How Capitalism Is Killing Democracy – Foreign Policy
globalized markets have seriously inhibited the ability of democratic dictatorships of Latin America or Asia in the twentieth century all exemplify that The main difference in various types of capitalism is the relationship between the .. ; the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) and the liberal political parties in. I recently heard a prominent American politician tell how a “chill” went up his Capitalism, on the other hand, will here refer to a free-market economy with “ There are inherent tensions between democracy and a free-market. The free market has created “supercapitalism”, and it is killing the global level, the correlation between free markets and plural politics breaks.
Free Market Capitalism And Democracy Posted on by eehines I want to spend a little time talking about the relationship between free markets and democracy and about how closely connected the two are to each other. A free market in this context is a market in which the participants—buyers and sellers, producers and buyers, businesses and customers, i. Moreover, since the participants are free to bargain among each other, their collective choices, summarized into a general supply of and demand for goods and services and money determine general—and since voluntary, constantly fluctuating—terms of exchange: Capitalism in this context means private ownership of property, including money, and of the means of production: Thus, capitalism underpins free markets.
Democracy is a means, often political, by which the members of a community decide for themselves a variety of matters, usually by voting in some manner. A democracy may use a government as a mechanism for arriving at decisions, but in a democracy that government is subordinate to the people. This is as opposed to a government originating decisions and handing them down to a subject people, with the people being subordinate to the government.
The aggregate of individual economic decisions is what makes up an economy. In a free market, capitalist economy, individuals, at bottom, vote on what we want produced, vote on what we want to possess or to consume, with our economic property: Every purchase we make, every sale we make, is the outcome of our voice speaking and the result of our choice made. All men are born free and independent, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
Democracy is designed to allow citizens to address these very issues in constructive ways.
And yet a sense of political powerlessness is on the rise among citizens in Europe, Japan, and the United States, even as consumers and investors feel more empowered. This fact is not, however, a failing of capitalism. As these two forces have spread around the world, we have blurred their responsibilities, to the detriment of our democratic duties.
How Capitalism Is Killing Democracy
And while capitalism has become remarkably responsive to what people want as individual consumers, democracies have struggled to perform their own basic functions: Democracy, at its best, enables citizens to debate collectively how the slices of the pie should be divided and to determine which rules apply to private goods and which to public goods. Today, those tasks are increasingly being left to the market.
What is desperately needed is a clear delineation of the boundary between global capitalism and democracy — between the economic game, on the one hand, and how its rules are set, on the other. If the purpose of capitalism is to allow corporations to play the market as aggressively as possible, the challenge for citizens is to stop these economic entities from being the authors of the rules by which we live.
As consumers and investors, we want the bargains and high returns that the global economy provides. They come from workers forced to settle for lower wages and benefits.
They come from companies that shed their loyalties to communities and morph into global supply chains. They come from CEOs who take home exorbitant paychecks.
And they come from industries that often wreak havoc on the environment. Unfortunately, in the United States, the debate about economic change tends to occur between two extremist camps: Instead of finding ways to soften the blows of globalization, compensate the losers, or slow the pace of change, we go to battle. Consumers and investors nearly always win the day, but citizens lash out occasionally in symbolic fashion, by attempting to block a new trade agreement or protesting the sale of U.
It is a sign of the inner conflict Americans feel — between the consumer in us and the citizen in us — that the reactions are often so schizophrenic. Such conflicting sentiments are hardly limited to the United States.
Take, for instance, the auto industry. InDaimlerChrysler faced mounting financial losses as European car buyers abandoned the company in favor of cheaper competitors. Even profitable companies are feeling the pressure to become ever more efficient. InDeutsche Bank simultaneously announced an 87 percent increase in net profits and a plan to cut 6, jobs, nearly half of them in Germany and Britain.
Twelve-hundred of the jobs were then moved to low-wage nations. Today, European consumers and investors are doing better than ever, but job insecurity and inequality are rising, even in social democracies that were established to counter the injustices of the market. In Japan, many companies have abandoned lifetime employment, cut workforces, and closed down unprofitable lines.
Capitalism and Democracy - The American Interest
Surely some Japanese consumers and investors benefit from such corporate downsizing: Bythe Japanese stock market had reached a year high. But many Japanese workers have been left behind. A nation that once prided itself on being an "all middle-class society" is beginning to show sharp disparities in income and wealth. Between andthe share of Japanese households without savings doubled, from 12 percent to 24 percent. And citizens there routinely express a sense of powerlessness.
- Free Market Capitalism And Democracy
On the other end of the political spectrum sits China, which is surging toward capitalism without democracy at all. Income inequality has widened enormously. And those who are affected most have little political recourse to change the situation, beyond riots that are routinely put down by force. They have the ability to alter the rules of the game so that the cost to society need not be so great. But they have no responsibility to address inequality or protect the environment on their own.
We forget that they are simply duty bound to protect the bottom line. Democracy has become enfeebled largely because companies, in intensifying competition for global consumers and investors, have invested ever greater sums in lobbying, public relations, and even bribes and kickbacks, seeking laws that give them a competitive advantage over their rivals.
The result is an arms race for political influence that is drowning out the voices of average citizens. In the United States, for example, the fights that preoccupy Congress, those that consume weeks or months of congressional staff time, are typically contests between competing companies or industries.
While corporations are increasingly writing their own rules, they are also being entrusted with a kind of social responsibility or morality.