Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Multitude Once More...

.:When Democracy Just Isn't Enough:.

America would have us believe that there is no better system of governance than democracy. It's easy to fall for this, when we look at how countries practicing alternative forms of governance seem to be falling to the wayside, but clearly, this is merely being facetious. Despite its inherent advantages, democracy's shortcomings are glaring, and to ignore them is to gloss over the facts and to buy into what apologists for democracy would have us believe.

You see, it cannot be ignored that democracy fails on four counts: representation, rights and justice, economics, and biopolitics. Clearly, these deficiencies are glaring and inexcusable. For one, democracy's “rule of the people by the people” is counter-intuitively being negated by having a very small minority represent the people on the local, national, and global scales (p.272). As fewer people represent a greater many, the interest of the representative tends to supplant the interest of the represented, to the disadvantage of the latter.

Consequently, rights and justice are difficult to uphold because quite bluntly, there is “no adequate institutional structure” (p.274) that exists to enforce them. When “moral persuasion” (p.274) is your only tool, you are quickly relegated to a “rhetorical device” rather than a “legal framework” (.275) whenever you mobilize, thus lessening your potential impact for your cause.

Thirdly, economics as a system appears to be concerned with how much money is being made, but not who makes how much money (p.278). The rich do get richer, and the poor continue to have nothing. As the rich-poor gap continues to widen, the very economic structure of democracy ensures that the status quo will persist.

Lastly, biopolitics is becoming a touchy subject in democracy. Because of the constant call for development, we have ecological, economic, even sociological systems being overrun in favor of “progress” (p.283). Democracy's checks and balances aren't stringent enough to prevent wanton disregard for their biopolitical structures already in place, throwing us into a state of global war.

Reforms have been suggested, but their feasibility remains to be seen. Global representation has been suggested to be remedied by simply removing veto power from a mere five permanent members in the United Nations Security Council who can veto despite a majority vote (p.292). This is done in turn to increasing the power of the General Assembly to make the member nations have a greater say on matters than the elite five of the Security Council.

In the realm of rights and justice, proposals have been made to make “new institutions of justice independent from the control of nation-states” (p.296). By making these institutions more independent, it is hoped that we avoid partisanship in the carrying out of justice.

Economic reforms have been bandied about as of late, mostly in favor of debt cancellation (p.299), with the likes of U2's Bono heralding the call for the IMF and World Bank to cancel these debts. It is actually more feasible than it seems, but standards must be set so that there would be no need to do this again in the future.

Lastly, biopolitical reforms are necessary to alleviate us from our current state of global war (p.303). The first step would of course to ratify and enact more international treaties in order to make nations willingly fall in line with a better way of resolving issues, as well as independent agencies for other biopolitical concerns such as water.

Can it be all done? Can all these changes help change democracy for the better? Well, in the end, both yes and no. Yes, the changes can be done and will certainly work well for the betterment of all if they were enacted. It will take decades, possibly even centuries, but eventually, it can be accomplished. But no, if the question is whether or not democracy will benefit, then it will not. These reforms are not meant to make the world a more democratic place. These reforms are meant to make the world a better place, regardless of extreme political alliances, through a more egalitarian, almost undemocratic outlook and paradigm.

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