An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

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An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  emperorzombie on Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:44 am

Here is my stab at some of the current American political-economic happenings.

This is in light of the recession/depression we currently enjoy.

A company that is "too big to fail" has an option that allows for the derailment of Free Market Economics(so called) and the election process.

They go to the politicians they need the favor of and claim thus: "If our company fails, x number of people will lose their jobs. x number of people will surely NOT vote for you next election and we will NOT fund your reelection. "

As well as: " Our company is so huge, if we fail, your portfolio will take a hit."

For unelected officials: " We at company too big to fail would be glad to continue working with you after you retire from public office. Someone of your expertise(connections) would make a great consultant with a higher income than what you currently make."

So the question is this: Is there even representative democracy anymore? Are votes just symbolic gestures? Perhaps the future of voting is exercising stock options instead of choosing representatives. we live in interesting times.
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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  ezavan on Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:27 pm

indeed, we DO live in interesting times. democracy has been eradicated by global capitalism, overpopulation works the earth at a grueling pace, more and more trouble brews, wars being silently planned, corporate gods worshiped by totemic money spirits sucking the human spirit dry, ecosystems thrown into dangerous imbalance...with any luck the 2012 myth is somehow fact and we can just disappear painlessly, or evolve to adapt.
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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  emperorzombie on Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:58 pm

i used to think that but im actually optimistic now. we are in for some growing pains for sure but life is pretty adaptable. i think we are on the verge of a new renaissance but a short dark age may have to play out first.
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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  Khephra on Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:11 pm

emperorzombie wrote:So the question is this: Is there even representative democracy anymore? Are votes just symbolic gestures?

Those are definitely relevant questions!

In my esteem, the United States has taxation without representation. Furthermore, I don't think votes are necessarily symbolic, given that those involved in tabulating the results (e.g. Diebold et al) can't be trusted and disenfranchisement becomes common place.

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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  emperorzombie on Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:42 pm

but lets look at the other side of the coin as well. a country of the people by the people for the people knows more about which pop star has cheated on his wife or which football team has the best prospects to win the superbowl than they do about their own government. i find it quite sad that in the age of instant communication people are more interested in passive entertainment then finding others of similar though and PARTICIPATING in society. doesnt have to be voting or activism. how many football fans organize and coach the local youth? few. all this communication and so little social capital. people are so numb and disinterested in society that its small wonder that the self interested and driven take advantage. we have a rightwing leftist media that filters info into easily chewable vitamin enriched red and blue shaped chicken nuggets and people bitch about the line at the drive-thru. rush limbaugh(lush pill popper) jesse jackson(failed rapper) katie couric(who?) glen beck(i wanna be rush so bad) tavis smiley(but what about black folk?) bloggers tweets past prime rockstars womens magazine advice columns...

this is what the people WANT to hear from.

so how can America 'survive' if the people on top lie cheat and steal and the people on the bottom/middle dont want to be bothered?
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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  neutralrobotboy on Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:02 am

Alright, I'll take the bait.

Firstly, in my opinion, the formal mechanics of modern representative democracy are not sufficient to constitute "true" democracy, not even in theory. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, on its face, hiring elected representatives is different from directly diffusing power to the people. That is, even on a theoretical level, one only has the right to determine who is making important policy decisions. Secondly, economic circumstances play a large role in determining who is likely to take office. Because society is not organized around organic groups of people anymore, most people will hear about a running candidate because of public relations efforts. In other words, we don't even know these people, and with arguable rare exception, we must make decisions based on the information they (and their running opponents) choose to present to us. This failure to organize into organic groups also has its part in raising the likelihood that the people who get into power are the people who most ardently seek power -- a formula which continues to be disasterous in modern societies.

All that aside, as the start of this thread starts to point out, our economic methods of organization strip all pretense of democracy away from everyday life. Most people in representative democracies these days will find that the large organizations which they come in contact with most often are economic -- financial institutions and other corporations. These organizations formally have virtually no democratic accountability, except to shareholders, who will tend to try to push decisions which will make them more money, and even then the whole basis for the voting process is economic clout.

In the political and economic arenas, the people do not have a say in everyday policy decisions which is proportional to the degree to which they will be affected by them. For me, this is one of the few worthwhile standards to hold a democracy against, and there can be no question that modern societies (with arguable rare exception) fail miserably to meet this standard. In fact, this failure is so dismal that to even contemplate really holding ourselves to this standard is virtually a thought crime -- the territory of "extremists" and "idealists".

Also, these things are not even remotely new, though as time passes, in some cases the sham is becoming more obvious, at times to the point where people can't convince themselves of its validity anymore.

we have a rightwing leftist media that filters info into easily chewable vitamin enriched red and blue shaped chicken nuggets and people bitch about the line at the drive-thru.

What is a rightwing leftist media? The phrase for me conjures up images of hard-line doctrinaire Marxists, but I don't think the mainstream media outlets have many of those...

this is what the people WANT to hear from.

True, but one must consider the pressures which lead people to want these things. People are being manipulated by pressures they do not have the werewithal to withstand. Two solutions suggest themselves, and they are not mutually exclusive: 1. Reduce the sociopsychological pressures which manipulate people into a robotic and apathetic state, and 2. Increase people's capacity to resist these pressures.

I would say that option #2 is the traditional domain of esoteric traditions the world over.

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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:54 am

Re. democracy:

Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: "A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy."

Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America": A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.

David Hume, Of the First Principles of Government: "[We] shall find, that, as FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular."

Eugene V. Debs: "When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right."

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman: "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."

George Orwell: "That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."

Gore Vidal: "Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates."

Helen Keller: "Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee."

H.L. Mencken: "The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty--and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies."

John Adams: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

Noam Chomsky, Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future: "Criticism of 'democracy' among anarchists has often been criticism of parliamentary democracy, as it has arisen within societies with deeply repressive features. Take the US, which has been as free as any, since its origins. American democracy was founded on the principle, stressed by James Madison in the Constitutional Convention in 1787, that the primary function of government is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority. Thus he warned that in England, the only quasi-democratic model of the day, if the general population were allowed a say in public affairs, they would implement agrarian reform or other atrocities, and that the American system must be carefully crafted to avoid such crimes against the rights of property, which must be defended (in fact, must prevail). Parliamentary democracy within this framework does merit sharp criticism by genuine libertarians, and I've left out many other features that are hardly subtle - slavery, to mention just one, or the wage slavery that was bitterly condemned by working people who had never heard of anarchism or communism right through the 19th century, and beyond."

Robert Heinlein: "The greatest fallacy of democracy is that everyone's opinion is worth the same."

Thomas Jefferson: "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

Winston Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  emperorzombie on Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:25 pm

What is a rightwing leftist media?

i had an argument with a right winger claiming the 'leftist' media was the cause of most of our ills in america.
i stated that big media is a business and uses all the avenues available to get what it wants: more profit. i pointed out it is just like any other business and uses shocking attention getters to sell advertising space. the attention getting is distasteful because it is exactly that that attracts eyeballs/ears.

it appears left-wing but im sure it wants/enjoys the staple of right-wing aims: lower taxes, less regulation, free trade'so called', etc.

hence right wing leftist media.
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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  neutralrobotboy on Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:14 pm

@ankh_f_n_khonsu: That Mencken quote is gold!

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Re: An explaination: "Too Big to Fail".

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:44 am

This one popped up in my morning feed. See Global Research.ca for the complete article:

Global War and Dying Democracy: The Revolution of the Elites
by Andrew Gavin Marshall

Global trends in political economy suggest that “democracy” as we know it, is a fading concept, where even Western industrialized nations are retreating from the system. Arguably, through party politics and financial-corporate interests, democracy is something of a façade as it is. However, we are entering into an era in which even the institutions and image of democracy are in retreat, and the slide into totalitarianism seems inevitable.
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