Saturday, July 16, 2016

John Keane — Capitalism and Democracy

Like I've been saying, capitalism and democracy are antithetical. This is equivalent to saying "economic liberalism" and "political liberalism"  in place of "capitalism" and "democracy."

The only way that economic liberalism and political liberalism have been compatible historically is in bourgeois liberalism, in which only the bourgeoisie (ownership) class) are considered to count.
According to defenders of the ‘free market’, more than a few of whom are dogmatic market fundamentalists, political democracy is an unwanted parasite on the body of economic growth. Democracy whips up unrealistic public passions and fantasies. It distorts and paralyses the spirit and substance of rational calculations upon which markets functionally depend; understood as government based on majority rule, democracy is said to be profoundly at odds with free competition, individual liberty and the rule of law. What is therefore required is ‘democratic pessimism’ and (Friedrich von Hayek’s famous thesis) the restriction of majority-rule democracy in favour of ‘austerity’ (cutbacks and restructuring of state spending) and limited constitutional government (‘demarchy’ ) whose job is to protect and nurture ‘free markets’ protected by the rule of law.
Other scholars, political commentators, policy makers and politicians stake out the contrary view. They maintain that since markets are never ‘naturally’ free but always, in one way or another, the creature of laws and governing institutions, market failures and market ‘externalities’ require political correction. Well-designed political interventions that draw democratic strength from popular consent are needed to redistribute income and wealth, to repair environmental damage caused by markets and to breathe new life into the old ideals of equality, freedom and solidarity of citizens.…
The Conversation
Capitalism and Democracy [part one]
John Keane | Professor of Politics, University of Sydney


Gary Hart said...

Liberalism brought on WWI, WWII, and the great depression. It isn’t hard to see neo-liberalism bringing on another world wide depression. Somehow the system must be changed to get private money out of politics and tax the excess fictitious capital away from the rich. We need a tax system where the rich pay 90% of their income in taxes. Today’s tax system is why we have the rich and the poor. The people who control this country own the banks and the media.

Random said...

But it is not so much "capitalism" as the right building a winning coalition by bribing enough voters and disillusioning enough people not to vote for *anyone*. That's the problem with democracy. The question should be - who benefits?

I propose these principles :D

The British "two whatevers":

* We will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions result in cheaper help and bigger profits and rents
* and unswervingly follow whatever instructions the president of the USA gives.

Plus the "three represents" too: "entrepreneurs", "Londoners", (employers of) "immigrants".


Matt Franko said...

Random look at May's speech I posted downthread it is short... her WORDS were the exact opposite of what you write here...

Now lets see if she/they can take those words and put them into action...

Ryan Harris said...

Is it even possible to have a political system which doesn't degrade into serving the rich elite?

Perhaps a war is needed every few generations to reset claims and redistribute income since there is no other acceptable political means to nullify onerous one-sided contracts that oppress but war.