Future of politics. Is it relevant?
“Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried.” ~Winston Churchill
Russell Brand has recently caused a bit of a stir when he advocated a global revolution to change the way governments run their countries. He spoke specifically of the system in Britain and how his refusal to vote is an example of how the current form of democracy doesn’t work. Brand explains in a tweet, “Whatever party they claim to represent in the day, at night they show their true colours and all go to the same party. #MillionMaskMarch“. Perhaps voting is futile. Perhaps we need a massive change to the system so that every one of us has our views fully represented. Russell Brand was invited to be interviewed by the notorious Jeremy Paxman on his issues he raised in the New Statesman piece he wrote. The VIDEO can be found here. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Jeremy Paxman: But is it true you don’t even vote?
Russell Brand: Yeah, no, I don’t vote.
Jeremy Paxman: Well, how do you have any authority to talk about politics then?
Russell Brand: Well, I don’t get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity. Alternate means, alternate political systems.
Jeremy Paxman: They being?
Russell Brand: Well, I’ve not invented it yet, Jeremy.
Well, that’s true… No one has really invented the best alternatives. In 1947, Winston Churchill spoke to the House of Commons and said, “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”
So what are the systems in place now and what would be a good model for transition? The biggest problems we face in the UK is that we have a system where party members select their leaders, in smoked filled rooms, to represent them and the party… NOT the people. Many people are content with voting for a party’s platform rather than an individual. But it seems the people don’t have much of a say in the parties’ platforms or the parties could be influenced by their own interests such as lobbies, corporations and banks. Similarly in the USA, corporations and lobbies have a massive influence on politics. How is it in this day and age, we elect people who have spent the most money, paid for the most ads or who have been ‘bought’ by lobby groups? Since the Citizens United case in the US Supreme Court, corporations and SuperPACS (political action committees) have been given the right to pump in an unlimited amount of money into candidates. This forces out 3rd party candidates or those struggling to make any impact on the system. It is completely unfair and extremely underrepresented.
A couple of systems to the alternative would be to have a Proportional Representation (PR) system or a Direct Democracy like in Switzerland. Proportional Representation assumes that everyone has a say on who they want to represent them and that is reflected in the country’s parliament. For simplicity, let’s say Candidate A gets 37% of the vote, Candidate B gets 24% of the vote and Candidate C gets 22% with the remaining 17% being split by the other candidates. Those numbers would reflect how the parliaments are set up. Almost every country in Europe (apart from the UK and France) and many countries in South America, uses this system to some extent. The US does not. In the US, it is generally a two party system with essentially no chance of any third party candidate getting anywhere and in the UK they have a first-past-the-post system where the second choices are used of the weakest candidate and given until a candidate has reached a certain amount to win. It gets very complicated… The other system, Direct Democracy, is where the people propose initiatives and referenda directly as opposed to representatives proposing them. Switzerland has this type of democracy. One of the current initiatives put forward there includes a Universal Basic Income (UBI) where every Swiss citizen would get a guaranteed income of 2,500 Swiss Francs ($2,800) every month regardless of wealth level. This is exactly something I have advocated in the past and have written an article based on the UBI. There are strict rules in place when making initiatives, however. Such as that initiatives cannot interfere with human rights or violate international law. There have been fears that this type of system couldn’t work as it would have a potential for the majority to stratify the minority. In fact, when the United States was founded, the founding fathers strictly stated against a direct democracy.
So what would a political system look like in a Resource Based Economy? Keep in mind, financial markets and budgets will not exist in an RBE. What would a government do? Budgets? Nope. Foreign relations? No, as the borders would be freely open across the globe. Collect taxes? No, there’s no money. Enforce laws? Well, that could help. Law and order would still be necessary in the beginning until crime falls to 0%. Provide public services? No, the people will run them with direct involvement. Remember, every service would be automated with a few people rotating to make sure the system is functional. Eventually services would be so perfect that maintenance would be rare. So what is a government for?
There are SO many unanswered questions and many that I don’t even know the answer to. But there is a book which can be downloaded called “The First Civilization” by Jas Garcha where many of these questions can be answered.
NEWSNIGHT: Paxman vs Brand – full interview