Sustainable democracy...

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Greg David

Dec 6, 2018, 2:19:31 PM12/6/18
to Sustain Jefferson (Wisconsin),
Is a link to an interview by Chris Martenson of Charles Hughs Smith about Charles’ new book Pathfinding Our Destiny, Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democracy.

Charles argues that there are structural flaws in our democratic model, centralization being one of them. Social constructs, such as constant growth and exponential borrowing add to the unsustainable behavior. He says ‘advocacy groups’ of competing interests are undermining our democratic republic and failing to address the common good.

He goes on to talk about things like force and power, saying, Good ideas don’t need force, and that power wins people’s voluntary cooperation. And about how to decentralize, and build skills essential for positive personal and community success.

This was an excellent interview full of relevant conversation about our struggling republic.  

Why don’t your u listen and let me know your ur thoughts?

Sent from my iPad

Greg David

Dec 10, 2018, 10:51:14 AM12/10/18
to Sustain Jefferson (Wisconsin),
Good morning,
Below is a response from John Ikerd regarding the podcast discussion of sustainable democracy I sent out last week. John also attached an article he authored of similar ilk.

Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

From: John Ikerd <>
Date: December 9, 2018 at 4:03:48 PM CST
To: Greg David <>
Subject: Re: Sustainable democracy...

Thanks for sharing the podcast. I agree, there are a lot of interesting ideas in the conversation. I still believe the basic principles of democracies and market economies are sound. The current structures of democracies and capitalist economies have simple become so distorted by the pursuit of individual self-interests that most people can no longer see, understand, or appreciate importance of either democracies or market economies. Perhaps most important, sustainable market economies must function within the bounds of equitable and just democratic societies. Also, the bounds within which market economies must function must reflect a consensus of the people governed. Obviously, neither on these conditions are reflected in todays capitalist economies or democratic societies.
According to Plato, centralization of political power is characteristic of a political system that has moved away from democracy, toward oligarchy, to tyranny, and then collapse or revolution. Our government is no longer a government of the common people or “demos” but by the corporate oligarchs—or possibly a tyrant. Centralization of economic power is a characteristic of an economic system that has moved away from the competitive markets that characterize classical capitalism, toward oligopoly, to monopoly, and then revolution. We no longer have a capitalist economy we have a global corporate oligopoly. My point is that these are natural tendencies of human civilizations that are known within civilized human societies. The survival of humanity ultimately depends on individual having the collective will, to control and restrain their natural tendencies toward centralization of political power which allows the centralization of economic power. The weakness is not necessarily in democracy or capitalism, but in the human will and ability to restrain our pursuit of individual self-interest for the sake of the greater common good—which is also in our enlightened self-interest.
That said, I agree that our national political priority has become economic growth—at all cost, regardless of the consequences. I have attached a recent paper where I trace history of how growth has become a legislative priority of the U.S. government—which has taken us from Capitalism to Corporatism and from Democracy to Corpocracy. Contrary to common belief, I do not believe that capitalism, at least market economies, require economic growth or the elimination of interest rates. Individuals and businesses can still either prosper or fail economically while borrowing money and paying interest in an economy that is not growing. The failure rate is simply a few percentage points higher in an economy that isn’t growing. The vast majority individuals and businesses wouldn’t even notice the difference. A growth rate equal to population growth would sustain a constant level of per capita economic prosperity.
I agree that advocacy groups today have lost sight of working for the common good and are instead working for an economic advantage for their organizations or members. More important, our elected representatives are no longer working for the common good of the nation as a whole but for the economic interests of their individual or collective constituents. Their constituents demand it, or at least respond to their economic promises of jobs and economic growth.
I agree also that decentralization an essential characteristic of democracies and market economies and that the only logical means of restoring the integrity of our economy or democracy is by starting at the grassroots level—in communities, then networks of communities, and the alliances of community networks to reclaim our democracy and decentralize our economy. I agree also that the power to bring about fundamental change arises from voluntary cooperation rather than from grand plans imposed on people and communities. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was  “An  Inquiry in to the Nature and Sources” of Wealth Among Nations. He was simply documenting an economic system that had arisen within nations, not proposing some grand plan or model to be imposed on nations.
A fundamental characteristic of capitalism is that even when competitive markets are working perfectly, capitalism maximizes the collective economic benefits of the economy to individual consumers--not the economic benefits of a society as a whole, not the economic benefits of individual workers or workers in general, not benefits to people as members of communities or societies, and not the long run productivity of the natural or human resources that support the long productivity of the economy. We the people , through personal relationships and by working collective through government, must take care of all of those other things that contribute to our overall quality of life.
We simply cannot ask an economy to do things economies cannot possibly do. These are not market failures, they are market “impossibilities.” That’s what individual intentionality and collective democracies are for, to do all of the things that markets cannot do.
Finally, I agree, we need to focus on doing what we can do in our little part of the world and trust that the power for fundamental change will arise from within caring communities of people working together for the common good.
(Excuse the typos. I’m catching up after being out of town.)
I remain hopeful.
Hope all is well in your world... and the ice is ready for skating.
John I.
Tennessee-Politics and Economics.docx
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