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Can capitalism and democracy coexist?

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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:20 AM
Original message
Can capitalism and democracy coexist?
You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think the current "depression" was deliberately fostered to destroy America's middle class. After shipping our jobs overseas, the American capitalist found they still couldn't compete in the world markets so they have manufactured the economic equivalent of 911. The working class has replaced Saddam as the enemy and we're now facing economic shock and awe. With this climate of fear in place, economic desperation will be used to manipulate the workers and to destroy the unions. Brotherhood goes out the window when there aren't enough jobs to go around and you have a family to feed.

Just listen to the anti-union rhetoric surrounding the auto loans. The ruling class has nothing but contempt for the workers who built and fought for this country. Their true allegiance is to capitalism and capitalism depends on class exploitation. The power of a democracy is in the will of the majority. When our representatives are bought and paid for by a ruling elite, we have no power. Can America have both a capitalistic economy and a democratic government, or has this experiment reached it's logical conclusion?
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Pharaoh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. No
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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. Any true democracy will eventually evolve to socialism in some form or fashion.
The folks who parse Republic v. Democracy certainly believe this. They say that's one reason why the U.S. is a Republic and not a democracy (simple majority rule) - to protect private property rights.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. the idea that a "republic" and a "democracy" are two different things goes back
ONLY to Madison, who must have known better since "republic" had by then a hundred-year history of meaning only "not a monarchy".
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. Agreed
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 09:59 AM by ayeshahaqqiqa
Socialist countries have the lowest infant mortality rates, best quality of life ratings, etc.
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DonCoquixote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
15. er
It's also because a simple majority would stomp on the rights of minorities. Do not forget, evils like racism and sexism always got aided because the majority of the people backed them. You need some sort of rule that tells the majority that they cannot dop everything they want, especially not kill or kick around minorties.
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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. That's what the Bill of Rights is for. The framers didn't originally include
it. They were forced to by the people. The framers seemed more concerned with preserving property rights. Of course the Bill of Rights did not end the practice of slavery nor the disenfranhisement of women. Many of these rights were only extended to property holders.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
3. No.
There's no way to have distributed control (democracy) in a positive-feedback (capitalist) system. One or the other has to be fake. In our case, it's much more a fake democracy than a fake capitalism.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
5. Capitalism and Democracy are like Right and Left, opposites. nt
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
6. The real question: Is what we have capitalism?
What we have is what we have, but I'm not convinced that it is capitalism. It's a modern slavery, only instead of whipping people, they put you out on the street and starve you. It's much easier to do it that way.

I think real capitalism, a system based upon private capital not an owner/slave system, would be very equitable. In fact, I believe I can prove that as the number of transactions in an economy grows, if that economy is truly a free-market capitalist system, there should be an equilibrium achieved with wealth.

In our system, the rich and powerful have rigged the game so that they can recoup any wealth that they might spend. They do this by claiming the work of other people as their own. They are not happy with the ownership and manipulation of property, they own our labor.

I have come to the conclusion that workplaces should be markets in which laborers offer their services directly to customers, and are directly paid by customers. Only a small royalty should be paid to employers, to cover the costs of owning a market.

Unfortunately, I think that only some workplaces can be treated in such a fashion, as any profession that doesn't provide services directly to customers is not capable of being freed like that.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. No, it isn't, but only because pure capitalism would have already crashed us.
The very basis of capitalism is that one person can, theoretically, own *everything*. Capitalism is a positive-feedback system: the more a capitalist owns, the more powerful and able to control the whole system he becomes. That's what the game Monopoly represents: capitalism at its most pure.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. What you imagine is a system without competition.
In reality people have to compete for resources. It's like every single person is a check and balance.

Now, in our system, the checks and balances have been overturned by a small group of people who are continuing to receive benefits from a time in our history where there was a more overt form of control and ownership.

When people can change the rules of the game, the game loses these checks and balances. Democracy and the free market are one in the same, as we have seen. Politicians can be easily bought off by the rich, and that subverts democracy.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. That's the whole POINT: every capitalist's goal is no competition
and when one gains an advantage, regardless of the reason, he can exploit it without mercy or hindrance until he has wiped out all the competition. All he need be is sufficiently clever or ruthless. Just like the board game.

And not unlike what homo sap is doing in the natural world, actually.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
7. Not in the long term.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
10. No
you either have to let capitalism kill democracy (as has now happened in this country) or you have to regulate capitalism until it is socialism.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
11. Yes
as long as the working class has strong enough organizations to ensure it can check the otherwise unlimited power of capital.

Unions formed the basis for European Social Democratic parties, of of the US Democratic Party from the New Deal to the early 1970's (when race issues and the Vietnam War split the party)

Until we again see a sizable part of the US working class unionized and participating in other working class organizations (co-ops, etc.) we will continue to see a one-sided "class slaughter" in this country.

Not a class war - warfare supposes two armies able to fight each other. What we have now is a band of rampaging marauders looting the population at will.
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
12. Coexistence: Yes, but only if we follow a vigilant policy of "containment"
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 10:14 AM by kenny blankenship
Capitalism must not be allowed to spread.

Oh you meant can they coexist inside one country? My mistake. Oh man that's a thigh slapper there. Put it this way:
You can have democracy, or I can have capitalism (and call it democracy), but not both at the same time together.
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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
14. Aren't we in the throes of this very question right now?
I think we will either end up as a straight up fascist society or we will have a stronger form of socialism, if not outright.
Maybe there are alternatives that have not been considered yet.
When working people are actively agitating for their rights, we tend toward socialism. When they are fat and happy, the wealthy push hard toward fascism.
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
16. Capitalism should be balanced with humanitarian socialism.
Health care and food are human rights. People should not die because of capitalism. Which one of your family or friends would you like to see die because they don't have a job and no health care or food? George Carlin was right ...we are owned.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. I think you meant to write "replaced by" (nt)
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