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Forum Post: OWS Goal Should Be To Replace Capitalism With Democracy

Posted 2 years ago on Dec. 17, 2012, 3:30 p.m. EST by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

OWS's goal should be to create a fully democratic society: A society with a democratic government AND A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY

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DEMOCRACY VS. OLIGARCHY

The great struggle in the history of civilization has been between oligarchy and democracy - between a society where a privileged few rule and consume most of the wealth and a society where everyone has equal power and gets their full share of the wealth they help produce.

That struggle continues today. Although we have made great strides towards democracy, there has never been a fully democratic society anywhere.

Occupy Wall Street should take up the cause of advocating for the elimination of all forms of oligarchy, including the West's plutocracies, and for societies to become fully democratic.

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THE ARGUMENT FOR FULL DEMOCRACY

A fully democratic society is a society with equal, democratic ownership of the government and equal, democratic ownership of the economy. It is a society with a government of, by and for the people and an economy of, by and for the people.

In order to make society fully democratic, we must make the economy democratic. We must replace capitalism with democracy.

Giving everyone equal, democratic ownership in the economy will make everyone wealthy - it will raise the minimum wage to over $100k and reduce the week to 20 hours - and when you make everyone wealthy, you solve nearly every problem in society.

But just as importantly, a democratic economy is the only fair and just way to organize the economy. The argument for that is based on the following, simple three claims:

I. This planet and its rich resources belong to everyone equally. Mother Nature did not give this planet to anyone in particular. Nobody has any greater claim to any part of the planet than anyone else. So everyone therefore has a natural right to equal ownership in it.

II. As equal owners of the planet, everyone therefore has a natural right to equal ownership in the economy that uses their planet's resources.

III. As equal owners of the economy, everyone therefore has a natural right to be able to work and a natural right to get paid in full for that work.

Getting paid in full means:

  • 100% of the economy's income is paid to workers, instead of capitalism's system where only half going to workers and the other half going to a small group of owners
  • all investment will now come from the public savings rate, as explained here, since we are no longer paying owners for investing their private savings
  • and workers are paid based on how hard they work, instead of capitalism's system of based on how scarce they are, which means differences in income between workers is limited to only what is necessary to get them to work hard jobs and to give their max effort in performance based jobs.

In short, all income is paid to workers, since they do all the work, and they are paid based on how hard they work, which is the only fair economic system.

If workers were paid in full and we determined that paying top workers 4 times more than bottom workers is enough incentive to get people to work hard, the democratic economy would:

A democratic economy would mean a significant increase in income for the vast majority of workers which would put an end to all the problems that a lack of income causes.

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OUR CURRENT ECONOMY IS UNDEMOCRATIC

The democratic economy described above stands in stark contrast to our undemocratic capitalist economy.

In capitalism, the planet is not treated as the common heritage of everyone. The planet is conquered through brute force and murder and then sold to the highest bidder.

In capitalism, ownership of the economy is not equal. Ownership is granted only to those who can afford it and to those who got lucky gambling in the market which over time just concentrates more and more ownership in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Today, the top 1% have more ownership than the bottom 95% combined and the top 10% own nearly all of it.

In capitalism, workers are not paid in full. Only half the income that workers produce is paid to workers, the other half is paid to owners. Workers have to work for free for 6 months every year in order to pay tribute to these owners and have the chance to work at all.

And in capitalism, the income that is paid to workers is not allocated based on how hard they work. It is allocated based on how scarce they are. It is why Kim Kardashian gets paid hundreds of times more than brain surgeons.

Even though workers produce $65 in income per hour, which is enough to make every worker wealthy, most workers are broke because they only get paid a tiny fraction of the $65 per hour they produce. Most of that $65 unfairly gets paid to the owners and the scarce workers.

The vast majority of the workers who produce everything - the engineers, doctors, construction workers, factory workers, miners, farmers, teachers - have to fight over the little income that remains.

Paying most of the income workers produce to a small handful of owners and scarce workers is the reason why half the US and most of the world live in or near poverty and is the root cause of nearly all of society's problems.

Capitalism is a barbaric, undemocratic system that concentrates income and power in the hands of the few. Its concentration of wealth leaves the majority broke and its subsequent concentration of power turns society into an oligarchy.

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REVOLUTION

Although the rule of the wealthy few is strong, it is not invincible. We can replace their oligarchy with democracy.

One way to do that is to simply get the government to build a democratic economy one company at a time alongside our current capitalist economy and give everyone the freedom to choose whether they want to participate in the capitalist system or the democratic system.

We would build the democratic economy by getting the government to simply start a jobs program to employ the unemployed, a standard Keynesian policy that is not radical at all. The government will just use the Fed's power as lender of last resort to make enough interest-free loans available to launch enough new companies to fully employ everyone who wants to work in the democratic system.

These new companies would make up the new democratic economy and would all be run democratically as described above.

Once we make the option to work in a democratic system available to people, the capitalist sector will inevitably collapse. Because nobody will want to work for a capitalist company when they are guaranteed a job in a democratic company where they are treated as an equal owner and paid several times more income.

By just getting the government to simply launch a jobs program to employ the unemployed, we can realistically revolutionize the world and replace capitalism with democracy within a few short years.

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ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY WORKS

The idea of economic democracy has been advocated by social activists for centuries throughout the world. The idea has also been rigorously peer reviewed in mainstream economics journals for the past 100 years, beginning with Oskar Lange demonstrating that a democratic market is more efficient than a capitalist market in the famous Economic Calculation Debate. And since it is still a market economy, every component is already proven to work in the real world.

The argument for making the economy democratic is sound, easy to understand, and persuasive. And it is a goal we can realistically achieve.

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