One can get anything if he is willing to help enough others get what they want.Zig Ziglar, speaking Truth about Power
The ‘Democratic Republic’ of the Congo is neither Democratic or a Republic. A few people tried to make it a Democracy a while ago, but private interests quickly got control of government, and since that time, it has been a Democracy in name only.
The same thing happened in the United States. A few people tried to make it a Democracy a while ago, but private interests also got control of government, and since then, it has been a Democracy in name only.
Demos-Kratos. People [have the] Power. It’s just two words, basically. How could we (and everyone else) keep screwing this up? (Spoiler Alert: one of these words is not what it claims to be.)
Mistake #1: Power is Not Control
So far, all attempts at implementing Democracy have been doomed from the start, because Governments, instead of facilitating Power, are mostly set up to assume and maintain Control. Power is similar to what comes out of an electric socket – it Empowers a multitude of electronic devices to reach their full potential or ‘capacity’. For something to have Power, it must be capable of Empowering others – to facilitate another individual’s full potential or capacity.
Control saps Power from others for personal gain; it is an affront to Democracy, and an infringement on Liberty. Liberty is just a fancy word for ‘I don’t like being told what to do’. People need to feel they have a choice, no matter how limited; once people feel ‘cornered’, their ‘fight / flight’ response will be triggered. This manifests itself into various behaviors: outward facing ‘criminal behaviors’ (to fight), or inward facing behaviors like addiction or suicide (to flee), both of which are ultimately self-destructive to society as a whole.
Regardless of the name we slap on our government, when Power is used to exert Control over anyone, Democracy is negated. Meanwhile, the more we are ‘Empowered’, the more potentially productive we become. When the U.S. government offers individual grants, or funds important research, for example, people are being Empowered to reach their full potential, which is one way a government can disseminate a more authentic version of Democracy.
Government must turn every attempt to Control into one of Empowerment. The only thing government can give, however, is opportunity, never ‘handouts’ (see Mistake #3). They must somehow Empower people equally, through individual opportunity, to reach their full capacity. Only then is government disseminating true Democracy. This would necessitate a complete reworking of what we call Justice, for example, which is reactive and controlling, and implemented on the back end (after several injustices have already been committed); Justice would now need to be proactive and empowering – to reinforce Certainty, Fairness, and Inclusivity – so that no one is forced into desperate or self-destructive choices made in isolation.
Mistake #2: Democracy is the Power – NOT of the Many – but of the One
Democracy allows each person absolute Power over themselves, which is made manifest by our Freedom of Choice, which Empowers the pursuit of Liberty and Happiness. This is all that Democracy is capable of securing – the Freedom to choose one’s own ends – which is still significant, as most avoidable human suffering comes either directly or indirectly from one person’s choice to exert Control over another. When we use Democracy’s Power of ‘self-control’ (self-choice) to seek Control outside ourselves, someone’s personal Liberty is compromised, and no true measure of Democracy can be achieved.
When Government offers each person a vote, it allows factions to form and potentially gain Control – a ‘tyranny of the majority’, or even of a minority. What would better represent the Power each of us has is to offer every person a ‘share’ – an equal stake – in whatever we produce as a society, whether that be feast or famine. Only this would truly ‘tie our fates together’, meanwhile achieving a tangible version of Democratic Equality.
Mistake #3: When Money is Allowed to Buy Control of Power
What Capitalism gets right is the creation of a ‘virtual world’ – apart from the reality that we are floating around on a giant rock – that allows people to navigate freely (but predictably) within its boundaries. This imposed reality, however structured, still affords people the potential for Democracy, because Liberty and Freedom of Choice – at least in theory – are still preserved. While Democracy has so far only been capable of enabling personal choice, if It borrowed Capitalism’s clever workaround, and proactively established an overall ‘Environment’ – or societal infrastructure – conducive to Democracy, this would not technically interfere with anyone’s individual Freedom of Choice. The trick would be how to make sure Democracy did not become compromised once money started changing hands.
The conflict: People NEED boundaries – the more unequivocal (clear-cut) the better – meanwhile, they HATE being told HOW to navigate within these boundaries (thus the concept of Liberty and Democracy). The Resolution: the realization that people have risen to the top of the ‘food chain’ – not because they were physically superior – because they were the best at ‘adapting’ to whatever environment was present. Look how people have adapted to war, viruses or famine. Look how easily we switch between roles as parents, employees, or peers, or how our kids eagerly immerse themselves in video games offering numerous alternate realities. Look how Amazon created a billion-dollar business by selling products they don’t make and utilizing internet and transportation systems they don’t own. Navigating environments do not deter us, as long as the rules are consistent. People do not like UNFAIRNESS, which occurs, for example, when some people are allowed choices that others are not permitted to enjoy.
Capitalism is unfair in many ways, and most of these ways center around its celebrated medium of exchange: money. Those with excess money have consistently used it to leverage Control over countless others. Money is easily the most dangerous weapon ever created, because it can fluidly take Control of whatever is most valuable or valued at any given moment in time. It can buy weapons or votes or politicians that control policy decisions; it can buy media or essential natural resources or infrastructure – from housing to critical distribution channels (think health care, communication, or electricity – even Amazon or Facebook).
Some believe that if everyone had a gun in their hand, somehow liberty would be protected. With money as the measure of all things, those at the financial bottom can barely afford a rock, while a privileged few have access to a full nuclear arsenal.
1) We must do better to create an Environment that does not steer anyone toward unhealthy decisions, either for them or us (or the planet). Crime, violence, addiction, obesity, pollution, etc., are all natural choices within our current environment. All people are created wanting maximum life, liberty and happiness; we just need to ‘nudge’ them toward it, by providing a more Certain, Inclusive, and Fair ‘environment’.
2) Originally, the government – aka We the People – controlled the money supply. Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary, instituted the First Bank in a newly formed United States. Aaron Burr illegally instituted the first private bank – disguised as a ‘Water Company’ – which later became Chase Manhattan Bank, and is now JP Morgan Chase, America’s largest bank. This started a bitter fight between Burr and Hamilton, which led to Burr killing Hamilton in a duel. Soon after, the National Public Bank was dissolved, and the private sector came to control the public interest. Money, because it fluidly represents the ‘value’ of all things on the planet, needs a bank as big as the planet, in order to make sure that no individual is allowed to be above the ‘environment’ (or system) that is in place. Wealth accumulation is fine, Control of other people is not.
Just as there is a ‘relational’ theory of Democratic Equality (where we all relate to each other as equals), there needs to be a ‘relational’ theory of Money, where we recognize the equal role people share in value creation. The establishment of a National Bank, in order to make loans and collect interest, will allow each person a small ‘share’ in this money creation and circulation process, which represents their role as laborer, taxpayer, and consumer.
Mistake #4: Democracy is Born to Proactively Lead, Not Reactively Regulate
Democracy is about ‘Self’ Control, which implies Choice that is Proactive. Proactive Choice requires reflecting first on one’s values or goals prior to making decisions, in order to successfully achieve ‘Self’ Control. These skills are leadership skills. Capitalism’s main skill is the highly effective and efficient consumption of our planet. It has no conscience. It is the sum of our collective drive to fight, flee, feed, and replicate, and will consume both people and planet without some measure of leadership. An invisible hand is not strong enough to steer this potential doomsday machine, yet here we currently are, with Capitalism in charge, and Democracy following it around, attempting to clean up after it.
Capitalism would correctly point out that it never promised Democracy to anyone – Government made that promise, so Capitalism figures that this is government’s problem, and should tax its own people in whatever manner it wishes but leave Capitalism out of it. Unfortunately, Democracy is not designed to be a ‘fixer’, but a proactive choice-maker, and the proof is how large government spending balloons when Democracy tries to correct for the Unfairness and Uncertainty Capitalism creates.
A ‘livable wage’ in the U.S. is between $43,308 (Kentucky) and $67,867 (Washington D.C.). Roughly 50% of Americans make this much money or less each year, meaning 50% of people cannot possibly save money for retirement – they must literally live paycheck to paycheck. This is why Government implemented Social Security, to help Capitalism, who has no intention of paying people a ‘living wage’. 42.4% of these workers make under $15 / hour, which also means they get no benefits, which is why Medicaid and Medicare exist, to help Capitalism again, who has no intention of paying its ‘low-wage workers’ these benefits.
16 million Americans are currently jobless. Government pays out unemployment assistance, and other forms of welfare, to cover for Capitalism’s unwillingness to train the people it needs. Obviously, those who create the jobs would have the best idea of the skills needed, yet businesses still leave training up to the individual and the public education sector, who must continually guess which way the market might lean. This is highly inefficient and ineffective, allegedly two qualities in which Capitalism claims to have ‘cornered the market’. Meanwhile, corporations still get more direct ‘welfare’ than the citizens ($100 billion compared to $52 Billion a year). Corporate welfare – subsidies to Big Oil, Pharma, and ‘Agro’ – are offered under the pretense that if Capitalism is made strong, its accumulated wealth will naturally trickle down to the people below, which of course it not true. These kinds of fictitious narratives, perpetuated by privately-owned media outlets, only keep us stranded in political purgatory.
Public taxes pay for the infrastructure that Capitalism uses to distribute its goods and services. If Government wants to save the planet, its labs will have to develop the technology to do so, like green energy or electric autonomous vehicles. Amazingly, these taxpayer-funded projects eventually get handed over to Capitalism anyway, so the people can get overcharged for their own innovation. Government is ‘empowering’ Capitalism instead of individual people, which is not its original purpose. The military exists, not to protect Democracy, but to protect Capitalism – aka ‘our interests abroad’. Of course, the military is not even allowed to operate on American soil. If that time should ever come, it will be people defending their illusory Democracy, hand to hand. Capitalists will be vacationing on some island they paid for in cash.
To be fair, Capitalism is at a disadvantage, because it was born out of a historical tradition of oppression, and unfortunately is designed to exert Control. Democracy has escaped this fate, ironically, because it has never actually been implemented. This is why, if we do place it in front of Capitalism, as a light to guide it toward less oppressive choices, we better make sure we understand our own flawed nature, as we, too, were born out of this same historical tradition of oppression. Only through the creation of an oppression-free environment will we adapt toward more enlightened behaviors.
Democracy is not a fix for something, it is about each person’s ability to freely choose their own ends. For this reason, it would not seek to Control the ‘free market’ but Empower it. With Democracy in charge, the ‘free market’ would truly be free, for perhaps the first time. If Democracy can create an economic environment that allows us to navigate toward the best version of ourselves, and finally shed the financial weight of covering for the deficiencies of Capitalism, it will also finally shed the title of ‘Big Government’, as well as several other unprintable names it has rightfully earned along the way.
Mistake #5: The Free Market Cannot Secure Democracy
Final note: Organizations have already begun to rate Democracy in every country, in order to separate Democracy from the false branding Governments attempt to market. Currently, the United States has made no operating system upgrades to its political or socio-economic infrastructure in a couple hundred years, and because of this, the United States consistently rates as a ‘flawed Democracy’.
The Modification: A Third Way Forward
Power can be derived from the sun shining, the wind blowing, the movement of rivers and ocean waves – the earth has created an ‘environment’ which affords many opportunities for human empowerment. Per ‘biomimicry’, we can also create a more empowering ‘virtual’ environment in which to flourish. We do not even need to invent any new components – we only need to change how we think about them, in order to make them work better for Democracy.
Unfortunately, Capitalism is tone deaf about Control, which is why it falls prey to Oppressive tactics. Oppression is caused by people. No one ever blames the Earth for oppressing people. Capitalism’s ‘free market’ ultimately empowers the wealthy few to ‘freely’ oppress the bottom billion, who have no natural ‘stake’ in the planet where they have unceremoniously been deposited.
A quick recap of Modifications:
- Put Democracy in charge of setting the economic ‘environment’ by which we navigate.
- First reroute the money supply through a National Public Bank, which is already deemed ‘Constitutional’ by the Supreme Court, because it was our First (and Second) Bank of the United States, created at the founding of America, before the private sector usurped banks from the people.
- Give everyone an ‘equal share’ of our Gross Domestic Product each year (this will replace current federal income taxation). Every individual, regardless of earnings, would always retain 90 percent of the money they make each year. Only ten percent would be needed to fund the National Bank.
- Put it all into the National Bank, because the Government should not disseminate ‘handouts’, only ‘opportunity’ (Free money empowers Control, borrowed money empowers opportunity and innovation, and earned money would now represent value creation).
- Whatever people put back into the bank, through successfully creating value, eventually becomes a ‘retirement dividend’, divided equally. This represents the true economic growth of the nation, which would essentially make The United States a corporation unified in its effort to create value for all stakeholders.
- To create a ‘livable wage’ requires that essential needs be affordable. By building essential infrastructure through the National Bank, the bills for services like water / waste, electricity, transportation, communication, agriculture, housing, health care, and education would be significantly reduced, though still enough to pay back the National Bank loans needs to rebuild them.
- Government would now be reduced to management of these essential needs only, and utilizing common business practices, be streamlined to be as cost effective as possible. This is necessary to make it affordable, per our mandate to create a ‘livable wage’.