Excerpts with References:
References listing 'E' through 'F'
Mickey Edwards served 16 years as a United Sates Republican congressman. As an insider with first hand experience of how party politics works, he has some stark and insightful words about what is wrong with current implementations of "democracy":
"...But public office should not go to the highest bidder. In a system in which money determines who will make our laws, in which private interests - including the private power-seeking clubs known as "parties" - can dominate the electoral conversation by spending massive amounts of unregulated money, with no transparency as to whose money it is, democracy itself is destroyed."
"Money in politics strengthens the grip of each [corporations, labor unions and political parties] , putting candidates - and the elected officials they become - at the mercy of those interests who can anoint them with dollars or withhold their favors in the absence of sufficient loyalty. It is a dangerous trend, and our democracy will not survive unless it is reversed."
...In recent years the same news item asserting that executive compensations have climbed further into the stratosphere keeps looping back through the popular media. The most common form of this news flash is to compare the average salaries of CEOs to the average salaries of the mere human corporate "workers". Whether the CEO's compensation is a thousand or a million times greater than the average worker, the explanation for this disparity from "business experts" is always the same: there is a lot of competition for good CEOs, so high salaries are just a function of intense market demand. (In other words: "Nothing to see here folks, there is no conspiracy. It is just basic market economics... just a case of simple supply and demand"). After reading Chrystia Freeland's "Plutocrats", an alternate explanation for this phenomena occurred to me: Maybe the corporate elite now consider themselves to be a completely separate species of person: A new nobility with no real connection to traditional economic rules and certainly not bound by any mathematics used to analyze "labour markets". They reward themselves financially according to a simple sense of what is rightly due to members of their pedigree. Freeland paints a picture of a new global elite who are no longer tied down by nationalist interests. In a new fully "globalized" era, corporations can relocate their head offices or manufacturing operations anywhere in the world. Therefore, governments feel they have to bow down and accept direction from these elites: the alternative could mean losing billions in tax revenue (and the party's losing the election financing necessary to remain in office)...
...We are all familiar with how election promises are uniformly broken and how the governing party's stated priorities are rarely achieved: Emissions targets to combat climate change are quickly forgotten. Government-sponsored job creation strategies are rarely even moderately effective. Political reforms to eliminate pork-barelling, corruption and cronyism seem to only make matters worse (most notably in Canada over the last few administrations). But what if the government's stated objectives are not their true objectives? In Brian Fawcett's "...Investigation into the Disappearance of the The World", a fictional think tank sets out a set of assumptions to generate strategies which sound very much like the real guiding principles of Western governments. If Western governments were evaluated in terms of how well their policies support the following assumptions, they may well be commended for being fabulously successful:
1.)"Maintenance of Western-style capital accumulations is the primary good, and must be protected.
2.)The poor peoples and nations of the world are opportunities for near-term exploitation and control, or reserves for future development.
3.)Loyalties to geopolitical class and to corporate solidarity supersede loyalties to nation or to moral concepts and ideas..."
...I remember that the very first sentence in the textbook assigned to my "Introduction To Economics" class was something to the effect of: "We live in a world of finite resources." This seems to be the central tenet (or "first principle") of economics and politics as practiced in Western industrial nations today. Buckminster Fuller didn't buy into the ideology of scarcity as an organizing principle to live by. Instead, he believed that there is ample resources to support all of humanity, but that these resources are mismanaged in such a way that many are prohibited from accessing these essentials. The chief architects of this global mismanagement of resources are, of course, politicians. In Fuller's words:
"To ask a politician to lead us is to ask the tail of a dog to lead the dog."
"It is important to realize that there are people in this world other than politicians trying to do something. I would guess that one hundred years from now, historians will note that in the period of 1927 to 1967, man was so preoccupied and so relatively illiterate that he thought it all right to leave the problems of the world to the politicians. This idea will look preposterous in the perspective of history."
In his book "Critical Path", Buckminster Fuller identifies the computer as a democratizing force which will bring about a new era of rationality and invention:
"The computer will continually direct us back to basics. The computer will call our attention to the many relevant new potentials of the synergetic integration of critical-path events. If we continue to use our resources - metaphysical and physical - properly, there will continue to be ample to take care of all humanity: food, energy, shelter, travel, research, cultural development, inventive initiative in all the technologies, etc."