More and more, the oligarchy can dictate our choices when we don’t show up to vote.
The Internet can give us the best informed public ever.
The psychologically conditioned public is probably a tv junkie.
More and more, the oligarchy can dictate our choices when we don’t show up to vote.
"Voter turnout in the United States fluctuates in national elections, but has never risen to levels of most other well-established democracies. In countries with compulsory voting, like Australia, Belgium, and Chile, voter turnout hovered near 90% in the 2000s. Other countries, like Austria, Sweden, and Italy, experienced turnout rates near 80%. Overall, OECD countries experience turnout rates of about 70%, while in the U.S., about 60% of the voting eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections. "
The world has always been run and controlled by the most wealthy. Laws are created and sustained to assure tie does not change. Even when there is a valid ‘middle-class’, there are always two forces: one to destroy them and another sone how trying to make them valid, if at all truly possible. The USA is less than 300 years old, one of the newer countries, and countries much older are still struggling with this issue, and always, the struggle is the wealthy, like usual, trying to stay in power and suck dry the “commoners”. This is what society has created as a norm, the old adage “haves and have nots”. It will never change, and when change does happen, it is only after bloodshed. People fought and died in the USA, so we could have 8 hour works days, 5 day work weeks, safe work environments, heck, even bathroom breaks. People are to easily able or allowed or willing taught that this never happened in the USA’s short life. I can honestly say, I am happy that I am closer to the end of my life than the beginning, because I see the USA going down, regardless of which political ideology has power. More suffering, inequality, starvation, death, oppression, abuse, homelessness. It doesn’t really matter when commoners achieve more equalities through the law, one look at how minorities are still treated today legally proves this!
I have lived through the best years the U.S. and the world will ever see. All I see now is grotesque exploitation of people and the planet.
The only answer I see is a complete “reset” of civilization. Humans have proven, time and time again, that we (as a species) cannot be trusted to live in harmony or be stewards of Mother Earth. I no longer have the energy to fight every day for what should be the natural order of things.
I have had a very good life. I am prepared for my last breath.
NOT voting changes very little.
But Ann Coulter agrees with you.
“It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950 - except Goldwater in '64 - the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.”
When I think about it some, that statement sounds ludicrous and pathetic. In any contest between the wealth of the west and the determination of Mideast Muslims, I expect the rich Americans and every other rich ‘capitalist’ person to lose. IEDs, suicide bombers and the knives of intifada beat what the West can put up. (I see Fareed Zakharia betting the same for the Russian oligarchic model. …)
Yes, I have been feeling much the same over this past year, and in conversation with another person I know (offline), where the main topic has included exactly those kind of observations. It is just going round in circles now. I don’t know if or when those circles will grow large enough to have some impetus. The bare facts reveal a downward spiral in the grand scheme of things. I can barely even hope to control or have some positive effect on this. It often appears to me that the great majority of people in this world are no more than hostages to whatever shall be the outcome. We are awaiting some vast denouement in human affairs. It is hopelessly frustrating to consider that all I can do is try to raise awareness. Hence, the feeling is the same: too little, too late.
The limitations of language, and lack of care …
The Soviet Union was a developed nation, first in space. They had 100% voter turnout (not that it counted for much…) And they invaded and overthrew a lot of governments.
As for the topic of the article, it is worth asking what is meant by the term ‘wealth’. Dr. Michael Hudson on one hand, and Alhambra, some sort of Wall Street investment concern on the other hand say, we live in financialized times, when money is to a certain extent ‘squishy’ and of uncertain value.
Then think of the subject of the Dickens’ novel ‘Dombey and Son’. Mr. Dombey was a wealthy man, but his wealth was being embezzled away by people working under him.
One of the curious things is that voter turnout is lowest in special minority districts that were created for and which elect Civil Rights Warriors, like Eddie Bernice Johnson and Jesse Jackson III. Wouldn’t you think that place that have fought hardest for the vote would exercise it the most?
An interesting thing to look at is the economic concept of ‘rational ignorance’. Why do people spend more time informing themselves about cars than about candidates & issues? Because being better informed on cars helps you purchase a good car, while being better informed on candidates, not so much.
I would like to discuss some of the opportunities presented by the general public’s increasing awareness of the always present but growing economic inequalities throughout every country, corner and continent of our potentially pleasant Spaceship Earth.
Socioeconomic Democracy is here offered as a peaceful, effective and democratic resolution to humanity’s present and needless systemic problems and sufferings. Socioeconomic Democracy will further be found to satisfy the increasingly acknowledged need for a “Next System Project”, advocated by, among many others, Gar Alperovitz.
The crucial question is whether humanity has yet evolved sufficiently to understand and peacefully resolve the utterly unnecessary obstacles to further healthy development and evolution.
It is here respectfully suggested that all of humanity seriously confront the multitude of needless problems created by the growing and unjust distributions of monetary income and far more importantly monetary wealth, within and among every country on this planet.
Fortunately, this appears relatively easily accomplished by simply recalling and reconsidering just a few insights and observations of writers and thinkers down through the decades, centuries and millennia, starting somewhat arbitrarily, to be sure, in ancient Greece.
Plato, in his last and most mature Laws, preferred equality of personal property but realized that was difficult, if not impossible, to precisely define. He therefore thoughtfully suggested limits on both poverty and affluence. Plato’s attentive student, Aristotle, suggested, with admirable specificity, that “No one should have more than five times the wealth of the poorest person.” Prior to Plato, Thales of Miletus provided a reasonable assessment of the situation: “If there is neither excessive wealth nor immoderate poverty in a nation, then justice may be said to prevail”.
Reluctantly neglecting all too many other important contributors to the increasing understanding and advancement of an economically and psychologically healthy humanity, may it briefly be mentioned that a powerful sequence of thoughtful humans, down thru the ages, considered and contributed to the discussion.
A valuable list of some of these people is available at “A Brief History of Basic Income” (see below). Of course, the rapidly increasing popularity of some form and amount of universally guaranteed income for all (by itself) leaves in question just how it is to be financed.
Nevertheless, this writer cannot constrain himself from explicitly mentioning two of the many contributors to this crucial conversation. First, the world-changing work and dedication of that Societal Engineer, Thomas Paine, who, in a later work following Common Sense entitled Agrarian Justice, proposed and discussed the virtues of a guaranteed income for all.
Then there was Henry George who, not unlike Paine, did time in a print shop to get his writings printed. One of Henry’s major contributions was to link financial assistance for the poor with a suggested tax or limit on personal wealth, then mostly being land property.
Over forty years ago this writer, and would-be Societal Engineer, was given the specific ideas of Socioeconomic Democracy. A history of the development and presentation of these ideas is available in our Bibliography (see below).
Socioeconomic Democracy (SeD) is a theoretically consistent and peacefully implementable psycho-politico-socio-economic system wherein there exist both some form and amount of locally appropriate Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGI) and some form and amount of locally appropriate Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAW), with both the lower bound on guarantee personal income and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted periodically and democratically by all participants of a democratic society.
Socioeconomic Democracy is easily implemented with elementary Public Choice Theory. The median values of society’s preference distributions regarding these two crucial societal parameters peacefully, democratically and unambiguously resolve the matter.
Whether society realizes some appropriate form of Socioeconomic Democracy is a cogent question. Clearly, public dissemination and discussion of the suggestions presented here will prove determinative. An alternative to Socioeconomic Democracy as defined above would be where the two economic boundaries discussed here were considered and established by, say, the legislative branch of a “Representative” Democracy.
This planet’s trivially eliminated or significantly reduced societal problems, by realizing Socioeconomic Democracy, include but are by no means limited to, those familiar ones associated with Automation, computerization and robotics; Budget deficits and debts at the personal, national, regional and global levels; Contempt for much presently practiced politics; Costly crimes and costly prisons, both governmental and corporate profit-motivated; Corporate profit-motivated as well as general publicly expensive exogenous pollution; Inadequate public education for all ages, “races”, and both sexes of humanity; Oversights and confusions of some, but certainly not quite all, Economists and Politicians; Ignoring the elderly, to whom we all owe our very existence; International costly conflicts; national costly conflicts; Involuntary employment; Involuntary unemployment; Lack of access to necessary physical and psychological healthcare, causing unnecessary harm to the individuals themselves, their “close” relatives, and many “innocent bystanders”; Pay injustices to both sexes, all ages and all “races” of our human family; Corporately profitable yet publicly costly “Planned Obsolescence”; Political non-participation, carefully planned, designed, legislated and realized by some, but not all, power-intoxicated politicians; Population explosions; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by “patriotic” and/or pathetic human-killing wars, as well as all the PTSD created by all the other unnecessary societal problems; Voting district gerrymandering; Needless and obscene poverty, racism, sexism, and everything else that effectively opposes, neglects or negates the General Welfare.
Break Time: Consider and enjoy “Rapids of Change” at
Responses to this communication are welcome and sought.
“A Brief History of Basic Income Ideas”
You may enroll for a daily mailing of BI Newsletter at
A Bibliography of Socioeconomic Democracy is available at
Robley E. George, Founder and Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Societies
Thank you for your informative and well-written post. I appreciate the time and care involved.
I think that would depend on where one gets his information.
And thank you for your comment! Hope we can find ways to collaborate. The world sure needs it! Rob