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Archive for November, 2012

Solutions

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There are some quite simply solutions to many of our problems – it’s just that very few people would like them.

So really our problem is that we want to be allowed to continue doing what we are doing.  And the impossible solution we are looking for, is how to avoid having to make any changes.

There are perfectly effective solutions to our housing, affordability and other crisis’.  But it would require collapsing the housing market.  And nobody with any skin in the game wants that.  So we continue with extremely high prices and limited availability. In fact, that is what we have (politically) chosen to accept.

The Prime Minister said it fairly directly recently when he said “…people wouldn’t thank us for doing that…”

No they wouldn’t, or more specifically, the people who vote for him wouldn’t.

Another arena where there is rational solution that we continue to ignore because it doesn’t suit us, is interest rates.

It would hurt too many established interests to have the cost of money climb up to any sort of rational rate – particularly in light of the global financial situation.

Bank deposit interest rates would likely be north of 10%, if not for the current and ongoing intervention by Central Banks.  If I was king of the world, they would be. I don’t believe our structural economic problems can be resolved without that as a key component.  Apparently I am not the only one to think so.

The solution to weak economic growth may be higher interest rates.

It would of course financially ruin a lot of people and enterprises – the same people who lobby for low rates.  But seriously… who exactly are we saving, and why?  The rest of society and the economy must suffer to preserve them and their wealth/privileges?

if you refuse to feed an overlevered lending market with ever-cheaper credit, history says the market clears and then the economy recovers.  The over-levered [go] bankrupt – but the market clear[s].

Recision.

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ps.  best of luck getting any such solutions passed in a Democratic system however.

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Democracy 5.)

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Here’s another interesting take on the concept of democracy.

By Charles Hugh Smith; one of the writers I respect and read regularly.

He has a very humanitarian approach, but also a very realistic, astute, unromantic and pragmatic view.  If it is wrong, he will call it.  And he has just written an article about  Democracy that hits up pretty much the same issues as I am critiquing.  

I have taken some selected highlights from his essay to present here, but just click the title below to link to his full article if you are interested.   ~R

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Is Democracy possible in a corrupt society?

~ CHS.    Nov 12 2012

If the citizenry cannot replace a dysfunctional government and/or limit the power of the financial Aristocracy at the ballot box, the nation is a democracy in name only.

In other words, if you cannot dislodge a parasitic, predatory financial Aristocracy via elections, then “democracy” is merely a public-relations facade, a simulacra designed to create the illusion that the citizenry “have a voice”.

When the Status Quo remains the same no matter who gets elected, democracy is a sham.

Here’s how a sham democracy works: candidates are duly paraded in front of credulous voters in a “which is better, Bud or Bud Lite?” false-choice marketing blitz.   While all the meaningful codifying of Aristocratic rule is directed or purchased by the financial and political aristocracy (two sides of the same coin).

The State is effectively operated as a fiefdom of the Financial Power Elites.

In this facsimile democracy, citizenship has devolved to advocacy for a larger share of government swag.

Put another way: the Power Elites of a nominal democracy can buy the complicity of the majority by showering them with government benefits and entitlements.

In essence, this is a vote-buying scheme by the Status Quo…  and the majority concludes that supporting the Status Quo, no matter how corrupt, venal, parasitic, unsustainable and dysfunctional it might be, is in their personal interests.

Is Democracy Possible in a Corrupt Society? No, it is not. Our democracy is a PR sham.

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And I might add – a prison of our own making.  ~R

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Democracy 4.)

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First off we have to get a proper picture, of the proper function of government.

The job of Government is not to change anything – the job of Government is to keep things the same.  To preserve the status quo.   It is the job of Revolutions to change things.  So in light of this analysis and understanding…

Our governments has been doing an outstanding job for the last X years – nothing has changed – government is working perfectly.  It’s just not working for YOU.

Your job is to pay taxes and vote (thereby legitimising and enabling Government ) – while the Government does its job of supporting and sustaining the Corporations and the Banks.  Wealth and power flows to the 1%, while you get to work and die for… “your country”.

Fraud, lying, cheating, stealing, and wars are normalised functions of government, because they work – for the Corporations, Banks and Government.

The question is; why would you ever have thought it was about anything else?  Ohh, that’s right – you were probably taught such nonsense as:

    • Power to the people.
    • Government of the people, by the people, for the people.
    • The Social Contract.

Hmmm… and who taught you that?  Ohh that’s right – the Government.  You have been educated and shaped since childhood in government schools to accept the status quo.  If democracy/voting actually made a difference and changed anything, it would be illegal.

The only thing that makes a difference is organisation.  That’s it – that’s all.

You need a big enough team – all pulling together in the same direction.  10,000 is probably about the starting point for what is needed.

If you can put a 10K strong crowd onto the streets, you are 90% of the way towards taking control; because the rest of the population either isn’t as organised, or is not of a mind to confront that (in any modern society, 10K is nowhere near a majority. But it is likely the biggest powerblock, and that is sufficient).  That is the whole point of Unions, political-parties, religions, tribes, whatever…  Get together a big enough crowd of supporters, that the other “power” blocks will shift and make room to accommodate and appease you.  * bottom.

Otherwise they will ignore you – because they can. What are you going to do…?  This is Real-Politik.

Government, politics, and Democracy actually equals the biggest bullies jostling for position, establishing a pecking order and balance; and then the rest of us taking what we are given or is left over.  The form and theory of politics/democracy is irrelevant. All that matters is the results.  And if the status quo cannot maintain the rank and privileges of the major players, then the rules must and will be changed to ensure that  it does. Might is right.

If you are not mighty, a part of a bigger machine, then you are a bug to be ignored, or squashed.

“Democracy” is simply just a framework for all of that to work within.  The major players have defined the playing field, and formulated an excuse/justification for it all. System capture – heads they win, tails you lose.  Or as some-one put it: democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what they are  going to have for dinner.  The voting is irrelevant, the outcome was decided long ago. The politicians and their crony’s will win.  The actual names on the ballot, and the election campaigns, are ephemeral meaningless symbols. A whole lot of sound and fury – signifying nothing.  The status quo remains.

“Democracy” certainly doesn’t deserve your respect or trust, allegiance or veneration.  It is at best a tool, and like all tools it can be turned to good or ill.  The Swiss probably have as good a version as anyone – the rest of us endure a perverse farce.  Because we are not Organised – and will not push for Revolution.

We are the Helots, Plebs, Peasants, Proletariat.  Whatever the propaganda and prevailing narrative about ‘we the people being sovereign’ or ‘one man one vote’, the evidence is plainly otherwise.  Democracy changes nothing, we the people are still ruled and exploited by our Lords and Masters.  The Aristocratic Elites remain.

~ R.

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*  The one significant/consistent feature that “Democracies” do display is that competing social-power-blocks within the Polity will attempt to accommodate their differences peacefully (and via some form of due process), rather than by confrontation and trails of strength.

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Democracy 3.)

This article was originally a review of a book.  I have edited it fairly heavily to highlight the points I am interested in. Follow the link in the title to see the origional, if you are interested.

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Tyranny of Merit

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, Christopher Hayes, Crown Publishers, 292 pages

(book review) By SAMUEL GOLDMANAugust 21, 2012

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“Elite” wasn’t always a dirty word. Before the 19th century, the term described someone chosen for office. The pre-Victorians transformed it into a collective noun with class implications. By the 1830s, “elite” referred to the highest ranks of the nobility.

These days, “elite” means essentially a snob. Not, however, a snob of the old, aristocratic breed. In this context, “elite” means men and women who think degrees from famous universities mean they know better than their fellow citizens.  Elites like these have been getting their way on Wall Street and in Washington for years, with disastrous results.  America is governed by a ruling class that has proved unworthy of its power, and the failures of the last decade have created a deep crisis of authority.  We count on elites to do the right thing on our behalf.  From wars, to abuse in the Catholic Church, and above all the financial crisis it shows that they didn’t know enough, or care enough to do so.

 To advance two explanations for these failures. The first emphasizes elite ignorance. People with a great deal of money or power aren’t like the rest of us. Their whole lives are different to those of ordinary people. This isn’t always because their tastesare distinctive (at least initially) it’s often a job requirement.  In addition, elite types don’t spend much time with averages Joes. At work, they’re surrounded by subordinates. At home, they live in literally or metaphorically gated communities and socialize with people similar to themselves.

Again, there’s nothing sinister about this. Because of their distance from the rest of the population, however, members of the elite often have little idea what’s going on in less rarefied settings.  Ignorant of the challenges that the poor and middle-class face, and separated from the consequences of their actions, elites have trouble making good decisions.  They are susceptible to making policies that seem reasonable but which on-the-ground experience would expose as ineffectual.  The distance of elites can also have moral consequences. When policies fail, isolated elites are more likely to blame their subjects than themselves, for elites like these it’s always someone else’s fault.  All elites risk falling out of touch, and always have – effective authority, must be accountable authority.

The other aspect of elite failure, is the principle of selection used by the most influential institutions.  Modern American elites are distinctive because they acquire status by means of ostensibly objective criteria. As a result, they think they deserve their wealth and power.

The ideal of meritocracy has deep roots.  But the modern meritocracy dates only to the 1930s, when Harvard settled on the SAT exam to find a measure-of-ability to supplement the Old-Boys network.  In the decades following World War II, standardized testing replaced the gentleman’s agreements that had governed the Ivy League. First Harvard, Yale, and then the rest, filled with the sons and eventually daughters of Jews, blue-collar workers, and other groups whose numbers had previously been limited.  After graduation, these newly pedigreed men and women flocked to New York and Washington. There, they took jobs once filled by products of New England boarding schools.  While we may applaud the replacement of the WASP ascendancy with a more diverse cohort. The principle on which they rose inevitably undermines itself.

Meritocracy does not oppose unequal social and economic outcomes. Rather, it justifies inequality by offering greater rewards to the talented and hardworking (Presuming that everyone has the same chance to compete under the same rules). That may be true at the outset. But tends to be subverted by the inequality of outcome that meritocracy legitimizes. In short, those who are able to climb up the ladder will find ways to pull it up after them, or to selectively lower it down to allow their friends, allies and kin to scramble up. Meaning, whoever says meritocracy says oligarchy.

Call this paradox the “Iron Law of Meritocracy”.  The way the Iron Law operates at Hunter College High School in New York City is this; admission to Hunter is based on the results of a single test offered to 6th graders who did well on statewide tests in 5th grade. Because there are no preferences for legacies, donors, members of minority groups, or athletes, admission to Hunter seems like a pure application of the meritocratic principle.  Except it doesn’t work that way.

Although its student body once reflected the racial and economic proportions of the city, Hunter has grown increasingly wealthy and white. Why?  Because rich parents have discovered strategies to game the system, and give their kids a substantial leg up.  These children are better prepared than rivals – and they’re clearly bright and hardworking. But it’s hard to conclude that they’ve earned their advantage, they’ve been fortunate to have parents who know what it takes to climb the ladder and can pay for those advantages.  Yet the ideal of meritocracy obscures the accident of birth. From Hunter to Harvard to Goldman Sachs, the meritocrats proceed through life convinced that they owe their rise exclusively to their own efforts.  Of course, most elites have fancied themselves a superior breed.  But the way ‘meritocracy’ obscures the role of chance, encourages the modern elite to think of themselves as unusually deserving individuals, rather than members of a ruling class with responsibilities to the rest of society.

Finally, the selection of the elite for academic accomplishment leads to a cult-of-intelligence that discounts the practical wisdom necessary for good decision-making. Remember Enron?  They were ‘the smartest guys in the room’.  Which shows why our elites take the form they do and how they fell so out touch with reality. The modern elite is caught in a feedback loop that makes it less and less open, and more and more isolated from the rest of society.

The defect of meritocracy is not the inequality of opportunity that it conceals – but the inequality of outcome that it celebrates.

In other words, the problem is not that the son of a postal clerk has less chance to become a Wall Street titan than he used to. It’s that the rewards of a career on Wall Street have become so disproportionate to the rewards of the traditional professions, let alone a humble civil servant.

While the income and influence of the very rich has zoomed ahead, the stagnation of the economy has left the rest at risk of proletarianization.  The meritocratic elite that has overseen one of the most disastrous periods of recent history.  To rescue ‘Meritocracy’ from its failings would require legislators who are not either drawn from it, or depend on it.  Like the poor, elites will always be with us.  There is no society without a governing class. Whether they’re selected by birth, intelligence, or some other factor, some people inevitably exercise power over others.

The question is: how they ought to be chosen.

Samuel Goldman is a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton ]

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Two things:

Hidden in all this is an assumption that: because you are brighter, smarter, better – that means that you should be rewarded better, and the better you are rewarded, the better.  

If you end up being the managers and decision makers, if becomes very easy to decide to make it so.  You set the level of your own rewards and remuneration. 

I would argue that is is fairly important that the managers and decision makers are not left alone to decide how much of the wealth of society they get to skim off the top. And they should certainly not be left the freedom to rape and pillage to the extreme extent of their capability.  A free society is not one where you are free to get away with whatever you can.  That is not a society, that is a jungle.

Next: as stated in the article, ‘elites’ of one form or another are both inevitable, and necessary.  But it is patently obvious they also need to be ring fenced off into socially acceptable arena’s and monitored.  They are a tool for society, not an end in themselves.  The rest of us do not need, and must not condone, self centered and self referencing narcissists who compete with each other to see who can afford the biggest Super-yacht (machines that burn more fossil fuels in one day than the rest of us would use in a decade).

  Not only is that a form of behaviour that is obnoxious in and of itself, it is an outrageous diverting of wealth towards pointless vanities, when there is so much more important things that need doing.  Certainly you can argue; what place is it of mine to say what anybody else should do with their money, and what makes my priorities so much more  righteous?  On the other hand, if no-one is making (I won’t say earning) hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars – then they wont be buying hundred-million dollar super-yachts either now will they.

The idea that the ‘Boss’ is entitled to rake out multi million dollar bonuses from a business while the employees are on minimum wage is classic self justification.  The winner rewriting history to suit themselves.  The fact that society lets them get away with doing so is a flat out indictment by itself.  The communists had a go at re-imagining and restructuring society, albeit one that ended in pretty abject failure.  However that fact that those attempts lasted as long as they did suggests the idea of a transformation was one that did have  a mass appeal, and some merit. 

The trick then is to find a mechanism and system that allows the smart and ambitious to do well, without letting them run wild – no more Enron’s. Part of that is, as was indicated in the article, having a ‘good’ system for who ‘chooses’ the elites.  And there is a big essay of its own…

The other part is proper ‘cost control’.  You can be ‘elite’ as you like – but that doesn’t mean you get to set your own pay-rate.  Pay must be seperated from power.  Otherwise the result is, variously: Fascism, crony capitalism, Corporatism, corruption, aristocracy, plutocracy – call it what you will – they are all the same thing really: self serving opportunism.  The people doing it do so because they can!  Our job is to ensure they can’t, and the extent to which we fail at that we will be directly injured – and they will be too caught up in their own bubble of self interest to care.  If we don’t care enough to stop them, why should they care enough to consider us.  It is possible to find the right balance.  

As an example, universities have many smart people working in them, but they don’t get to set their own salaries. Therefore, they do get paid better than average, but not outrageously so.  Some variation of that principle needs also to be applied to Bank CEO’s and the like.  Without the outragious rewards, many of the current crowd in finance would likely find somewhere else to go.

And perhaps it would be a proper function of a National Intelligence Service to identify, track and monitor what and where the amoral and the sociopaths are migrating to.  They will always be hunting for the next opportunity to make a killing somewhere, and the rest of us need to be actively working to contain and channel them.  Apart from the fact that demonstrably we can’t afford to let them do as they will, I have no doubt that there are solutions and mechanisms for using their talents and energies in a socially constructive manner.  Or if necessary,  segregating them off into a isolation space where they can play their games amongst themselves – and injure only themselves.  Their attitudes and values can not be allowed to be to become a social norm.

America’s founding fathers had the concept of a separation of executive powers. That separation can also be extended to include the fields of: making money and profits – and the making and administering the rules.  They can both be run by ‘elites’ – just not the same elites.  Meritocracy is an essential element of the selection of an elite.  But elites must not self-define merit.  Or what they get paid.

The extent to which we can find and maintain that balance and separation will determine the health and well-being of our society.

~ R

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Democracy 2.)

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In politics, as in life, few people bother thinking beyond the familiar. So to suggest that our current system of government is a failure and needs to be replaced is to strike at what they hold familiar and dear.

But however sacred a cow Democracy is to many, that shouldn’t stop us imagining alternatives.  There are manifest faults not just in the basic philosophy, but most especially in the practical application of the principle of Democracy to our current political processes.

On the other hand, there are identifiable virtues as well.  When Winston Churchill said that Democracy is the worst possible system of government – except for all the rest – he isn’t far wrong.  The history of the world is a story of  the attempts at finding the best system of governance (unfortunately they have all ultimately failed the test of time).

The virtues of democracy include:

  • One man, one vote:  is better than one man one gun… and let the winners claim the prize.
  • A social contract whereby power can be peacefully transitioned bestows a legitimacy to the rulers.
  • It can provide a venue for the competition of ideas and a marketplace for deciding on a consensus or majority.
  • Democracies can and have thrown up unexpected results that are better than would otherwise be expected – there is a wisdom in the collective judgement of the people.

Unfortunately, there can equally be a stupidity in the collective judgement.  “Democracy” is not about deciding to run deficit budgets.  That it may allow such things and worse, is at best a fault, and at worse a fatal flaw.  My opinion is that such comes substantially as a result of system capture by sectorial interests, and normal human nature and failing.  But consider this quote:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship.”
~ Alexander Fraser Tyler.

The truth of that assessment is self-evident before us.  The majority has indeed fallen for the lies it wants to believe, and voted into power the liars and the crooks.  So while there will be elements and forms of democracy we might wish to retain, what we currently practice will have to be stopped – before it stops us all.  The road to hell will be most certainly paved with good intentions – and democracy.

That said; what alternative is there, especially if every previous concept and attempt at sound government has failed?  Perhaps our presumption and question is wrong(on one level at least), there is no solution or system which will bring us nirvana.  Whatever we devise is eventually and ultimately doomed to fail, to be subverted and suborned by ambition, arrogance and ignorance.

However, that is not a reason to not attempt a better system.  And in building or imagining an alternative, we create the space for improvement to happen.  Certainly continuing on with the current situation will do us no good.  When you are in a hole, it is time to stop digging.  When you are in a deep hole it is equally important to be able to see a workable means of escape.  Holes, if you have ever been in one, are insidious and fearful traps, and quite possibly a fatal one at that.  But if we can change what we do, then at least we give ourselves the opportunity of escape and a brighter future.  To do nothing is to guarantee an already predictable fate.

So what alternative is there, what system is there that hasn’t been tried, tested and failed already?  Am I so smart that I am able to come up with something that no-one else in the history of the world has managed to achieve.  The odds would suggest not, although on the other hand it does have to be some-one who eventually comes up with a new idea.  It might as well be me, yes?  At the very least I can put forwards my thoughts (incomplete as they may be) and they are then available for consideration and criticism.

So, here it is:  Democracy – yes, and no.  Both and neither.  Where it is appropriate, and not otherwise.  Democracy is not sacred – it is a tool.  For achieving specific and appropriate results.  And it needs to be subservient to a greater good.

At this point we truly do need to be having a very serious discussion as well about what we want as individuals, communities, societies, and even as a species. 

But before we get too far into the metaphysical and spiritual, and debating whether we should or could all be entitled to own a superyatch if we so desired – lets limit ourselves to imagining a ethical, equitable and trustworthy political system.  That is plenty ambitious enough to be getting along with.

In a previous Post (Logic) I discussed some of the limits of our capacity as humans to think clearly.  It came down to being able to think about what we want – but beyond that we struggle.  On one level that is fair enough, politics should be about what we want.  But some parts and processes of how we govern ourselves should not, and must not, be determined by whatever we want.  Democracy, a majority vote, is entirely appropriate for some things, but Public-Policy is not one of them.  In fact there are many things where the outcome should not be dependant on a vote, and particularly not one that is influenced by sectarian agendas.

Particularly, power and money should not, and must not, be delivered into the hands of people and ideologies with selfish interests.  Easier said than done of course, because one thing we know for a fact; humans are not rational beings, we are rationalising beings. We have always got an explanation and excuse for our own self interest, no matter how destructive that may be.  We are always in the right, and the others wrong.  Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” ~George Carlin

So where do you find the mythic-being who can be a wise and just ruler?  Well you don’t of course, you use what you have got, and you put in place constraints to prevent inappropriate behaviour.  Back when the American constitution was being drafted there was a lot of thought put in by a lot of smart people about how you stop abuses of power by the powerful.  One of their ideas was the concept of separation of powers.  An Executive, a Legislature and a Judiciary.  And it substantially worked for quite a long time.  Right up until the point where enough people found enough ways to subvert the intentions and letter of the rules so that corruption becomes the norm, and America became a Kleptocracy.  Others in their time have also attempted to write down on paper the rules that were supposed to prevent or moderate the unfettered exercise of power, from the Magna Carta, to even the Theses of Martin Luther.

All well and good, but that is what they invented lawyers for isn’t it, to nitpick to death the letter of the law, and to find a way to get around it, to do what you want to do, inspite of any directive not to.  It would be nice to imagine that if only we could educate people properly, they wouldn’t want to subvert the rules put there for the common good.  But hey, if even God had to write down the Ten Commandments – and then inspire the writing of the Torah/Bible/Koran to hammer it home even more… then I don’t think we are onto a practical winner with that idea.

But if not that, then what – what will work???

Generically:

We have to use what we have got, we have to recognise the limits or human virtue and altruism, we have to keep the rules as simple as possible, and make them enforceable.  I read a great comment (~Karl Denninger?) that stated that any Law has to have an – or else – or it is meaningless.  If there is no sanction, then there is no law, there is just words on paper.  Ok, the rules will have to be written down, that is required; but they also need to be workable without intervention, without being subject to vagaries of interpretation, application or honesty.  They need to work.  Writing a rule, passing a law, that is unworkable, unenforceable and makes a mockery of the system is the thin edge of the wedge to perdition.

Actually Humans aren’t that complicated, put the right incentives in front of them and they are entirely predictable.  Work within the limits, recognise peoples weaknesses (on all levels), align their personal ambitions with policy objectives; and there is a basis for a system that works.

Conversely, indulging the things we want to believe in, feeding the lies we would like to be true – that has to stop.

Lastly: there cannot, must not, be any money to be had in the exercising of power.

Simple!

Well, maybe not…  I will cover  some Specifics in respect of all of that in another “Democracy” post.

~ Recision.

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Democracy 1.)

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Reposted from Zero Hedge.   [edited]

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Why I Don’t Vote

Democracy has become a religion and anyone who criticises it is labelled a heretic.

How many times have you heard the mantra ‘if you don’t vote, you can’t complain’? Whereas, actually, the opposite is true, ‘if you do vote, you can’t complain.’ It is no coincidence that the emergence of the philosophical concept of the ‘Social Contract’ runs parallel to democratic development in the modern era.

In political philosophy the social contract or political contract is a theory that addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to  submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory.   Source

Democracy legitimises authority.  Every time you vote you sign the Social Contract.

If you vote and your ‘favoured’ candidate does not win, you have absolutely no right to complain because by voting you have accepted the process and are bound by it’s result.

The policy differences between different candidates are exagerated. This encourages you to sign the Social Contract by making you believe that you have a real choice. But the choice is an illusion because the true policy differences are slight and 99% of leadership is management, keeping the bureaucratic apparatus of state moving and reacting to events.  For the overwhelming majority it makes little difference which candidate wins any election.

Only the wealthy and powerful who can expect some kind of reward (in the form of patronage, largesse, contracts etc, for their financial, political, and media support) have a dog in the fight.

Your role, by voting, is to legitimise this corruption.

Democracy encourages our leaders to pander to a selfish and fickle electorate who only want jam today and who will punish any politician at the polls who does not give it to them.

As a consequence the farsighted, fairminded and responsible leadership that the world needs in the 21st century, is completely absent, made obselete by an evolutionary process which rewards the shortsighted, corrupt, ambitious, greedy, and vain.

In 1974 in the UK there were two general election. The first in February was inconclusive and it led to another in October. In the run up to this second election the leaders of all the main political parties made the most extraordinary undeliverable promises to buy the votes of the British electorate.  The electorate will always vote for what they want, rather than what they need. The electorate are no better than a cohort of infant school children.  Aristotle thought that democracy was a perverted form of Government which served the indignant (or capricious) mob at the expense of the broader interests of the state and it’s citizens.

You can not vote for your freedom because the ballot is a signed contract which binds you to a democratic system specifically designed to defraud you of any choice.

Only by not voting can you opt out.

This does not mean that you will not be subject to the tyranny of the majority – but you will be free.

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Here is an extract from a Charles Hugh Smith Essay.   [edited]

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In a Dysfunctional Status Quo, Reform Triggers Collapse

November 2, 2012

The dream of conventional reform is to rid the system of its dysfunctional features – while preserving the Status Quo.  But the Status Quo is dysfunctional not because of bad policies or a few corrupt officials – it is corrupt and dysfunctional from the ground up.  Dismantle the dysfunctional parts and you’ve dismantled the entire Status Quo.

MacFarquhar, a professor of history and political science at Harvard University, said the vested interests of the political elite were so entrenched in a corrupt system that an overhaul would amount to dismantling the regime. Despite hopes the regime can peacefully transform itself into a democracy with rule of law, MacFarquhar said he could not see such a transition, which would require the ruling elite to give up its power and privileges.

This apply not just to China but to Greece, Spain, Italy, the E.U. itself, the U.S. Japan and a host of other developed nations all depending on financial slight-of-hand “extend and pretend” to prop up the dysfunctional Status Quo.

In every case, eliminating the source of the rot and corruption would topple the increasingly fragile regimes. In the case of China: corruption isn’t a feature of the regime – it is the regime.

In the U.S: financialization isn’t a corrupting feature of our financial system – it is the system.

In Europe: catastrophically misguided central planning isn’t a feature of the Eurozone – it is the Eurozone.

In Japan: a stupified government propping up a zombie banking system isn’t a feature of the Status Quo – it is the Status Quo.

Any reform that actually excised the source of the rot; corruption, malfeasance, fraud, malinvestment, moral hazard and self-serving vested interests, would bring the increasingly fragile Status Quo crashing down in a nonlinear cascade of interlocking failed systems.

You cannot “reform” away the dysfunction of the Status Quo without dismantling the vested interests and the ruling Elites that benefit from the Status Quo.

The same can be said of the Status Quo everywhere from the U.S. to Greece to China..

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