To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Age of Democracy

The "Golden Age of Capitalism", born in the Great Depression and ending with the Reagan Revolution, is often referred to as "an excess of democracy", a period where the rights of American citizens expanded and the nation prospered.

Allied victory in World War 2 spread democracies throughout the world. The golden age of capitalism was also the age of world democracy. The United Nations was formed by international treaty as a world senate, establishing a confederacy of independent nations committed to world peace and human rights.

As a nation, we are no longer in that golden age, and haven't been since the early 1970s. The 60s rebellion had been diffused, and a new age of Monetarism, rooted to Austrian economics (and legacy), emerged. It's populist face is anti-democracy, authoritarian,  led by the same sentiment that caused the US to reject the League of Nations and  the deep, ideological hatred we see toward the UN.

This monetarist regime has led to a situation that causes us to question what is meant by "moral hazard". Our nation is hit by cyclical recessions that contract the economy and pump wealth to the top. Bank deregulation has put us all at great risk, and as responsible citizens I think we should do something about it.

The 70s was also the beginning of the end for truly civil society. Civic groups were common, and formed the basis for all politics. The days of FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK and LBJ were stopped, and a new order came to rule US fiscal policy.

As the floating exchange rate was imposed by the "Nixon shock" for international settlements between central banks (basically a market for competing currencies, called the "fx market"), federal deficits were poured into the economy on the supply side, using upper-end tax cuts and direct subsidies to the financial sector.

Enormous deficits were incurred under GOP presidencies from Reagan onward, followed by periods of austerity (deficit reduction) under DP presidencies from Carter to the present. Wage-productivity has flatlined throughout, marking the passing of our golden age when public infrastructure was a national priority.

The age of monetarism is also the age of privatization. This is supported ideologically by both the Austrian and Chicago schools of economics.  The libertarian movement, in all its forms, has advocated for the privatization of basically everything.  

It's a bad idea.  There is nothing to prevent this "aristocracy of greed", as Ayn Rand called it, from consuming our entire democracy, and the world.

Yet that is precisely the direction humanity is heading now-- the private, corporate state.  America had it's golden age, and it's been downhill ever since. Time for some new perspective, maybe look at this democracy thing again, rather than surrendering to another dark age.