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  1. #1
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    Default Democracy anyone?

    As I see it theres several parts thats required in a Representative democracy.

    A free and independent media.

    A democratic economy.

    A Real choice between candidates.

    A voting system that is not subject to manipulation.

    There are surely more things and I don't think Representative democracy is the end all form of society, there are levels of democracy and we can have more.

    However I don't even think theres one state today where representative democracy actually works.

    A good measure of this is to check the polices the elected take and public opinion on matters. As far as Sweden goes there are today several anti piracy laws that 80% of the population are against. Other things considering swedish tax money leaving the country thru venture capitalists is also something 60% of swedes disagree with.

    As for as the US goes when asked about welfare most people are against it, but if you state the question "should the poor recive more money" 80% agree. There are probably lots more examples because i see them every day.

    A big problem aswell is that media in most countries is dictated by the same people that ownes the world or atleast 80% of it, so its not hard to figure what views comes out of this.

    Do you think we have functioning democracys in the world?

    if not what is the problem?
    "Im right here, Deal with me!"

  2. #2
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrtle View Post
    As I see it theres several parts thats required in a Representative democracy.

    A free and independent media.

    A democratic economy.

    A Real choice between candidates.

    A voting system that is not subject to manipulation.

    There are surely more things and I don't think Representative democracy is the end all form of society, there are levels of democracy and we can have more.

    However I don't even think theres one state today where representative democracy actually works.

    A good measure of this is to check the polices the elected take and public opinion on matters. As far as Sweden goes there are today several anti piracy laws that 80% of the population are against. Other things considering swedish tax money leaving the country thru venture capitalists is also something 60% of swedes disagree with.

    As for as the US goes when asked about welfare most people are against it, but if you state the question "should the poor recive more money" 80% agree. There are probably lots more examples because i see them every day.

    A big problem aswell is that media in most countries is dictated by the same people that ownes the world or atleast 80% of it, so its not hard to figure what views comes out of this.

    Do you think we have functioning democracys in the world?

    if not what is the problem?
    I would restate the recipe for democracy a bit. What we need is:

    1. An environment in which people are free and able to cast their votes.

    2. A transparent and accurate method of collecting and tabulating those votes (implies absence of corruption/fraud).

    3. The availability of distinct choices (diversity of parties/candidates/issue positions)

    4. The ability of the electorate to understand the available choices and measure them reliably against their values.

    Most democracies do reasonably well at (1) and (2). The U.S. doesn't do so well at (3) because too many politicians have the mindset of trying to please everyone, and as a result, start to look very similar, especially while campaigning. We do the worst at (4). The Citizens United decision ensured that the media and the entire political discourse is dominated by those with more money, rather than better articulated or substantiated positions of whatever view. The voters get too few facts on which to base their decisions, and too much hype, entertainment, cheerleading, and even mis/disinformation. This is compounded by the fact that, in the U.S. at least, our education system does a poor job of teaching critical thinking skills. When you can buy alot of media exposure to say essentially what you want, it is easy to sway large amounts of people who have neither the facts nor the skills to see beyond the smoke and mirrors. (The highlighted is an example of the kind of disconnects that occur. People don't even know enough to vote in their own self-interests, much less considering the good of their community or the nation, or the world.)

    As for whether we have functioning democracies, there are none that function perfectly. Some function better than others. Power, whether seen as wealth, influence, or status, tends to concentrate in the hands of a minority. Democracies work better when that minority supports policies that to some degree limit their own power so the majority can still participate and be heard.
    Last edited by Coriolis; 06-27-2012 at 11:36 AM. Reason: forgot highlighting
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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    Default

    @Coriolis, I agree with your premise and your analysis. However I think you need to add another premise and thats

    5.That accurate relevant information regarding the candidates are easily available and that it isen't drowned by an propaganda machine.



    What is a first step to take for you as an US citizen (I'm guessing)?

    In Sweden we are okay 1,2 and 4. 3 Somewhat I mean the economical policies of the parties differ by maybe one tenth of a percent on BNP, however where the money is put differs a lot. 5 Somewhat aswell, we have free independet media, but its small and three major companies owns around 80 percent of the media in Sweden.
    "Im right here, Deal with me!"

  4. #4
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrtle View Post
    @Coriolis, I agree with your premise and your analysis. However I think you need to add another premise and thats

    5.That accurate relevant information regarding the candidates are easily available and that it isen't drowned by an propaganda machine.



    What is a first step to take for you as an US citizen (I'm guessing)?

    In Sweden we are okay 1,2 and 4. 3 Somewhat I mean the economical policies of the parties differ by maybe one tenth of a percent on BNP, however where the money is put differs a lot. 5 Somewhat aswell, we have free independet media, but its small and three major companies owns around 80 percent of the media in Sweden.
    Your (5) is implicit in my (4). The ability to evaulate choices depends on a combination of access to accurate and adequate information, plus critical analysis skills.

    As an individual (U.S.) citizen, my first line of defense is to inform myself, to identify reliable sources of information and use that to analyze candidate claims and ballot issues. I can go beyond that informally through discussions with friends and neighbors. There are also volunteer organizations like League of Women Voters whose mission is to inform and empower voters, present unbiased and accurate information, and work for accountable, transparent government. Their efforts include lobbying to improve the system, e.g. by challenging restrictive voter ID laws that serve mainly to disenfranchise poor and minorities, and redistricting plans designed to favor a specific party or incumbent. They have had their hands full in recent years.

    There are a number of straightforward systemic improvements I would recommend. These include reversing the Citizens United decision and limiting the money tied up in campaigning, to make the candidate playing field more level; having all state primaries on a single day; holding elections on weekends; enabling early voting and liberal absentee voting; encouraging additional parties to provide political diversity. Going beyond even this, I think we would do better with a parliamentary system.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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