Is it We the People who are behind the steering wheel of modern democracy? Many of us have the feeling that we’re still pretty much in the back seat asking “How long now?”
A survey of 1780 revealed that only 3% of the population in England voted, and in 1831 in Scotland only 0.17% voted (4,500 in 2.6 million).
Now of course everybody votes, but who is at the steering wheel?
What explains this remarkable rise in the percentage of people with votes in the last 200 years? Care is needed here. The case for “the people demanded it” is not an open and shut one. Except in a few countries where voting is compulsory, in most countries and in most elections the majority still doesn’t vote. Did a lack of enthusiasm triumph?
Previous to two centuries ago, the aristocracy allied to other propertied classes ruled. Though they thought of themselves as the defenders of all society, this was not an unqualified success, to put it mildly, and was of course always done on terms of their own advantage. Nevertheless - as the defenders of folk traditions and religion, ethical norms and customs, and sometimes of prejudice best neglected - they had measured success. And then an elephant walked into the room.
The aristocracy’s power was a vestige of the feudal age. When production was not mobile on roads and waterways, the local landholder owned the decisive sanction over the livelihoods of all; the goods which sustained us. With the rise of the mercantile system and the predominance of exchange, money ascended into the Kingdom of the Castle. The time for the Aristocracy to play the role of the “dirty rascal” had arrived.
Money, the possession of credit, the right to create money, distribute it only through loans, charge interest and to compound that interest, had come into its inheritance. Through the power of the mortgage, the ownership of the media, and the patronage of academia and “science”, money appointed a proxy to represent it. That proxy was the majority, with the vacancies of its head filled by endless repetition from the controlled agencies of money.
So democracy triumphed, though not of itself, but as the creature of the new and more dominant aristocracy which none could recognise or even suspect, unless the origin of credit as a private (a very private) monopoly could be discerned, and be believed to exist; which, without the captive media shouting about it, was almost never. The arrogance of the ordinary fellow that he knew how the world worked rendered him impervious to being told. The media had got to his pride first.
Though it is not over yet. The world has seen many a regime supplanted; the reptile by the dinosaur, and the dinosaur by the mammal, for example. How could ordinary fellows ever supplant the power of all that money can buy? The first necessity is that enough of us give up the prestige among our fellows of seeming to know how power works and is exercised, and then devoting ourselves to actually finding this out.
Telling it how it is, is normally a mistake. This would be too easy to own. I used to poison dingoes with suet laced with strychnine. In open display it was treated with suspicion. Wrap it in newspaper, put it under a rock or timber somewhat off the beaten track, and make them sniff it out and work and scratch away for it, and the newspaper would be found with teeth marks. This is why it is such heavy work to change others’ minds - or to change our own.
The advantage is always with those imposing the sanctions to sing a narrative in endless repetition; always, until it induces the thought “Methinks they do repeat too much”. Disappointment with politics and the efficacy of voting is now a social reality. Why? I suggest it is because the choices it offers are too few, and its means of differentiating between things is too little.
The means of improving our lives are seldom political choices, that is, ones to be had through voting; anyway they come years apart, and are usually of little effect.
With every hour we elect. We elect to do or not to do, to consider or dismiss, to say or not, to go or stay, or as Shakespeare had it, to be or not to be. Actually there are two formal voting systems which are collectively organised. In one we voee either by ballot papers or electronically via the internet to appoint politicians, company directors, club officers or sporting captains. We have learned to do this democratically, the essence of which method involves each having an equal number of the “rights to choose”; we get one such “right” each per person or per share which is represented.
It is difficult to speak of the other formal voting system without shame. Shame? How? Because in this voting system nobody is given any votes at all! And more shameful than this, almost nobody chooses to notice this parsimony. Then how do we get them? We have to get them from those who already have them.
We get them from others through serving; a wage system. We get them from others by giving of our substance; surrendering our assets, our goods or services. OK, so we get them from others who have had them from others. That will work. Of course it will work. But it only works if ultimately, in the final analysis, they are had from others who did not have them at all. Otherwise they don’t and can’t exist, of course.
With money, the economic vote, we elect the means of living; the means of sustenance, of entertainment, of shelter, of learning and informing the spirit. This is the great ballot, the election of life in all its aspects, but in this poll, this plebiscite, we are given no votes at all.
All have to be obtained from those others who don’t have them at all, but own the means of creating them out of nothing. These others, as policy, do not distribute them democratically with all sharing freely and equally.
This is not democracy. It is an overlordship of such despotism, such unrecognised power, and such all-pervasive sanctions, as to paint all previous aristocracies as but puny and anaemic custodians of social policy.
The measured addition to money votes in existence in the United States in 2014 was $2.3 trillion. That is, money created in addition to that which existed at the beginning of that year. While this amounted to $7,500 per person or $30,000 per family of four, none at all was given to those who own that country: its citizens.
Even social security was taken from others via taxation.
Though 98% of this money was not printed, but created in cyberspace and this done costlessly on a keyboard, none was distributed costlessly to its owners as are other votes and ballots.
All was created and its ownership retained in the banking houses chartered to do this. It served as their means of manning the steering wheel of the social organism, and directing it to the means and objectives, policies and values consistent, primarily, with their own selfinterest.
As the back seat passengers in this vehicle of human destiny, what may we do? We can make it plain that we want a destiny of democracy.
And not just the little one of political democracy (which is overawed and currently the captive of money and its suborned media) but the big one which is economic democracy too!
Firstly, we need to make it plain that we want a destination of economic democracy. “We want economic democracy! We want economic democracy!”
Secondly, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
Who are they, that command the world’s money-creation function, that they will forever give their son a stone