Crisis of Democracy and the Voting system

Grant PetersonStarred Page By Grant Peterson, 28th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Right now we are facing a crisis in democracy that needs to be addressed urgently.
There are many people that do not vote because they believe that either the system does not work or that change is impossible, this was not the way that democracy was supposed to happen.

Part 7 - Can the parliamentary system work?

This series looks in detail at the crisis facing the modern world, the crisis that the capitalist system faces. If you have not read any of the earlier, then you are recommended to start at the beginning of the series and follow it through.

Select any democratic nation and it is clear to see that fewer people are voting because there is a belief that it is pointless to do so, there are two primary reasons for this:

  • Lack of real choice
  • Inability to change anything

It is important to understand that our system of representation here in the west was based on the principle that it is easier to select someone to represent us than to take part in the process of government yourself. Wind the clock back 250 to 300 years, when the majority of the modern democracies were formed, and we can see that firstly the vote only applied to men who owned land and the reason for having someone to represent was that they did not have the time or knowledge and that is why they relied on those that represented them, but these "gentleman" would attend the same clubs and would give feedback on plans and progress. Today with universal suffrage no individual is represented in quite the same way and with a population that is increasingly educated and very knowledgeable about the issues of the day in their city, regional, at a national or international level and often have solutions, but cannot be heard, little wonder they are cynical about the political will to change anything and no matter the shade of party in power, or in opposition for that matter, they feel nothing will change and they have good reason to feel that way nonetheless as the distinctions blur between the political flavors and when a new party comes to power they are afraid to make bold changes. They become a part of the status quo and also a part of the problem, as a consequence, except for the one or two times when an urgent change gets all party support, it takes a long time for any real change to happen and as a consequence the things that most desperately need changing don't get changed.

The people who do not vote have come to a realization that their vote never makes a difference, what few of them realize is why, and that is the way in which corporations drive the needs of capitalism which in turn subverts all other needs, all that matters is that governments exist for one reason, to smooth the path for corporations to make money, all other needs are deemed take second priority.

Government and Social Responsibility

Not everything in life is about making money and humanity as a species cannot advance until it understands this, indeed our culture needs to be steered in entirely another direction, a direction that puts social responsibility at the core of our way of life. This dominance of corporations, greed and money over the rights of the individual needs to be brought to an end. The 80 year old who is denied hip replacement surgery should be treated equally as the 40 year old CEO who has a heart bypass, there is no reason either cannot perform an active role in society.

It is true that companies bring jobs, and sometimes in the modern world they act in a socially responsible manner but all too many are concerned with the mighty dollar than doing right, others may act like they care, but that caring has limits when it affects the bottom line. Yet as has been discussed elsewhere in this series corporations only act for the good of themselves, and not society at large. Because of this the people need a government that takes care of the interests of the individual, but they bow to the will of business instead. At the end of the day not everything is about business, yet Liberal and Social Democratic parties have allowed themselves to be subjected to the dictatorship of capitalism and indeed egalitarian or social change rarely happens and let's be very clear it is not possible to bend market forces to meet social needs.

In Defense of Democracy

It can be said that it is easy to criticize and tougher to do something about it, yet many of those that do criticize would also fight tooth and nail in defense of the very democratic system they are critical of, but the end result must be a form of society that is run by the people for the people and we must recognize that the era of representation needs to be drawn to a close and that people need real power in order to make real change. The truth is capitalist democracy drags at the tail end of change, it lags behind real needs in order to deliver the minimum possible change, yet ultimately the sovereignty of the people must prevail not that of undemocratic corporations.

Right now we have to defend democracy like never before and this is not about calling out the troops to fight an undemocratic foe, it is about defending the rights of normal everyday people.

The aim of democracy should be to free the toiling masses (and this term is still very relevant in the 21st century because people are forced to work multiple jobs for less pay and without any job security so they have no time to improve themselves or take part in democratic activities) from oppression and exploitation yet under the capitalist system no such freedom can be granted, it is only the abolition of private control of the means of production - the system that conspires to control how society is run where the needs of profit are prevalent - that stands in the path of true democracy. The key difference between the two being the distinction between the need for profit and the need for the betterment of mankind which is where the path to true democracy must lay, and it is only here that it is possible to find the path to political freedom.

No wonder there is a crisis in the voting system for modern capitalism, the system has reached its limits and needs to be swept away in favor of a new system that works for the people and is run by the people, not an elite minority. Ultimately this change, this democratization, must be constitutionally guaranteed. Democracy if we are clear represents sovereignty of the people who take part directly in the institutions of government and their is no reason why this cannot be achieved and any institution that stands in the way of change must be swept aside or replaced.

The People must Bring Change

Constitutionally most modern democracies claim to be for the people, by the people, but the truth is the voting system protects a small elite that control the world's corporations.

The next article discusses the need for the people to bring about lasting change.

GP 2014 Toronto

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
28th Mar 2014 (#)

This article hits the nail squarely on the head, Grant. Everyone needs to understand how capitalism is failing us. Thank you.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
29th Mar 2014 (#)


That is precisely the point of this whole series.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th Mar 2014 (#)

I have been writing in a similar vein for few years. If this is the reality in the cradle of democracy one can only imagine how the poor's interests are hijacked by few in less developed countries.

India is the largest democratic country in terms of numbers of voters and a general election is due in a month. What is called "horse trading' has started and generally the newly elected leader gets bogged down by the system. The only way is to allow the agenda, based on which elections are held, to be carried out than be stalled by antics of the losers and finally the losers are always the innocent majority hoping against hope for a change - siva

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author avatar Grant Peterson
29th Mar 2014 (#)

Siva sir,

India may be the worlds largest democracy, but but it is also a place where the rights of the voter seem to matter little, and their rights seem to be the last thing in the minds of those in political power, it is capitalism that dictates the status-quo must be maintained.

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author avatar pohtiongho
7th May 2014 (#)

To be very blunt, almost all those politicians are very evil and corrupt. Any chance of improvement?

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author avatar Grant Peterson
11th May 2014 (#)

The only chance for improvement is to change the system.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
29th Mar 2014 (#)

this is marvellous Grant..thank you...

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
31st Mar 2014 (#)

Interesting post!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Apr 2014 (#)

Thought I already responded to this one, but maybe not. So -- good post! And keep thinking radically. Doing the same thing never solved anything.

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