Capitalism and Democracy

I am so sick of hearing that capitalism and democracy depend on each other, or even that they can coexist. The excuse for this is normally the evil bugbear of authoritarian communism, which frankly I will admit didn't work too well - but neither does capitalism, so you can stop waving the capitalist flag now. The fantasy is one of freedom - freedom to buy, freedom to choose, freedom to spend your way to a better life. Combine that with representative democracy supposedly giving the ordinary citizen a voice and you've got the perfect, shiny, consumerist dream of a greedy machine pouring money into politics and in doing so making everyone's lives better...

...wait, what?

This is the trouble with claiming capitalism and democracy can coexist. Democracy is about rule by the people - in other words, you get ordinary people making the decisions, not kings, bishops or some kind of political caste. And yet this is exactly what's happened; most normal people don't stand for election, but instead we have a bunch of privately educated gits making decisions for us. And we don't even elect them all - here in the UK rich, white, cis males get a disproportionate say compared to everyone else, thanks in part to a House of Lords made up of unelected ex-politicians, so-called nobles and C of E bishops.

You can see the flaws in the system without even introducing capitalism. And once you do, what happens? Well, you have some pretty obvious hierarchy - you don't get equals working for equals, you get employees working for employers. This is partly due to capitalism having sprung out of unequal economic and political systems and partly due to the emphasis on private rather than communal ownership. That can't really coexist with a system in which everyone is equal and has an equal say.

Moreover, in a capitalist economy such as ours, the accumulation of money and property becomes everything; money becomes power, a way to get your own way. And so big companies and organisations fund parties, whose individual members may themselves have business interests. Now, that might be okay if businesses were interested in the welfare of people and the planet - but they're not. They're interested in making as much money as possible. This is why when governments pander to business, the people suffer, and why when governments even think about protecting the planet, the energy industry kicks up a fuss that usually sees proposals watered down. Essentially, you get unelected, undemocratic organisations influencing a supposedly democratic process that's actually far too unrepresentative to be democratic...

...Do you see a problem with this?


  1. You will have much more to say once you shed the ignorance of your youth. I only say that because you sound very familiar. Do the math.

    Liberty=equality=democracy=capitalism. Work backwards from there.

    1. I understand what you mean - hell, I used to have the same views as you, that capitalism was a good thing. I changed my mind after seeing what unchecked capitalism can do to vulnerable people and a vulnerable planet. Perhaps I will change my mind again - I am always open to evidence - but for now I think this view makes more sense to me.



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