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Forum Post: Should the USA adopt a bicameral parlimentary form of government?

Posted 2 years ago on July 2, 2012, 8:40 a.m. EST by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Look at all the countries in the world [below from Wikipedia] who have a bicameral parlimentary form of government. These governments form coalitions and operate on the basis of consensus.

Contrast this to our government that doesn't operate at all, doesn't cooperate in working for the best interests of the American people, and is open to the highest bidder (Citizens United).

So why are we still stuck with something that is over 200 years old? It may have worked fine during the pre-industrial age, but in the modern era it appears to have reached a breaking point (polar opposite, "do nothing" government). Why does the USA arrogantly hang on to such an antiquated system as ours? Could it be that the power-elite like it that way?

Organisation or Country

Australia,
Austria,
Antigua and Barbuda,
The Bahamas,
Barbados,
Belarus,     Belize, Belgium,
Bhutan, Cambodia,
Canada, Czech Republic, Ethiopia,   European Union, Germany,
Grenada,
India , Ireland, Iraq,
Italy,
Jamaica,
Japan,
Malaysia, Netherlands,
Pakistan,
Poland, Saint Lucia,
Slovenia,
South Africa,
Spain,
Thailand,
Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom

45 Comments

45 Comments


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[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

I don't believe any form of "democratic republic" will improve the situation. Lenin probably explained it best in The State and Revolution: "Another reason why the omnipotence of 'wealth' is more certain in a democratic republic is that it does not depend on defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell... it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it."

I couldn't put it better myself.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Wow!!!

So all we have left then is revolution? If so, and provided it is successful, what would we replace it with? Socialism? What? There are only a few options that have been implemented in the world, and many of them result in absolute tyranny over the population. So where is this Utopia to be found?

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

The pre-eminent revolutionary thinkers, like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trosky, et al, believed revolution was not something to be fomented but an inevitable result of capitalism.

More or less the system itself creates increasing discord between the two classes, until no option remains but revolution and a sweeping away of all the old structures.

[-] 1 points by EagleEye (31) 2 years ago

Hear, hear! The old cronies need to be stopped. They prey on the younger generations like vampires. They eat the world like ghouls. Revolt!

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

I don't believe it's a generational struggle, but a class struggle between the few, who hold the majority of wealth, but dictate the terms of subsistence to the vast majority, and the workers, who sell their services simply to live.

[-] 1 points by EagleEye (31) 2 years ago

I think it is both. We now live in an age where are children's diet/toxins/pollution will cause them to live shorter lives than their parents. That is a generational Fact. A generational War with life & death results. The planet has 100 years left before pollution causes life to diminish with only the old rich living healthily. The end is nearer than you think unless the world's youth rises to the occasion & the old crony polluters are put to the sword for child abuse.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

Well, I'm not into doing away with people, though I agree about pollution and its effects.

So, I'll just work to do away with pollution and leave people alone.

[-] 1 points by EagleEye (31) 2 years ago

People cause these effects. The history of humanity is filled with blood. That is why are forefathers wanted us to have the right to bear arms to protect ourselves from the inevitable corruption of the democracy. There will come again, a generation that will die for what they believe in. As for right now, we are too complacent for a world revolution. When the world starts to collapse, the real revolution will begin. However, I do respect you & the belief to leave others alone. The world is not as black & white as I make it sound and there is good even in the most evil of places. There is no easy solution. Peace.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Well, even with a Parliamentary system, England (under Tony Blair) still got sucked into American military adventurism (in Iraq). Not saying some sort of hybrid system (maybe a parliamentary system where politicians are subject to recall, structured under a participatory framework) wouldn't be better than what we have now (perhaps it would be). However, even under this sort of hybrid system, the state would still be able to use fear and nationalism to manufacture consent among the populace. Even worse, merely getting money out of politics in a superficial way, may not be enough.

Take the case of corporate prisons. Right now the corporate prison system is making bundles of money detaining illegal aliens. Even if the owners of these enterprises weren't allowed to donate to campaigns, or superpacs, what about the situation where the owners of these enterprises support candidates in more subtle ways (that are very hard, if not impossible, to regulate)? This possibility is certainly conceivable, so how do we avoid this potential problem?

I think it's clear that concentration of wealth is a problem. This doesn't necessarily imply that everyone should earn the same amount of money, or we should shift over to a scheme like a labor theory of value (which is, at minimum, very questionable). However (to complicate things more), it's even conceivable that the same problem could arise with employee owned companies, worker cooperatives, or nonprofits. So the bigger question becomes, what kind of system would align self-interest with an overarching sense of justice and morality? These are the sort of questions men have been asking for a very long time. We always search for a system that's impermeable to human imperfection ... and I'm not convinced that such a system exists (and this also applies to the idea of no system at all e.g. anarchism, which would still be venerable to human imperfection). To be clear, I'm not saying we don't need to address these problems in concrete ways, I'm just saying that human complacency will always open the door to a reemergence of these sort of problems.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty--Wendell Phillips.

[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

You raise some excellent points that are worthy of further discussion. My point was that we seem to have reached a point where our government does not function well, and sometimes not at all (gridlock government). So I was asking (because I actually do not know) what other countries around the world have a government like ours that is,for all practical purposes, two party (a third party like what happened with Ross Perot is usually viewed as a "spoiler" that drains votes from one of the two main parties) and has a cabinet of departmental secretaries appointed by the President. In the bicameral parlimentary governments, the cabinet is appointed by the legislative body.

Here is a paste from Wikipedia that bring up some of the advantages as I see it (the bolding is mine):

======================

"One of the commonly attributed advantages to parliamentary systems is that it's faster and easier to pass legislation. This is because the executive branch is dependent upon the direct or indirect support of the legislative branch and often includes members of the legislature. Thus, this would amount to the executive (as the majority party or coalition of parties in the legislature) possessing more votes in order to pass legislation. In a presidential system, the executive is often chosen independently from the legislature. If the executive and legislature in such a system include members entirely or predominantly from different political parties, then stalemate can occur. Accordingly, the executive within a presidential system might not be able to properly implement his or her platform/manifesto. Evidently, an executive in any system (be it parliamentary, presidential or semi-presidential) is chiefly voted into office on the basis of his or her party's platform/manifesto. It could be said then that the will of the people is more easily instituted within a parliamentary system.

In addition to quicker legislative action, Parliamentarianism has attractive features for nations that are ethnically, racially, or ideologically divided. In a uni personal presidential system, all executive power is vested in the president. In a parliamentary system, with a collegial executive, power is more divided. In the 1989 Lebanese Taif Agreement, in order to give Muslims greater political power, Lebanon moved from a semi-presidential system with a strong president to a system more structurally similar to classical parliamentarianism. Iraq similarly disdained a presidential system out of fears that such a system would be tantamount to Shiite domination; Afghanistan's minorities refused to go along with a presidency as strong as the Pashtuns desired.

It can also be argued that power is more evenly spread out in the power structure of parliamentarianism. The prime minister seldom tends to have as high importance as a ruling president, and there tends to be a higher focus on voting for a party and its political ideas than voting for an actual person.

In The English Constitution, Walter Bagehot praised parliamentarianism for producing serious debates, for allowing the change in power without an election, and for allowing elections at any time. Bagehot considered the four-year election rule of the United States to be unnatural.

Some scholars like Juan Linz, Fred Riggs, Bruce Ackerman, and Robert Dahl claim that parliamentarianism is less prone to authoritarian collapse. These scholars point out that since World War II, two-thirds of Third World countries establishing parliamentary governments successfully made the transition to democracy. By contrast, no Third World presidential system successfully made the transition to democracy without experiencing coups and other constitutional breakdowns.

A recent World Bank study found that parliamentary systems are associated with lower corruption."

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

The challenge, in the context of the United States, is we're a much larger nation than any of the nations mentioned in the above article. There's a variety of systems out there, which are very appealing. Some examples include the quasi-direct democracy of Switzerland, and the social democracy of nations like Norway, but again, these are very small nations.

Certainly, I think we can say that too much power has been vested in the executive branch (although this could be addressed within our current system). Additionally, the United States constitution was formulated under the idea of federalism (a dual checks & balances system, three branches of federal government, along with the concept of state sovereignty).

The shift away from federalism occurred for some very understandable reasons. For instance, southern states were treating African Americans poorly, and the federal government was effectively forced to step in and try to remedy the situation (relying on the power granted it by the supremacy clause, commerce clause, etc.). However, the consequence of this (perhaps unintended) has been a centralization of power, which has made it easier for corporations and other deep pocketed special interests to manipulate and corrupt the system.

[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Thanks for providing those links. I find it interesting, but not surprising, that the US ranked 14 in 2007 (toward the middle of the list) of 30 democracies in Quality of Democracy. I get so sick and tired of hearing politicians spew their disinformation by always saying "We are the greatest country blah, blah, blah..." when everyone just knows that's a crock. Now you've provided the proof.

I have been arguing almost from day one on this site that we should be trying to move toward the Scandinavian model, and this data just backs up other data I've seen that points more and more toward that. I am more convinced than ever that we should be adopting whatever works in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc. to our country (provided it would actually work here).

But the power-elite will stand in the way of that and use Citizens United to ensure they own the country lock, stock, and barrel. Imigration out of the US appears more and more to be the only answer that I can see. That is a pessimistic statement from an optimistic idealist like me, but at times I have to surrender to realism.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

I've been doing a bit of reading on the subject since you posted this topic, and the data suggests that the presidential system is inferior (to some degree) to the parliamentary system in providing, and esp. stabilizing, democracy. I wonder what kind of democracy would arise from adopting a parliamentary system along with worker owned companies.

[-] 2 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Hard to tell. But all the trends indicate that ours is failing. Wealth is being concentrated at the top and shows no indication of reversing itself after decades of becoming more and more entrenched. The French Revolution was fought over this very thing. History teaches us that from time to time governments are overthrown. The scary thing is that they are sometimes replaced with something worse than what was overthrown. There's just no way to tell what will happen. I do know, though, that if the current trend continues that eventually there will come a "day of reckoning". I don't know when that day will be, but people will only tolerate so much for so long, and then they rise up.

But I think you raise a good point that needs further discussion. I have always thought that cooperatives were a better model than corporations and have said so in previous posts. And the fact that the world is primarily composed of parlimentary governments rather than our model would also tend to lend support to the superiority of the parlimentary model over our form of government.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

There is so much unrest in the world, I think there is an inevitable rising tide against entrenched powers. They have the power, the ball is in their court. It's their move right now.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I must disagree when you say the ball is in their court. We need to be raising our voice louder and louder, getting more and more media attention and bringing the truth to more and more people (like Sen. Bernie Sanders has done in some of the videos I have seen). The ball is all we have left, because they own the net, the rackets, the court, and have paid off the umpires to rule in their favor. I can't see how it's their move, because they have already moved to a position of almost indomitable strength (in fact it may already be too late). They have no reason to move, unless they can see how to do it to checkmate us.

[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

Let me restate it another way ---- The people are not at rest, they are active and growing a continuous movement of awareness & public outrage - the tide is rising. I don't think it is a wave that will stop (are you going to stop?), so that is why I say the ball is in their court.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Oh, ok I get you now and agree

[-] 0 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

:-)

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22310) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Hey UD it kinda is in their court in that they are fully aware of what is wrong and what we are protesting. We will not quit ( I will not quit ). So it comes down to how long will it take for them to do the right things.

In the mean time we continue to drive the ball.

Move to amend campaign should be a shining beacon for all on how to move all of our issues forward - unite.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I understand now as per above.

[-] 2 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

I agree with your response. But it is interesting to note that there have been opportunities for those countries on your list to choose what kind of government they will have and they have chosen closer to the British system than ours. And the results are not perfect and they all have some degree of corruption (always too much) as you point out. No one has found a system totally impervious... and I would say that probably isn't even desirable because if you aren't watching your system close enough to spot corruption, you probably aren't watching it close enough to make good governance choices in other respects. People are creative as well as leaning toward unfair advantage in the use of any center of power. We are victims of our own laziness, to a degree.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I was reading some Errico Malatesta earlier (an anarchist philosopher), and those guys make some great points. Anarchism is not impervious to human imperfection, but it's less of a relevant factor in anarchism (because there's no government to corrupt) :)

[-] 1 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

Or because corruption is universal?

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

The parliaments in these countries don't operate by majority rule?????
Consensus worked very well in OWS - ask the hundreds who gave up on OWS because nothing could be done this way.


WE have only ONE problem - I challenge you to find another - that will not be very substantially [not completely] solved by getting money out of politics.

[-] 2 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Guess you didn't read this that I posted elsewhere in this thread:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/should-the-usa-adopt-a-bicameral-parlimentary-form/#comment-775484

[-] 1 points by farmer88 (40) 2 years ago

As if the parliament system isn't 200 years old? Are you serious? The English/UK parliament that sits in London is far older than 200 years old.

[-] 2 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Regardless of age, I am only interested in what works, and imho our system doesn't.

[-] -2 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

the constitution works, all that has to be done is to adhere to it.

[-] 4 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

That, of course, is a subject up for debate...and it is being debated here and elsewhere all over this nation right now.

Here is an example.

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/17/does-america-need-a-prime-minister/

[-] -1 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

there is no debate. the u.s. constitution is the greatest document ever written.

[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

People say that about the Bible too. To each his own.

[-] -3 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

the bible(s) are not a document. we dont know who wrote the bible ( old and new testament), but we do know who wrote the constitution.

[-] 5 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

This is a ridiculous argument that I will not perpetuate.

[Removed]

[-] 2 points by flip (7500) 2 years ago

your private school education has let you down again - read the soviet constitution and let me know how they compare. as to your orgasm about the document here is what one of the founding fathers said - they are always right aren't they? James Madison pointed out that a "parchment barrier" will never suffice to prevent tyranny. Rights are not established by words, but won and sustained by struggle.

[-] -2 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

madison was right. its up to the people to ensure their freedom from tyranny. the constitution is still the greatest document ever wriiten.

[-] 2 points by flip (7500) 2 years ago

did you read the soviet constitution - hard to back up your statement when you have not read others don't you think?

[-] -2 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

are you referring the 1936 version?

[-] 3 points by flip (7500) 2 years ago

figures you would pick stalin's version - sure look at that one if you wish - or go with the 1924 - either one will do. then see how fdr copied the idea with his economic bill of rights. now go out in the streets - maybe not your gated community but into the streets where the bulk of the population live. the workers - those who built this country and tell them why these are stupid ideas - economic bill of rights - you and your sick pal ayn rand can convince them no? oh, i forgot - she is dead!

[-] -2 points by salta (-1104) 2 years ago

fdr was a socialist. i do not live in gated community. the constitution guarantees equal opportunity, NOT equal outcome. thats up to the individual.

[-] 1 points by flip (7500) 2 years ago

another rich socialist like buffet and soros - doesn't that seem to be a contradiction in terms - not in your little free market fundamentalist mind i am sure

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 2 years ago

Could it be that the power-elite like it that way? ................. Absolutely !!

We need a system that empowers "The People"

http://osixs.org/Rev2_menu_commonsense.aspx

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” ~ Albert Einstein ~

[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I hope you know that was a rhetorical question.

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 2 years ago

Sure, I knew it was rhetorical, but it gave me a hole to insert an option that I believe empowers the people.