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Discussion Starter #1
Do any of you know what democratic capitalism is, and would you like to see it happen in the US?
 

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Must confess to having to look up a definition. But according to Wikipedia:

"The United States is notable in using Democratic Capitalism as its economic-political system" :idunno:
 

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Do you think an aconimic system should be a poitical system? Isn't that what we had before? Where the sovereign had the political power AND the economic power, because all of the economic power was tied up in the crown. We defeated that idea with democracy, which is a diversification of political power, based on the consent principle, and removing "birthright" from the "power" equation...But, around 1890 or so in the US, a whole new kind of power arose: Economic Power seperate and distinct from the political sphere...After that, we now have a kind of power that impacts the individual far greater than the political sphere (with its glacial speed, agendas, search for consensus, etc) with employment issues, survival, access to education, healthcare, retirement, etc...

The problem is that in our version of capitalism, we have no democracy, democracy in this sense being the diversification of economic powe according to the consent of the governed...Where talent, not birthright, given an equal opportunity to flourish, will create success.

What we have now is a system of property/wealth that exists in near perpetuity, and an economic and social system where birthright and bloodline are the most accurate predictors of economic success; and, because there is no need to be talented if you are born rich, the idea of a "meritocracy" is a joke.

Democratic capitalism, then, would force investment instruments to shift from voting-shares to mere bonds, to remove labor unions in most large corporate organizations and instead institute actual voting by the employees, and a host of other changes in the way business do business, and how we as a society treat the permanence of property, in an effort to diversify this relatively new, deeply influential type of power according to the democratic consent principle...
 

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It has been argued that the rise of meritocracy leads to a less enlightened society. More social mobility for some perhpaps, but the dog eat dog attitude leads to great polarisation of wealth, with a resultant underclass.

The caring, sharing "lord of the manor" from days gone by, because of his secure position in society could afford, in all senses, to be magnanimous, generous even. To a degree.


Have aread of this:

The Rise of the Meritocracy by Michael Young

from review on amazon.com

Even though Michael Young was clearly disturbed by the possibility of a society totally based on assigning educational & occupational positions to people based solely on "objective" indicators of merit -- mainly, IQ tests -- he nonetheless made a powerful case for why such a system could arise. Although he didn't credit Max Weber, Young's ideas about the rationalization of social life, based on ruthless means/ends assessments, clearly owe a huge debt to Weber. Young portrayed pre-WWII England as riven with class distinctions, with its economic & social institutions held back by the veneration of traditional elite privileges. Thus, his depiction of post 1959-England follows logically from his account of how various political parties and social movements championed replacing the old system with one that rewarded merit, not the legacies of birth. Most amazing to me is Young's prescient description of how a potent feminist movement arose in the 1960s & 70s to push for greater rewards to merit, regardless of gender. (Remember: he was writing in the late 1950s!) I highly recommend reading this book in conjunction with Jerome Karabel's book, The Chosen, which chronicles the growth of merit-based admissions policies at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, in response to the same forces that Young describes (Karabel does cite Young's book). Despite its age, this book is most assuredly NOT dated! However, readers unfamiliar with English social history in the 20th century will no doubt miss a lot of Young's subtle satire.
Amazon.com: The Rise of the Meritocracy (Classics in Organization and Management Series): Books: Michael Young
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It has been argued that the rise of meritocracy leads to a less enlightened society. More social mobility for some perhpaps, but the dog eat dog attitude leads to great polarisation of wealth, with a resultant underclass.

The caring, sharing "lord of the manor" from days gone by, because of his secure position in society could afford, in all senses, to be magnanimous, generous even. To a degree.
What I was saying is not that we should attempt to adopt a strict meritocracy (I think I said that people are under the impression that we do live in a meritocracy, already) and it seems the adherence to strict meritocracy is like adopting the Platonic strata of the "medals."

Quite the contrary: I think that we need to diversify economic power and make people start from a position of equal opportunity, and then limit how "comfortable and shiftless" they can allow their children to become.
 
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