Skip to main content

That's a serious question.

For my entire life, I've assumed that Capitalism, an economic philosophy, and Democracy, a form of government, co-existed peacefully in the United States. The will of the market and the will of the people worked together, mostly symbiotically, to advance our common interests, creating opportunity and rewarding initiative while providing safety nets and protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

Government and business filling different, mutually reinforcing roles.

But now, I am starting to realize that this is not a symbiotic relationship.There is no actual peace; rather, there has been what you might call an uneasy truce. Government imposes regulations on industry only as far as industry permits it to. Via extensive lobbying and, increasingly, the direct shaping of elections, industry is beginning to flex its political muscles to the extent that everyday citizens -- voters -- will soon be largely irrelevant to the outcomes of elections.

Am I paranoid? Am I a conspiracy theorist? No, I am neither. In fact, I've discounted the tin-foil-hat-wearing crowd more times than I can count. But the evidence is becoming overwhelming that a new effort is taking shape within the forces of industry to seize control of the government -- OUR government -- as quickly as it can. Maybe not overtly, but it will have enough influence that the government will no longer be "of the people, by the people, for the people."

Some examples:
1. Owners and directors of corporations large and small are beginning to influence, intimidate, and threaten their employees into voting for the Republican party. http://www.cnbc.com/...
http://www.cnbc.com/...
http://inthesetimes.com/...

2. Republican Congressmen, like Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), are publicly suggesting to business owners that they direct their employees to vote for the GOP. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

3. GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney asked employers to instruct their employees how to vote in the upcoming election. http://thinkprogress.org/...

4. Companies loyal to Republican politicians, if not partly owned by Republican politicians, are now building, owning, and operating electronic voting machines and directly collecting the vote tallies before the election boards see them! http://www.politicususa.com/...

The pattern seems fairly clear and, frankly, alarming. Democracy, where the PEOPLE choose their government, is not compatible with Plutocracy, where the government is controlled by a small number of very wealthy and powerful people.

Capitalism run amok has lead to unprecedented levels of wealth concentration in the United States. This wealth concentration has lead us to this point, where a small number of business owners can coerce thousands, if not millions, of their employees to vote into office a set of politicians who are favorable to further shifting power from the government to industry.

That leads directly to Plutocracy IF WE DO NOT ACT SWIFTLY.

You and I have no say in how corporations are run, but we DO have a say in how our government is run. As long as we insist that our government be accountable solely to us, the people, we can direct it to maintain a healthy relationship with industry and our corporations. But, if we permit the government to cede too much power to those industries that are now seeking to usurp control, we are surely on a path that has no corrective measure but outright revolution.

We can avoid that. We MUST avoid that. But to do so, we must not give the government over to the party that industry is so confident will be a partner in the wholesale dismantling of our representative Democracy. The Republican party wants nothing more than a private take-over of all things public. That is not in your best interest and it is not in mine. Your vote this November is your best tool for ensuring that we, the people, retain our voice.

Originally posted to craigf on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Federalist 15 (Hamilton) (25+ / 0-)
    Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint. Has it been found that bodies of men act with more rectitude or greater disinterestedness than individuals? The contrary of this has been inferred by all accurate observers of the conduct of mankind; and the inference is founded upon obvious reasons. Regard to reputation has a less active influence, when the infamy of a bad action is to be divided among a number than when it is to fall singly upon one. A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses, for which they would blush in a private capacity.
    Capitalism, as it is currently practiced in some board rooms, where Americans are rewarded for screwing over other Americans, is allowed because the public servants are not serving the majority of Americans, but the few.

    They resist efforts at constraint for the common good, because it limits self-reward. Accountability is to be avoided, or blame spread to others.

    At some point, building America must be more important than short term gains for personal profit.

    •  Capitalist menality equals mog mentality. n/t (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaraBeth, glbTVET, northsylvania, caul, Chi

      If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

      by nomorerepukes on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 03:36:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hamilton, no hater of capitalism (10+ / 0-)

      was also a champion of what today is often derisively called "big government". More so than perhaps any other founder, he saw the necessary role that both capitalism AND government had to play in the early republic.

      Mind you, I say "government", not "democracy", because like nearly every other founder (including Jefferson), he was no fan of democracy, which he feared would lead to demagoguery and despotism. But he did believe in some measure of collective self-governance (i.e. republicanism) through elected representatives, which is as close as the founders came to embracing "democracy".

      In any case, capitalism in one form or another is the only economic system that's ever led to a reasonable level of shared prosperity in society. But only well-regulated capitalism is capable of that, only government can enact and enforce such regulations, and only well-run government can do that, and that's where we run into the problem of how to assure that government is well-run.

      Obviously, democracy by itself is no assurance of that.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:02:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would say Hamilton was (21+ / 0-)

        authoritarian. He wanted the government to be structured more like a monarchy. But you're correct about his vision of government as providing the foundation for economic development.

        However, I would argue you are absolutely wrong in this:

        In any case, capitalism in one form or another is the only economic system that's ever led to a reasonable level of shared prosperity in society.
        You qualify this as your statement continues, but this is the kind of absolutist assumption most elites make about capitalism, and it defies history.

        Capitalism is not the source of shared prosperity, and whether or not the wealth created by capitalism is shared has nothing to do with capitalism itself. In capitalist countries around the world, the number of billionaires is increasing faster than ever while the number of people living in poverty is growing at an even faster rate than the world’s population. In other words, poverty doesn’t decrease as wealth accumulates, it increases. This is happening most clearly in the United States, but also across the world.

        This has happened during a period when government regulation and oversight of the economy have been weaker than at any time since the 1930s, and income and corporate taxes are at their lowest since WWII. In other words, these are very conditions capitalists claimed would lead to greater prosperity for all. Advocates of free-market capitalism argue the more profits business makes, and the higher the dividend payments to investors, the better it will be for the entire economy; these people will then take the money they’ve made, and expand their businesses – buying more equipment, hiring more people, and opening more factories and businesses. Instead, we’ve experienced greater poverty and more insecurity for more Americans, while a small percentage has gotten much wealthier. We’ve seen a great deal of wealth creation, but no job creation, and no shared prosperity. This makes sense, since there's no evidence that greater and more concentrated wealth leads to job creation. However, any prosperity we do enjoy did not come from capitalism. Rather, it came from our attempts to restrain capitalism.

        It is only when the power of business and capital has been limited to some degree by the public, acting through government or through popular action and resistance, that the general population has been able to secure some prosperity – a bigger piece of the economic pie. In fact, as a quick look at labor history shows, most efforts by working people to increase their economic and material well-being are met with well-funded, organized and sometimes violent resistance by business and the very wealthy. Safe working conditions, generous benefits, higher wages, job security, pensions, laws against discrimination – these are the reason we enjoy any prosperity, and they were not gifts from employers and owners. They were fought for by ordinary working people for decades, and resisted by employers and capitalists for decades, right up to the present.

        To the extent that life is bearable for most working people in the U.S. economy, it is not because of some innate feature of U.S. capitalism. If the people who ran our economy had their way, we’d have the same labor laws and probably the same living conditions for working people we had in the 1890s. The reason life is bearable for working people today is because millions of people struggled collectively to improve their living standards and advance their rights as citizens, bringing some measure of humanity to an otherwise brutal and inhumane system.

        You might agree with this, but your initial statement - regardless of general qualifiers - is simply not true, and what's more, serves as propaganda.

        Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

        by cruz on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:33:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, then I'll qualify my statement (6+ / 0-)
          In any case, capitalism, in properly regulated form, is the only economic system that's ever led to a reasonable level of shared prosperity in society--or ever likely to, based on experience.
          What other economic system can accomplish this, or ever has? I agree with you on the dangers of un or poorly regulated capitalism, but indicting capitalism for the economic evils of the world is like blaming guns alone for our huge crime levels, as opposed to poor or poorly enforced gun regulation.

          There were two eras in US history where well-regulated capitalism did lead to something approaching shared (if unequally shared, but that will ALWAYS be the case) levels of prosperity.

          One, the early republic, from approximately 1790-1840, before the steamboat, railroad and telegraph tycoons and their banker friends took over the country (and that didn't really begin to take off until after the Civil War, when they took over the GOP). There were relatively few massively rich people, poverty wasn't a huge problem (slaves being an obvious exception, but they weren't allowed to take part in the broader economy, and slavery was feudalism superimposed on capitalism, which gave an unfair advantage to southern business owners and the real reason that most northerners opposed it), and most people were doing relatively ok (except during the occasional deep recession, usually caused by too little regulation and large cutbacks in government spending).

          And two, the post-WWII era, till around the mid-70's, when the great neoliberal experiment was let loose, destroying this shared prosperity. But during this era, a mixture of proper regulation and oversight and fair and smart tax policy led to an economic boom that a majority of Americans shared in to one extent or another, in terms of plentiful and decent-paying jobs, affordable housing, cars, energy, education, health care, consumer goods, food, etc.

          Both eras ended, in large part, due to a large of proper regulation and oversight by the government. A certain kind of capitalism took over, but it wasn't the kind that led to shared prosperity. It was also "regulated", but in favor of those who already had a lot of capital. It was a parasitic, extractive, unproductive, overly financialized form of capitalism, and it's nearly ruined us. We need to get back to a more and better regulated form of it, if we're to have some semblance of economic fairness and shared prosperity again.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:55:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Query: (7+ / 0-)

            Difference between regulated capitalism and limited socialism is...?

            Never attribute to malice what is owed to ignorance; never create enemies out of allies who disagree.

            by ConfusedSkyes on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:31:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  None (4+ / 0-)

              But just as there are different typed of regulated capitalism, there are different types of limited socialism. I'm talking about WELL-regulated capitalism with some form of targeted socialism mixed in when necessary, e.g. promoting unions, a social safety net, public funding for education, roads, libraries, etc.

              I don't think that either system, by itself, is viable. I think that history has amply proven that. Only a smart and moral mix of the two works.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:38:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just feel it does a disservice to continue to (10+ / 0-)

                propagate, however well-meaning, the meme that capitalism is the only one that's worked in the modern era. Socialism has proven itself to be just as adequate, and as the only real choices in economic policy of government among nations - rather than elites - is between capitalism and socialism...

                Never attribute to malice what is owed to ignorance; never create enemies out of allies who disagree.

                by ConfusedSkyes on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:40:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Some people want more than adequate (4+ / 0-)

                  E.g. people like their iPhones, iPads, cars, fashionable clothes, music, etc. People like choice and diversity in the products and services they buy and use, and some measure of quality. How does pure socialism deliver any of these? Has it ever?

                  Btw, in case you haven't caught onto it yet, my point is that neither economic system, by itself, works well. Only a mix of the two works, or is likely to. Neither government nor people can or should be able to do everything by themselves. The trick is to find a way to get each to do what they're best at in collaboration. There will always be some tension between the two, but that's just another form of the kind of checks and balances that the framers envisioned.

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:24:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I caught your point. I was making a counterpoint (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ozsea1

                    about semantics, purely; they are occasionally important.

                    Never attribute to malice what is owed to ignorance; never create enemies out of allies who disagree.

                    by ConfusedSkyes on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:25:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No one here is arguing that pure capitalism (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ozsea1

                      is the proper solution to anything, and few are arguing that it's an either/or choice, so you're just arguing with a straw man. Two of them, really.

                      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                      by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:34:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well the truth is... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        WB Reeves, Paul Rogers, ichibon, ozsea1

                        By the terms which most people use today, Socialist countries are capitalistic to the extent that they do reward people who do make big things happen with more money, they just have different tax rates then we do.

                        That's the problem with these labels, they encourage you into this kind of black and white reality which is not suited to reality.  It's all shades of grey; almost everyone believes people should be rewarded for their work, and everyone believes that some of the resulting income should be set aside for highways, schools, and so on.  So acting as though Socialist countries are utterly different from Capitalist ones is kind of ridiculous.  Unfortunately, conservatives today actually believe these titles, and really think all of Europe is some sort of large hippy commune without malls and presumably no industry.  They don't get out much.

                        Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

                        by martianexpatriate on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:16:13 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No thinking person believes (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ozsea1

                          that there is or ever could be either pure capitalism or socialism or that a modern market economy could survive long let alone thrive without a prudent and fair mix of the two. Where there is room for debate--and lots of it, of course--is where to draw the line, and how.

                          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                          by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:58:12 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  So Socialism and Capitalism are actually (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ozsea1

                          the same thing? That seems to be where your comment is heading...Maybe the problem is falling for the notion that the mixed economies of Western Europe are "Socialist" rather than a capitalist/socialist hybrid that are more balanced toward social  responsibility than in the U.S.

                          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                          by Alice in Florida on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 03:37:45 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Socialism means government ownership of industry (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          bubbajim, ozsea1

                          It isn't the same thing as welfare capitalism, which is the political-economic system practiced in "Socialist" countries in Europe.

                          The idea that having a 70% marginal income tax rate, in and of itself, is socialism is nonsense.

                        •  Please be more careful in the use of words. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ozsea1

                          Capitalism = free market.

                          Regulated Capitalism = our current system, since the Progressive Era.

                          Limited Socialism (better, and earlier, described as "third way") = Western European system, especially since WWII.

                          Socialism = the economic system of collective, government ownership of most production.

                          With a few notible exceptions (15% of Renault, oil, gas and coal in the UK, medicine outside of Germany) Western Europe has seldom socialized  industry.

                          Calling the "Third Way" Socialism is an artifact of McCarthy era polemics. Let the conservatives do it if they wish. We should not join them in this slander.

                          The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

                          by bubbajim on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:26:02 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Kovie, you've made some very good points! (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kovie, isabelle hayes, ichibon, ozsea1, melo

                        Pardon me if I jump in on your discussion. I do believe we've already got a model of limited capitalism and advanced socialism combined that seems to work quite well in the Nordic countries. In fact the people in Denmark, Sweden and Norway seem to be very content with the balance of gov't and private interests. And in Germany, boards are made up not only of investors and management, but workers and trade union reps as well.

                        I believe that the democratic socialism these countries abide by could also be the answer here in America.

                        If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

                        by EdinGA on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:27:10 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's not "my" discussion, so jump in! :-) (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ozsea1

                          And while the German/Scandinavian models might be the ones to shoot for long term, I doubt they're politically or culturally feasible in the short to mid term. We have to make this a long-term, incremental process given the various political, cultural and other barriers to change in this country.

                          There's also the risk of backlash if we try to move too fast, which the other side can and will exploit to its advantage, as it has in the past.

                          But yeah, we need less "free market" capitalism, more regulated capitalism, and more socialism. I want my freaking high speed rail dammit!!! :-)

                          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                          by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 11:03:24 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  You realize you are arguing for a branch of... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        TimmyB, isabelle hayes, ichibon, ozsea1

                        socialism, of course...

                        The tenets of capitalism essentially argue for private ownership of the means of production (capital) and the accrual of profits from that production.

                        Socialists have argued for various degrees of either public control of the means of production (capital) or the public control of the accrual of profits from that production. While there are different branches of socialism that argue for different allocations of social property rights to most effectively manage markets for the benefit of society as a whole, they are all still under the philosophic umbrella of "socialism." Your squeamishness about flat-out embracing "socialism" (broadly defined, I suppose) speaks more to the success of right-wing scare tactics about "socialism" and the spreading of disinformation about "socialism" that conflates "socialism" and "communism" than it does to any reality about the economic successes or virtues of "socialism" versus "capitalism."

                        We have actually been a socialist country, though to a lesser degree than we admit to ourselves as of late, for a long time. The presence of federal income taxes acknowledges the country's position that profits accrued from the production made with American capital are subject to America's needs (thus, social ownership of profits of production...the degree of ownership is the only aspect that is debated). It's funny to me, too, in light of the "Red Scare" era of McCarthyism and his demonization of communists that is now widely known and ridiculed, we still seem to have fallen for the same tactics being applied to the term "socialism." These attacks only arose on the Right because after the fall of the Soviets in the 90's because they needed another straw-man to use to demonize the Left. Socialism was chosen, and now they use it indiscriminately to describe any policy position of the Left to scare people. Of course, by applying it so often to such a wide array of policies, the word has lost it's meaning in the public eye, so people associate it with "communism" (incorrectly) without acknowledging that we have been a socialist country for a long time. As a result, we have silly, irrelevant discussions about the relative merits of "socialism" verses "capitalism" that don't seem to correspond to the actual meaning of either of those terms.

                        There is no evidence for the superiority of capitalism, as even the histories of the most "capitalist" countries contain socialist policies necessary for the conditions for productive accrual of capital.

                        Blogs: http://mediadeconstruction.com/ Twitter: realsteveholt

                        by steveholt on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:59:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I embrace both capitalism and socialism (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Alice in Florida, northsylvania, melo

                          I don't believe they're incompatible except in their most "pure" forms (whatever that means). I won't "flat-out embrace" socialism for the same reason I won't "flat-out embrace" capitalism, because neither one is sufficient by itself.

                          Instead of arguing over semantics, why don't we just settle on Social Democracy, which is what the rest of the world has settled on in naming such a mixture, and argue over what form of it we want, and how to get there?

                          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                          by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 11:16:44 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Most "social democracies" have abandoned (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ozsea1

                            socialism in favor of welfare capitalism. I.e. they have rejected state ownership of industry in favor of a capitalist system combined with a strong welfare state.

                          •  I thought that's what social democracy was (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ozsea1

                            I.e. capitalism with a strong welfare system. I don't want government running anything that the private sector can do better. I do want government to properly regulate and oversee such enterprises, though, and I want it to do whatever needs to be done that the private sector can't or won't do, or do properly.

                            E.g. let the private sector make computers, cars, food, etc., and let government defend the country, run schools, oversee the building of roads, etc., and provide for those who can't provide for themselves and create a decent floor no one can go below, including health care. It's not that complicated, in concept.

                            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                            by kovie on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:19:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Sort of. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ozsea1, Chi
                    How does pure socialism deliver any of these? Has it ever?
                    Pure anything, or at least various definitions of pure anything, seldom works. Human beings are the spanner in the works. Nonetheless socialist tending countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, etc. are the most pleasant places to hang out with friends, take the train up to the museum, pick up some nifty curtains on the way home, and have a decent dinner when you get there. Trust me, America is not number one in these categories, though it is not the bottom either. Freedom of choice can be just as high or higher, depending on what you are buying. Just a thought from an expat.

                    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

                    by northsylvania on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 03:44:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Socialism. In Scandanavia? (0+ / 0-)

                      In medicine. In the defense industry.

                      Were else? In what other areas has government exercised ownership of the means of production?

                      That is what Socialism is, after all. Social Welfare programs are "Socialism" like Washington D.C. residents are "Capitalists." I mean, they live in the Capital, don't they?

                      Errg.

                      The Social Welfare State has nothing to do with Socialism.

                      (Godwin alert.) Well, perhaps, National Socialism. ;)

                      The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

                      by bubbajim on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:34:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Begging to differ. (0+ / 0-)

                        Take health care for example. The huge apparatus of a state owned health care system is a business just as much as a car company. If it weren't so insanely profitable to just get a cut off the top, the U.S. health insurance companies wouldn't be holding on like grim death.
                        France's prime minister is a Socialist, though probably closer to a SINO than the real deal.

                        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

                        by northsylvania on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 01:49:39 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Since true capitalism (0+ / 0-)

                has never existed or ever been attempted, it's hard to say.

                I think we're in general agreement about the importance of a state sector, regulation, etc.

                But still, when you say capitalism is responsible for shared wealth, that's just wrong. There is no evidence for it. People resisting capitalism is what is responsible for shared wealth.

                Think of it like this: It's raining. People are getting soaked. So some work together to build a shelter, and now they aren't getting wet anymore. By your logic, we should credit the rain for their new-found comfort?

                Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

                by cruz on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:05:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're putting words in my mouth (0+ / 0-)

                  I never said this:

                  But still, when you say capitalism is responsible for shared wealth, that's just wrong.
                  I said that certain forms of capitalism have been responsible for that, e.g. in the early years of the republic, which while not "regulated" let alone having a welfare system attached to it in the modern sense, resulted in a huge spike in GDP and trade that didn't result in the sort of massive income and wealth inequality that we have today, but was rather distributed far more equally than is the case today. I think that a lot of this can be attributed to direct government intervention in the economy a la Hamilton's ideas, later formalized into the "American System" championed by Clay and other Whigs, e.g. National Bank of the US, Erie and other canals, tariffs, patent laws, etc.

                  Obviously in a modern economy effective government regulation, oversight and investment are essential, but that's the sort of capitalism I was referring to, i.e. regulatory command capitalism, not capitalism in and of itself. My point is that it's a necessary but insufficient component in any productive AND fair economy. The same thing can be said of socialism, regulation, investment, etc.

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:38:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  there is a difference (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              regulated capitalism leaves the means of production privately owned.  Socialism is nationalizing the means of production.  Others will argue, but to me . . .  limited socialism is full nationalization of only a few select areas, i.e., health, education, energy/utilities.

              We have neither well-regulated capitalism nor limited socialism.  

              "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

              by jlynne on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 12:50:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I still don't get the binary splits (0+ / 0-)

                Why is it always either/or? Why can't it be a mix of regulated capitalism for industries that are better served by private ownership, and "limited socialism" for all other industries--with perhaps yet a third category, industries that are owned and run by both, either jointly or separately?

                Why do we have to have just one?

                We already have such a mixed economy, with near-exclusive private ownership of regulated industries such as airlines and media, near-total public ownership of passenger rail, and mixed ownership of schools and health insurance and care. Some of these should probably stay private, some should stay public, and some might benefit from being owned and run more by one or the other.

                Seems to me that once you have a situation where not everything is privately owned and run, and government has a say in which is which, you no longer have true capitalism, but a socialized form of it. That's what we have.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:47:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  My answer (0+ / 0-)

              In regulated capitalism, capitalists retain more advantages.

              Example: USA before Reagan.

              In limited Socialism, people or the state retain more.

              Example: Sweden before the economic meltdown.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 01:34:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't see why regulated capitalism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko

                must necessarily exclude limited socialism. Our system is a mix of the two, albeit with too little effective and/or enforced regulation, too much private control of certain industries, and too little socialism where it's needed.

                E.g. take health insurance and to some extent even health care out of the private sector. Stop the trend towards privatizing the military. Develop public-private partnerships for national and local passenger rail. Make public schools educationally competitive with private schools. And so on.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:55:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Neither alone seems to work (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kovie

                  Personally, I advocate what is essentially socialization of most essential public institutions since they are, by definition, essential to public welfare and are the type of "long term" investment hardcore capitalists tend to neglect.

                  So I think we agree.

                  What about my Daughter's future?

                  by koNko on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 01:43:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's like any complex thing (0+ / 0-)

                    You can only depend on inherent design so much, beyond which you have to add-on things to make it work in the real world. E.g. de-icers built into an airplane's wings to make it flight-worthy even though they have nothing to do with their lift capacity, or error-handling code in software, which has nothing to do with its core feature set. I kind of look at socialism and regulation as modifications and add-ons to capitalism, which by itself can't possibly work properly in the form and on the scale it operates on today. It's not about ideology, but about what works in the real world, for the majority, and not just those at that top.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 08:40:24 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  A Note On Dividends (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          isabelle hayes, ozsea1, Chi

          Dividend payouts have not increased as corporate profits have increased. Instead, they are currently slightly below their historical average of 2% of gross revenue. Virtually all of the increased profits have gone to two things: Executive compensation and debt repayment.

          What's that sound you hear when Mitt Romney walks? Oh, yeah. Flip-flop flip-flop.

          by edg on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:14:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  such a great comment and a great subject, eom (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cruz
      •  I have a problem with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        The basic assertion that Capitalism or Democracy (or any other system for that matter) is ideal or inherently good.

        They are just systems, and the bottom line is execution.

        At times, a benign dictator may get more desirable results than a boatload of low information voters making bad decisions, so maybe Hamilton, Jefferson et al had a point.

        The real test is sustainability, and so far, history has been unkind to all political and economic theorists.

        The idea of Democracy is quite natural and appealing - if only we could toss out the idiots!

        But then, we'd have to agree who those are. Shit.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 01:31:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How about inherently better? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          I acknowledge the risks, but I'd rather take my chances with democracy than dictatorship, because the former at least offers the theoretical legal means of allowing citizens to correct flaws in it, while the latter requires unlawful means.

          I much prefer a political system that contains within it some means by which everyday people can control, amend and improve it, even if in practive those means are often hard if not impossible to exercize effectively, at least in the short run. But even this makes democracy superior to all other systems as I see it.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:51:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, as I said ... (0+ / 0-)

            "The idea of Democracy is quite natural and appealing ...".

            In fact, in most systems, even Dictatorships, there is some form of consensus building or you don't get enough would-be-despots to keep the teapot full.

            But my point - and what I think is dangerous - is buying into the idea that any system is inherently good or works equally well under any circumstances. This clearly isn't the case and a kind of conceitful, neglectful folly that undermines the system.

            I would posit the foundations of democracy - an informed public and substantive public debate, and a reasonably equitable distribution of benefits and burdens -  are under siege and eroding in Western democracies at a time when less democratic states seem to be more focused on common good, which over time tends to lead toward political liberalization.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 02:27:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Quoting Hamilton (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tln41, ozsea1, koNko

      is interesting, since he probably feared democracy more than most of the other framers, although the vast majority shared his, Madison's, and Jay's view that government should represent the interests of the wealthy elite, and that democracy was dangerous.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:07:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "So this is how liberty dies... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebrann, SaraBeth, organicus, jennylind, ozsea1

    ...with thunderous applause".

    This diary reminds me of that haunting quote by Padme Amidala, in Revenge of the Sith.

    Please, everyone....we must leaving everything on the road by November 6th.  The stakes are too high.

    Canvass, phonebank, donate, call your great aunt Hilda.  We must win this election.

    Every step back from Democratic government, makes it that much harder to win back the lost rights, and the lost voice.

    Let's keep the American democratic experiment alive and growing...not shrinking and dying.

    "in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -- but rather, how well we have loved" B.Obama

    by one love on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 07:26:57 PM PDT

  •  The words "capitalism" and "democracy" are (20+ / 0-)

    not precise terms, so there is a problem with the question of whether or not they are compatible. I'd say that, abstractly, some versions of capitalism would be compatible with some versions of democracy, while others would not.

    The versions we have in place now are definitely incompatible. Monopoly capitalism, or what I'd call corporatism is clearly damaging democracy, and gaining strength in the process.

    "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

    by native on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 07:39:52 PM PDT

    •  It's the purity and dogmatism that's the problem. (9+ / 0-)

      I tend to think of it in terms of purity of philosophy.  To the point where capitalism is seen as the obviously best solution for everything under the sun.

      That's ridiculous.  One solution is not going to fix every problem in existence.

      The flaw in that is that it's remarkably easy to understand one solution when it's the only thing you ever have to think about.  If there's only one valid solution to consider, you don't ever have to explain or understand nuance.

      Somehow, though, they never seem to consider how fortunate they are to be the first people ever in history to realize that greed is a good thing.

      They must wonder why no ancient societies ever figured out that what everyone needed to make the world a better place was unrestrained greed.  Every civilization on the planet before ours must've been idiots or something.

      •  You make a good point there Paul, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lonespark, isabelle hayes, ozsea1

        And this is where the "Patronizing" of the US comes in. In the myth of how "exceptional" Americans are. That we are soooo much better than everyone else on the planet.

        The people have gotten lazy. We gave away our votes when we got so big as to have to send representatives to govern in our place. It was easier then to fall into the trap of "greed is good"...

        That notion that "greed is good" is where we crossed the line... and I think that that rot goes way to deep. The patient is terminal. I hope what rises from the ashes is better...but it is going to be terrible when it all comes apart.

        "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

        by SaraBeth on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:01:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've been reading (7+ / 0-)

          There is a large collection of works out there, both scholarly and from those with personal experience, that attest we have become a nation of narcissists - almost to the point of it being a national psychological disorder. I would tend to disagree except that I see so much overwhelming evidence of it.

          When I was growing up the national society the diarist describes in his second paragraph was true. But then came the new mantra advanced by the media and, yes, the Republican party spearheaded by Reagan.

          The threads of our national pride had begun to fray even before Reagan came along. The social disconnect though thrived and became the hydra it is today under his deceptive "Smilin' Uncle Dutch" regime. That's when America Inc. filled their war chests and sharpened their blades.

          It wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last. Watch American Experience The Crash of 1929 and you will see that the exact same manipulations and social engineering were used back then. The only difference was that, back then playng the market was hyped as a fad one didn't want to miss out on. In the 1980s. it was mandated by Presidential fiat.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:52:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think so too. (4+ / 0-)

        "Capitalism" and "democracy" are both poorly defined buzz-words that can be used to cover a multitude of sins. Neither is properly a philosophy. Both are more like theoretical systems, or mutable blueprints for possible ways to organize society.

        And neither system can possibly be applied to all societies in all circumstances. To be effective they both have to be continually flexible, and non-dogmatic.

        "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

        by native on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:35:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Except, they aren't even following the basics (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, happymisanthropy, Farlfoto

        ....laid out by Smith.  He wanted some form of well regulated market.   The Chicago Boys in the 1970's (with a healthy assist from Thatcher/Reagan/Bush) have turned economics into a weirdo cult

        The Romney campaign is a extra-tough Tie Fighter following the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid belt, bouncing from impact to impact in a random manner. - blue aardvark

        by jds1978 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:25:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mythology: regulation is bad. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jds1978

          Pretty much regulation exists to prevent the self-destructive, bad aspects of capitalism and to promote the good ones.  That's kind of the whole point.

          The problems started when certain people devised a theory that there actually are no self-destructive, bad aspects to capitalism.

          That statement is basically taken as a given by the GOP.  It's known by fiat that that statement is true (it's obviously true, the best type of truth, since you don't have to prove it).  Thus regulations only harm and undermine the perfect system.  People who promote them are therefore stupid or evil.

          It prevents us from having a discussion about what regulations we need and which ones we can relax or end entirely.

          That was my point.

          •  The other part of it is that Government is bad. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Paul Rogers, jds1978

            Personally, I think we could do a lot better with National Healthcare.  

            I think the Government, no matter how inept, would be much better at working for the well being of patients than the insurance companies, who are basically concerned with nothing more than the profit of their companies.  

            At some point the one percenters have to realize that if they take, take, take and give nothing back we will end up having civil unrest on a par with France during the revolution.  Exxon Mobil can buy all the ad time they want exhorting the good stuff they do for the country, but when people start to wake up to the bullshit, heads will roll.  That, unfortunately, is how it always ends up.

    •  I would say the Plutocracy has already arrived. (8+ / 0-)

      Looks to me like they have control of the media and all three branches of government.

      I would also say capitalism isn't working as its admirers say it does.  When its inexorable thirst for growth can no longer be quenched by natural markets, they begin to plunder the public treasure.

      Its questionable whether democracy is working as it should, what with voter suppression, unsecured, unproven, questionable electronic vote counting; citizens united permitting unlimited, anonymous spending and an electoral college that focuses our full attention on 5 or 6 states.

      It has arrived because some very drastic measures must be taken to undo the damage.  1.  take money entirely OUT of the election process.  2.  break up the media conglomerates and put competition back  into the media and eliminate propaganization.  3.  Enforce anti-trust and other laws forbidding collusion by corporations, beginning with a cleanup of the lobbying industry.

      And that's just a start.  Good luck to us all...

      Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

      by Gustogirl on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:39:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Government by the corporation. (5+ / 0-)

      In this country, today, we no longer have a democracy (a government of, by, and for the people).

      Instead, we have a corporatocracy (government of, by, and for the wealthy and corporate interests).

      This is not some danger lurking in a possible future; this is happening today.

      Consider this simple fact: 95% of all elections since 2000 were won by the campaign with the most money.  Today, money is the most important determinant of who wins elections.

      Of course, our law-makers will tell you that they represent your interests in Washington.  When in fact, the doors of the law-makers' offices are closed to you and me, but open to the biggest donor: the wealthy and corporate interests.

      That is why a discussion of healthcare for all Americans becomes a mandate to buy for-profit insurance.  Why a discussion of removing dictatorships in the Middle East involves only those countries with petroleum to export.  Why regulators of the banking and finance industy all come from the banking and finance industry, and after they leave government "service" will go back to jobs in teh banking and finance industry.

      The obvious solution is to outlaw ALL private donations to law-makers and make ALL elections entirely funded by public money.  

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:41:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paul Rogers
        Consider this simple fact: 95% of all elections since 2000 were won by the campaign with the most money.  Today, money is the most important determinant of who wins elections.
        What's the cause/effect relationship though?

        Are they popular because they have money?

        Or do they have money because they're popular?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:33:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Has nothing to do with popularity (0+ / 0-)

          Popularity is not the issue.  

          The issue is which legislator or candidate is willing to dance to the tune of the wealthy and corporate interests.

          Why are all the representatives screaming with one voice for tax cuts EVEN as they warn of budget deficits?  Because the wealthy donors want that.  Why do all the legislators vote to invade Iraq?  Because the wealthy interests want them to.  Why does congress refuse to investigate and prosecute fraud on Wall St. and in the banking industry?  Because Wall St. and the banking inudustry give money generously to members of congress.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:59:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Beat me to it.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1
      I'd say that, abstractly, some versions of capitalism would be compatible with some versions of democracy, while others would not.
      What is going on right now is parasite/vampire oligarchy.  It destroys the host (modern nation states) and moves on.

      I don't think that is what Smith had in mind

      The Romney campaign is a extra-tough Tie Fighter following the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid belt, bouncing from impact to impact in a random manner. - blue aardvark

      by jds1978 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:22:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a kind of Marxist (12+ / 0-)

    I understand where you're coming from.  But if by democracy you mean a political order where election day is judgement day, where the electoral process has real meaning, where the peaceful transfer of power is legitimated and institutionalized, then all modern democracies have been in countries with capitalist economies.  No exceptions.

    The greatest failure of socialism in the 20th Century was its inability to tolerate an open society and political democracy.  As soon as the Soviet Union democratized socialism fell.  Look at Cuba, not even to mention North Korea.  My politics began to change when I actually heard what Reagan said: "Nobody ever escaped over the Berlin Wall from west to east."  As screwed up as the U.S. is, we still have to worry about keeping people out, not keeping people in.

    Having said that, Marx was right about the inherent contradictions of capitalism and the ultimate futility of reform.  So I content myself with just working to get Obama reelected and maybe seeing my daughter get some health insurance.

    "A very popular error: having the courage of one's convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one's convictions." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

    by John R on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 07:57:19 PM PDT

    •  For what it's worth, I think Marx was just (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Don midwest, fuzzyguy, ozsea1

      applying Hegel's (er... Fichte's) model of dialectic; in other words, it's not just capitalism: any larger historical system contains inherent contradictions.  

      But yeah... Democracies tend toward mixed economies at best.  I agree with your comment, for the most part.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 08:09:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We can improve anything we don't like much. (6+ / 0-)

      I largely agree with your sentiment, though I've never really bothered with reading Marx.  From what I've heard it sounds like I'd agree with him.

      I just think capitalism is something we'll eventually shift away from when we find something better.  But for now it works okay, so let's fix the flaws that harm people within it.  We don't need a fundamental criticism when a minor tweak will improve peoples' lives and work for sure.

      One of the worst problems (I think) is that the more people are exploited and suffer under a super-capitalist, sink-or-swim kind of economy, the more people will be wholly dissatisfied by capitalism and want to rip the entire system out of existence.

      When I was 10 or so, I frequently commented how stupid I thought capitalism is for its self-serving natures.  My mother more or less told me that it worked okay, and seemed to mostly be fair, and that while flawed, seemed to work better than the alternatives.

      Now she tells me that it's fundamentally corrupt and is wholly unsatisfied with it.  She sometimes wonders when people will finally be sick of it and throw it off in favor of communism or something.

      I understand now the problems inherent in a sudden, massive political restructuring like that.  I don't think that most people are, and I get a little nervous when I think of the destruction the GOP wants to wage on our social safety nets, and the anything-goes economic system they want to implement.  That makes people even more disillusioned.

      When people are that fundamentally mistreated by their own governments, that's when demagogues appear to pander to their interests.

      •  backlash worries (7+ / 0-)
        the more people are exploited and suffer under a super-capitalist, sink-or-swim kind of economy, the more people will be wholly dissatisfied by capitalism and want to rip the entire system out of existence.
        Seriously.  The worse things get under a system, the likelier people are to think not "how could we adjust the system to prevent these problems?" but "how can we get rid of this horrible system forever?"

        Let's not forget that Ayn Rand developed her philosophy in reaction to the abuses of Soviet communism.  When you decide that a system is fundamentally corrupt, whatever you come up with to replace it is likely to shy away violently from anything that even resembles it ... and down that road lies extremism in a different direction.

        •  History goes on and on; we repeat a lot of idiocy. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          I'd probably prefer a system of government that's remarkably different, but I don't have any delusions such a drastic change could be good.  Just given my own fantasy world to create from scratch, a capitalist democracy is not exactly the 'best' society as I envision.

          Someone who suggests that their ideas are so wonderful, so correct, and so obviously good that if you just put them in power a new utopia on Earth will spring forth, well, that person is dangerous.

          That's extremely bad news to hear that.  An awful lot of a Ayn Rand cultists think like that.  It's part of what makes them so alarming.

          I have no delusions that my ideas for an alternative to the utopian Ayn Rand 'thinking' is perfect, just maybe better, and an ideal that I would find preferable to orient society around.  Ideals are something worth striving for, just don't ever think you can create utopia if you just do one little thing.

          There's always another little step after the last one.

          I try not to worry about these sorts of things too much, I think for the most part our system of governance is stable enough to weather temporary mishandling by corrupt morons so that when people are doing badly, they can be kicked out of power and people can find a new ideology to support with relatively little damage (it would take more than 4 or even 8 years of Romney to destroy the country).

          I mean, as long as I'm going to be freaked out by history, I may as well be reassured by it as well.  I'm mostly not alarmed because only one side appears unhinged.  When the Democratic party starts losing its marbles too, that's the time to be very concerned.  (Israel/God-platform nonsense aside)

          •  from scratch? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            I dunno, I think if I were starting a society from scratch I'd probably want to involve some form of both capitalism and democracy.

            I can't remember who it was who said that democracy is the worst system of government except for all the others.  I think the same could be said for capitalism.

            •  Winston Churchill made that comment I think n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Otip

              If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

              by EdinGA on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:33:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It does sound like him. (0+ / 0-)

                And a quick call to Uncle Google indicates that you are correct!  The full quote is apparently:

                "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." (from a House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947)

                I note that he doesn't discount the possibility of some as-yet-untried better form.

  •  I tend to think that feudalism is the natural (3+ / 0-)

    tendency of human society, and that we live through various levels of fluctuation feudal-like societies over the course of time and in different places.  We have been very fortunate, up until now, to have lived in a nice long bubble in time and space of relative equality.  We haven't been as bad off as the Philipines under Marco, but there's no reason we can't eventually descend to that level.  

  •  Capitalism and Democracy do not play well together (7+ / 0-)

    In terms of how we distribute resources in society, we have two main methodologies on how to distribute those resources: economic and political.

    Politics is the distribution of power in a society

    Economics is the distribution of resources in society

    Power is a resource

    Power is therefore a subset of economics

    All political systems are derived from the underlying economic system.  Regardless of the form of the political system, from democracy to despotism, it will be dictated to by the economic system.

    This is because of some fundamental forces that we need to acknowledge.

    Democracy : one person = one vote

    Capitalism : one dollar = one vote

    Because both systems are about trying to make decisions about the distribution of resources in society, they compete with each other.  Capitalism demands that money makes the decisions, while democracy is about people making decisions.  Because of this, capitalism cannot abide the limitations of democracy and will always try to make it subservient to money.

    While simplistic, I find this to be a useful tool to understand the relationship between economic and political systems.

  •  yes (7+ / 0-)

    Capitalism functions from a top-down hierarchical structure, democracy is the reverse.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 01:05:23 AM PDT

  •  Flaws get worse when you pretend they don't exist. (9+ / 0-)

    Only as much as religion and democracy are incompatible.

    There's some problems inherent with extremism, but the way you can prevent those problems is via education.  The same case could be argued here.  Libertarianism is extremist libertarian ideology.

    Largely, I'd argue that the problems with the country have more to do with the GOP becoming an apocalyptic cult immune to reason.  Being like that makes people easier to control and manipulate.

    I've never much bought into the idea of capitalism.  I think it can work okay as long as everyone is aware of its inherent flaws as well as its strengths, but it seems to me that much of the public prefers to wallpaper over the ugly bits of capitalism with grandiose mythology and stupid assertions.

    My first diary here (the one I joined to write) was to describe what capitalism is.  Not quite in practice, but as an abstract system of rules and measures.  Some people seem to understand these rules better than others.

    Looking at capitalism in theory, the rules, the mechanics, how one gets ahead is very libertarian in philosophy.  It's a natural consequence of the rules that it is authoritarian, confrontational, exclusionary, and an inhuman, monstrous thing.  The strong rise to the top, the weak starve and perish.  People not useful for business (the elderly among them, which we all hope to become) are expelled and deemed unworthy of life, fit only for the blessing of our mockery.

    But in practice, we individually decide whether or not we want to ascribe to those cruel practices.  Most people do not.  But the ones who do get to run for President while joking about being unemployed.

    Anyway, this is inescapably a consequence of capitalism.  We've just generally decided that we won't let the weak starve, drown and suffer unnecessarily in squalor.  There are ways to refine and reform the system to make society less cruel than nature.  As someone else said, that's virtually the entire point of having a society.  The libertarian wing thinks this is an attack on the whole concept of capitalism, and they're right.  It's an implicit admission that capitalism doesn't work for all people, at all times.

    There might be problems with capitalism, but we can only fix them by ripping off the wallpaper and examining the rot.  Our only alternative is to let the rot fester until our house collapses down on our heads.

    Nobody, not even the raving atheist socialist communist vampire vegetarians want that.  Well, some people do, but they're crazy lunatics and nobody should take them seriously.

    •  Ahem, a minor correction. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaraBeth, happymisanthropy

      Libertarianism is extremist capitalist ideology.

    •  It sounds like the crazy lunatics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      organicus, jds1978

      are the ones running the system.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:19:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  American Capitalism Ran Off the Rails When the (5+ / 0-)

      Democrats under Bill Clinton decided that getting campaign contributions from the owners of this country was more critical to electoral success than anything else.

      People in this country don't really seem to understand that starting in the 1990s they were intentionally thrown into direct economic competition for the sale of their labor with numerious third world peasants who were quite wiling to work for $.20 per hour.  Thus, American's wages and working conditions wil diminish further in the future, while the owners wil reap the profits from this cheap labor pool.      

      •  How about all the immigrants (0+ / 0-)

        that were let into the country from the late 1800s onwards to compete with American labour. The Guilded Age didn't come out of nowhere. Now the descendants of those immigrants are American labour, but the corporations have decided it's much cheaper to employ foreign workers in situ and let their own countries pay for the infrastructure to support them rather than let them immigrate.
        At this point, so much money is concentrated in so few hands that Capitalism and Democracy can indeed be incompatible.

        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

        by northsylvania on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 03:51:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As Shown by Rising Wages, America NEEDED that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paul Rogers, northsylvania

          labor.  Furthermore, unlike today, those immigrants were granted full rights once they arrived here.  They lived here, worked here, paid taxes here, and purchased goods and services here.  Thus, they added to the overall economy of this country in many ways, in addition to making goods and providing labor.  

          Let's discuss labor history here.  Most American's work eight hours a day, five days a week.  We have a multitude of laws and regulations and court decisions that prevent the exploitation of workers, and prohibit the employment of children  

          All of these are the result of a sometimes bloody 100-year labor struggle between workers and the owners of this country.  These gains will soon be going out the window as more and more American workers are thrown in direct competition with third world peasants who can be chained to workbenches for 18 hours a day.    

          Let's be realistic here.  Not only will American wages be dragged down in this race to the bottom, but the working conditions for Americans will be alongside them on the same ride down.  

          This was pretty much well known by the owners of this country.  Hell, billionare Ross Periot, acting as a traitor to his class, warned us all about it in 1992.  But Clinton pushed NAFTA on American workers anyways.  And here we all are, on the great ride down.    

          BTW-Obama does the same fucking thing as Clinton, just on a smaller scale with Korea and Columbia.                      

             

          •  Can't disagree with you there, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TimmyB

            though the living conditions in the American tenements of the late 1800s/ early 1900s were more than a little appalling and the fights against child labour, sweatshops, etc. were fairly recent. The children of my mom's generation didn't work as children, but my grandmothers' did.
            When people talk about the Republicans wanting to roll back the New Deal, they have something even worse in mind. When you think about the gains made in the Progressive era: getting rid of corruption in government, decent living standards, labour laws, food and drug standards, the Republicans would like to see them all go down the loo. I agree that the Democrats can be pretty complicit as well. The 1% indeed.

            "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

            by northsylvania on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:02:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  They thought they could "lightly harness"... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the beast.

        I think they also assumed that there would always be some vague "gentlemen's agreement" that a rough baseline of support for the Social Safety Net would permanently respected. It was part of why Welfare "Reform was pursued: the DLC and kindred "Centrist" Democrats" figured that trimming "the Net" was okay because a "Grand Bargain" had been reached on employment. With effective full employment, there was little need to be vigilant about the health of "the Net."

        It was a very seductive illusion.

        There was NEVER such a deal from the perspective of the Oligarchs and their enablers on both sides of the aisle.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:38:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Frankly, I Don't Think They Gave a Shit (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jds1978, happymisanthropy

          The only thing these DLC types saw was the money they could get to fund their election campaigns if they did what the owners of this country paid them to do.  They didn't care about anything else.    

          Do you really think that the DLCers thought the owners of this country would one day tell them "that's enough, let's not kill the Golden Goose?"

          •  I think enough of them believed that (0+ / 0-)

            I "gophered" DLC meetings in the mid-80s and there were clearly a couple of factions.

            The Clinton/Gore/Gephardt/Babbitt "wing" thought they had that "gentlemen's agreement". Or at least thought they could fix the agreement if it started getting out of hand.

            They were out maneuvered from the very start.

            I picked up the chatter very early in the hallways between presentation sessions that the "underwriters" were clearly looking to separate Democrats from their base financial support: Labor and Trial Lawyers.

            When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Egalitare on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:30:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism is useful as a beast of burden. (14+ / 0-)

    Dangerous and treacherous as an equal partner.
    And pure evil as a basis of governance.

    Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

    by Troubadour on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 02:50:02 AM PDT

  •  We only pay lip service to (8+ / 0-)

    capitalism. We have a mixed economy where business generally support capitalism except for themselves. Businesses want special protection for their business because their business is a special case. But the rules of competition apply to everyone else. The founders did not express unbridled support for "free markets" in part because capitalism as a theory was new (Smith published in 1776) and the constitution has sections enabling the government to regulate the economy (Commerce Clause) as well as patent protection. We have a mixed economy that works to benefit the wealthy. How about we try a mixed economy that works to benefit average people, working people, people who are struggling. The post WWII miracle economies of Europe and Asia all have an industrial policy. We do not. They provide social welfare benefits that are not political ping pong balls. They provide educational opportunities for all interest and aptitudes. Without the risk of crippling debt.

    Marx may have been wrong about a number of things. But Adam Smith was likewise wrong about a number of things. Both were wrong about the level of personal corruption involved in any economic system.

    It is possible to have a democracy and a socialist economy. See Scandinavia. It is also possible to have capitalism under dictatorship. See China. The idea that a type of economic system is tied to a particular political system is a myth. Sadly it is a myth embraced by the Bush administration which caused immense suffering in the countries we invaded.

    •  I thought your title was going to be that we only (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cruz, SaraBeth, happymisanthropy

      pay lip service to democracy. Democracy seems to be on the way out here. I seem to recall GOP idiots stating a few years ago that capitalism was more important than democracy.

      Ask top al Qaeda leaders about Obama's foreign policy. Wait, you can't. They're dead. -Paul Begala

      by Fickle on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 03:59:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I also believe that many people (5+ / 0-)

        particularly among the wealthy class who lean Republican also pay lip service to democracy. The plutocrats hate having to talk to the hoi polloi and ask for votes. In fact the founders distrusted democracy as well. That is why there is no popular vote for President. Or no popular vote for the Senate until the 17th amendment. Democracy is a developing way of life in America. As we move into the future we try to become more democratic. But that has been and will continue to be opposition to this trend.

        Sometimes I think that this country is too big, too powerful, and too nationalistic to continue as a democracy. Our hubris blinds us to reality. We have a choice between being a world power or being a country dedicated to democratic values. We can not try to be both for much longer.

      •  I was watching CSPAN last weekend (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes, happymisanthropy

        (it's shown here on the BBC on Sunday afternoons), a phone in show with some professor talking about getting rid of the electoral college and having the president elected by popular vote and a Republican phoned in saying he was against that because he thought it would benefit Democrats and then stated that America is not a democracy it's a republic. I've heard a few Republicans say similar things, but never been quite sure what they mean. For me, a republic is simply a society without a monarch.

        •  The "republic" thing is a long term republican (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bubbajim, Roger Otip

          strategy. It serves two purposes.

          First democracy sounds more like Democrats. republic sounds like republican.  It sounds silly but it's about getting people to think in certain ways.

          Second they really don't like democratic systems of government deep down and want more authoritative power structures. The want to bring back the aristocracy in effect.

          Your average Joe republican who spews this is usually trying to prove how smart he thinks he is. So I usually respond to them in one of two ways.

          I either go the Thom Hartmann route and do him one better by saying something like: "No actually we are a constitutionally limited democratic republic."

          or I simply point out that the soviet union was a republic as is China.  Don't you think one of the main differences between us and them as that we are a democracy and they were not?

          either way usually shuts them up.

          Ask top al Qaeda leaders about Obama's foreign policy. Wait, you can't. They're dead. -Paul Begala

          by Fickle on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 02:53:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Knackle, in most cases the Marshall plan... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, jds1978

      ...and US involvement in setting up new governments resulted in those miracle economies you speak of. Things like decent health care, truly representative governance were things our administrators accomplished over there, but were unable to achieve stateside.

      A lot of those people that were instrumental in the new overseas policies were FDR true believers that had a clear vision of fairness for all, not just the privileged few.

      It's interesting to compare the benefits a Japanese or a German enjoys in comparison to the average American citizen. Sad too.

      If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

      by EdinGA on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:45:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  capitalism is anti-democratic (12+ / 0-)

    it's a business model based on self interest. Democracy is a political model based on common interests. The more confusion there is about this difference, the more democracy is corrupted. We're being brainwashed to conflate the concepts of "free" markets and "free" trade" with the political freedom of democratic self determination. That way the traders can exploit our common resources as a "democratic" political mandate for their profiteering.

    Not that they are necessarily incompatible, but the democracy has to manage capitalism to prevent the excesses that are all too familiar by now. Government must govern.

  •  Democracy and human nature (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, SaraBeth, lonespark

    (and the desires that fuel capitalism are all too human) are already not terribly compatible.  Socialism and human nature even less so.

    Neither statement is a judgment as to whether either of the systems is worth a try.  We should be corrigible beings, after all.

  •  Capitalism is a society ruled by capital (7+ / 0-)

    whereas democracy is a society ruled by the people. They're not the same thing, but in capitalist democracies (mixed economies) they co-exist, with the left trying to push for more democracy and the right for more capitalism.

    So long as you have capitalism you're never going to have a purely democratic society since money will always be able to buy some degree of power, but so long as you have democratic institutions you're never going to have pure capitalism.

  •  Capitalism generates inequality. (9+ / 0-)

    By definition, it is incompatible with any notion of strong democracy, in which the ideal is that each individual (I'm not even going to use the c-word) would have a relatively equally opportunity to influence decisions.  Capitalism is only compatible with the kind of "democracy" that capitalism itself has engineered, like the kind we have now, purely procedural (if that), Super-Packed, Dieboldian, Foxy.

  •  Control government first... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SaraBeth, TimmyB, isabelle hayes

    From my standpoint as a systems designer, the most important idea presented in the Federalist essays was that of faction—what it is, and how to control its harmful effects. In Federalist 10, James Madison gave us his definition of faction. He was precise. He did not want his readers to misunderstand:

    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
    Factions, by Madison’s definition, are always bad things. Factions are made up of human beings, and they always work against the common good. Because any social organization reflects the nature of the humans who control it, the men who form factions are therefore naturally inclined to work against the common good. There is a more benign definition of faction that is in common use today. Many people seem to think of faction as simply a quarrelsome subset of a political party, sometimes irritating, other times worrisome, but rarely dangerous. That form of faction is like a wart on the back of one’s hand. But Madison’s form of faction is a cancerous tumor growing in one’s body that, if left unchecked, will kill its host. According to Madison, the paramount aim of the constitutional system that he and the other Framers designed was to control the harmful effects of faction. They wanted to create a faction-free democracy.

    In order to create a faction-free democracy, Madison proposed the “scheme of representation.” He said that his scheme was to delegate power to a small group of men by means of elections. In such elections, he said that two different things could happen. In the first instance things could go well:

    The effect of the first difference [delegating power to a small number of citizens] is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose.
    This proposition is many things. It is highly desirable, highly contingent, and highly unlikely. It depends on getting just the right people—wise, discerning, patriotic and just—who will do the right thing. It seems natural at this point to expect, to hope, that Madison would launch into an explanation of how his system would put the right people into office. But he didn’t have such an explanation. Instead, in the very next sentence, he said, “On the other hand...”
    On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
    So the nature of our government depends entirely on the nature of the men who control it. This is starkly clear, but Madison’s statement is virtually unknown. I will wager that almost no Americans are now, or have ever been, acquainted with this important warning—I will double the bet by saying that no American at all can recall any national politician ever making reference to this essential point in any campaign speech. Madison’s system did not provide protection against factions gaining power—he said so himself.

    Of course Madison was right in general. If we elect men who are wise, who can together seek and find the true best interests of the nation, who are patriotic and just, and who will rise above temptation, we will have a government that works for the People. But, “if” is not good enough. By Madison’s own admission, the new government had to control the effects of faction—if it failed to do so, it would perish. His scheme of representation would work if, and only if, we put the right kind of people in office. We need to know how his system of representation would put the right kind of men, “enlightened statesmen” as he called them, into office. But history shows, now more than ever, that the “scheme of representation” has not produced “enlightened statesmen.”

    So, in order to control capitalism, we must first control our government and this means that we must change the way we choose our representatives. Random selection is the way to go.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:29:15 AM PDT

  •  47% of Congress Members are Millionaires (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cruz, SaraBeth, isabelle hayes

    — a Status Shared by Only 1% of Americans.

    'Nuff said.

    Revolution.

    A closed mind believes the future and the present will be the same, attempting to counteract an underlying fear that the future will be worse than the present, which inhibits the tendency to question at all. (Paraphrasing "A Course in Miracles.")

    by ceebee7 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:32:10 AM PDT

    •  Only 47%??? (0+ / 0-)

      My impression is that the number is significantly higher - perhaps double your estimate.

      •  Or triple. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glbTVET, happymisanthropy

        This is one of the problems with representative democracy. The representatives often don't represent the electorate. In Athens they had an assembly that anyone* could show up to and vote in and they had a council of citizens chosen by lottery rather than elected.

        *Anyone means any male citizen, since female citizens were excluded, so if you were to try such a thing in modern day America you'd need to call up Governor Romney and get him to show you his binders, and you'd have to make sure the assembly business was all done by 5 so the women could get home to cook dinner for their husbands and kids.

  •  They can co-exist, but only with regulation. (5+ / 0-)

    Which of course is lacking in this day and age.

    "I'm not scared of anyone or anything, Angie. Isn't that the way life should be?" Jack Hawksmoor

    by skyounkin on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:35:22 AM PDT

  •  tension? yes. incompatible? no (11+ / 0-)

    There has always been a tension and many of the founding fathers were opposed to corporations.

    The current form of capitalism is dangerous and is at the heart of many of our troubles but the current form of capitalism isn't the only form of capitalism.

    Today's capitalism is known as "shareholder value" capitalism or "financial" capitalism and began its rise in the 70s.  Ironically, it's rise came as a result of concerns over the growing disparity between executive and entry level employee pay.  More on this later, let's start with the other versions of capitalism.

    Entrepreneurial capitalism is what Adam Smith wrote about in Wealth of Nations.  Note the title of his book--it wasn't "I got mine".  Smith was a utilitarian and his arguments in favor of capitalism were based on the system's ability to raise the most people from poverty.  Smith argued in that book for progressive taxation as well.  The point of capitalism in Smiths view wasn't solely for the busineess leaders to get wealthy--they would, but the point was for all citizens to be better off.  Entrepreneurial capitalism is about the person with the better idea, the better product, the better process, becoming successful and his employees and the community prospering too as a by product.

    Managerial capitalism came next.  Managerial capitalism brought us the notion that the person with the passion to launch a business may not be the best person to grow it and manage it over time.  Managerial capitalism is what Ayn Rand railed against.  Cold bureaucrats looking for the next thousandth of a percent improvement and regulators not understanding the passion of the entrepreneur.  Managerial capitalism has its run from the late 1800s to the 1970s.

    Both Entrepreneurial and Managerial capitalism assume the business exists to produce a good or service and make a profit at it.  The emphasis though is on producing that good or service.  The business is organized to serve the customer, the owner, the employees and the community.  Profit, particularly quarterly profit, is not the only metric of success in these companies.

    The primary critiques against Managerial capitalism were that the managers began running the businesses to serve the interests of the business bureaucracy and that executive compensation was getting too high compared to lower level workers.  This is where the idea to tie executive pay to share price (primarily via stock options) got its start and triggered the rise of Shareholder Value capitalism.

    Many people today have only lived under Shareholder Value capitalism and believe that is the only operating principle.  Shareholder Value capitalism is the rot in the system that must be removed because it drives these behaviors:
    - with profit as the only goal, companies move away from making things.  Example?  GM was having trouble making money at making cars.  Rather than get better at making cars, they started to focus on financing car purchase and then all types of finance, including bad home loans.
    - with profit as the only goal, jobs get shipped overseas to low wage areas removing job opportunities in our own communities
    - with profit as the only goal customer service declines.  Why spend money on someone who already bought the product?
    - with near term profit as the only goal R&D investment declines and other nations begin to lead in critical new businesses.
    - with profit as the only goal, companies invest in capturing the regulatory arms of government for the high rate of return to be had.
    I could go on.

    The point is not that capitalism is bad, but that the current form of capitalism is not healthy for our country.  What to do?  

    Corporations are created by Charters granted by the government.  Let's focus efforts on Delaware and drive to change the Charters granted by government that define how the corporations operate.  We could chose to limit or end stock based executive compensation by changing those charters.  That would directly reduce many of the ill-effects of Shareholder value capitalism.

    "But Mosquito Pilot, we need those incentives to get people to perform."  Bull hockey.  (Full disclosure--my career has been in high tech, often with start ups, always with stock compensation).  Most of the jobs that get stock compensation are FUN.  Don't tell my boss, but I'd do my job for half of what I'm paid.  And don't get me started on the real fat cats.  Their reward is the rush of making executive decisions, the perks of power, and the respect of their employees and peers.  For them, the real allure of stratospheric compensation is just that it provides a means of keeping score relative to their peers.  They are competitors who want to be able to track whether they are winning or not.  There are other ways to accomplish that rather than corrupt an entire system.

    We do need to reform capitalism, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There are several good articles on this topic in the Harvard Business Review over the last few years.  

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:38:06 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely incompatible (8+ / 0-)

    1. As Adam Smith noted, capitalism tends toward oligopoly and monopoly.
    2. Capitalism, where the investing class gains profits without toil and the toiling class loses capital no matter how hard it labors, is inherently exploitative of the base of any society in which it operates.
    3. Capitalism increases wealth, but it does this on an aggregate, accumulated scale. The national capital for grain sales goes up, but the grain to the persons in a nation goes down for that to happen.
    4. Capitalism respects no national, regional, or local borders.

    The United States had frankly known and discussed this, and it had addressed it with everything from Hawley-Smoot to EPA. It had the capital gains tax, the "windfall profits tax," and other elements precisely to prevent capitalism from being capitalism. In 1980, the press got convinced that the nation was convinced that what we really want is laissez-faire.

    Democracy on the other hand:
    1. Requires an educated voter, which requires an apolitical educator (a civil service or "government")
    2. Requires a trusted count
    3. Requires unmitigated power in the hands of the voter.

    They are at odds.

    If money is the root of all evil, then what is Mitt Romney?

    by The Geogre on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:48:12 AM PDT

  •  This has been on the radar of some of us... (6+ / 0-)

    for many years. We have been trying to warn our fellow citizens...but told we were wearing tin-foil hats, called names and pretty much ignored.

    I can understand what coming to the conclusions you have are Earth shattering to you... it was/is still a shock to many of us who have been watching the steady erosion of Human Rights for years.

    I'm just waiting to see what the tipping point will be. How far will the People be pushed?

    I read just this morning that the EU Commission is trying to tie the bailouts of whole countries to the privatization of the public water supplies of those nations....

    Water = Life

    This just might be the tipping point....the over reach of the privileged class.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 04:52:52 AM PDT

  •  We have all been programmed to believe (11+ / 0-)

    that capitalism is a system. That's ridiculous, though. Capitalism is only a system to the extent a hammer is a system. That's a viable, though horribly constrained frame: a hammer is indeed part of the nailing-shit-together system, if you want to think of it that way. But when we look away from economics to any other sphere of human activity, we call such things "tools."

    That's the problem today with capitalism. It's hammerism which makes us perceive every problem in the shape of a nail. In so doing, we ignore screws, nuts and bolts, and even adhesives. It leaves us blind to so many possibilities.

  •  Hmmm... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc, glbTVET, isabelle hayes

    I suppose capitalism could be compatible with democracy, though I haven't seen anything to convince me. Most national economies are capitalist, but most people in the world are not living in democracies. It also depends on what we mean by "capitalist," as there's a lot of confusion around and distortion of that word.

    I would start by highlighting the following capitalist countries: Colombia, Honduras, South Africa, Nigeria, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Haiti, Pakistan, Singapore, to name a few. Like so many others, most of these countries are not well-functioning democracies, and in many cases their governments are openly hostile to democracy.

    What is more, each of these countries has widespread poverty and inequality. The U.S. is not a well-functioning democracy either, and our governments over the past 15-20 years have become much more hostile to democracy, particularly around issues of due process, rights i the workplace, transparency, and accountability. Not surprisingly, this has coincided with the U.S.  "capitalist class" becoming far more powerful than they've been decades.

    This is not a glitch in the system. For investors and big business owners and managers, prosperous, politically literate populations pushing for better social and economic conditions (i.e. democracy) don’t usually fit their notion of an ideal workforce or citizenry. We can see this by the long-term opposition of business groups in the U.S. to government programs and policies that raise workers’ standard of living and provide better working conditions.

    Across the board, whether it is more money for education, workplace safety laws, health care, or civil rights protections in the workplace, businesses are almost always opposed. Why? Because corporate investors usually prefer poor populations. The poorer you are, the harder you will work for less money, and the less equipped you are to defend yourself against potential abuses of power by the wealthy.

    Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

    by cruz on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:16:54 AM PDT

  •  Most interesting discussion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, TimmyB, isabelle hayes

    I listen every week to Richard Wolf.  One of the things he says often that Capitalism is never discussed in the debates or just in general.  He thinks that we would be better off with worker directed businesses.  One that he talks about is the Mondogron Corp in the North of Spain.  It started out in the 1950's with a catholic priest and 6 people. It is now one of the biggest corporations in Spain.  If you don't know about it you should seek some information about it.  Wolf went to Spain to see how it operates.  Of course the corporation is not with out problems and probably no system is free of problems.  But the one thing is everyone has health insurance, a pension and the difference in incomes for people that work in the corporation is quite minimal compared to what it is here.

  •  No, capitalism refers to the practice of setting (5+ / 0-)

    current assets aside for future use, while democracy is a system of social organization which defines who decides how present and future assets are to be used.

    What we have is a flawed system of production, trade and exchange in that the "left overs" or profits (what we don't use on the spot) have been perverted into the sole objective of production, trade and exchange and, in the interest of increasing the profits exponentially, the quality of products has been decreased so that many have no use at all. Much of the economy has become a matter of churning useless stuff.

    Add to that the concept of "political economy," which involves allocating and controlling the distribution of the resources people need to survive so as to insure their compliance with the social order. That is, the production, trade and exchange of goods and services has been turned into a tool of subordination. If people want to live, they have to do what they are told. You could call it the triumph of form over function.

    What this tells us is that anything humans do can be perverted to insure dominance, rather than the survival of the species. The lust for power is a threat to our own survival, much as other species manage to eat themselves out of house and home.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 05:46:22 AM PDT

    •  Exactly right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      "... profits (what we don't use on the spot) have been perverted into the sole objective of production, trade and exchange..."

      When someone states, "businesses exist to make profits," I say no, they exist to do business. The  business they were chartered to do. We used to take away a corporation's charter if they didn't do the business they were chartered to do.

      Profits are rewards for performance. Saying a business exists to make a profit is like saying we have wars so we can give out medals.

      The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

      by bubbajim on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:57:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vote with your wallet. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, isabelle hayes, bubbajim

    When it comes to corporations, know their products.  Know that they use many cover names to sell you the same crap at different prices.  Know that they are unfair, arbitrary and capricious.  Know that democracy and capitalism are the antithesis of each other - Democracy's best is total inclusion, which capitalism's worst is total exclusion.  Capitalism is amoral.  Democracy is morality codified.  They are at ends with each other.  If you don't like a company, don't give it your money - the current capitalists don't like democracy and have chosen to not give it their money - do likewise for them.  After all, that's the golden rule.   You're betraying your saviour if you don't.

    •  When most folks (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LillithMc, glbTVET, TimmyB, isabelle hayes

      Are living week to week, at the mercy of their employers for basic needs like healthcare and corporations and billionaires can spend whatever they want in support of scumbag vultures like Romney and Ryan it makes things near impossible for the majority to have a fighting chance and make informed decisions.  Morality and equality never existed within the confines of capitalism and never will.  The experiment failed miserably.

  •  Well ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes, jds1978, bubbajim

    Capitalism in an economic system and Democracy is a political system.
    Democracy can exist within any economic system.
    Capitalism doesn't require any political system to function.

    Democracy is concerned with people.
    Capitalism is concerned with wealth.

    These forces work well in cooperation, but the incompatibility question arises when one tries to corrupt and undermine the other.

    However, most developed countries try to operate from a more harmonious balanced position that allows everyone to benefit.

    The US is dysfunctional in all matters Democratic and Economic.
    Some say it's because we allowed a particularly virulent culture of Capitalist propaganda to subvert our Democracy while we stood around shouting "USA! #1!" 20 years after the cold war ended ... Others say it's because Americans believe a lot of things that aren't true.

    The American Economic system is a mighty dragon that has run rampant throughout the world burning and eviscerating people without conscience.
    American Democracy can stride across the world for corporations invading countries, and killing millions, but it's not permitted to function for the American people.

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:19:49 AM PDT

  •  Yes, it is incompatible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, isabelle hayes

    It's a dictatorship of the corporations.  Thankfully it's nearing the end of the road for that failed economic system.  An economic system based on constant economic growth was always doomed to fail in the longrun.  I never did understand why so many thought capitalism was the "final" or "best" economic system.

  •  Corporate Capitalism and democracy are not. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc, glbTVET, TimmyB

    Because Corporate Capitalism is inherently anti-democratic. Strong hierarchy with highly centralized decision making power. People are conditioned to take orders and not think independently - and if they do, not voice their opposition to the distant powerful whom control their fate.

    But the capitalism of Adam Smith and the notion of markets as nature - supply and demand - is not incompatible with democratic societies. On some level consumerism does empower people (if only to gain goods and services they demand due to advertising).

    There's also the issue of corruption though and Corporate and Finance capitalism usher in very intense forms of corruption which means even if the procedures of societies are democratic - they substantially are not because decisions are influenced in secret by capital.

    So it depends on what kind of capitalism you have.

    •  Actually it is and Adam Smith knew it. As (0+ / 0-)

      an example, anti-bribery laws go against capitalism because they prevent the buying and selling of a good or service (such as a politician's vote) in the free market.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 12:53:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Machiavelli (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, Roger Otip

    Machiavelli suggested that there are three types of rule: By one, by a few elites, and by the masses, which each has a good and bad form that run cyclically.

    Initially you have good rule by one man: Monarchy.
    This turns into bad rule by one man, Tyrrany.
    thisi usually leads to a revolution by elites, who set up rule by a few: Aristocracy.
    This turns into the bad version, Oligarchy
    Oligarchy is overthrown by a the masses, who set up a Republic.
    the Republic gets corrupted into mob rule, called Democracy
    (not modern Democracy, which is the Republic stage).  
    this mob rule falls in yet another revolution lead by a 'man on a white horse' -- which returns to Monarchy.

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:12:14 AM PDT

  •  Citizens United was the final nail in the coffin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET

    FDR and the New Deal coalition put a happy face on capitalism at a time when it was very nearly on the verge of collapse by giving the masses or poor just enough to prevent a revolt of the proletariat.  Since the late-70's-early 80's the right and it's enablers have systematically worked to undermine what little safety net the majority of Americans depend on.  Now they're going for the kill in trying to tear down Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Citizens United and increased voter suppression killed any shot at fair elections.  Such an unfair system is doomed to fail and sooner or later (probably sooner) the masses will feel they have nothing to lose and rise up to overthrow such a system.  We're well beyond the point of reforming the capitalist system.  The only option now is destroying it and starting over.

  •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, Throw The Bums Out, TimmyB

    Unfettered and unregulated capitalism are incompatible with democracy.  

    The Founding Fathers knew it.  Teddy Roosevelt knew it.  FDR knew it and countless Democrats know it.  

  •  UNREGULATED capitalism is an enemy of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, leema

    democracy.  Further, capitalism, regulated or not, is probably an enemy of the sustainability of human life on the planet.

    The good news?

    Stephen Hawking is pretty sure if humans don't get off the planet in 200 years we shall perish on this here earth.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:58:35 AM PDT

  •  Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    YES!

    Capitalism and democracy ARE incompatible!

    Democracy is supposed to be about EVERYONE and capitalism mostly rewards the rich and screws the hell out of the poor.

    I'm very frankly fed up with capitalism and I publicly advocate our capitalistic system be heavily tempered with socialism. I.E. If theres no way "up" for the poor then what good is the system? Its not. Its unfair!

    I had a friend tell me lotteries are a tax on the poor. MY reply? You know an honest way for somebody poor to become one of those 1%? I sure as hell don't.

    "As goes OHIO so goes the nation."

    by glbTVET on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:09:10 AM PDT

  •  We don't have a democracy. We have a democratic (4+ / 0-)

    republic.  Thus we elect representatives at various government levels.  There are some exceptions like the traditional  town meeting where everyone can show up and vote.

    What corrupts our system of government is the huge cost of getting elected, the fact that on a national level most of our elected representatives are wealthy, and the immense influence of organized wealth at all levels of government.

    I don't know that I would call what we have capitalism or even mixed.  Today it has become rent seeking corporatism.

  •  Austrian economics thinks so too (4+ / 0-)

    I read an article a few days ago about how the big names of neoliberalism and Austrian economics - Mises, Hayek, [Milton] Friedman, etc. - were all in bed with dictators (like Pinochet) because they honestly saw democracy as the enemy of "freedom".  Apparently, people could always get together and vote for regulations and a welfare state that suited them, and that was unacceptable.  It would take a dictator to resist the infantile grasping of the masses (possibly influenced by communism) and impose the platonic purity of the free market.  It would take a superior man - hard, fearless, and visionary - to truly appreciate freedom and to choose it over security.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:11:41 AM PDT

  •  Honduras (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TimmyB, isabelle hayes

    One of the stranger fallouts from the 2009 Honduran coup has been the scheme hatched by an NYU economist, Paul Romer, along with free-market libertarians—including Milton Friedman’s grandson, Patri; you can’t make this up—to start a bunch of “year-zero” cities in the country, free-market utopias with their own laws, except more savage.
    In any case, the plan has hit a snag in that a committee of the Honduran Supreme Court has declared them unconstitutional, though that ruling could be reversed by the full court. Recently, a lawyer who argued for their unconstitutionality was gunned down.
    Patri Friedman has cleared that point up, saying, in relation to these kind of start-up cities, that “Democracy is the current industry standard political system, but unfortunately it is ill-suited for a libertarian state.” Peter Thiel, founder of Paypall and bankroller of FB and another supporter of the Honduran scheme, wrote: “Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
    http://coreyrobin.com/...

    American Heart Association: Diet Soda can cause type 2 Diabetes. "Circulation" July 23, 2007. Read it for yourself.

    by jeffrey789 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:20:54 AM PDT

  •  We aren't living under capitalism. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looty, isabelle hayes, jds1978

    I think there needs to be a strong and consistent message informing people that we lost sight of capitalism long ago.  We now live under corporatism.  

    Yes, corporatism is totally and completely incompatible with democracy because corporatism feeds off of society like a money vampire.  Corporatism is more than willing to sacrifice the good of society/country in order to feed more money into the private coffers of those who already have seemingly infinite money.  ANd with the money and power they control, they are able to pervert actual democracy and pretty much ANY public/political conversation.

    People now live in fear for their jobs.  Their wellbeing.  We now live in a world where jobs are reliant on a small handful of major companies and those companies hold society/economy hostage on a regular basis to feed their own greed?  State/Country have deficit problems?  They don't care.  Lower their taxes or else they will go elsewhere.  They will buy up local businesses just to close them and ship the jobs overseas to both increase their own profits and kill off small, local competitors.  It makes no difference what the society wants because the competitive environment is already so f-ed up that many don't want to start their own business anymore.  They'd rather start something with the intent of just selling it to the bigger guys because you simply can't compete anymore.

    No.  Capitalism died when corporatism and big box stores became the norm.  When globalism and free trade agreements because standard.  Because that was when society, whether intentionally or not, decided making money was of primary importance, even if it meant putting profit ahead of social good.

  •  Long term, they are mutually exclusive IMO. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, isabelle hayes

    Capitalism and democracy may precariously co-exist for periods of time, but the ultimate goal of capitalism (i.e., to concentrate wealth) is antithetical to democratic governance.  Over time, the concentration of wealth and power has a corrupting influence on democratic government until it becomes a case of one or the other.  I think we are witnessing that play out.  

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:57:34 AM PDT

  •  Too many people using their own definitions here. (0+ / 0-)

    I really hate it when our so-called "reality-based community" just makes up shit and then argues from that standpoint.

    Socialism is an economic system, just like Capitalism. Democracy is a political system. Rich people ruling everything is not "Capitalism", it's either Oligopoly or Plutocracy.

    Capitalism is interfering too much with our Democratic republic right now, which is the problem. But they are by definition not incompatible as they are mutually exclusive concepts.

    vigilant "Dear Religion, this week I safely dropped a man from space while you shot a child in the head for wanting to go to school. Yours, Science."

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:12:31 AM PDT

  •  Democracy and Capitolism are a perfect match (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, isabelle hayes

    I’m not an expert but I did watch Rachel Maddow last night.

    Capitalism through competition is still the engine that creates the most innovation and economic prosperity over any other system.  The problem were having in the United States is that we’ve moved away from capitalism and it’s central element of competition.  In order to have a truly competitive capitalist society you need strong democratic government intervention to enforce it. Capitalism allows businesses to reap the rewards of their success and suffer the consequences of failure.  We have privatized the success but our largest and wealthiest corporations no longer need to worry about failure because it’s been socialized.

    The United States is a now Plutocracy or Corporate Socialist Society .  When large corporations get into trouble they can count on public funds to bail them out.  Our large corporations get huge tax breaks and advantages at the federal, state and local levels that small businesses can never hope to compete with.  The obscene wealth and privilege has enabled the top few to purchase government at all levels and set the nations agenda.  There is occasional pushback (pesky voters) but in the end it’s only a speed bump.  

    Case in point: four years after the financial sector irresponsibly destroyed themselves, crashed our economy, were rescued by taxpayer funds, then paid themselves huge bonuses and drew the ire of the entire nation, we are about to elect a president who is their hand picked former financier vulture capitalist.

    The real issue is that those at the very top do not want capitalism and competition which requires a strong democracy.  They prefer to stay at the top without competition and control the other 99.9% of us.  It’s nothing new, it’s actually the way almost all of human history has existed.

    They talk of competition frequently but it’s the last thing they really want.  We started this country with a constitution that began 'We the People', but now we are governed more by a corporate charter.

    The great experiment is failing.  

    The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well - Joe Ancis

    by TexasJay on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:19:27 AM PDT

  •  Corporatism is not capitalism (0+ / 0-)

    Corporations rely on rent seeking, regulatory capture, and collusion to maintain outrageous profit margins.  

    This is not "free market capitalism" and never was.

    Barack Obama is not a secret socialist class warrior who wants to redistribute wealth in America. But I'll still vote for him, anyway.

    by looty on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:20:20 AM PDT

  •  Only incompatible if officials are elected. (0+ / 0-)

    Select officials the way the ancient Athenians did -- randomly, by lot, from among all citizens -- and that political system can coexist perfectly well with private enterprise.  As it did in ancient Athens.

    The ancient Greeks thought that electing officials was not a democratic -- but an aristocratic -- way of choosing them.

    Maybe they had a point.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 11:21:25 AM PDT

  •  Wait, what??? (0+ / 0-)
    The Republican party wants nothing more than a government take-over of all things public.
    You sound a bit confused there, son...
  •  Yes, ultimately. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Capitalism is an enormously powerful force (0+ / 0-)

    as Marx recognized. Like any powerful force, it must be carefully controlled. In the 1930's, we realized that and brought the corporation under control. Now it has escaped again and will have to be put back under control. This time, it will be much harder than the last time though. You have to remember that the Congress is composed of a majority of very wealthy people. Even the President is a millionaire. It's no surprise then that the laws tend to be remarkably favorable to the rich. And a lot of Democratic representatives are millionaires too. So it isn't just Republicans. On that basis, this is not just a question of whether corporations are too powerful. Legislators increasingly represent the interests of the rich.

    It makes me wonder whether we shouldn't just ditch Congressional elections and switch to a kind of lottery in which people are just picked randomly from a pool of volunteers in each district. I almost guarantee that this system would generate a better Congress that would be more honest and productive than we have now. And, oddly enough, it would be more representative. Of course, you'd probably have to increase the size of Congress to a couple of thousand to weed out the odd nut, something we suffer from anyway now.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:02:26 PM PDT

    •  Random selection of Congressmen. (0+ / 0-)

      Go the comments section of your local newspaper. Imagine a random sampling. No thank you.

      The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

      by bubbajim on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:05:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Could it be worse than what we have? (0+ / 0-)

        At least they wouldn't be millionaires. Of course, if they chose you, it would be an excellent one.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:40:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Me? (0+ / 0-)

          That would suck for several reasons. I don't have the proper experience. I've got a few skeletons I like just where they are. I basically don't have the temperment for a deliberative body.

          Most millionaires have some competencies. More than I have, certainly.

          But then, so do leaders in non-remunerative areas. Like community organizers.

          The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

          by bubbajim on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:58:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then you wouldn't volunteer to be in the pool (0+ / 0-)

            of potential draftees. Most millionaires have some competences, do they? So do burglars. Scratch a liberal, find an elitist.

            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

            by Anne Elk on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:00:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You know, a million bucks ain't that much. (0+ / 0-)

              Have a good job, save a few bucks, you'll have a milllion dollars saved in a while.

              Doctor, lawyer, good engineer - you could save a million out of your 200k per year pretty fast. Do you think all doctors and engineeers are thieves? I know what people think about lawyers, so I won't ask. :D

              Now me, I'll never have that much, even when I retire. Not that important to me.

              I have known millionaires who were crooks. I've have also known millionaires who were driven and lucky - but honest.

              Tell the truth - can't you say the same? Or has every financially sucessful person in your circle of acquaintence been a crook?

              The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it. -Ezra Klein

              by bubbajim on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 10:20:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, it could be worse than what we have. (0+ / 0-)

          Most people don't have the right temperament, mindset and educational background to involve themselves in a regimented, orderly meeting where people basically argue all day.

          Although we might start getting those big brawls that Japanese or European parliaments sometimes break out in.  That could be amusing.

          As terrible as a lot of politicians are, probably lots of them realize that they'll never be able to outlaw gays, jail doctors who perform abortions and illegalize non-christian religious groups.

          I don't think a lot of their supporters know that.

          Plus, imagine the swarm of spelling errors that would inevitably introduce into the law.

          "The right to bare arms shall not be infringed."

          •  Were not the Revolutionaries (0+ / 0-)

            who wrote the Constitution unelected amateurs? They didn't do so badly. I think you have too little faith in people. Ordinary people may make errors but I think I would prefer honest mistakes from a worker to the sly machinations of our wealthy elected representatives. It's ironic in fact that you trust ordinary people to vote, but you want the range of people allowed to represent them constrained by characteristics that you consider admirable and genteel. Let's discuss this more some other time in the drawing room over tea.

            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

            by Anne Elk on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:57:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I barely know anyone who would be good at politics (0+ / 0-)

              I suspect the number of self-important ignorant people is nearing levels unprecedented in our modern era.

              I suspect most of the 'fighting' and bickering statements we get from our leaders in our political process are designed to appeal to partisans, and the politicians around have an understanding among one another that this is just how the game is played.  But that is not the image that is portrayed by the media.

              How many people think it's all about picking one's position and sticking to it with conviction despite all appeals to do otherwise?

              I suspect there's a lot of people who think that way.  Partisan commentators in the media tend to encourage that perspective.

              Also, politics is as much about personal charisma and salesmanship as much as it is about good policy.  I wouldn't be good at those things, so I wouldn't be good as a political leader.

      •  How representative are the people who write (0+ / 0-)

        comments in their local newspapers?

        Sure, picking people at random you're going to get a few nutters, maybe quite a few nutters, but then under the current system of representative democracy you allow those nutters to vote. You just have to hope that the nutters are in the minority.

        If you're put on trial for a criminal offence, isn't your guilt going to be determined by a random selection of people, some of whom may write comments in their local newspapers?

  •  Fascinating discussion (0+ / 0-)

    I might throw in a little homily-metaphor:

    I love the Golden Goose and her eggs. but I don't think that allows her to shit all over the yard.

    The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

    by ozsea1 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:33:42 PM PDT

  •  Yes they are incompatioble (0+ / 0-)

    especially when capitalism is taken to the so called inevitable, free market NWO Third Way global extremist disaster capitalism we have in place. Neither party is offering anything other then this extremist version of capitalism unfettered  and unrestrained. So vote your poison folks it's Goldman Sachs vs Bain.

    Be very afraid of either the socialist Obama or the Vulture venture capitalist Romney cause either way their gonna get you. How absurd this mockery of democracy is. Capitalism wins in it's worst form regardless of how you vote.

    On the other hand as a woman who resents a vagina probe or to be put in a freaking Mormon' binder, I better support the inevitableness of unrestrained capitalism and austerity so the rich get richer and I get poverty stricken. Oh thank you overlords of deficit reduction and world domination.  

    Pony up your vote as if you don't then not only will the cappies make you a slave labor hard working  prol for the theory and implementation of collective oligarchical collectivism if you refuse to accept this NWO  the other party will probe your vagina and send your job to China and blame you for raising a psycho killer cause your a single mom. Meanwhile pay your insurance extortion vig instead of eating or else the by-partisan cappies will kill yer family and send you a bill for the bullet.          

  •  Capitalism and Democracy (0+ / 0-)

    The relationship between capitalism and democracy has been studied a lot.

    Many classic works have addressed it, including "Capitalism and Social Democracy," by
    Adam Pzeworski, which I highly recommend.

  •  Capitalism & Democracy incompatible? (0+ / 0-)

    Yes. If you're talking the "pure"-typed capitalism as practiced by Bain, Halliburton, and other goon squads... What always strikes me is the use of "socialism" and "communism" as an insult to the true-blue Americans. You know - the ones who drive around on our socialist roads, wave at the socialist policeman as he goes by, gets home and takes a long shower courtesy of the socialist water mains, heated by electricity at least partially zipping through socialist power lines.

    Everybody need somebody to hate, and the so-called "communists" Mao Tse Tung and Joseph Stalin were a fantastic blessing to the military-industrial complex. Rather than being forced to dismantle the enormous war machine built to crush Hitler, they were able to seamlessly redirect it at the Red Menace - virtually unnoticed. A potential glitch was that Chairman Mao & Uncle Joe were vicious, howling dictators - they just lied about being communists. Not too many people in Soviet Russia benefited from the true communist ideals of equality. But NO leader ever lies to his people?

    And if you took a snapshot of America and Russia in, say, 1950 - with all our GI's back from the war buying up houses using the socialist GI loans, and getting college degrees paid by the socialist GI Bill. It would appear that our capitalism was leavened a great deal by a streak of socialism. Take another snap of the communist Red China in 1960. 15 million people starved to death as a result of the central government's decrees? That doesn't sound much like a

    "classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production."
    Meanwhile we were putting the finishing touch on perhaps our single greatest socialist wonder: the interstate highway system.

    You can go on and on like this, but perhaps it's simplest to internalize the fact that capitalism, communism, and socialism are economic systems, not forms of government. There are a few forms of government that do cater heavily towards business, oligarchy & despotism for example. And there is an economic system wherein the powers of government are held in thrall to the wishes of the richest businessmen: it's called "fascism."

  •  It depends on how the democracy (0+ / 0-)

    Regulates the capitalism, and how policy is adjusted over the long term in response to economic conditions. In theory, this can work.

    If democracy fails to adequately regulate capitalism, in practice both will fail.

    Making both or either work on a sustained basis requires an intelligent approach and maintaining balance in the face of change.

    Neither are ideal, inherently good in all cases or guaranteed to work, regardless of what proponents claim.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 01:19:27 AM PDT

  •  the capitalists have used radio to beat democracy (0+ / 0-)

    democracy can handle capitalism, it was designed to allow us to regulate it and its money.

    but democracy-loving americans have allowed a talk radio monopoly to short circuit the feedback mechanisms a healthy democracy needs.

    for eg., instead of concerned americans voting to do something about global warming and energy policy americans have allowed a few think tanks and their well coordinated blowhards to shout over those concerned  citizens and create well-disinformed but loud made-to-order constituencies to enable and intimidate media and politicians to obstruct what a healthy democracy would do.

     that is the best tool the capitalists have had to overcome democracy and there is still no organized opposition to deal with it.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:27:17 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site