If we Don't Regulate Capitalism It Will Dismantle Democracy!

The New York Times has a piece by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub and it's a little video where they point out that over the last 200 years we've gone from basically no democracies in the world - or a couple, ours being one of the very first. At the time that the United States became a democracy in 1787, arguably, or even 1776, there were a few other countries that arguably were democratic, but not many.

And then we saw a steady rise up to the Civil War, and then during the Civil War it kind of dropped down, and then a steady rise up to World War Two, and then it kind of dropped down a little bit. And then after World War Two another steady rise to the point where about half of all the countries in the world are small d democratic - I'm not talking Democratic Republican kind of thing, I'm talking about democracy in a republic.

And now we're seeing so many of these democracies backslide into authoritarianism. We have seen it in the Philippines with Duterte, you see it in Russia with Putin, you see it in Turkey with Erdoğan, you see it in Hungary with Viktor Orbán. It is happening in country after country after country that were formerly highly democratic countries.

And we're seeing it in the United States, the rise of this populist authoritarianism. Donald Trump is basically using the same playbook as the people that I just mentioned who have taken countries that fundamentally at their core had strong democratic institutions.

Now, arguably Russia is the exception to that because there was just a very rapid transition period from the fall of the Soviet Union to modern-day Russia. During that time there was some considerable democracy for a while, and then the Chicago boys came in with Milton Friedman and and friends. Friedman was gone but his acolytes from the Chicago School of Economics who said, "oh no, Russia should become an example of a libertarian state, let the capitalists run everything." And it turned less than small d democratic. To some extent you also have leadership pushing that.

But I think that the clearer example of this is probably Hungary, Turkey and the Philippines, although there's a bunch of other countries too. And so they're asking the question over at the New York Times, what's the problem? Why is it that democracies are starting to fail, and could ours? Is there something fundamentally wrong with democracy?

And I would like to answer that question, and I think it's a really important question. And the problem is that the question doesn't include the problem. The problem is that the sales pitch we've been getting from the libertarians, the David Koch's of the world who ran for vice president in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket, from the right-wing billionaires, the so-called Objectivists, the acolytes of Ayn Rand, Reason magazine and The Reason Foundation, one of these Ayn Rand groups that somehow are always popping up on MSNBC.

These are hardcore right-wing cranks who are promoting the idea that capitalism is more important than democracy, that capitalism should drive democracy, that in a capitalist society, the fewer regulations and the fewer limits that you have on the ability of capitalists to influence politics the better.

This is their sales pitch and that is the rot at the core of these things in every country that I mentioned and in the many other countries that are losing democracy or are sliding away from democracy and toward authoritarianism, including the United States.

What we see is that the principle force pushing this kind of populism has been diluting the working class of the country, the working class responding to being looted by the capitalists with anger, and then you get people stepping into the void, these populist politicians, the Donald Trumps of the world.

You get the Erdoğans of the world. You get these populist politicians stepping into that void and saying, as Donald Trump literally said, "I alone can solve this problem, I alone can save you, I will be your defender, I will be the one who fights on behalf of you against those people who are screwing you."

When in fact these phony populists like Donald Trump are the people who are screwing us and they're doing it by elevating capitalism above democracy. Democracy is a form of governance. Capitalism is an economic system. They are completely different things. And capitalism, if it's not limited, if it's not regulated, it will corrode, erode and ultimately destroy democracy. And that's what we're seen in country after country.

Whereas democracy, if it is strong, can actually provide a safe space, a soil in which the roots of regulated capitalism, healthy capitalism, can actually grow.

Now, obviously I'd like to see a whole lot more than just capitalism. I'd like to see co-ops, there's a whole lot of other things that can be done. But in my opinion, the Times article is completely missing the boat, because they're unwilling to criticize capitalism.

Comments

gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950 1 year 42 weeks ago
#1

Humans are inherently hierarchical and will vie for greater status (measured by money in Western culture), thus increasing the inequality in society, unless regulated by government. This process is quite evident in America today and will result in social rebellion and collapse without dispassionate governmental regulation. History is replete with numerous examples of this process. FDR implicitly understood this process and used his personal charisma and high office to re-regulate an out-of-control Capitalist catastrophe and save the nation in the 1930's. If you do not understand this, you do not understand modern human history. The current federal government is awash and without competent leadership. Don't let the rising DJIA fool you. A collapse due to unregulated Capitalist excess is right around the corner. We are in desperate need of another FDR or what's coming will make the 1930's look like a picnic in the park.

Oldskoold's picture
Oldskoold 1 year 42 weeks ago
#2

Well said Dude! However, (and unfortunately) we have been saddled with those who cannot think or reason for themselves. Really is scary times here.......... Amazing that they comprise 25/30 % of the electorate too! That's what concerns me Big Time since even after all this they are still there. And, they do flipping vote!!!!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 1 year 42 weeks ago
#4

I agree with the above posts...we're on the verge of a historic crash. The buy back bubble has inflated to beyond 1929 territory and hardly a red flag anywhere. With a fraud friendly government the current market inflation is just as much a fascist political statement as it is fools gold. Yes, Crooked Donny filled his cabinet swamp with Goldman Sachs sidewinders, but they'll be the first to bale....don't expect answers from them.

Why would anybody believe earnings reports issued in the Trump era anyway? I've also seen recent adjustments made to employment stats after the fact....over reporting of new hires. No watch dogs anymore!

How curious to hear nonchalant corpse news market reports everyday.....as if this extreme climb is something that has always been the norm, nothing to question or be alarmed about here...LOL

Not to mention Crooked Donny just replaced Yellen with a guy who has no degree in economics. I'm afraid ole Jerome Powell is about to go down in history in a most painful light.

Isn't unregulated capitalism just another term for feudalism? Hasn't that already been tried?

I'd like to hear from one of our Koch/Libertarian trolls.....explain to me how Democratic Socialism would have a negative impact on your life.

ticker7's picture
ticker7 1 year 42 weeks ago
#5

Values and beliefs drive behaviours. Sadly the Iraq war and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein replaced a dictatorship with democracy and the country was destroyed by "democratic countries" some of whom perpetrated unpunished war crimes. It was a demonstration of the devious and corrupt undemocratic politcal system in both the US and UK. What it illustrated that when you scratched below the surface that Saddam kept a very diverse country under control. With Greece and our slide to Brexit, was an illustration that the "democratic" EU was actually far from democratic and our well known British sense of fair play was affronted, and hence the rise of UKIP particularly overturning the Labour Party of Blair/Brown to the point where Marxists run an apparently centre Left party (itching for a return to authoritarianism. In the US the populist rise of Trump's authoritarianism seems to be strongly affected by Democrats appalled by the thought of voting for Hillary. Trump's approach has to be unconventional but that lays him open to an onslaught from the Deep State who must be scared to death of a revolutionary change in US politics hence the focus on whipping up anti Russia feeling again replacing Islam and ISIS as the US enemy in the relentless search for an enemy to fight and justify the Pentagon's wartime budget. I wonder whether we are seeing the stupid ignorant bigoted Trump to get the US popular mindset in such a state to force all Americans to think more deeply about America and its place in the world, so that a fundamental commitment to all Americans getting some"skin in the game" to make America different (Kennedy - ask Not what America can do for you speech). Finally I am reminded of the metaphor about how to deal with a baby with a sharp knife, you distract them with something else, take the knife off them, keeping them happy and preventing them from crying. Is Trump distratcting everybody across the world, and doing other things by changing other things quietly? I thought last year that filling the 520 top jobs was the administration being totally inept, by April he had filled 50+. If you were 'draining the swamp" would you fight conventional warfare with the the establshment / Deep State/ MIC with no hope of winning or fight a guerilla war to beat a much stronger opponent? There again I have always been an optimist hence giving Donald far too much credit - back to the meds.....

ticker7's picture
ticker7 1 year 42 weeks ago
#6

Values and beliefs drive behaviours. Sadly the Iraq war and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein replaced a dictatorship with democracy and the country was destroyed by "democratic countries" some of whom perpetrated unpunished war crimes. It was a demonstration of the devious and corrupt undemocratic politcal system in both the US and UK. What it illustrated that when you scratched below the surface that Saddam kept a very diverse country under control. With Greece and our slide to Brexit, was an illustration that the "democratic" EU was actually far from democratic and our well known British sense of fair play was affronted, and hence the rise of UKIP particularly overturning the Labour Party of Blair/Brown to the point where Marxists run an apparently centre Left party (itching for a return to authoritarianism. In the US the populist rise of Trump's authoritarianism seems to be strongly affected by Democrats appalled by the thought of voting for Hillary. Trump's approach has to be unconventional but that lays him open to an onslaught from the Deep State who must be scared to death of a revolutionary change in US politics hence the focus on whipping up anti Russia feeling again replacing Islam and ISIS as the US enemy in the relentless search for an enemy to fight and justify the Pentagon's wartime budget. I wonder whether we are seeing the stupid ignorant bigoted Trump to get the US popular mindset in such a state to force all Americans to think more deeply about America and its place in the world, so that a fundamental commitment to all Americans getting some"skin in the game" to make America different (Kennedy - ask Not what America can do for you speech). Finally I am reminded of the metaphor about how to deal with a baby with a sharp knife, you distract them with something else, take the knife off them, keeping them happy and preventing them from crying. Is Trump distratcting everybody across the world, and doing other things by changing other things quietly? I thought last year that filling the 520 top jobs was the administration being totally inept, by April he had filled 50+. If you were 'draining the swamp" would you fight conventional warfare with the the establshment / Deep State/ MIC with no hope of winning or fight a guerilla war to beat a much stronger opponent? There again I have always been an optimist hence giving Donald far too much credit - back to the meds.....

BoxCar's picture
BoxCar 1 year 42 weeks ago
#7

Modern History is defined by 1993 Solar Mortality Theory wherein human species is Sun-Synchronized to grow in wavelets of 1 solar cycle per generation so when 4th arrives after 3x22.2yrs=66.6yrs, CHAOS occurs IF there was NO Birth Control, so Death Control ensues wherein gov'ts become authoritorian to protect institutions from TURMOIL Google "Solar Mortality Theory" to read "www.genocideorigins.blogspot.com" that gives scientific reasons why this phenomenon occurs> We R now in one of those periods and it'll last until 2nd Great Depression arrives @2029 or 1 solar reversal of 11.1yrs after 2018 stk mkt correction>

SMT predicted in 1996 an event would occur precisely 2007.5 that would TRIGGER onset of global socio-economic upheaval (Arab Spring) and it was Bush SEC removal of 1937 Uptick Rule on 7/7/7 (pretty close to 2007.5) W/in 2 weeks Bear Stearns saw 2 major hedge funds fail & they began to unravel & the rest is history leading to stk mkt crash of fall 2008 when 1st post war baby boomers began to retire at age 62> Its all written so no one can say it was unexpected> SMT & some economists R predicting 2029 stk mkt crash because of housing bubble> 100M baby boomers R counting on houses for retirement but there's only 50M Millenials to buy their homes, so the bubble will burst, just like '08

Edward Dodson's picture
Edward Dodson 1 year 42 weeks ago
#8

The history of "democracy" in the United States and elsewhere around the world is not well understood. One has to read extensively and even take courses at a college or university to begin to see the grand picture. Of course, historians too often have their own bias when interpreting history.

For about a decade I have been teaching history in a program the members of which are retired persons seeking intellectual stimulation. So, as adults they have lived through the events of the last five, six or even seven decades. Some hold strong to conservative or progressive perspectives. I do my best to introduce them to the socio-political arrangements and institutions that drive our behavior and our history. The story is not easy to tell because of the underlying presence of vested interests and ideological bias.

In a chapter of a book I wrote titled "The Discovery of First Principles," I detail the European conquest -- not discovery -- of the Americas. Those who arrived from the Old World sought a number of things. They certainly sought an opportunity for a better life, even in the wilderness of the first century and longer. They also sought to acquire ownership of land as a primary source of wealth. The "first families" of the Americas understood the enormous economic and political power that came with owning enough land they could lease to others and collect rents so that they could devote themselves to the arts, the sciences and politics.

George Washington, for one, used all of the means at his disposal to amass an enormous landed estate to become the wealthiest person in the newly-formed United States. One of the reasons for his break with Great Britain was the order by the Royal Governor that some of Washington's land grants be cancelled. I tell Washington's story in detail in the classroom. Few of my "students" are aware of any of this.

Students of American history are almost always assigned to read Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," which paints a idealized picture of live in America by a Frenchman whose country was, by comparison, still a quasi-feudal state plagued by widespread poverty and aristocratic privilege. Tocqueville mistakenly believed the differences were differences of kind when they were really differences of degree.

The reality of "the American System" was detailed late in the 19th century by Henry George in his books, lectures, newspaper editorials and testimony before the U.S. Congress and other governmental commissions. Other historians and writers weighed in as well with balanced analyses. One was Frederick Jackson Turner with his analysis of how the existence of the frontier (and the potential for access to free land) influenced the behavior and attitudes of those of European heritage who populated the interior.

As Henry George detailed, already by the late 19th century, the land and natural resources and much of the industrial enterprise of the nation was in the hands of a powerful minority. In the early 20th century, the historian Charles Beard made the case in his book "An Economic Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution" that the game was rigged from the very beginning. Who were the White men who met in Philadelphia to frame a new government? They were its most powerful citizens, members of the rentier and financial class. Beard's analysis was then and is still attacked by those who want the "have nots" of this country to believe that with hard work and self-control that they can become "haves."

Democracy in America has always been more myth than reality. The philosopher Mortimer J. Adler wrote that we may not be able to define the just society but we can see its effects where they exist. If all of the citizens in a society have access to adequare food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, the time to participate in civic affairs, and leisure time to pursue interests and talents, then one can safely conclude that the laws of that society are just. By this measure, the United States is becoming less and less just every day. The rentier interests are winning. The conquences will be severe for the majority of us as the social fabric is ripped apart.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 1 year 42 weeks ago
#9

It's just not fair that the other guy has more money than me. It is my right to take some of theirs. My retirement should be paid in full by the government. All corporations should be run by the government. Profits should be outlawed. Everybody should make the same salary. Etc, etc.

Time for another world appology tour.

More furtive plea's for a socialist US coming from a communist who I will bet takes full advantage of every tax deduction possible including vacations that are deemed research.

Why am I not surprised?

Planes leave daily. Don't be shy.

Legend 1 year 42 weeks ago
#10

I once saw Karl Rove in an interview brag about how the Bush Administration new the crash was coming. What he did not do is brag about doing something about it.

Master Debater's picture
Master Debater 1 year 42 weeks ago
#11

Mr. Thom Hartmann, I believe the option that should be pursued is to provide a better alternative. What the Democratic leaders failed to realize is that our President is so starved for adoration, he would have fought for anything that accomplished this. And yet they offered nothing.

I attended a Bernie rally and was inspired by the not only the quantity of the turnout, but the fact that the majority of the attendees were young people. If you really want to win a battle, give the young people something to rally around. Jobs, the budget, healthcare, security, energy, transportation, the legal system, political reform, the school system, and our food would be problems that we need solutions for. Hemp would be a good place to begin.

Legend 1 year 42 weeks ago
#12

#9. You live in your own world Diane.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 1 year 42 weeks ago
#13

@#10 Rick Steve

I find that to be an intriguing post but without a link it is just mindless baseless opinion on your part. I have long suspected that Barney Frank, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae were all tied to the banking collapse but I thought Bush warned congress that it was about to happen? Is that what you speak of?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXqxN1XBMH8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 1 year 42 weeks ago
#14

It’s Not Capitalism, It’s Corporatism

http://calebjonesblog.com/its-not-capitalism-its-corporatism/

Today, I’m going to describe what is perhaps the largest single lie of modern-day Societal Programming. So successful is this lie that I would guess that a billion people, yes, a billion people believe in it.

This lie has been building slowly since around the early 1990s. It reached critical mass around the mid 2000s and crescendoed just after the collapse of 2008. Today, it’s simply accepted “wisdom” and not even questioned. The lie is complete, entrenched into not just Western culture but world culture, and is here to stay, perhaps for the next 100 years.

The lie is this: Capitalism means big government assisting big banks and corporations in ripping off their customers, then bailing out said banks and corporations when they fail.

You’ve probably heard this statement a thousand times: “The 2008 crash was caused by too much capitalism.”

When government throws corporate welfare at big companies or bails out big banks, what do you see people screaming about? Capitalism.

The problem is none of this is capitalism. It’s corporatism, which is completely different.

more @ link above.

Legend 1 year 42 weeks ago
#15

Amazing that you think that a Congressman from MA could be the sole cause of the financial collapse. Both of your videos are after the collapse. You have to remember that Bush had been in office for 7+ years. His bankster buddies were in total control of him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%932008

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 1 year 42 weeks ago
#16

The banksters have been in control of both sides for a very long time....it's not like only one side goes beggin'.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 1 year 42 weeks ago
#17

@ #15 Rick Steve

Waiting on your Rove accusing Bush of having knowledge of the financial collapse.

At least mine had video proof that refutes the leftie/socialist meme.

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 1 year 42 weeks ago
#18

I think we can all use some laughter in our lives so... Tune in next Tuesday. Maxine Waters will be appearing live on BET after the presidents state of the union address. LIVE... This is going to be hilarious.... LIVE I tell ya!

Legend 1 year 42 weeks ago
#19

What do you mean refutes the "lefty/socialist mime"? The collapse had happened. He is just trying to cover bases. Gave a big bonus to the banksters. Your history is totally warped.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 1 year 42 weeks ago
#21

@#20 Rick Steve,

Maybe if to took the time to watch the links you wouldn't have made an fool of yourself again. Bush was warning congress in 2001. Here is an additional link to help you out.

https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2008/10/200810...

Now, go back to finding a link supporting your assertion about Rove in post #10. Mindless baseless speculation is what everyone else does but not you.

Legend 1 year 41 weeks ago
#22

Sorry Diane Bush had 7+ years before the bust to fix things. The House was Republican the whole 8 years, The Senate almost the whole 8 years. You cannot blame it on others when you had total control.

Legend 1 year 41 weeks ago
#23

"Maybe if to took the time to watch the links you wouldn't have made an fool of yourself again. Bush was warning congress in 2001."

This is after the collapse. Maybe you should watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXqxN1XBMH8

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 1 year 41 weeks ago
#24

Rick Steve or should I all you by your native American name "stubbornleftie/socialist",

one more try at reading factual links. Go slowly and pay special attention to the numbers that refer to the years Bush warned congress.

https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2008/10/200810...

How are you doing on answering your mindless baseless claims in post #10?

Legend 1 year 41 weeks ago
#25

In post #10 I clariefied that it was from my memory. I did not post a reference because it was from my memory. I clarified that. I did not post it as fact with a reference. I said that "i remember" that means that it is from my memory. I did not post the Clinton Foundations tax returns as fact and claim that it had a source as OU812 did and could not produce a reference.

Once again you ignor the fact that Bush and the Republican Party were in control for 7+ years at the crash. You also zero in on FannieMae when there were many things that lead up to the crash. Most of all Derivatives and unregulated banking.

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=5vFtWsitHtLIsQXZ7avIDg&q=2007...

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 1 year 41 weeks ago
#26

It is amazing how selective memory loss affects leftie socialists when it comes to topics like existing gun laws, capital gains taxes, FDR, Ronald Reagan, William Jefferson Clinton, the minor costs vs. the huge rewards of investing with a mutual fund, the entire media is right wing?, Obama's mid-east policies, IRS tax laws, corporations, profits, gerrymandered districts like Luis Gutierrez , free markets, the many billionaires that feed and support the democrat party, the Marco Rubio and obamacare bullshit, Roth IRA's, PATCO, and other innumerable constantly repeated prevarications.

As for the crash in 2009, yep a lot of people and conditions were responsible, not least of them was Barney Frank, Fannie, and Freddie. If well meaning people weren't so busy making sure EVERYONE got a trophy in the form of a home loan, the crisis could have been averted as clearly stated in my provided links. Greed and stupidity from both sides allowed ths to happen, just ask favorite Goldman matron, Hillary Clinton.

changeX's picture
changeX 1 year 41 weeks ago
#27

-

changeX's picture
changeX 1 year 41 weeks ago
#28

chuckle chuckle

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