • http://twitter.com/regfrancis superregfrancis

    I'm very optimistic, that we have a new fairer world just around the corner-- thanks to the internet. We will cringe in shame about how ignorant and manipulated we all were before the bloodless internet revolution. It's most obvious by the revolutions in Egypt but the exact same phenomenon has -and is happening world wide.

  • soros soria

    The worse our economies get, the more authoritarianism will we tolerate. As for the cement that held political groups together, ideology is no longer as attractive as it once was. Stalin made sure of that; as did Hitler and Mao. Practicality is the future. We will go with whatever works. We will surrender more of our personal freedoms for the sake of security and predictability.

    The moral of the story is get into government; make sure you're one of the elite; don't end up near the bottom.

  • wald0

    "...if our so called democracy fails then it is the fault of our WEALTHY leadership."

    While I can certainly see why you would feel this way, I think the reality is that we the people are equally to blame. If you'll notice all the differences they pointed out between communism and democracy can be summed up by saying that communism relies on uncorrupted, intelligent, foresighted, well informed, responsible, leaders to be successful and just, while democracy has to look to its citizens for these traits, as well as its leaders, in order to be successful. Which means if all the corruption and greed were washed out of government tomorrow we would still have to do something about our public's childish expectations of something for nothing, there elect and forget attitude toward government, etc.

    I am not saying I am any better than the people I am talking about, I am falling far short of my duties as a citizen as well. I am not talking about patriotism either, at least not in the classical sense, I am talking about civil responsibility, and that's completely different.The whole point of government is to is to help us create, not to create all on their own. If we let them do that we get what we have right now. If we let them make this democracy fail, without at least a decent fight, we are as much to blame as they are. Our fathers and grandfathers made this work for well over a hundred years. Not only work but prosper. The biggest difference I see between then and now is not in the politicians, they were crooked back then to, its in the people.

  • wald0

    @ superregfrancis

    I hope you are right, but I hear a lot about how the government and the elite are working overtime trying to figure out how to police and control the internet, just like they do every other medium. What I am afraid of is they will manage to get legislation passed by just keeping things hush hush, not letting us know what they are doing until it's too late. Or that some tragedy like 9/11 will happen, or if you prefer be purposely perpetrated, and they will use it to get the legislation they want.

    I place my hopes in the public staying a few steps ahead technologically, that we monitor our courts and congress enough that we would see it happening in time to do something about it, and that the internet is global and would take global agreement and action to be policed or controlled. Some times I think I should learn to hack, out of a sense of civil responsibility if for no other reason. (LOL)

  • wald0

    So basically you are saying that they have already managed to weasel in to some degree, see that's what I was afraid of. Thanks for the link, I have already skimmed it but I will take the time to really go through it later. I need to become more proactive in that area anyway, I don't know enough about it.

    See, I already had misplaced hopes. Its like they attack us on so many different fronts, its impossible to really keep up with just how far their reach has extended at times. While your fighting this fire they are right behind you starting another one. Or maybe that's just the complicated nature of the world we live in, but it sure seems like there is a "them" sometimes.

  • Irishkev

    We're all FOOKED!

  • 0zyxcba1

    @wald0
    "...you are saying that they have already managed to weasel in to some degree,"...

    I do not know what I am trying to say.

    I did think the documentary good. The format was okay, and the varying, intelligent points of view were representative.

    BUT:

    The elephant in the room was utterly ignored.

    I guess, if anything, I have pointed at some indication that matters, globally, as they now stand, make for a rapidly changing, difficult-to-assess, impossible-to-forecast(even short-term) dynamic and I'm scared.

    0z

  • http://twitter.com/dakealo dakealo

    Western democracy is an intellectually bankrupt concept in its current state. What we have today is regulatory democracy, an environment in which money power's corporate interests feed off the State and thus a mercantilist economy engulfs us all. Politicians are nothing more than talking mouthpieces for the elite, they are there to protect money power's interests – using force if necessary.

    Fareed Zakaria is just one of the many money/power elite's controlled shills who employ the Hegelian Dialectic as a strategy for controlling society.

  • http://princejaka.wordpress.com princeton

    lol... another FAIL documentary trying to identify the problem with governments.... whilst ignoring the gun in the room...

    why does everyone work so hard to dance around the fact that when u give any entity the right to initiate force in order to achieve its goals without social recourse, you've opened the pandora's box of corruption.

    "it's the corporations.. markets.. freedom.. blah blah " Hush it..

    until walmart can shoot dissenters and kidnap debtors...
    until walmart can send you their choice of groceries when they decide, send u the bill at the end of the year and kidnap u if u dont pay....

    u're all foolin yourselves..

    democracy, communism .. whatever.. all means nothing if the "protected and served" are forced to pay for said services at gun point and threat of kidnapping.

    taxation is the problem!

    until government funding is voluntary, criminals and psycopaths will inevitably rise to power in order to control the billions of stolen money.

    what they do with it from that point is simply to maintain power.. and appease certain lobbying groups.

    this is all we see worldwide regardless the structure of gvernment.

    y all this nonsense about "deregulatiuon" or "democracy"...

    i know.. its not new.. typical banter from those who want to control the guns themselves.
    i can hear it already...
    " if i had all that blood money.. this is how id do things... id help the poor and end corruption"

    well.. its NOT your money.... charity is meaningless when done with stolen money.

    epic FAIL again...
    keep ignoring the gun at ur own perril... go on pretending theres no barrel aiming str8 at us... go bac and graze sheeple

  • SONNYCORBI

    you have exposed the problems now would you please tell us how to fix the problem?

  • SONNYCORBI

    @Oz and Waldo, It's my understanding that the US gov't is trying to or already has passed a law that alows the US gov't to shut down the internet, when the US gov't. feels it is necessary? I believe the battle is on going and will never end? However as long as there are (especially young), people who try to stay informed and continue to voice their findings and concerns, will help; not solve the problems mind you but WILL CONTINUE! TO HELP KEEP GOVT'S WORLD WIDE IN CHECK! People mean well and they do well but on the flip side "the road to hell, as the old saying goes, is paved with good intentions". Sometimes basically good people who go into business or gov't and become successful also become overpowered by their newly acquired expansive ego.

  • CapnCanard

    agreed ... with some comments: I suggest that the major problem with any government is the bloated nature of the size of government.There are COMMON things we need: roads, communication, healthcare, education, environmental protection, energy, a REASONABLE constablatory, public service... In other words we CERTAINLY NEED FAR LESS GOVERNMENT, and the government we do need needs to be less entangled in profiteering and those failed capitalist roads that lead to nothing more than a private gated community that ends with an oppulent mansion. I recall the Cash for Clunkers. What a joke. It was nothing more than a welfare program for Detroit Auto Makers. The money for the clunkers went to the auto maker in the form of buying a down payment on a NEW CAR, no cash for the old car unless you buy a new car. Socialism for the wealthy! Beautiful, kudos to you GM, Ford and Chrysler! And it isn't just the auto makers, it is the wasteful spending on oil subsidies, extravagant subsidies to agribusiness, useless military industrial spending, big pharma and bigger health failures, the criminal FDA, the lost War on Drugs, the unwinnable war on Terrorism, the list seems endless... JESUS why are we giving money to these criminals and what do we get in return? Hell, we don't even get the "benefit" of a reach around. In short we need localized control: village, township, city, and county. With the possible confederation with other such similar entities for trade. It wouldn't be as difficult as it sounds. It is very simple like kindergarten: do not hurt others, clean up your mess, and make sure you can play another day. LAST: CAPITALISM, COMMUNISM, and FASCISM are all equal opportunity failures. A small minority is always the winner, none of them truly reward skill, intelligence, innovation or creativity. And LAST, it is always to convenient to blame the people. This is a dodge. The choice of the People is limited to the monkeys that Wealth will allow us to actually vote for, we have a severely limited amount of options and those options we do have tend to support the status quo.

  • equidae

    F*** I hope your trying to be ironic.

    The US is currently and has been since the founding a Republic, according to the actual definition of the term. It possesses a constitution which limits the power of the electorate in order to protect the rights of the individual and minorities.

    If you're somehow dissatisfied with the current state of politics in the US, you owe such dissatisfaction to the US governments republican nature, mind you I do not here mean republican in the sense of the political party but political concept.

    Yes a democracy can be corrupted by it's electorate, dependent as it is on popular will. But of course republicanism escapes none of these controversies either, one need only remember that the framers of the constitution allowed the continuation of slavery, while also originally allowing only land owning white men voting rights. Or that one of the greatest and longest lived of all dictatorships the Roman Empire, was also the product of a republic, in this case the late Roman Republic which voted for it's own subjugation first to Julius and again unto Augustus.

    Thus a republic which acts to in part to protect the rights of the individual , but does so by protecting it's own power. When a government or form of government is primarily concerned with it's own perpetuation and not the task of governance, does it become unjust or inadequate.

    Indeed I believe that the greatest problem in US politics right now is that both parties are concerned not with governance, let alone good governance. But rather are consumed by a need to maintain their own political clout, and preserve their ill gotten and perhaps illegitimate power.

  • DonDon1

    I agree with aspects of what princeton, waldo and Oz said are happening and that these are indeed dangerous things that somehow need to be reined in. We know that these things are being perpetrated. The only way to resolve them is one by one. The same way they are infiltrating aspects of our government's and corporations and affecting us day to day.

    Ideally the best way to achieve this is to elect a person or persons(or run yourself) into the position(s) necessary to make the necessary changes. And make sure you are electing people that are trying to achieve this as high priority in their mandate.

    Some of first priorities to be addressed have all been said before. But we haven't elected people to get it done:
    - Laws passed banning all lobbying from corporations, foreign governments, evreyone.
    - laws limiting how are tax dollars where tax dollars can be spent on
    -laws limiting engagement of conflict in foreign lands
    - laws guaranteeing certain privacy and civil liberties that can't be trumped.
    -laws limiting profits of corporations especially in certain areas of mandatory requirements eg. banking,insurance, energy etc,

    I think this will be difficult to achieve with anyone who is connected to any of the existing main parties in government in any of our countries(Canada Here) since there is such a culture of patronage prevalent. And all of these people have been steeped and seasoned to the ways of this culture. Otherwise they aren't able to achieve approval and power/status within that party. And as seen before would likely get ostracised.

    Corruption due to patronage politics is clearly one of the fundamental problems in my opinion. We are all susceptable to it to a lesser or greater degree. It is in our very nature.

    A person to affect change would have to have a deep understanding of patronage and how it influences us to be able to cut through it and get the job done.

    Do you know people like this?
    Make a party. Or flood an existing smaller one with these people. Educate others.

    I admire what Waldo said about getting more engaged in whats going on instead of being lulled to a state of sheepleness :)

  • http://princejaka.wordpress.com princeton

    such a typical and frankly useless response...

    but nonetheless i'll play...

    i can tell you how... by creating voluntary organizations and businesses that exploit govt inefficiencies and totally undermine their authority..

    I can write a whole book on the topic as its my life purpose, but better yet.. ill just let you think about it and see if u can find ways of replacing and improving upon government services (currency, security, food and indusrty regulkation) with more efficient streamlined companies...

    thats all there is to it.. simply walking away from the gun and providing real solutions to problems as opposed to just shoving guns (writting laws) in people faces, which always make problems worse or create new problems

    personally.. i have a few companies and patents am working on to do just this.. you will hear about me and the solutions im offering in the near future... trust

  • http://princejaka.wordpress.com princeton

    and by the by.. forget me & my solutions... solutions have been provided for decades by hundreds of thinkers...
    google.. mises institute/ austrian economics
    google stefan molineuX
    google tom woods

    the solutions are all around... if u would actually take the time to look.

  • http://www.thefullertonian.com Mark Stouffer

    Very fatalistic tone you are taking, dakealo. Are you trying to convince everyone to give up and submit?

  • http://www.thefullertonian.com Mark Stouffer

    I agree with princeton. Create tools to subvert evil laws. Also, educate.

    "Free trade or whips, guns and chains. You pick."

  • SONNYCORBI

    @princeton I was being very serious my friend when i said, tell us how to fix it. Anybody who stays half way informed understands the systems are waked. princeton it takes a long long long time to write a new manifesto and even longer to implement one. "taxation is the problem", surly you jest! Now if you think your going to get the job done with a few pattens and some new company's well good luck on that one. I mean even if we attempted to itemize the various problems under different headings in order to get a handle on things, you know what i am trying to say here princeton? And i might take a look at those doc.s you have asked me to look at, but not tonight. back at you later.

  • Ben Gunnels

    "Our fathers and grandfathers made this work for well over a hundred years."

    We were in the midst of a devastating civil war less than 100 years after we formed our government. We were very lucky that other countries had bigger fish to fry such as each other than to come after us in our weak state.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q5PWJTPAKPC5NQRZHHH7AG2CBM Joe

    Well done in scratching the surface. Democracy is for grown-up's, but many times politicians act like children aka the debt ceiling debate. It made very good points about the European model, and how EU can tell countries to get their house in order. It also hit the nail on the head about China, no govt model works better than it at the time in doing what is needed for the economy. It didn't bring up what I feel is the most pressing issue we face in the world, population growth. When I was born, there were about a little more than 2.1 billion people in the whole earth, today we it is about to hit 7 billion. It is hard to get that many people to agree to any one thing at any time. I can't give one solution for a fix of the problems, but we need to respect all POV's in any problem and work together for the solution, if not we will only have ourselves to blame when we fail. Isn't that what democracy is?

  • http://twitter.com/dakealo dakealo

    All the necessary measures to forestall or prevent this collapse from happening are long past. The central planners will not reduce regulation. They will not cut taxes and spending; at least in a meaningful way. It's all smoke and mirrors. They will not respect states rights. They will not contain the unlimited power of the robed government employees. They will not leave the world alone and insist on making war on every corner of the globe with no restraint nor reason. They violate the most basic right that inspired a flag: the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" banner.

    These united States are on a similar path as the Soviet Union; circa 1989, with dissolution a real possibility.

    I say: bring it on.

  • wald0

    Go back over previous threads, Princeton's solution has always been anarchy mixed with completely unregulated capitalism. Which I think is ridiculous. I don't think capitalism or any other form of economic model could survive anarchy, people would be free to do as they please and as a result there would be a different style of economy, different implied rules, different customs, everywhere you looked. There would be no means of holding anyone accountable, making parties stick to contracts, deciding the value of currency, how much currency is available, what backs it up, what is the exchange rate, who prints it, etc.

    In the past Princeton has stated that people would just come together and take care of all of this, which is basically recreating what we already have anyway, that is if you think they would be able to create anything. You show me a business model that makes creating and maintaining the intense infrastructure that this country needs, which every one gets equal free use of to be profitable. Its not going to happen. How would we provide for the common defense, maintain sanitation infrastructure, regulate air travel, etc. if profit was all that mattered? Or we had to just depend on people to come to work because they felt like it? No, there are many many problems that free markets can never fix, it simply isn't profitable so why would they even try?"Just like depending on peoples good nature or industrious spirit can't possibly fix everything, if we could rely on that we wouldn't be where we are right now. We choose our government officials from our general public, they are a good example of the average person right now- greedy, short sighted, easily corrupted, etc. I mean people can't even remain civil on this site when trying to come to a consensus about issues- which they never reach, and we are going to expect them to come to a common decision, efficiently execute that decision, and for them to come to work everyday and do there work well simply because they feel like it?

    All one need do is look at the places around the globe where anarchy took hold and what happened. I have yet to see it be anything other than a blood bath led by whomever grabbed the power by force first, and these are just little villages and tiny tiny little countries with no real developed modern enemies. They don't face what America would in such a situation, they don't have all this complicated infrastructure to maintain, first world enemies ready to take them out at the first sign of weakness, an expected part to play in the global economy and community. Yeah, go down to Africa and check out real anarchy at work, its a horror show.

  • SONNYCORBI

    @waldo Beautifully stated Waldo!! An outline for your up coming book. Waldo I worked with Encyclopedia Britannica North America for many years; An Artist haven. Bill Gates put us out of business. In any case i called on many many writers, mostly technical writers. They live an interesting life. For example one writer wrote for and engineering publication and had absolutely no engineering back ground, he spent many hours in research etc. Your natural talent to unfold and communicate a concept or idea is money in the bank. Just Google Theoretical physics publications and scan the articles then contact the publications and ask what articles their next issue will cover, get their outline. Write the article and send it in, (find out who reads and accepts various articles) Along with a stamped return envelope. Online publications might be good also? And i might add, not just Theoretical physics but anything that might interest you, music etc.

    Publications usually pay per word, don't be wordy write good simple short articles and sell more articles not more words.

    I mean your writing for us and we appreciate it! Why not get paid.

    Not trying to get into your life no need to even reply just a thought to a friend.

  • wald0

    @ SONNYCORBI

    Thanks for your compliments and concern. That sounds like great advise, not just for me but for anyone interested. There are many people on this site that write exceptionally well, some are more creative/poetic and others are more technical. We should all probably check into your suggestions. I know I am going to, I need all the income I can get.

    I wrote technical how to type material for a computer support call center for about five years, the trainers used it to train people with no previous experience how to trouble shoot issues and walk people through fixing them via the telephone. I designed training manuals for Dell, Gateway, Sony, and Motorola products, as well as for internal procedures at the call center itself. When they closed down I never pursued that type of work any further, except for volunteer work I have done on political campaigns, writing email scripting and robo-call scripts. Anyway thanks for the advise, I will check into it.

  • http://princejaka.wordpress.com princeton

    "How would we provide for the common defense, maintain sanitation infrastructure........to work because they felt like it?"

    not because they feel like it.. because people in society care enough about those services to voluntarily pay them and expect them to show up to work.. duh.. how do cell phone towers or Chinese restaurants work . why the employees show up? some government program forcing them to?...

    profit is the only true motive to any biological organism. profit simply means you took what u had and created something that is worth more to someone else. I wouldn't mind a world that ran on that principle

    much better than altruistic delusions about some common good. at least we know that each transaction is a net gain for each party, so on a larger scale.. its benefiting society for each individual to produce something other people are willing to pay for.. regardless what it costs the individual to do so..

    think about it...

    and the best part about profit.. it is far more profitable to any sane person to help your community and your fellow men... part of the problem with society is that we're too busy demonizing and trying to control our fellow man, calling them stupid, that it leads to the shortsighted and unnatural idea that its far more profitable to take advantage of and hurt them.
    this is going against our own instincts... but oh well.

    its funny how ur argument is that people cannot voluntarily come together to provide common defense and basic infrastructure... even though people come together and do these exact things.

    Politicians and government agencies focus on infrastructure and defense because the general public cares about these issues... hence the term representatives and public servants.

    the main argument is that by being forced to pay for these services, we're giving this organization of ordinary men and women a blank check to do what it wants and get away with it.

    the only way to keep any organization of ordinary men and women (i.e. govt) efficient and useful to the rest of society is for them to only get paid when they provide some value through voluntary exchange. most crucially, there has to be competition.. its common sense anywhere else but when it comes to infrastructure and defense, competition is a bad thing? u have to explain this, not me or other anarcho-capitalists.

    ure just hung up on the vilification of the term "anarchy" by govt schools and agencies..... i understand, because they have no choice but to ignore the many intellectual arguments for a rational anarchic society.. they just say.. " anarchy.. that means no infrastructure... no common defense.... crazy people doing whatever they want... lord of the flies"

    anarchy simply means.. no forced association... a society where people dealing with each other on a voluntary basis is the norm.. governments may exist, but they simply will not have the ability to shoot those who don't want to pay them, like every other company.

    sure violence will always be necessary in human interactions, but our argument is that one should never initiate such situations, and violence (taxation) should not be the back bone of our entire "civilization".

  • Guest

    I don't believe we even live in a democracy. The United States has never been democratic nor will it ever be.

  • dave.eggermont

    I've been thinking about a lot of the topics discussed below, so don't think I'm just saying something random here. If you want I could tell you why I think it might work and it's fairly "simple", but there are a lot of implications that would have to be kept in mind.

    Limits to personal wealth.

    Just think about it. Let it marinate a bit. Try thinking long term.

  • Guest

    Yes, but you need to define wealth.

  • Guest

    I'm sorry, I'd like you to define wealth.

  • TheKlingonFarmer

    Where's the user "Azilda" with her useless input?

  • dave.eggermont

    @ princeton

    Profit is just a dangling carrot to keep you going.. it doesn't matter where you're going just as long as you're going. It's like a kitten chasing a light, cute but pointless. Eventually even the kitten doesn't want to play anymore. This is the shizophrenia of capitalism. You don't need 5 ferraris, a castle and properties all over the place, nobody can really be that insecure. You can't expect me to believe that the only things you do are out of interest of making profit? See, this is what I mean. Same thing with religion, that creepy subliminal dogma echoing. We need profit. We need profit. They need your lips around their *****. I can wrap two!

    Look, resources aren't infinite. Maybe some day there won't be anything left to get any profit out of. Have you ever even considered this as a plausible scenario? Ever planted a tree and watched it grow, years and years of patience, aaaah but the virtue! People really need to slow down, their missing all the view.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"
    - Lao Tzu

  • Guest

    No, really, I am interested in what you would call wealth.

  • GoughLewis

    I like Azilda. You, not so much.

  • dave.eggermont

    In some way the internet do works a bit like a big brother, maybe we should type more softly :p

  • dave.eggermont

    And your input was useful because you believe it is?

  • dave.eggermont

    Ow well, I would think economically personal net worth.

    Actual wealth, (like feeling fullfilled and all that honey), has little to do with economics.

    "False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared."
    - Charles de Montesquieu

    To me, that's real wealth. Can't buy that. This you need to earn.

  • Guest

    @ lakhotason
    How did your hiking go?

  • Guest

    So my man, why do you wish to limit that?

  • Guest

    I believe I understand that you mean there are two (at least, surely more) types of wealth. How do you separate the two?

  • Guest

    It was a b@#ch. Which means it was very, very good.

  • TheKlingonFarmer

    Mine was a simple question, to which 2 people have replied so far. Neither reply gave an answer to that question, which leads me to believe that my input wasn't necessarily useful, but instead too difficult for some people to understand.

  • Guest

    She's been abducted by Romulans. Picard and the gang have gone to fetch her. Why aren't you with them?

  • wald0

    @ Princeton

    I have no desire to have this discussion with you again Princeton, we obviously disagree about it, we never seem to reach any common ground on it, and we've done it several times. But don't tell me I am merely hung up on the vilification of the word, as if I am some brain washed f00l that can't think for himself. I have done a lot of research into all forms of government, anarchy included, it was required in my western civics course and political science, and its something I enjoy reading about. History is on my side. Anytime we have had to simply rely on people to do the right thing, they didn't. Anyway, my point is, that my opinion is both informed and well thought out, whether you agree with it or not. I am sure yours is to, but we will have to agree to disagree, because mine isn't going to change on this subject.

    The two things that our economy needs to prosper, and any economist will tell you this is fact, is stability and predictability. Without them people don't hire, people don't invest. Anarchy will never provide stability and predictability, it never has and it never will, the whole point of it is freedom to do as you please. People will always "please" to do what ever is best for them right at the moment, which is not always whats best for everyone else. I like the way it sounds, I would love having no po po man chasing me around, but it isn't going to happen and in the long run that's probably for the best. But hey, that's the beauty of our country, if you can convince enough other people, the right people, it doesn't matter what I think.

    P.S. You need to chill man, you are going on the defensive immediately, before the debate even gets going. I was referring to the people that would be maintaining infrastructure that we don't pay for directly when I asked what would bring them to work. I suppose your suggestion is that we pay private companies for the roads we drive on, the sanitation system we use, air traffic regulation, communications infrastructure, etc. I guarantee you that would cost us more than the taxes we pay now. Besides, you will never get enough people to just volunteer to pay for these services. What are you going to set up toll bridges and roads, pay toilets, pay phones, pay this pay that everywhere you look? No one would want that, it would be unimaginably inefficient and aggravating. So what, you charge a flat rate to gain access to all infrastructure, well how is that any different than taxes? Or each community gets together and pools there money to pay for a new road, what do they do about the people that couldn't pay or just didn't pay? Are they not able to use the road, who is going to stop them, no laws you know? If they are able to use it without paying, no one will pay, why would they if they can use it for free? Out of a since of doing the right thing? the kindness of their heart? a sense of responsibility? The public as a whole has none of these things right now, if they did we wouldn't be where we are?

  • Rocky Racoon

    "Xinhua reports that technology giant FoxConn, which manufactures products for Apple and other computer companies, is working to reduce labor costs by replacing a portion of their workforce with robots, with a goal of having one million robots in place in their factories within three years."

    So without living labour to create suplus value and new value there will be nothing to exploit or appropriate those robots won't be buying ipods and consumer demand in the West HA! Our unemployment is more like 30% if you consider under employed and part-time who want full-time...what are we going to do fire up the ovens or share the wealth?

    I think these guys have it backwards...we need to expand democracy and supercede capitalism not supercede democracy and allow capitalism to continue...of course being successful petty bourgeois totally wedded to and benefiting from capitalist social relations this seems beyond the pale for these folks to contemplate for some reason. We cannot go back to fuedalism which the entire West is trying to turn us into -serfs- while they seem to think they can keep the system going buying luxury goods for themselves. China's expansion and little experiment with economic free zones, I think they will be more like Norway for their people and are creating good win win relations in Africa they are doing a good job of it not like us-the US will probably go fascist start a war over mid east oil and end the world in a nuclear holocaust rather than share power with the people. I am sure this deficit ceiling baloney is making people realize that they have to organize and fight harder and neither party is on their side.
    RR

  • Rocky Racoon

    I think it is the corporate elite or at least their spokespeople that that dont' have a sense of social or civic duty. Pay taxes we dont' want charity btw....and most in the country favour tax increases 85% including Buffett I believe unless he just said that knowing the outcome of the vote today..... even some of these elites...most of them.....Wall Street wants its hands on our public paid for pensions....that we paid for? That is a big problem with the working class they should have controlled their own pension funds...I don't think it was the Mafia who knocked off Hoffa....

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Kukowski/100001515201862 Matt Kukowski

    VERY interesting political Doc. not your typical overly emphasis conspiracy stuff.. but not too diluted and boring to not ask brave questions.

    A must see for good information without hype, just information.

  • Rocky Racoon

    no limits to public prosperity and human development think about it.....let it sink in think long term....now think about a system that needs 700 military bases around the world and is fighting in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq Libya, Yeman Sudan......Next maybe Syria or Iran...and look who is in power representing that personal wealth and what they have done with it.
    RR

  • dave.eggermont

    Maybe profit wouldn't be the most important priority anymore.. maybe in the long run we start treating people as people instead of treating them as means to get more money.. maybe the wealth would be less concentrated in certain places.. Maybe more money would go to people who actually need it instead of going to people who already have money and know how to get it.. There wouldn't be this rat race to get the most useless stuff or to have the most power. I could go on but it seems kind of redundant at this point.

    To me it seems that this free capitalism is reinforcing itself to ask their members to be as greedy as misguided as possible. This way it rewards all kinds of excessive abuse and well.. read the papers.

    The question is how do we change that?

  • dave.eggermont

    You have what I call ideological wealth and then you have economical wealth. I'm sure some wall street analyst can make up an algorithm (if it doesn't already exist) to determine how much you are worth on the market.

  • dave.eggermont

    "Mine was a simple question, to which 2 people have replied so far. Neither reply gave an answer to that question, which leads me to believe that my input wasn't necessarily useful, but instead too difficult for some people to understand."

    Mine was a simple rhetorical question to which someone replied, which would lead me to believe it was too difficult to understand, hence this reply.

    My mother always used to say: "If someone asks stupid questions, be polite, give them stupid answers."

  • WTC7

    It's a nice documentary, but I don't think it either asks or gives answers to, in my opinion, essential questions.

    Why has democracy failed? Or has it failed? Democracy (or better, liberal democracy) as organizational principle of a society has not failed in its ideological or organizational aspect. What's wrong with people electing their representatives in state institutions periodically? Is there anything wrong in constitutional protection and guaranties of liberties and rights for all of us? Because that is what liberal democracy basically means.

    But one should not mix democratic principles with economics of capitalism, especially free-market or corporate capitalism, where the big fish is allowed to devour the weak one. Darwinism in modern human environment at play. Equal opportunities? Does my little grocery shop have any chance against a big super-market chain? Ha!

    But I am still entitled to vote! The democratic principle is not at fault, it's the Darwinian mentality we are made think we still have not overgrown and the economics at work force us to behave in such a manner. But we have overgrown it - the principle of democracy, respect for other human being we enshrine in our constitutions, proves we are beyond that kind of mentality.

    Unfortunately, democracy is being used by certain elites to further enrich (and empower) themselves by funding politicians, who later on, when elected, are obliged to respond in kind to their "benefactors" and think less of those who elected them. In such a way, the whole idea of democracy is being distorted and misused. Still, I maintain that the democratic principle in itself is the best we have, at the moment anyway.

    Look at Norway. A poor country until they discovered oil in their seas. But then, they used it wisely. They reached a certain level of economic independency through oil revenues, and created a state where, indeed, taxes are high, industries/corporations are kept in check by the state, but their labour laws are primarily there to protect workers, and their social services are working as a Swiss watch. I am not claiming their economy is without problems, I am saying that there are ways for a state to fulfill its primary role - to provide security - economic as well as physical - to its citizens and still remain a democracy.

  • thetruth2000

    I like what Fareed Zakaria said around the 15 minute mark about special interests:

    "They care much more about this issue than society at large so they will hammer the system....the system overweighs the negative efforts of these special interests and underweighs the importance of society in general."

    This comment highlights what I believe is the most critical problem we are experiencing in our democratic society, that being apathy. Our democratically elected governments wouldn't always give the interests of say, big business, priority over the interests of society at large if society at large weren't so apathetic. After all politicians, probably even more than the rest of us, are driven by self-interest. Their popularity will suffer far more by wronging a special interest group than if they wrong the disinterested public at large.

    Our democracy could achieve so much good if we had an engaged, informed, citizenry who would defend it's own interests. Which begs the question, is such a thing even possible?

  • oddsrhuge

    well, and I hate to say this, because I'm gonna get dumped on by a Klingon....hmmm

    (what religion do they believe? Apparently farming comes into it)

    What about a NEW paradigm, NO MONEY, that isn't backed by something else? And here we have many options, as in:

    Trade
    Labor
    Precious stuff (if you wanna be a dandy )

    Quite simply the world is starting to become a slave state to the super rich. And anyone, who still invests in the "stock market" is in my opinion, a sucker.

    But @KlingonFarmer?, I have a tract of land on Vulcan, with a great view of the "Great Chasm" only 300.000 whackamoles...they are, I think, of the same value as US dollars.

  • dave.eggermont

    I think as long as people have to "work themselves free", they won't like being confronted with that question.
    I mean the average person can't really complain now, can he?
    As long as he does what he is supposed to do, nodding the empty head, with no regard to morality or social value as he goes along, he gets rewarded for it, hence he becomes apathetic. Pavlov, you know?
    Dog, bell, drool, human, money, drool.

    Despite of the economic recessions, we still live in a spoiled and decadent society, we have no time to care, we have to work and when we are done working, we want to party! Don't confuse us with questions like that.
    We live in a society where you have to pay to give. You get punished for being altruistic. Eventually everyone stops giving. Or wants at least something else in return. Oh my god, they killed Kenny!

    We have to restructure education, economics and social stratification according to social values. Not the other way around.

    Is it possible? Why not?
    I don't think we're going to live to see that day though.

  • WTC7

    Very nice description dave.eggermont! We tend to blame the politicians, the bankers, the corporate interest, etc. (& they all carry part of the guilt because we allow them to fool us around) and we forget that it's our inertia, our apathy, our ignorance, our fear to loose our little comforts & petty benefits (all of these and more, in any order you wish) that is really the problem here.

  • Morrigu

    The Co-Operative movement (as in Farmer's Co-Ops etc.) came out of anarchist philosophy - anarchism does not imply do as you please but is in fact a philosophy based on personal responsibility, it is that basis which in fact makes it difficult as a mass movement

  • wald0

    Your right it is a movement in which we expect every person to be responsible enough to do the right things all on their own, to be involved, etc. I am familiar with the technical description put forward by Bakunin, and it sounds wonderful on paper. But, the invariable result is that it gives people the freedom to do what they please, whether that's a good thing or not, and that is my point- that capitalism can not exist along with anarchism. I don't think that's what Bakunin had in mind anyway. In fact the economic systems considered by Bakunin and proposed by supporters of anarchy through out the years where- Mutualism, Collectivist, a form of Communism, Participatory economics, and economic democracy- never capitalism. Recently the term anarcho capitalism was coined to refer to a state where the government is completely separated from the economy but still exists, you still pay taxes, the law still exists, etc. But it was never part of anarchism as laid out by Bakunin and, means something totally different than what Princeton is suggesting, or has suggested in the past I should say. .

  • wald0

    "Oh my god, they killed Kenny!"

    You BAST*RDS!!!

  • wald0

    In other words get rid of fiat currency and go back to something like the gold standard, though you seem reluctant to suggest gold by name. I have thought about that a lot, it has been suggested a lot recently. I am not an economist by a long shot but, it seems to me that fiat currency would be o.k., the culprit seems to be this "debt is money" fractional reserve banking system we have. I don't like private banking interests controlling the money supply or interest rates either. I know politicians are crooked as well but at least we can vote them out of office.

    To be honest though the national economy has become so complicated since it has been integrated into the global economy and began to rely on a service base instead of manufacturing, people like me are lucky if we get it right. I try to find an economist that I really trust, someone that seems to truly understand the system and have the same values as me as far putting people before profit, thinking long term, etc., then for the most part I listen to them. I still research what they recommend but at least I know what solutions are being proposed and how they stack up against the others. Right now I like Paul Krugman, he seems to know his stuff and have the same values as me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jermaine.knight1 Jermaine Knight

    Kenny!!!!!!! No, Not Kenny you bastards.... WHY!!!!!

  • Guest

    @ WTC7
    Vlatko cleared that little mishap up for us, did you see? Whew! (By the way, I've noticed for a while now how clearly and carefully you write, and I just want you to know that I really appreciate it. You're very easy to read, and there's a lot to be said for that. Your writing skills don't get in the way of what you have to say! In fact, you make it seem pretty effortless... It's the same thing I aspire to, and can rarely pull off. It's obvious you take some pride in this, and don't think it goes unnoticed or unenvied.)

  • WTC7

    I wish I could find better way to express how much I appreciate your words except to thank you. They mean a lot to me because they are coming from a person I respect very much. For that reason I was truly shaken yesterday. Haven't seen Vlatko's explanation of what happened, where should I look for it?

    Thank you again and I am sooooo glad we got this behind us :).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Indalo-Linea/100000699197478 Indalo Linea

    I agree. About 200%.

  • Guest

    @ WTC7

    I think he just saw what was happening to his children from on high, and intervened to save them. We have been washed clean and purified! Let's hope that being good from now on is all that's required of us for his efforts, lol.

  • WTC7

    @ Pysmythe

    Knowing him, one thing is sure - he won't ask us to build him a shrine, thank Vlatko, lol :)

  • Guest

    Incidentally, WTC7, how is it you have 464 posts, but aren't listed as one of the Top Commenters?! You should be wearing the bronze medal at the moment, right? Is it by your own choice, somehow?

    Just wondering...

  • WTC7

    Most of my comments are from the time before Disqus, maybe that's the reason. When I claimed them with the new system, they were included in the total number of comments, but it seems that only those made after the introduction of Disqus count for placement among top commenters. I don't know, but I don't give it much thought really :).

  • Guest

    I see... I just thought it was a little unfair that you've made so many contributions to the discussions and maybe don't get recognized as much for it. Then again, like you said, it's not like it's that big a deal, or anything... Your posts are there, and that's what counts.

    (side note- Regarding my own vanity, I guess (lol), I think I'm gonna go back to the 'moose' avatar. This one of Zappa sitting on the crapper just doesn't show up well enough!)

  • http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/about/ Vlatko

    Hey... yes I've deleted some comments. I think I did the right thing.

    @WTC7 is one of the persons who is with this site from the very beginnings of it, along with a few other people, and I'm very grateful for that.

    Top commenters list is calculated after the disqus implementation. I can't do anything about it.

  • Guest

    Thanks for deleting those yesterday! That was just a mess and a misunderstanding...

  • WTC7

    Vlatko, you absolutely did the right thing by deleting them and I too thank you for that.

    Pysmythe, I like your old/new self :)!

  • Guest

    Thanks! Oz likes this one better, too, which is another reason I changed it back... I'm starting to worry about him; he hasn't been on in a couple of days. I hope he's feeling okay.

    [ I like your new one, too; it's cute...too! :) ]

  • Rocky Racoon

    Well the public is misinformed, manipulated and deliberately distracted in today's bourgeois democracies. So we would have to overthrow the current social order if we were going to have more participatory democracy and gave people time each day to brush up on the issues. After about a generation or two we would start to wonder whatever took us so long. The ruling class always tries to monopolize knowledge and power that is nothing new. Ever expanding democracy and the tools to implement it are breaking our all over the world. In the Middle East and even in Israel the call for social justice is on the rise. This economic crisis has demonstrated to all just what their objective relation to the mode of production is and has given rise to class identity-it is now possible for the workers of the world to unite....and in spite of being under erasure for the past 40 years it seems the working class is taking matters into its own hands and acting as a self aware class....Let's hope it continues.

  • WTC7

    @ wald0,

    Your observations are down to the point & absolutely accurate in my view.

    @ Rocky Racoon,

    I agree that the current social order has too many faults & is in great need of restructuring. But I am afraid that overthrowing it (by which I assume you mean a (global?) revolution), would not solve any (well, not many anyway) of the problems societies are facing today. If you go back
    through revolutions throughout history, none of them lived to the big ideals & promises of justice, equality, economic security, etc. for all (if there were such revolutions in history, I am certainly not aware of them & would be glad to stand corrected). Even if some of the revolutionaries honestly believed in the proclaimed ideals, very soon
    they were marginalized, assassinated or kicked out of the game in one way or another & the proclaimed ideals were distorted, in some cases (such as in Communism as we know it) brought to absolute absurdity.

    I believe that the only way for societies to move on is through education. But not through the existing educational systems, which encourage parroting. A system in which independent and innovative thinking would be encouraged is what is needed. It would be much more difficult to manipulate such people.

    Truly participatory democracy is very hard to achieve in societies which number millions of people. It was relatively easy in ancient Athens or in tribal societies. The limitations of modern democratic societies are widely discussed among the political theorists of the day but none has yet come to any feasible (in practical terms) solution as far as I know.
    Robert Dahl, one of the most respected political scientists on this topic, proposed the term "polyarchy" for what we have today, meaning that many have access to the decision-making process (through the so-called "interest groups") but not the majority. That basically translates into - the better organized (& the richer) the interest group is, the more
    chances it has to influence political decisions.

    "The workers of the world united" mantra is just a meaningless phrase the communist ideologues of the 20th century picked up from Marx as it sounded attractive for the oppressed. Look where believing those power-hungry thieves of (the basically ok) Marx' humane idea took those
    uneducated people.

  • WTC7

    @ Rocky Racoon,

    (This is a copy-paste of my comment from the bottom of this page, which you will probably not see unless I place it here, as it was one of your old posts and there was no direct reply option.)

    I agree that the current social order has too many faults & is in great need of restructuring. But I am afraid that overthrowing it (by which I assume you mean a (global?) revolution), would not solve any (well, not many anyway) of the problems societies are facing today. If you go back through revolutions throughout history, none of them lived to the big ideals & promises of justice, equality, economic security, etc. for all (if there were such revolutions in history, I am certainly not aware of them & would be glad to stand corrected). Even if some of the revolutionaries honestly believed in the proclaimed ideals, very soon they were marginalized, assassinated or kicked out of the game in one way or another & the proclaimed ideals were distorted, in some cases (such as in Communism as we know it) brought to absolute absurdity.

    I believe that the only way for societies to move on is through education. But not through the existing educational systems, which encourage parroting. A system in which independent and innovative thinking would be encouraged is what is needed. It would be much more difficult to manipulate such people.

    Truly participatory democracy is very hard to achieve in societies which number millions of people. It was relatively easy in ancient Athens or in tribal societies. The limitations of modern democratic societies are widely discussed among the political theorists of the day but none has yet come to any feasible (in practical terms) solution as far as I know. Robert Dahl, one of the most respected political scientists on this topic, proposed the term "polyarchy" for what we have today, meaning that many have access to the decision-making process (through the so-called "interest groups") but not the majority. That basically translates into - the better organized (& the richer) the interest group is, the more chances it has to influence political decisions.

    "The workers of the world united" mantra is just a meaningless phrase the communist ideologues of the 20th century picked up from Marx as it sounded attractive for the oppressed. Look where believing those power-hungry thieves of (the basically ok) Marx' humane idea took those uneducated people.

  • Guest

    This is exactly the sort of post of yours I was referring to the other day... Once again: Nice one!

  • Rocky Racoon

    Well you can't socialize want going from a largely agrarian peasant economy to a modern industrial economy was no easy feat. And no, workers of the world unite is not just some pithy slogan that Marx thought sounded nice-the supercession of class according to Marx will solve the historic riddle that has plagued mankind-in that it would replace the social relations of exploitation and war with those of peace and prosperity. We have now arrived at a point in history where a working class has indeed been globalized and perhaps the clarion call is more apt today and possible given the state of our technology to achieve than it ever was in Marx's time. Has socialism been given half a chance to develop in this era of capitalism? In South America alone at least 30 socialist governments have been overthrown since 1945 and we are still at it full tilt. As to our education system it has been set up not to develop our capacity to learn but to inculcate the prevailing values of society and obediance to authority.. I think that with the Spanish connection through North and South America and the fact that the south has experienced first hand the iron fist of the imperatives of capital....the historic memory of those in the former soviet union who in no way shape or form wanted a capitalist mode of production underlying social relations and with what is going on in the Middle East as well as the protests being generated in Israel-well I wouldn't discount Marxian socialism just yet. What is happening in Britain right now is an example of a disorientated working class, one that has not been exposed to even the theoretical insights that a Marxian analysis brings to the illumination of social reality and a potential program for change. Class has been eviserated from the body politic. Only the "Middle Class" that ideological construct that further obscures class relations and the development of class consciousness is refered to by politicians today if you didn't notice. It is little wonder then that one would have doubts about the only political system that takes capitalism head on. 150 years of intellectual capital has gone into that project of "disproving" Marx, once and for all. But as long as capitalism exists so will it's antithesis Marxism-if even on a theoretical level for a time. Unfortuantely we have only 2 choices-Scientific Marxian Socialism or Capitalist Barbarism and the extinction of the human race-perhaps all life on the planet for that matter. On the other hand, with each passing day the contradictions and vagaries of capitalism bring us one step closer to it's alternative. Democratic Socialism.

  • Rocky Racoon

    @princeton re: profit
    In the briefest possible terms, capitalism is an economic and

    social system in which the owners of capital (or capitalists) appropriate

    the surplus product generated by the direct producers (or

    workers), leading to the accumulation of capital—investment and

    amassing of wealth—by the owners. Production takes the material

    form of the production of commodities for a market with the aim

    of generating profit and promoting accumulation. Individuals in

    this system pursue their self-interest, checked only by their

    mutual competition and by the impersonal forces of the market.

    “Accumulate! Accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets”

    is the mantra of the system as a whole, as well as for each individual

    capitalist. The logic of accumulation and competition drives

    “bourgeois production out of its old course and . . . compels capital

    to intensify the productive forces of labour.” It gives “capital

    no rest, and continually whispers in its ear: Go on! Go on!”

    2 The resulting juggernaut accepts no boundaries to its expansion but

    continually tries to break them down, developing new technologies

    and expanding into new markets. Although this has at times

    paved the way to considerable social progress, the emphasis on

    accumulation for its own sake, which constitutes the inner logic of

    capital, carries heavy social and environmental costs, such as: (1)

    the polarization of income and wealth; (2) a continually large (iffluctuating) reserve army of the unemployed and underemployed;

    (3) periodic devastating economic crises; (4) an “externalization”

    of enormous costs on society and the environment; (5) systematic

    war and imperialism; and (6) the crippling of the potential of

    innumerable individuals.

    The essence of capitalism, as described here, can be captured

    by rewording the First Commandment of the Bible as follows:

    “Thou shalt have no other gods before the accumulation of capital.”

    Ecologist Richard Levins gives a concrete example of what this

    means: “Agriculture is not about producing food but about profit.

    Food is a side effect. . . . Health service is a commodity, health a byproduct.”

  • WTC7

    Hi Rocky Racoon,

    I would like to say first that our opinions on capitalism do not differ. I am in complete agreement with what you said about it and could not add much to it.

    It is quite clear that the socialist path of many countries in South America has been obstructed as it did not suit the interests of capital, primarily interest of the US capital, which sees it's southern "neighborhood" as its own backyard and has exploited it from the moment these countries gained their independence from the European colonizers. Since the 18th century "Monroe Doctrine" it is obvious that the US did everything to ensure that the region gets under its sphere of influence as a great source of wealth. In absence of 'cooperation' of socialist leaders to fit these interests, the punishment was death.

    I am in no doubt that loads of intellectuals in the West were working on spreading a distorted picture of Marx' view of the world, but you must admit that the Soviet type of "socialism" did a great service to the creators and implementors of the project of disproving Marx, as you called it.

    Just as a side note, I grew up in a 'socialist' country (although things were hardly as harsh as behind the "iron curtain"), and I assure you that I have a pretty solid grasp of Marx' views as we were taught them since a relatively early age.

    I would not get into a discussion about classes because I believe that the world today is a bit more complicated than the one which derives from perspective of such division, but I can certainly agree with you that the capitalist system and the distribution of wealth it creates will not last forever. That is because of the simple reason that the human understanding of the functioning of the world around them gains sophistication (not thanks to mainstream education but thanks to alternative sources of education of which Internet is one).

    But the main point of my previous post was that you cannot leave the implementation of the proclaimed goals of a revolution to a relatively few individuals without having a populous which understands these goals, a populous that is capable of correcting the distortions that may arise from individuals' interest.

    To summarize, I think we agree on the (vicious) nature of capitalism, the only difference may be that I believe that the REAL (revolutionary) change requires understanding and participation of the wide population for it to be possible and, most importantly, its results maintainable.

    My greetings to South America and its efforts to get rid of the US dominance.

  • Guest

    @ WTC7
    If it's okay for me to ask, what socialist country was that?

  • WTC7

    @ Pysmythe,

    You can ask anything you wish :)! The country was former Yugoslavia.

  • WTC7

    @ Rocky Racoon,

    Apology, the Monroe Doctrine was a 19th century one (embarrassed smile).

  • Guest

    @WTC7
    Are you still living there? :)

  • WTC7

    @ Pysmythe,

    Yes, I live in one of its (former) parts, I live in a country called Serbia. But, trust me, we are not all that bad :) (assuming that you heard all the worst about it).

  • Guest

    @ WTC7
    I'm going to go learn some more about it right now. Thanks! This would explain why your English is so good, too, among other things. And I was telling a friend of mine not long ago about how much I love a Slavic woman's accent, and he completely agreed. We both got pretty "silly" about the subject, as a matter of fact... I could listen to that rich music all day! :)

  • WTC7

    @ Pysmythe,

    Thank you :))))!!! And, by the way, it's not silly to like a woman's accent, especially for a man :)!

  • chonewit

    If you read as mark twain has written democracy is not the answer yet the allowing government that gives way to endless scrutiny to which it needs as an ever evolving system to respect all wishes and fight against unfairness it is not a system yet a place for us to build ours again and again and again/......... Humanity will never know absolute peace and systematic accuracy it needs constant attention or it will fall back into the hands of the dark ages

  • bluetortilla

    You take the side of caution I think. Freedom is intrinsically noble; every human heart thirsts for it. "Give me liberty or give me death" may be just attributed to Patrick Henry, but it's a truism. Because when you lack liberty you lack life- you are the walking dead. If we were truly free we would not have any government at all.
    The Dark Ages weren't really all that dark: it's just as likely you could have been a low caste slave in Rome or a despot in Syria would have had your family murdered while you were tending your sheep. What's wonderful about America for example? Cars? Walmart? Lawn mowers? Blithely watching as civilization declines? Is anyone happy? Does anyone live out one full day of happiness, ever?
    I believe in freedom. I do my best to breathe it in every day. I'm not always happy but I always have faith in people. We can do much better.

  • bluetortilla

    These analysts keep talking about democracy (one guy talks about whether we should have 'more' or 'less' democracy!), but humanity has never seen the sun shine on democracy. The closest we have ever come, which is to say nowhere near, is the republic. That's what we have now, kind of, and don't be fooled by the term democracy. Democracy is literally a kingdom of the people, direct rule by the people, a society in which every human being is a leader. It does not allow for any despotism, aristocracy, or representation whatsoever.
    Hey, don't hang the messenger- I'm just saying that this doc has it's terms all screwed up, I'm not advocating a solution, just asking for straight turkey. The term 'representational democracy' does not mean democracy at all. It means 'republic.'
    I think it was Monroe that said, "A republic my dear, if it lasts."

  • Guest

    Franklin

  • bluetortilla

    Thanks!

  • Guest

    I agree. Yet the bedrock of democracy is the responsibility of the people. Voting is but a small thing in a democracy. The people as a whole must be the government. It is not of, by, and for the people. It is the people. And that requires by law the participation of the people. Conundrum.

  • Trev whit

    at 33 mins Fareed Zakaria talks about his beliefs on democracy, what he is talking about has nothing to do with democracy, that is pure nonsense. when you give power to people who do not live in the same society, they will destroy your hard earned democracy. I bet he wishes he could take back all he said in this interview. Easy to see now why his beliefs are wrong.

  • William Drew

    This site has been an overall positive influence on my life, and it makes me sad to see when people ignore knowledge in favour of ignorance...

    what I mean to say is this site is brilliant and so is everyone who enjoys it

  • mic59

    we reap what we sow

  • mic59

    we reap what we sow

  • RileyRampant

    you've picked up on what might be the greatest systemic weakness of democracy - its vulnerability to special interests. however, the problem is more serious, i think, than could be solved merely by more perfect behavior on the part of the masses.

    the system really would need to be reformed to prevent special interests from distorting the larger interest. however, special interests have, from the beginning, seen to it that should reforms are impossible to make.

    so - i'm pessimistic :). we have sham elections and an autocracy, china has no elections and an autocracy. its hard to say which is preferable, but the main influence of popular opinion currently seems to be mindless and deletorious of the common good, as people seem to be so easily manipulated towards the ends of the affluent.

    mass communications has been a powerful corrupter of the common mind. that a tool of such great potential has been used, and so effectively, for such a low purpose should tell us something about ourselves, our society, from whence power flows, and what direction is impels us.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HRQ2WIZUSEQDZ4BVXP4BBPXRQY Cas

    The critical flaw of democracy can easily be observed in what is currently happening in the U.S: Basically, an ideal democratic system is one where the candidates running for position:

    1) State their objectives clearly and HONESTLY.

    2) State their objectives to all those who are going to vote.

    3)Then the electorate chooses the right candidate as easily as shooting a sitting duck. That simple.

    However, the flaws are equally simple:

    1) Politicians study the electorate distribution and stitch their positions on key issues so they can get the job, it is not about principles rather they do/say anything to get into the office.

    2) The use of the first amendment "freedom of speech" to deceive/lie/twist facts in a tribal side taking as seen very clearly in media outlets like Fox News. So a significant fraction of the population are openly deceived.

    3) Money determines how many voters are going to hear your message regardless of its truthfulness.

    Democracy looks good on paper just like communism, but democracy is really NOT what is taking place in U.S politics ....and the west did not win the cold war because of democratic values ...but rather what even China latter adopted out of pragmatic/non-dogmatic approach: CAPITALISM ...it is palatable to human behavior. I believe China now has the most efficient political body (not equal to right!) and the reason why NO DOUBT it will overtake the west in every relevant metrics.

    Abdul
    Somalia

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HRQ2WIZUSEQDZ4BVXP4BBPXRQY Cas

    The critical flaw of democracy can easily be observed in what is currently happening in the U.S: Basically, an ideal democratic system is one where the candidates running for position:

    1) State their objectives clearly and HONESTLY.

    2) State their objectives to all those who are going to vote.

    3)Then the electorate chooses the right candidate as easily as shooting a sitting duck. That simple.

    However, the flaws are equally simple:

    1) Politicians study the electorate distribution and stitch their positions on key issues so they can get the job, it is not about principles rather they do/say anything to get into the office.

    2) The use of the first amendment "freedom of speech" to deceive/lie/twist facts in a tribal side taking as seen very clearly in media outlets like Fox News. So a significant fraction of the population are openly deceived.

    3) Money determines how many voters are going to hear your message regardless of its truthfulness.

    4) Might I add -- With points 1 to 3 above, the population itself is not of equal intelligence/education...so Joe might have an expert to do his heart surgery ..or fly in a plane flown by expert pilot.......but beer drinking "Joe Six Pack" as Palin put it, has an equal vote as an economic professor as to which candidate has the best economic policy.

    Democracy looks good on paper just like communism, but democracy is really NOT what is taking place in U.S politics ....and the west did not win the cold war because of democratic values ...but rather what even China adopted out of pragmatic/non-dogmatic approach: CAPITALISM ...it is palatable to human behavior. I believe China now has the most efficient political body and the reason why NO DOUBT it will overtake the U.S style of politics.

    Abdul
    Somalia

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NADMABHISHU77PZXBPQTKN45GA whiplash

    I'd like to suggest an answer to your question: Why has democracy failed?

    First,
    You suggest that we SHOULD not mix democracy with capitalism-I agree, but the thing is, we have and our government has long partnered with capitalism for money connects most everything in modern society (especially politics). Corporations and wealthy individuals run the country.

    Answer: Democracy Failed
    Why?
    1. Decisions are made based on money and not human health = immoral.
    2. Too much bureaucracy = inefficient.
    3. Democracy does not promote growth
    Example: those at the top want to remain at the top, so if oil makes them money, they don't care about saving the environment.
    4. We are deceived every day believing we have the right to vote, but only the right to vote on other individuals whose job is to:
    A. Appeal to the public
    B. Do anything to be elected
    C. Help those closest to them (friends and family)
    D. Not reconstruct the economy, infrastructure, political, education systems. (Haha, but true)
    WE have no real vote on anything: healthcare, education, science, NASA, military, political policies.
    This all serves as a basis for failure to me.
    5. Technology growth is already taking jobs from people meaning they cannot make money- which we need to succeed in this system. We cannot create jobs that don't need to be created.

    Solution:
    EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION!!
    IT is key for without it, people will remain in the dark. Provide a web of free information that is highly organized into categories to where YOU chose what you want to learn. Self interest is what drives learning in the first place. This web connects with all sorts of tool for you to use to learn such as a professional individuals on subjects who you can interact with; not just listen to lectures like teachers, the internet, scientific data/evidence/proof on all objects/medicine/food/etc. You have tons of option on this education program for it would include more subjects that what traditional school offers. Add things like philosophy, mechanic, carpentry, astro-physics, survival skills, etc. This web of information will get rid of advertisement and marketing who only wants your money and will provide you with the best knowledge about products. We share info and do not hoard it for financial gain so that we can work together to solve great problems.

    Lets use technology to help humans and lets use it to jump-start our economy. Lets trade resources instead of borrowing money.
    Ex. Have Sahara provide solar arrays to provide the world renewable energy. Trade that energy for water since they dont have much. WIN WIN situation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    Democracy, like many other person-based forms of government, works well for small temporary groups of people striving for a singe short term goal. Anything more than that and human diversity takes over to create the hanvs and have nots.
    A representative republic is a better for larger more long-term groups. Still, even that system can get bogged down by a flood of representative groups.
    I believe the next form of governance is something like a Representative Federation. A republic of republics. Such a system attempts to cut down the number or represented groups in a republic to a more managable size.
    This would work as a world government but unfortunatly, we are not on that path. Creeping Corporatocracy seems to have taken a lead role.

  • WTC7

    @ whiplash,

    I don't see much disagreement between us. Firstly, we agree that the world is run by wealthy individuals who own banks, corporations, media, etc., you name it. They, more often than not, also own the politicians we think we elect and it can be followed through history (especially the 19th and 20th centuries history) that most (geo-)political decisions were made to satisfy interests of these elites. A number of researchers have provided ample historical evidence that this was (and still is) the case. I am just now reading one of such books - A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the NWO by F. William Engdahl.

    I am well aware of the fact that what is presented to us as democracy today is in practice far away from people controlling the decision making. I understand, thus, why you bring the five points in your comment, and you are right about each of them.

    Education is the key, and if you read some of my other posts on this thread you will see that I have clearly stated it myself. What we have currently, and what we had for centuries, is education oriented towards satisfying industrial and corporate needs in terms of labour. We are supposed to be sheep bread exclusively to carry out specific tasks, and that is exactly the type of education we are given. Made to care more about decadent lives of Hollywood stars than to understand what is going on around us. Because the manipulation would not work with well educated and people who are taught to think for themselves.

    But let's be honest and say that we do not have a reasonable and viable alternative to democracy - or whatever we want to call the system we have today - to propose at this stage. Well, anyway, I don't have one and I have not read a single comment that suggests a solution, but I repeat - a viable, realistic solution. It is relatively easy for anyone with a fair level of intelligence or some knowledge of history or politics to point out to the wrongs of democracy as practiced because examples are abundant. What is lacking is - what would be the alternative?

    This system is far from perfect but it still has a solid potential upon which to build a truly humane society, particularly given the absence of better solutions. The cancer that distort this potential is liberal capitalism with all it brings with it (voracious economy and financial system designed to enrich a few and impoverish the rest).

    Liberal capitalism demands little or no involvement of the State in regulating the distribution of wealth. In current state of affairs, the State is still the only mechanism which can offer some protection to its citizens. That is one of the reasons why the sovereignty of State is under such intense attack nowadays because it is the only thing still standing (though on week legs) in the way of corporate interests on their march towards absolute control of the entire world.

    This cancer is what needs to be removed from the democratic system or transformed in such a way that the system could heal. And we better do it while the State is still here, because once it's gone both the plaintiff and the judge will be one and the same - corporate interest.

  • Guest

    She was one of the first i noticed when i started here.
    az

  • ruthslater

    I found some real distortions here , they talk about how the countries need to understand that they need youth to support the aged , WELL IN FACT IF THE POLITICANS HAD NOT USED THE SS MONEY PUT AWAY FOR THE AGED THEY PAID INTO THEY WOULD BE SELF SUSTAINING . secondley , they talkabout how the eudcation budget has increased 400% !! well that is because you have brought in the third worlds poor and illiterate in their own culture to do the work as cheap labor for the corporations . I did not think this video was honest and forthwrite and most certainly needed counterpoints to these intellectuals opinions. I think this video had a unified agenda and that is one world thinking and governeing, what is good for one is good for all. I think they disgused it well but there .They basically got up there and tooted their own horns with no chance for rebuttal.With no debate there is no honesty.

  • anenome11

    We were brought up to believe the United States was a “Democracy.” That we were supposedly a “pluralistic society” or (a belief in power). We were taught the “working class” had a say-so in elections and that power was widely distributed. This, however, is a myth. The fact is, power is held by only a few (an oligarchy). The elites in this oligarchy hold the power in big business and government offices and are not for the interest of the common people or “working class” whether it be health care, a good education, enough to eat, affordable housing etc…these elites or “owning class” are out for profit and will use the “working class” by paying low wages, outsourcing, cutting benefits, anything to make profits soar.
    These elites are not necessarily the rich alone. It is made up of what C.W. Mills coined the “Military-Industrial Complex” where there are three different groups of cooperating elites:
    The Corporate or Business Elites – Which comprise of rich people with connections to corporations, CEOs, stockholders, people with big salaries. People like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Nike founder Phil Knight.
    Next are the Political Elites – President, Congress, Senators, Speaker of the House and Governors (who decide what government does on a more local basis).
    Then there are the Military Elites – Joint Chiefs of Staff, Generals, and Heads of Services, basically, the “Brass of the Military”.
    All of these elites are connected to one another. The corporate elites lobby for the political elites to gain clout, change or make forced government decisions through lobbying and giving large amounts of money to political parties. And the military elites cooperate with corporate and political elites to gain prestige and hopefully be gainfully employed or somehow very well compensated once their term in the military is up. They sometimes act as spokesmen for corporate elites and/or gain seats in government administrations.
    These elites have control over the “working class”. The government can make the decisions that effect the working class’ lives and corporations can make the calls that effect the lives of the working class such as set wages, outsource, pink slips etc…And the common person which is what I will refer to as the “working class” from here on, are in no position to take on these corporate capitalists. Sure, in a pluralistic society it is possible to start an organization, but the common person doesn’t have the means to start these organizations (the money or the time) and most of them are kept so uninformed throughout their lives, they wouldn’t believe the truth about our politico-economic system if you told them.
    Corporations on the other hand, are able to take and keep control of the common person because they have the means of doing so. They have the money and control over the common persons’ lives. If threatened they can fire or outsource and if they want big changes in tax breaks etc…they can always lobby and threaten the government with outsourcing or whatever it takes to get the changes they want.
    Individuals don’t count for much in the political sense and don’t try to organize interest groups to defeat the elites or are just to naïve to the fact that our government is basically an oligarchy on the side of big business. Thus, most of the common people cannot distinguish between those who own the wealth and those who must work for a living. As long as they get their three meals a day, a roof over their heads and a six-pack to drink while watching the corporate evening news, they don’t realize they’re being kept ignorant of what’s really going on in the world.
    In the meantime, these corporate capitalist elites say they are “putting their money to work” when in all reality, they are pushing more production out of these uninformed couch potatoes and paying less wages while they kick back and watch their profits soar.
    At the same time, between housing costs, medical costs, the cost of food and less wages, the common person is almost worse off than they had been since the great depression.
    In the Communist-Manifesto, Karl Marx says that the state appears to be nothing but an “executive committee (excomm) of the bourgeoisie.” The government is nothing but an executive committee; it may look like a government but it’s just a committee that manages the country for the bourgeoisie (the middle class, a social group opposed to the proletariat in the class struggle; the capitalist class). The capitalists are elites or they work for them. In 19th & 20th century, Western Europe’s working conditions were horrible. In the Sadler reports on working conditions, ‘they must form unions, strike and/or use violence if they had to in order to keep conditions tolerable’. But the government tried to crush these unions. The government was their enemy. In every case, the enemy of the worker was the government. The state creates an “appearance” that makes it seem to be open and democratic, but in “essence”, the state is class dominated by the elites. There is a definite contradiction between “appearance” and “essence”.
    What do you do about it? Under excomm, or Classical Marxism, the executive committee leads to smash state, which leads to bureaucracy; which leads to hierarchy; which leads to oligarchy, which ultimately makes up fascism. Under excomm, the only way to do away with the power elites was through a bloody revolution to overthrow the government. Classical Marxists believe the state is a tool of class under which the capitalists use to control the people.
    Neo-Marxists, however, found the excomm concept flawed. They found that the capitalist class is not inevitable. They believe in a revolution through the ballot box. That you can organize and have working class parties: pass laws and policies to change society towards socialism. The Neo-Marxists believe the state isn’t capitalist, but is dominated by the capitalist class because they have the money and resources to do so. They believe the capitalists win because they are more organized and have more money to spend than the working class. They believe the state is not the executive committee, that it isn’t necessarily a tool of class. They also believe that not everything people do in society is determined by the economy. An example would be the rich as well as the poor can listen to and enjoy opera and classical music. Therefore, they believe there is “Relative Autonomy” of class and culture. That there are correlations between class positions but not necessarily determinations.
    Neo-Marxists believe in “False Consciousness”, to be aware of one’s self, and in order to get there, a person must not let the capitalists control the way we see the world.
    We cannot allow the ruling class to manipulate the way we see the world. Now, through control with consent, the elites can control you through education, the media etc…without our even knowing it. They purposely keep specific information about the government and history out of our lives just so they can control us…that the barrier to class is lack of consciousness. Which, in today’s day and age, is very true. But this can be changed by the working class by being more aware of what’s going on in the world, and not through news outlets like FOX News….total deception. Do the homework involved; read many different sources, preferably outside the United States or if you must, at least get your news from public radio…self supported and not corporately owned and operated. It’s a good start.

  • musbcrazy

    no point in commenting...how could it be put better than this!