- Politics and Social Issues
Democracy and Capitalism. They are Complimentary to Each Other
The Face of Democracy
Lincoln and democracy
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people’. But unfortunately, this has not worked in real practice. Perhaps when Lincoln was the President of the USA, big money in the form of Multinationals had not emerged. never the less Lincoln understood the concept of democracy, but in practice with big business having a big say, democracy can be subverted. There are many examples of this nexus.
An Example from the UK
In October 1994, it was reported that Ian Greer a lobbyist had paid GBP 2000 per question to 2 conservative MP’s namely Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith. The questions were on behalf of Mohammed Al- Fayad, well known as the owner of Harrods. Subsequently, an inquiry revealed that 4 more MP’s were involved. This cash for questions is revealing as it shows that democracy is not what Lincoln envisaged.
Peerages and party funding
The largest democracy in the world, India had the unsavory spectacle of the prime Minister Narasimhan Rao shoring up his majority in Parliament against a no-confidence motion by bribing MP’s of the JMM( Jharkhand Mukti Mocha) led by Shibu Soren in 1993. These facts came up much later and Narasimhan Rao was tried by a special court and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. However, the high court set aside the verdict and later Narasimhan Rao passed away, leaving behind the stench of cash for votes for the scam.
the same scenario was repeated when a wheeler-dealer member of Parliament Amar Singh did something similar to save the Manmohan Singh Government in 2008.
The labor party in England also has a lot of mud sticking to it. A case in point is the recommendation for Peerages in 2006. Most of these were rejected as it came to light that the man who had engineered these nominations had arranged large sums of money for the labor party. In the center of the storm was Lord Levy who was Tony Blair’s friend. He was subsequently arrested. This shows that even hallowed nominations for Peerages are tainted with money.
The USA is no better with the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations have the human rights of ‘persons’ when it comes to campaign contributions.This particular ruling of the Supreme Court is significant as it opened the way for corporates to fund their chosen representatives.
One aspect of this ruling was the twisting of laws to engineer a result. Take a look at Florida. Katherine Harris, former Florida Secretary of State and Jeb Bush made a devious plan to deny voting rights to felons. The result was that 94,000 people mostly African American could not cast their votes. Al Gore lost by 537 votes and one can visualize the monstrosity of this act. what if the Afro Asians had voted? Would Al Gore have lost? In fact, there is a good chance he would have won.
George Bush and the White House
George Bush greatly benefitted from corporate donations. It is an open secret that he rode into the White House on the back of big money. It was not an election but an auction. When in power George Bush had to oblige the corporates who had voted him in and many decisions of his term as president were not rationale.
Democracy and Capitalism
One reason for all these acts is the correlation of Democracy with capitalism. Somehow a notion has grown not without foundation that democracy and capitalism are twin brothers. You can't have capitalism in a communist society or a Socialist state. It is only Capitalism that gets a free run when democracy is around.
Capitalism needs money and the best way to get it is through a democracy. The checks and balances ina democracy work in a way that capitalism thrives. Can we have one example of a democracy where there is no capitalism?
The concept of democracy as practiced is greatly flawed. The western democracies swear by free enterprise, which is equated with freedom. In real terms, it gives free reign to Capitalism. Thus democracy and capitalism are intertwined.
The 2014 election in India also shows that the undercurrent of this experiment is big money from capitalism. You can't have an election without funding and in a democracy the winner is capitalism