By: Guest Author – in response to Protecting the Minority of the Opulent Against the Majority
I’ve always liked that quote of Winston Churchill’s. I think his imperialist/monarchist/aristocratic self warred with his democratic side.
My conclusions about searching for the ideal forms of economic, social and government systems are based on recognizing the basic or crude nature of humans: self-interested above all, greedy, aggressive, power-seeking tempered somewhat, but not always, by familial or tribal affiliation (maybe even love). This leads me to believe that some form of capitalism will always win out over socialism.
Humans will amass money and privileges and power for themselves regardless of the form of government. The highest members of the communist party always had better jobs, housing and status then the comrades. Revolutionaries who lead revolts to bring dramatic change to “the people” often end up as dictators. Robert Mugabe is just one example, or the return of military rule to Egypt.
There will always be some form of class system as people like to be better off than their neighbors and be highly regarded for it. A reason why utopias, and pure communism, if there ever was such an animal, fail. Hybrids, like the various social democracies in Europe can succeed but are always being assaulted by the usual forces from the left and right.
The clever, innovative, ruthless will exploit others, like the workers, whenever they can get away with it. Those at the top want to stay there and will do everything in their considerable power to stay there. I think you’re right on about representative government being the only way that the unfettered opulent minority (including the utterly reprehensible Tom Perkins), can be controlled. They don’t need protection at all. They need laws and regulation to moderate what otherwise would be unchecked greed in keeping with human nature.
One hundred plus years ago, in the U.S. the opulent minority such as Ford, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, amassed huge fortunes doing whatever they pleased. Moderates and progressives passed a bunch of laws, including the income tax, and regulations on interstate commerce, food safety, antitrust to remove some power from these robber barons and restore a small part of equity to the economy. Later we brought in labor unions, New Deal social programs and even the Great Society. All pushed and protected by government.
Today the pendulum has swung in favor of the opulent. We need to get it to reverse its course and come back toward the majority.
Most of the rest of the world thinks that democracy with representatives of the citizens having voice and command is the best system. But built in are battles between various majorities and minorities because personal interests will always conflict.
I think we could make our current systems work better if we could return to compromise being considered the honorable way to rule and, secondly, get as much money as possible out politics. This means finding people far different from the type of Democratic and Republican leaders we have now.