Author Topic: How to save Liberal Democracy?  (Read 1426 times)

Razgovory

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2018, 07:41:19 pm »
As it happens, I read Mounk's book as well.  Mounk's solutions to the problem of Populism: which identifies as an enemy of liberal democracy are a focus on creating a positive civic nationalism, raise taxes on the the rich and corporations, work to lower the value of real estate, reorganized the eductation system, increase bargaining power of workers, enlarge and modernize the welfare state and create more meaningful jobs.
I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

"I love how Raz just becomes the caricature for exactly what he is claiming doesn't actually exist...and he doesn't even know it! He is 100% oblivious to the irony of his own statements." - Berkut telling a lie.

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Monoriu

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2018, 08:39:05 pm »
I think the problem needs to be better defined.  What exactly do you mean by saving liberal democracy?  Do you mean the people no longer support it?  Someone is trying to turn the system to autocracy?  People electing the "wrong" parties?  Flaws in the electoral system?  All of the above?

Razgovory

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2018, 09:33:31 pm »
I think the problem needs to be better defined.  What exactly do you mean by saving liberal democracy?  Do you mean the people no longer support it?  Someone is trying to turn the system to autocracy?  People electing the "wrong" parties?  Flaws in the electoral system?  All of the above?


Mounk's thesis is that Populism comes from a perceived lack of democracy, but tends to shift toward's autocracy as the populist's legitimacy vanishes.
I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

"I love how Raz just becomes the caricature for exactly what he is claiming doesn't actually exist...and he doesn't even know it! He is 100% oblivious to the irony of his own statements." - Berkut telling a lie.

Raz is right. -MadImmortalMan March of 2017

dps

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2018, 10:44:07 pm »
The whole theory is fatally flawed, simply because it identifies "populism" as something inherently opposed to liberal democracy, whereas in fact, the rise of liberal democracy in the US was a result of one of the earliest surges of populism during the Jacksonian era.  Populism has often been associated with racism, nativism, and the like, but those things aren't always the main focus of populist movements.

Jacob

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2018, 12:18:27 am »
The whole theory is fatally flawed, simply because it identifies "populism" as something inherently opposed to liberal democracy, whereas in fact, the rise of liberal democracy in the US was a result of one of the earliest surges of populism during the Jacksonian era.  Populism has often been associated with racism, nativism, and the like, but those things aren't always the main focus of populist movements.

That's only true if the theory holds that all "populism" is inherently opposed to liberal democracy (your statement), rather than claiming that several types of populism on the rise right now are detrimental to liberal democracy (I don't know if that's the claim, I haven't read the book).

Razgovory

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2018, 12:32:34 am »
The whole theory is fatally flawed, simply because it identifies "populism" as something inherently opposed to liberal democracy, whereas in fact, the rise of liberal democracy in the US was a result of one of the earliest surges of populism during the Jacksonian era.  Populism has often been associated with racism, nativism, and the like, but those things aren't always the main focus of populist movements.

Mounk defines liberal democracy as a government that is both elected by the people and one that has rule of law and enforces rights, including civil rights for minorities.  Under that definition Jacksonian democracy is certainly not a liberal democracy. 

Jackson is the sort of populist that Mounk warns about.  He presents himself as a tribune of the people and fights against technocratic elites.  He presents "common sense" solutions to complex problems that typically fail miserably.  When popular will turns against the populist it acutely damages his credibility as the voice of the people.  The result is that the populist becomes increasingly authoritarian.
I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

"I love how Raz just becomes the caricature for exactly what he is claiming doesn't actually exist...and he doesn't even know it! He is 100% oblivious to the irony of his own statements." - Berkut telling a lie.

Raz is right. -MadImmortalMan March of 2017

The Brain

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2018, 03:03:01 am »
As it happens, I read Mounk's book as well.  Mounk's solutions to the problem of Populism: which identifies as an enemy of liberal democracy are a focus on creating a positive civic nationalism, raise taxes on the the rich and corporations, work to lower the value of real estate, reorganized the eductation system, increase bargaining power of workers, enlarge and modernize the welfare state and create more meaningful jobs.

Are his solutions designed to make people prefer to take their chances with populism?
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Threviel

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2018, 03:06:38 am »
Income inequality is a disaster imo. The lunacies of the first half of the 20th century happened after a prolonged period of huge inequalities.

After WW2 the West looked after the less successful but that stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We now have vast wealth coupled with millions having to humiliate themselves for pitiful and insecure incomes.

It will all end in tears unless we give a substantial majority a stake in the system.

I agree with your assessment, but I have issues with describing the less better off as poor. In the thirties people starved and went hungry, there was real absolute poverty. Nowadays the "poor" have too much to eat, almost always a warm place to live and clothes and so on. The poverty is only relative and not absolute.

I believe that by talking of it as real poverty we enable a self-image amongst the less better off. If they are told that they are poor, they will identify as poor and behave accordingly.

What I believe needs to be done (amongst a lot of things) is to do our best to limit income inequality in a reasonable way, but also to stop talking as if we have real poor people in the west. We don't in any meaningful sense.

Tyr

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2018, 03:14:34 am »
Income inequality is a disaster imo. The lunacies of the first half of the 20th century happened after a prolonged period of huge inequalities.

After WW2 the West looked after the less successful but that stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We now have vast wealth coupled with millions having to humiliate themselves for pitiful and insecure incomes.

It will all end in tears unless we give a substantial majority a stake in the system.

I agree with your assessment, but I have issues with describing the less better off as poor. In the thirties people starved and went hungry, there was real absolute poverty. Nowadays the "poor" have too much to eat, almost always a warm place to live and clothes and so on. The poverty is only relative and not absolute.

I believe that by talking of it as real poverty we enable a self-image amongst the less better off. If they are told that they are poor, they will identify as poor and behave accordingly.

What I believe needs to be done (amongst a lot of things) is to do our best to limit income inequality in a reasonable way, but also to stop talking as if we have real poor people in the west. We don't in any meaningful sense.

That's the exact opposite of what happens though. The poor refusing to recognise that they are poor is a key contributer in their voting for populists.
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Tamas

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2018, 03:24:02 am »
Income inequality is a disaster imo. The lunacies of the first half of the 20th century happened after a prolonged period of huge inequalities.

After WW2 the West looked after the less successful but that stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We now have vast wealth coupled with millions having to humiliate themselves for pitiful and insecure incomes.

It will all end in tears unless we give a substantial majority a stake in the system.

I agree with your assessment, but I have issues with describing the less better off as poor. In the thirties people starved and went hungry, there was real absolute poverty. Nowadays the "poor" have too much to eat, almost always a warm place to live and clothes and so on. The poverty is only relative and not absolute.

I believe that by talking of it as real poverty we enable a self-image amongst the less better off. If they are told that they are poor, they will identify as poor and behave accordingly.

What I believe needs to be done (amongst a lot of things) is to do our best to limit income inequality in a reasonable way, but also to stop talking as if we have real poor people in the west. We don't in any meaningful sense.

Well yes but "stake in the system" is the main point in RH's post IMHO.

It matters little how much real stake people have in the current system, it only matters how much stake they perceive for themselves. Of course, the vast majority of people we label poor and disenfranchised are much better off now than their strata has ever been, or would be during and after a period of instability and populist/autocratic rule. But if they think otherwise then its a moot point.



Tamas

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2018, 03:26:28 am »
Income inequality is a disaster imo. The lunacies of the first half of the 20th century happened after a prolonged period of huge inequalities.

After WW2 the West looked after the less successful but that stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We now have vast wealth coupled with millions having to humiliate themselves for pitiful and insecure incomes.

It will all end in tears unless we give a substantial majority a stake in the system.

I agree with your assessment, but I have issues with describing the less better off as poor. In the thirties people starved and went hungry, there was real absolute poverty. Nowadays the "poor" have too much to eat, almost always a warm place to live and clothes and so on. The poverty is only relative and not absolute.

I believe that by talking of it as real poverty we enable a self-image amongst the less better off. If they are told that they are poor, they will identify as poor and behave accordingly.

What I believe needs to be done (amongst a lot of things) is to do our best to limit income inequality in a reasonable way, but also to stop talking as if we have real poor people in the west. We don't in any meaningful sense.

That's the exact opposite of what happens though. The poor refusing to recognise that they are poor is a key contributer in their voting for populists.

No, you have it wrong. Trump, Brexit, Orban, the Italian dudes etc. these are a big fat middle finger to the status quo by "the poor". People are perfectly aware they are choosing upheaval. They just feel they can't possibly have it worse with that. Which is a terrible mistake of course.

Tyr

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2018, 03:33:03 am »
No, you have it wrong. Trump, Brexit, Orban, the Italian dudes etc. these are a big fat middle finger to the status quo by "the poor". People are perfectly aware they are choosing upheaval. They just feel they can't possibly have it worse with that. Which is a terrible mistake of course.

That's the myth. But it doesn't appear true.
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/

Also, I can't find it right now but there was a very good paper on how many of the poor don't recognise they're poor. They think that they are in the middle and that the poor are coming to take that away from them.
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Tamas

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2018, 03:37:20 am »
They think that they are in the middle and that the poor are coming to take that away from them.

That certainly is the case in regards to the panic over immigration, for sure.

Richard Hakluyt

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2018, 05:03:33 am »
Another important factor, in my view, is the perceived direction of travel of the economy and how that affects the future. There is considerable upset over how the youth are affected; get a good job in a wealthy region and get shafted over housing or rot in a forgotten town.............its not a great choice. I get Threviel's point about people not being really "poor", and sometimes the moaning just reeks of first world entitlement, but for many (most?) people their economic future looks worse than their present.

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Re: How to save Liberal Democracy?
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2018, 05:48:08 am »
I agree with your assessment, but I have issues with describing the less better off as poor. In the thirties people starved and went hungry, there was real absolute poverty. Nowadays the "poor" have too much to eat, almost always a warm place to live and clothes and so on. The poverty is only relative and not absolute.

I believe that by talking of it as real poverty we enable a self-image amongst the less better off. If they are told that they are poor, they will identify as poor and behave accordingly.

What I believe needs to be done (amongst a lot of things) is to do our best to limit income inequality in a reasonable way, but also to stop talking as if we have real poor people in the west. We don't in any meaningful sense.

I think relative poverty is more important than just an individual's perception of their wealth.  Relative poverty won't necessarily jump to privation in the short term, but in the long term if left to increase unchecked it will almost certainly result in economic insecurity.  When a small segment of the population is so wealthy that they can effectively decide where and how most of the population can live it can't help but lead back to real poverty or dictatorial government power to limit the wealthy's influence.

It's not necessarily about where the poor are now, it's about where they are heading.