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« Seven Billion and Counting | Main | Is There Hope? »

November 06, 2011

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Iaato Anchorage

"But the truth is that capitalism just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I won't deny that it facilitated what came next. "

"The laws that express the relation between matter and energy [thermodynamic laws], govern the rise and fall of political systems, the freedom or bondage of societies, the movements of commerce and industries, the origin of wealth and poverty, and the general physical welfare of a people." -- Frederick Soddy 1911

Capitalism develops in systems with surplus energy, allowing rapid growth. Capitalism is the feedback loops that develop to maximize power in a setting with surplus energy. A political system that evolves in a setting of inadequate energy for BAU in descent will be something else, with much less freedom and less equality.

Robin Datta

Economic "growth" is an increasing rate of production of usable items (the secondary economy) from natural resources (the primary economy) and the services needed to use some of those items (e.g. airline pilots). The tertiary economy (symbols - pieces of paper with green pictures of dead presidents, magnetized particles on hard drives, etc.) is the information system that coordinates and facilitates the conversion.

The conversion requires energy flows from high concentration to low concentration.. An increasing rate of conversion requires increasing energy flows. With the contraction in available energy, the flows will decrease, not increase. Ergo, the economy will shrink.

Shawn

I'm so happy you came to visit one of our occupations. I’ve spent the last few months pouring over your articles and I can tell by your recent writing that what you’ve witnessed has given you some additional hope.

George you are the universe being honest with itself. You are the universe understanding its limitations. You are the universe seeing, what it hopes, is light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

The universe needs your help making the millennial generation understand situation they’re marching bravely and naively into.
You are the universe not wanting this responsibility.

http://selfgov.us/post/11741753868/we-do-because-we-must-it-is-our-nature

GaffaUK

Sorry disagree with this article...- the OWS does not have a coherent message or solution. Things may not be great but things aren't going 'horribly wrong' for the vast majority of people - certainly not in western countries. In any system - be it capitalism, communism or anything you care to think of - there will be the corrosive influence of the wealthy and the powerful. However they are not all powerful within stable effective democracies as otherwise how do we explain the advances of social reform such as minimum wage, inheritance taxes, welfare, work regulations etc? In what stage in human history has there been an effective husbanding of resources? It is entirely possible to be citizens and consumers. And it's nonsense to claim that capitalism happened to come along at the right time and that it deserves no credit for the post war economic boom. Otherwise if it was down to discovery of resources - then how come the US economically boomed whilst resource rich Soviet Union economically stagnated? Why is there an economic difference today between poor North Korea and rich South Korea? Why was China having millions of people starving under communism and since they have effectively adopted capitalism since 1970s have millions of Chinese being lifted out of poverty? No coincidence with resources there. At what point in the last 1000 years have ordinary people like us living in the West during the last 50 years have had so much leisure time, disposable income and ability to change who's running the country? Global society is not at the beginning stages of collapse. As normal - there will be changes, economic and resource shift as there always been like the shift from wood to coal to oil. I'm sure people predicted doom and gloom after the Wall St crash in 1929 followed by the Great Depression. But look what happened after. We don't live in countries which have a truly free market - they are regulated. However the OWS rage is well-founded. And after this crisis - those regulations need to be tightened to stop this happened again. I believe for corporations there should be a maximum wage for CEOs and the rest of those at the top and ban golden parachutes for those who screw up companies and leave with millions whilst others lose their jobs. However plenty (but by no means all) of OWS protestors advocate the downfall of capitalism. A lot of them stop there but others who do offer solutions suggest communism (massive failure of the 20th century) or worst anarchy (how are ordinary people going to survive with anarchy - I don't think Somalia was having a great time during these last 10 years when for most of that it had no effective government). Or a resource based economy (see Venus Project) where somehow all the countries in the world agree to share resources and a computer decides who gets what based on need. Realistic? Democratic? Nope - pure utopia which would lead to a dystopia. Instead let's continue as we have done - to reform capitalism to make it better.

Tom

GaffaUK: You must surely be on drugs or have a severe case of short-term memory loss for your statement that things aren't going horribly wrong for the vast majority. Beginning with climate change, population topping 7 billion now and counting, moving on to financial insolvency (due to capitalist shenanigans), and on to resource depletion (including potable water), and only mentioning earthquakes and volcanic activity being on the rise, things are DIRE for the entire planet.

In Europe, we have massive unemployment of youth - a sure breeding ground for social upheaval. There are far too many USA- sponsored world-wide military "adventures" going on. You haven't heard of Peak Oil? Well, it's now Peak Everything, from chocolate (the cocoa tree is under threat from warming) to coffee (likewise), wheat (due to Russian and Texan drought, and severe flooding in the 'grain-belt' states - both on track to get worse as the years go by), beef (see Texas and the inability to grow enough grain to feed the herds), etc.

i agree with your "reform of captialism" idea, but i'm afraid it's too late for that - the damage has already been done.

One other topic you may want to brush up on is collapse. George introduced us to Wm. Catton's book which is landmark in this regard (there are others, one by Jared Diamond, for example).

Lots of luck with your head in the sand (i'm being nice, here).

GaffaUK

@Tom - I do believe that climate change is happening and is being fueled by man which has been happening for some time now. The exact impact of this is unknown - but at this moment in time the vast majority of westerners are not severely impacted by climate change - nor are they severly impacted by population growth or financial insolvency or resource depletion etc. That might come but talking about 'horribly wrong for the lives of the vast majority of people' especially for westerners is rubbish. Unemployment is high but unemployemnt is high during recessions and slow recoveries. Scares about resources having been banged on about for many decades and yet the shops are still full and the pumps still have oil. Does that mean we have to plan for the future better - absolutely. A lot of resources finite and the world needs to wean off oil - and solutions are being investigated. This needs to be faster but knee-jerk panic and exaggerations don't help. For those who want to get rid of capitalism - I simply ask - to be replaced by what - a
anarchy, communism, love?

AlT

@GaffaUK

Capitalism is very natural but unsustainable in the long term.

Collapse may not be abrupt but it is unfolding on a global scale

Whether OWS is the beginning of widspread and permanent civil unrest is remained to be seen

Being overly optimistic about reforming capitalism does not help - it only clouds our analysis

We need to think what kind of system is to come after capitalism because it will surely come since everything is evolving and capitalism and democracy is not an exception

And after we understand theoretical underpinnings of truely sustainable socio-economic system we may be able to recognize societal pathways thru which that system will come into existance

And we may also have some idea over what time frame

But simply saying that there is notheing better thasn capitalism is noty a smart move

Shawn


@GaffaUK,

It is the incoherent message that is making the movement so successful (see link below). That is why the incoherent message frustrates those who'd like to see the movement end. I'd like to add that most of those who'd like to see the movement end are still trapped in partisan politics. This movement is post-partisan. The reason the message sounds so discombobulated is because people are not used to hearing both sides of the isle cry foul at the same time. They are used to the left/right banter and bitterness that we are sick of.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/occupying-the-millenial-way/2011/11/02/gIQAc6cdnM_story.html

Capitalism is merely a word we use to describe a process of successfully finding, acquiring and using a steadily increasing supply of energy. Each country does this differently and has different luck. The US was so successful because it had a large supply of energy which peaked in the 70's. If the US Dollar hadn't become the reserve currency shortly thereafter, the US wouldn't be doing nearly as well right now. Capitalism will begin to fail once net energy has peaked. (Read: Capitalism is beginning to fail since net energy has peaked.)

"US economically boomed whilst resource rich Soviet Union economically stagnated?"

The Soviet Union oil production peaked and their currency wasn't the reserve currency.

"...explain the advances of social reform such as minimum wage, inheritance taxes, welfare, work regulations etc?"

All of these "advances" came with too much systemic friction (red tape, make-work, hoops aplenty through which to jump, etc.) to do any real good.

"For those who want to get rid of capitalism - I simply ask - to be replaced by what - anarchy, communism, love?"

Capitalism is failing, not because of the will of the people, but because physics demands it. The laws of thermodynamics demand it. Our capitalistic society is shriveling like a vestigial organ and will continue to do so unless we find more cheap energy. Miracles do happen and humans do seem to have a knack for survival but I don't believe the energy miracle we need is going to come in any reasonable amount of time; at least not soon enough to avoid the coming population bottle-neck.

As the world's capitalistic society shrinks, a new global society is emerging and growing before our very eyes. It is an anthropologist's wet dream.

This movement has had many names over the past few years and is learning as it goes...

The Tea Party - Fueled and made possible by the internet, The Tea Party began as a post-partisan venture but was quickly gobbled up by the GOP.

The Arab Spring - Also powered by the internet, has toppled and is toppling multiple regimes. It appears a new military dictatorship is arising in place of the old. It also looks like the people understand this since they're taking to the streets in protest once again.

Occupy Wall Street - This is first global incarnation of the movement which is spreading and self-organizing at an amazing rate. Mere hours after the police attack on Occupy Oakland, there were people in Egypt brandishing signs in #solidarity with them.

What I see when I visit an occupation is a society of kind, educated people who are intelligent enough know something is terribly wrong with our world and wise enough to know that they have to do something about it.

Many are young and many are naive. Some still do believe, as George mentioned, that the system can be "fixed" so that everybody can enjoy a standard of living similar to that of the West. When pressed, most who hold this belief do profess an understanding of the perils of peak net energy and its effects on the economy. Those that don't, get educated by those that do. I promise you, the sapience that George is looking for is emerging from this awakening, global society.

This growing society values sustainability, community, small representative government, fairness and love for humanity above all else.

AlT

@shawn

you say that you think "the sapience that George is looking for is emerging from this awakening, global society."

i would disagree with you

i think you are engaging in wishful thinking

the majority of population do not understand nearly as much as you do and i doubt that _anyone_ including george, you or me when put in the position of power will behave substantially different from current leader and will be able to steer popular discontent

people are taking to the street because they see deteriorating quality of life and are smart enouph to sense that the situation will not get any better

but if you ask them about how we should deal with overpopulation many of them will dismiss the problem let along will support mandatory revercible sterilization of _all_ males before puberty with birth licenses being distributed thru the lottery

i think OWS or any other mass movement is light years away from sapience and the situation will continue to be so simply because educating the masses is not the task that can be achieved over a month or two or even a decade, especially when the system is making the masses dumber and dumber

the masses wil get educated but over the years of die-off and eventually the average sapience will go up but not thru education but thru decrease in numbers with less sapient dying faster than more sapient

step back

The ultimate "occupy" will come when we occupy our brains.

Shawn

@AlT,

"i think you are engaging in wishful thinking"

I am witnessing the dramatic increase of sapience. Since when did observation become, "wishful thinking?"

No amount of wisdom can "save" the current system. The current system of consumption is dying from starvation. Salvation will not come from within.

"but if you ask them about how we should deal with overpopulation many of them will dismiss the problem let along will support mandatory reversible sterilization of _all_ males before puberty with birth licenses being distributed thru the lottery"

Which occupations have you visited and how many occupiers have you spoken with about this? Given the importance of peak net energy and over-population, I bring it up quite often. I've had my points flat out dismissed only by the more "conservative" capitalist crowd who say the free market will take care of it. Very few are convinced that current technology will save us. (Though many are convinced that cleaner technology exists and is being withheld for profits)

I've spent over 100 hours with the OccupyMN crowd. I’ve been directly involved in two separate General Assembly discussion groups focused on over-population. Both immediately zeroed in on localized, sustainable, organic community-based farming practices as the best solution. Other ideas included sex education, general education and cheaper/more available birth control methods.

Not once was sterilization mentioned. I would, in fact, be embarrassed to bring up forced sterilization as an option given the values of the people at the occupation.
@AlT, you know not what you condemn.

“educating the masses is not the task that can be achieved over a month or two or even a decade”

Believe it or not, they do understand that they don’t have the answers and are taking it upon themselves to educate each other on these issues. Go to http://occupymn.org and you’ll see a partial schedule of all the community education programs they’re putting on.

I would like to personally invite you to any and all of our occupations so you can witness what I’ve been witnessing. You will end up a seer and believer.

AlT

@step back
good writing and in line with "thinking about thinking" and developping mental habits that enable _science__ instead of multiplication of ignorant opinions of others

we all still have lots to do in that department

AlT

@shawn

i share into your enthusiasm for change and your belief into the movement but i will not support or engage in "protests" of any kind as a matter of principle

protest against _what_?

the natural power structure of human scociety that evolved out of ignorance?

you yourself say that you would not bring up sterilization given "the values"

what are those "values" as not the other name for "ignorance"?

and it is understandable:
the young are those who start from the lower levels of the power structure and they wil always be challenging the status quo as part of their desire to climb on top (natural i should say)

of course you will not tell the young people that they have no future and that they should not have been born in the first place

the more educated is a person the less it will be inclined to have kids because knowing what is coming only incredibly selfish will be capable of raising a child and not feel that they are raising a calf for slaughter

i had a daughter when i was 27 - i did not know as much as i know now

i will not have any more children ever

Shawn

@A1T

"i will not support or engage in "protests" of any kind as a matter of principle"

A protest in its simplest terms is action taken in support or offense to something. By refusing to protest you are taking action against protesting. You are technically protesting the act of protesting.

"protest against _what_?

the natural power structure of human scociety that evolved out of ignorance?"

As we now understand, protest can come in many different forms :) The main reason I've fallen in love <3 with OccupyMN is the fact that they protest by being proactive and helpful within the community.

We are the universe nourishing itself
Occupation kitchens throughout the world are feeding the hungry as we speak. Between October 7th and today, OccupyMN has provided Hennepin County with over 422,000 Kilocalories (1,764,250 kJ) from donated oatmeal alone! (excluding milk and butter but including sugar/syrup) er... (also excludes the daily gluten free oatmeal delivery because I couldn't find accurate calorie counts :)) That's over 1,000 Big Mac's total; more than 30 per day.

I mention the oatmeal because that's the only item I could even come close to estimating. There are also daily deliveries of pizza from Galactic Pizza, Indian goodness from Gandhi Mahal and Hotdishy Love from a growing army of adorable little old ladies.

I've witnessed Hennepin County employees line up behind the homeless for a plate of warm food.

We are the universe caring for itself.
Occupation medic stations throughout the country are tending to the injured and sick.

OccupyNYC protested by cleaning the hell out of their park.

This week OccupyMN will be going door to door with words and rakes (shovels if it snows) in a North Minneapolis neighborhood to spread good news by spreading good work.

There are many other similar proposals that are either being acted upon or are tabled for further discussion.

We are the universe educating itself.
As I mentioned earlier, at OccupyMN there are daily teach-ins that anybody may attend. Topics/activities range from Yoga to Seed Saving.

There is also an occupation library that you can check books out of.

Most important to me though is how it is forming the personal bonds between people and sense of community that will be necessary to survive the collapse of this empire.

I have children too. The oldest of which will be eleven shortly. This awakening is one of the only things (other than perverse blind faith) fueling my hope that our children will have some sort of future to grow into.

I'm definitely going to be asking the kid question tomorrow when I head down there. It would be interesting to know their plans on procreation.

Personally, I've already brought two lambs (two too many) into a world of wolves and have since been sterilized.

AlT

@shawn

i am glad you understand that siomply by being alive we automatically influence the outcomes: when we chose not to act it is still our choice

so yes you can call me "protester against protesting"

but my reason for not engaging with OWS movement or any other mass movement is not because I am against engagement with others but because I know that my effectiveness in that engagement will be even less than posting on this blog-space

ignorance is all around us; we are made of it because we are born in ignorance; we drink it with mother's milk and we follow it when we fall in love - so is the nature of our experience - so is our _human condition_

i am very glad you get the emotional charge from feeling involved and needed and finding the purpose for your life - these are reasons good enough for you to be involved

but if we talk about cold, emotion-free, purely rational, higher order system thinking (forget for a moment that such abstraction is unattainable at the current stage of evolutionary process) the OWS is a waste of our precious energy in the grand scheme of evolutionary process, system properties of 'human condition' and the nature and course of human evolution

i am curious what your children have to say on the procreation issue - i bet when their hormones kick in they will not be as uninformed as we were but they still will not have the mental habiots necessary to control the primary urge to multiply

and of course i agree with you that personal bonds are the key for survival - it always has been the case and always will be -those who learn how to cooperate without letting the politics of power cloud their judgement will be the ultimate group of survivors

Shawn

@A1T

"but if we talk about cold, emotion-free, purely rational, higher order system thinking (forget for a moment that such abstraction is unattainable at the current stage of evolutionary process) the OWS is a waste of our precious energy in the grand scheme of evolutionary process, system properties of 'human condition' and the nature and course of human evolution"

I'm pretty sure this is the only point on which we don't agree.

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Bertrand Russell

I would also add that time spent educating the public about Peak Everything and what they can do to prepare is time I enjoy wasting.

GaffaUK

@Shawn

Russia today is very effective in using it's plentiful resources for economic and political leverage. And I see you fail to explain the economic disparity between North Korea and South Korea...let me guess did North Korea hit it's peak oil production years before South Korea? lol.

I would imagine all those who have benefited from social reforms of the last 100 years (minimum wage, inheritance taxes, welfare, work regulations etc) would disagree with your dismissive comment that they haven't done any good. Simply compare the conditions of workers in the 19th Century and today in the West to see the advances. Advances that any cold-hearted capitalist would rather not want to have to forced upon them so they weren't so powerful as those who believe in conspiracies (see David Icke) like us to believe. This shows that however flawed - democracy works.

And you fail to answer my question of what capitalism should be replaced by. The Tea Party is Pro-capitalist! Completely barmy maybe but they want low taxes and deep cuts in debt. Nothing to do with getting rid of capitalism. They foolishly compare Obama to a Marxist.

The Arab Spring also has nothing to do with the banking crisis or OWS. They are trying to get rid of unelected despots and bring democracy. (Maybe the bad capitalist West should of let Gaddafi win?) Democracy - something we in the West already have. Funny how the disasterous experiments of anti-capitalism such as communism were so anti-democracy. If communism was so good then why were those so frightened in letting it's people decide or even leave those countries? Again teh Arab Spring has nothing to do with capitalism. Branding a sign in Egypt about OWS doesn't make them linked in the same way if I wore a Anti-Christian T-Shirt at a Scrap the Monarchy event - doesn't link those seperate issues. The only link those 3 things have are that they are protests - protests about 3 different things.

And there is nothing new about the left and the right crying foul - that's as old as the hills. And I'm sure there are plenty of OWS protestors who want bigger government who gets more involved in controlling big business. The OWS plays an important role in highlighting injustice but it offers no credible alternative which is a massive weakness however those involve like to spin it otherwise.

Florifulgurator

GaffaUK, "The Arab spring has nothing to do with capitalism".

It started with poorer Arab folks feeling the pain of rising food prices. Rising food prices is the first symptom of capitalism hitting the wall. (E.g. how will Egypt pay for grain imports while their oil exports melt away.) It's of course not about capital alone, but also overpopulation, destructive agriculture, plus climate disruption: Since 2010 unexpected weather (e.g. Russia burning) is boosting grain prices.

Dictators only get in trouble when they run out of capital.

Shawn

@GaffaUK

"Russia today is very effective in using it's plentiful resources for economic and political leverage."

Because of rising costs for oil globally, Russia's diminishing oil reserves are now worth tapping. When oil was $20 a barrel it wasn't cost effective.

"And I see you fail to explain the economic disparity between North Korea and South Korea...let me guess did North Korea hit it's peak oil production years before South Korea? lol."

The Koreas don't have oil as far as I know. Both are dependent upon other nations being willing to sell them oil at fair prices. Can you think of any reason why an oil producing country would treat North Korea differently than South Korea?

"I would imagine all those who have benefited from social reforms of the last 100 years (minimum wage, inheritance taxes, welfare, work regulations etc) would disagree with your dismissive comment that they haven't done any good. Simply compare the conditions of workers in the 19th Century and today in the West to see the advances."

Yes there is some benefit to all of it. There absolutely are social programs that were created to run efficiently though I can't think of any existing programs that haven't been micro-regulated into junk. If I'm wrong I'd really like to know. A program being incredibly inefficient doesn't mean it benefits nobody.

And I do agree that the wealth creators, the laborers, work in conditions far better than those of the 19th century. The organizations that won these rights, years and years ago, are still around without having much real good work to do. They are currently, in my opinion, a drag on the system.

"[These advances show] that however flawed - democracy works."

What this quote shows is that some people are easily tricked into believing we have a democracy. We don't have a true democracy. We had a democratic republic for the longest time but those times are over. I think what you meant to say in the quote above is,

"These advances show that, however flawed, a democratic republic works."

With that I'd agree.

"The Arab Spring also has nothing to do with the banking crisis or OWS. They are trying to get rid of unelected despots and bring democracy."

The Arab Spring happened because the governments there don't represent the people so the people represented themselves and overthrew the government. What they want is representation. I predict the governments that fill the power vacuums will be just as corrupt and will be overthrown again. In fact Egyptions are trying to do just that.

Occupy Wall Street is happening because people here are not represented by our government. We do not have a democracy. We do not even have a democratic republic. We have an oligarchy. The government currently represents the interests of a small percent of the population. Occupy Wall Street is trying to bring democracy.

All of the recent civil (and violent) unrest is related and it doesn't matter what name you give it.

"Funny how the disasterous experiments of anti-capitalism such as communism were so anti-democracy."

China is both capitalist and communist. China is also predicted to be the next economic super-power though don't read the word "super" and assume I mean anything like the power the United States is currently losing.

China has grown in economic power and ability so quickly because it is communist. The government can do what is best for business at the people's expense and not have to really answer for it.

Capitalism is not Democracy and one does not require the other. China's growth proves to me that the efficiency of capitalism increases when freedoms decrease.

"Branding a sign in Egypt about OWS doesn't make them linked"

The sign isn't what links the two uprisings. I used the story about the sign to indicate how quickly thoughts are travelling across the globe. Nothing more.

Again, all of the unrest taking place recently is linked. It is the common desire for representation and the willingness to do something about it that links them.

"And you fail to answer my question of what capitalism should be replaced by."

I did answer. It will be replaced by the society that is currently emerging from this mess. This global push for freedom, liberty and representation is this new society in its infancy. Something new is coming that this world has never seen and I'm thrilled to be able to witness and help guide it.

"And there is nothing new about the left and the right crying foul - that's as old as the hills."

Right there is nothing new about it. What is new, baffling and frustrating to some (including you it seems) is the post-partisan message of OWS.

"And I'm sure there are plenty of OWS protestors who want bigger government who gets more involved in controlling big business. The OWS plays an important role in highlighting injustice but it offers no credible alternative which is a massive weakness however those involve like to spin it otherwise."

Yes there are some people involved in OWS that "want bigger government to reign in business" but that's just another way of saying, "I want more representation within government."

And what are you looking for an alternative to? Oligarchy? A credible alternative to that is the return to a democratic republic which would please the hell out of most of OWS.

The process by which OWS is governing itself is the beginnings of what I believe to be another "credible alternative." OWS is more of a true democracy than the United States ever has been.

GaffaUK

@Florifulgurator - The Arab spring started when Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest of police corruption and ill treatment.

@Shawn
If there was a single link to oil production and propersity and no link to economic management and system then Russia followed by Saudi Arabia would be biggest economies in the world. They are not even in the top 10! After the US and China - comes Japan, Germany and France in terms of size of economies - and how much oil do they produce?

My pointg regarding social reform isn't whether they are efficient or not (plenty of sytems are ineffecient and I'm sure a neo-liberal free market purist would love to get their hands on welfare programs) but to show that if we are being so expertly controlled by the fat capitalist 1% then how the hell did these programs exist?

People are not tricked into believing they have a democracy. We have a democracy in the West. And we can play semantics over the ancient or modern term of democracy - but we do have a representative democracy. The US isn't the only country in the West - as someone in the UK - I live in a constitutional democracy with a monarchy (a monarchy I would love to be scrapped). The US is a republic (it has no monarchy) and is a representative democracy. The biggest problem with the UK and US political systems is that they are effectively two party as they do not have proportional representation as do many other modern western democracies.

OWS isn't trying to bring democracy as it can't agree on anything much (remember apparently that's strength! lol) You reckon a country can be run with general assemblies with consensual agreement with no leadership, parroting comments via human microphones and jazz hands...! Might work for anti-capitalists camped out in a park - but doesn't work in modern nations with millions of people.

Absolutely capitalism and democracies are not the same. My point with naive systems like Communism is that historically they are not democratic at all. Whereas there are plenty of example of western capitalist countries which are democracies.

Post-partisan phrase is empty as post-modern. It's meaningless. Has there been non-partisan politics before now. Of course. Are there partisan politics today. Absolutely. You reckon supposedly non-partisan tea party and OWS could agree on any political system? Snowflake in hell would have more chance.

If there are people who want bigger government or government to take more action with banks etc - that does not equate to them want greater representation.

The US is already a democratic republic. If you believe that it used to be and no longer is - then please let me know when in history did this change - and what the difference is.

In fact the history of the US has progressively been more representation not less. People may put the founders fathers on pedastal but dont forget these were white well-off planters and lawyers looking largely after their own interests. Remember all men (not women of course) are created equal...(unless you don't happen to be white). And through the US history it has been a capitalist society. So I ask again if you don't, like me, want capitalism to be reformed - then let me know *your* (not the OWS generally as they have no idea consensually) credible realist democratic alternative.

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