Are Democracy and Capitalism Synonymous?
NP - Royskopp - What Else Is There
I asked two of my friends this question, here were their replies:
(friend 1) says:
Akeed ['of course' in arabic]
hell fuckin no ... if anything, theyre incompatible
Both of these people know their politics quite well, although they clearly have differing opinions on this matter. I guess it depends which way you lean. If you lean to the right, you see capitalism as the natural extension of democracy perhaps, something inevitable. As we progress as a society, naturally we would look towards free-trade solutions, where the ultimate fairness is obtained through the free movement of the dollar. Its not necessarily equal, but life's like that. If you lean towards the left, capitalism is not necessarily the natural evolution of a democratic society. Its the will of the political or corporate elite, an unfair system that may breed equity, but has no guarantee of equality (indeed, by its very nature, will continue to expand the difference between the rich and the poor).
I'll admit I'm a left-leaner. I like to believe that democracy does not necessarily mean capitalism.
Looking up dictionary definitions, initially it seems theres no link between them:
de·moc·ra·cy () Pronunciation Key (d-mkr-s)
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
- Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
- A political or social unit that has such a government.
- The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
- Majority rule.
- The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
- An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.
However, if we were to take real life examples of 'successful' democracies, we'd see that most of them are capitalistic societies. Look at the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, etc. Successful democracies (by some counts), capitalist states. Look at Cuba - dictatorship, far from capitalist, far from successful economically.
But I doubt, personally, the relationship is that simple. I'm more interested that political theory, not current events and that (although I realise that current events are probably more important than mere theory). In theory, theres nothing tying democracy to capitalism. It just seems to be the trend in today's world. But theres examples of democracies that reject capitalism and free-market policies. Look at Venezuela and Bolivia. Both of these countries are democracies (theres a bit of talk about Venezuela, but I'm not sure about that). Bolivia's president-elect Evo Morales won something like 54% of the vote, the highest majority in quite a while, apparently. And he, like Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has rejected US-sponsored free-trade policies.
In the end, I don't know whether democracy=capitalism. I like to think it doesnt: I like to think that our happiness is ultimately measured by how many widescreen TVs we have, or how many Starbucks Frappucinos we can buy a week. I read a book once, called Cloud Atlas, where there was this society which was I guess what you could call a pure capitalist society: he called it a 'corprocracy'. 'Coffee' was called 'Starbuck'. TVs were called 'Sonys'. Everyone had a certain amount of their income that they HAD to spend. I thought it was a very fascinating description of what society could become.
Some useful links on both, for you to decide :
And heres something new to me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism sounds...interesting.
Posted by illogicist at 12:24 PM