The Story of Democraczy: Chapter Sixteen

by Martin Gantman

Capitalism and . . . Globalization              1,787 AD

The Theological Impulse                         1,775 AD

Morphosis of a Citizen                            1,819 AD

Freedom of . . .                                     1,791 AD

Revolution                                             1,775 AD

Enlightenment and Romanticism              1,700 AD

Very Early Modern                                 1,500 AD

Late Middle Ages                                   1,300 AD

High Middle Ages                                   1,000 AD

Early Middle Ages                                     400 AD

Pericles:                                                   450 BC

Ephialtes:                                                 465 BC

Cleisthenes:                                              500 BC

Solon:                                                      600 BC

Hammurabi:                                           1,800 BC

Ur Nammu:                                            2,000 BC

Gilgamesh:                                             2,500 BC

Sumeria:                                                5,300 BC

Lascaux:                                              30,000 BC

Religious activity:                                100,000 BC

Homo sapiens:                                    130,000 BC

Homo erectus:                                 1,500,000 BC

Homo habilis:                                   2,500,000 BC

25 CEOs    2008

25 CEOs 2008

“Many economically successful nations — from Russia to Mexico — are democracies in name only. They are encumbered by the same problems that have hobbled American democracy in recent years, allowing corporations and elites buoyed by runaway economic success to undermine the government’s capacity to respond to citizens’ concerns.”                           – Robert B. Reich

25 Stock Exchanges  2010

25 Stock Exchanges 2010

There seem to be two general ways of looking at the relationship between capitalism and democracy, besides those people who actually confuse or conflate the two. There are those who see them as inextricably intertwined in some symbiotic relationship wherein each supports and embellishes the other – or even to the point where they cannot exist without each other. And there are those who see democracy as having been created by white men of wealth who, while somehow building in certain rights for, well, at the time just themselves, also created a system whereby they effectively built in a veto over the critical issues that affect the maintenance of their estates. In addition it is stated that a democratic government, because of its dependence on economic growth, and because of the system of campaign financing which basically has no oversight, eventually becomes subservient to and dependent upon, capitalism’s priorities.

25 Stock Traders  2011

25 Stock Traders 2011

Additionally, it appears that the global economy is in certain ways taking this debate out of the hands of national governments. The commingling of funds, dispersal of production, and diffusion of accounting systems make it difficult for national governments to maintain oversight of these international companies. It is possible to visualize a time when global capital will have created its own quasi government that would be independent of national, and perhaps international, popular control. One does not even have to straighten one’s arm to reach back to the first Obama administration’s quizzical enchantment with Goldman Sachs alumni to have reason to ponder such questions.

25 Credit Default Swaps  2011

25 Credit Default Swaps 2011

Still, the citizenry within this particular national entity, the United States, do have, through their use of the vote, the capability of taking control in such a way that wealth can be more equitably distributed even while maintaining a viable capitalist structure. This restructuring has been approached a few times historically and, while sometimes falling back, it is the awareness that some success has occurred that can lead to its further achievement.

25 Sweatshops  2009

25 Sweatshops 2009

“It fell, therefore, to the working class itself to fight for its right to vote, and a long fight it was, passing through many momentous battles such as the Peterloo Massacre in 1819, the great Chartist campaign from 1838 to 1859, the revolutions of 1848, the Paris Commune of 1871, the Belgian General Strike of 1893, the campaigns for votes for women, and right down to the US Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.”  – John Molyneux

25 Big Macs  2008

25 Big Macs 2008