The Tension Between Democracy And Capitalist Research Paper Sample
There is no doubt that the society is more democratic than before. Today, about two-thirds of the world hold free and relatively fair elections (Reich par. 1). At the same time, capitalism has spread far and wide in many parts of the world. There is a belief that capitalism and democracy are synergetic in nature with each strengthening the other. Perhaps this was the case until the 2008 collapse of the financial system in America that triggered economic and political crisis across the globe (Streeck par. 1). The extended conflicts and continued in the war era may have fuelled the growth of capitalism. With relative peace and lack of conflict, capitalism and democracy may not be complementary. The following is a description of the tensions that exist between capitalism and democracy.
History shows that the rule of the majority tends to give the poor authority over the rich. If the majority rule grows, it would eventually free the markets and remove private ownership of the property. That is the primary aspect of democracy. However, this perspective points out the inevitable conflict between capitalism and democracy. It is not easy for the owners of the means of production to give out their ownership rights because of democracy. From this point of view, the capitalist interferes with freedom in three levels with the aim of suffocating it. The society, culture, and the democratic system (Peter 5).
Primary, a democratic community has the ultimate power bestowed on the people who may directly or indirectly exercise it. On the other hand, capitalist power comes from the ownership wealth and controlling the flows of the economy of a country. The people without property in the democratic society would have little or no chance of influencing the decisions at higher levels. Typically, democracies require resources to maintaining themselves. As a result, they cannot disassociate themselves from the capitalist influence. Because of that, the property owners, even if they may not be politicians, would have a lot of power that tends to suppress the democracy. The system would lead to elite politicians whose political lives inadvertently changes to economic one and, consequently, hurts democracy.
Additionally, the civil society tends to oppose the status quo of the Democratic states. Civil societies may seem to be on the side of the people, but they represent the interest of the capitalist. They twist the ideologies and goals in such a way that, although they seem to liberate the people from the ruthlessness of the businessmen, the results do not have significant positive impacts on the life of the ordinary man compared to that of the capitalist get. For example, the civil rights activist advocate for free trade and competition in the markets that is an important driving force of the capitalist.
However, it is illogical for the already established business to compete on equal levels with the newly created enterprises. The mega investors use their economic power to suppress the rest in the democratic space and end up amassing more wealth that the majority of the investors. At times, they edge some of the entrepreneurs out of the market entirely. It is evident that the nature of democracy is counterproductive in the face of capitalism since it is impossible to have an all-inclusive state that still upholds free markets and ensure equal opportunities for all the people. The freedom of choice and willing seller willing buyer do not allow individuals to subscribe to the universal ideologies of democracy (including all the people).
Even with a well-developed internal democracy, the poor countries have to adhere to pre-set conditions since they lost the power of the property or wealthy that places the equals on the same level. The creditors would control what the debtor do as long as they have not completed paying the money. The paradox that arises is that the choice of the prospering nations to disassociate themselves from the failing nations is democratic. Typically, the freedom of choice is among the fundamental aspects of any democracy even when such choices may hurt others. Such a twist in the perspective of democracy hurts itself.
The tenets of democracy tend to advocate the public decision to come first while capitalist prioritize the personal interests. However, the liberal nature of democracy allows the private interest to flourish to the detriment of the public interests. Every member of the society has a self-interest that they seek to pursue, and it is only if the majority of the people have the same goals that the public interest becomes a reality.
Wagner argues that capitalism can exist exclusive from democracy (13). However, Wagner is quick to state that if capitalism exists without democracy, it is critiqued for being exploitative and unjust. The statement shows that the compatibility of capitalism and democracy is highly contentious. Therefore, there is a need to change the social, economic, and cultural setting if the tension between democracy and capitalism has to ease with time. Bruszt noted that such would change the social-cultural, and economics norms to create an enabling environment (149).
Bruszt László. Making capitalism compatible with democracy: tentative reflections from the ‘East.’ 2006. N.p. N.d. Web. July 26, 2015. <http://www.eui.eu/Documents/DepartmentsCentres/SPS/Profiles/Bruszt/CrouchChapter. pdf>
Wagner Peter. The democratic crisis of capitalism: Reflections on political and economic modernity in Europe. LEQS Paper No. 44/2011. Web. July 26, 2015. <http://www.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute/LEQS/LEQSPaper44.pdf>
Streeck Wolfgang. The Crises of Democratic Capitalism. New Left Review 71, Sep. –October, 2011. Web. July 26, 2015. <http://newleftreview.org/II/71/wolfgang-streeck-the-crises- of-democratic-capitalism>
Peter Verena. Democracy vs. Capitalism – A Conflict in the European Council? 28 June, 2013. N.P. N.d. Web. July 26, 2015. <http://essay.utwente.nl/63426/1/Verena_Peter_-_ Bachelor_Thesis.pdf>
Reich Robert. How capitalism is killing democracy. Oct. 12, 2009. N.P. N.d. Web. July 26, 2015. <http://foreignpolicy.com/2009/10/12/how-capitalism-is-killing-democracy/>
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