One theory suggests the unrestrained rise of multinational corporations will lead to worldwide monopolies that transfer all wealth above worldwide sustenance levels of employees to capitalists. What are the deterrents to this endpoint? The most significant deterrents are both regionalism, defined by age-old civilizations, cultures and religions, and nationalism, defined by historical norms and governance.
Representative democracy is America’s chosen governance of and by its people. Capitalism is America’s chosen economic system. Democracy is both our supporter of the best of capitalism and our deterrent to capitalism run amuck. When a country’s governance is too greatly influenced by its economic system, whether capitalism or other, it ceases to be able to protect its people from the economic system’s abuses.
America has risen to power both by the freedoms and protections of its democratic governance and the strength of its capitalism. One leg of our success is now threatened on two fronts. First, our democracy has become unduly influenced by our capitalists. And secondly, our democracy is becoming less effective at protecting our nation’s people from the globalization of capitalism.
America’s social and material health has been affected by our governance and economic decisions yet our people are unaware of how unhealthy we are. One reason for this is that we have not publicly measured, disseminated and debated our governance health metrics. Metrics that grade the universal health of our government should include our citizens’ health, wealth and ability to exercise freedoms expressed in the U.S. Constitution.
As a governance system, American representative democracy, with all its faults, would measure dynamically positive against universal metrics, with the possible exception of our past few decades. We moved from the institution of slavery to universal suffrage. Our live spans doubled, and our rule of law matured to perfect our exercise of freedoms. The material wealth of our country expanded. More recently however, the ability of our representative government to protect social and material wealth of all its citizens has been questioned, and we are struggling to improve our governance health metrics.
America’s economic system, begun as laissez-faire capitalism, evolved into a mixed economy in which the government regulated and tariffed for the general welfare. Material wealth improved initially for all citizens but grew for capitalists at a higher pace, the price of capitalism. However, by the late 1920s our capitalist system had evolved into multiple monopolies and oligarchies, exacerbating wealth disparity.
From 1776 until 1929, capital had slowly accumulated, aggregated, and concentrated under the watch of our representatives without measurement of government health metrics and without each successive change of government being held accountable for universally improving our health metrics. As a result of our governance system’s failure to steward our economic resources for the benefits of all its citizens, our democracy and capitalism was overhauled in the 1930s.
America’s restructured system of governance seemed to improve its health through the 1960s. However, in the 1970s, our economic system decoupled from our system of governance, once again with tacit approval from our representatives. With the rise of the multinational corporation, our democracy’s ability to regulate production, support GDP growth, balance social growth, and redistribute material wealth for the benefits of our citizenry was wounded.
Additionally, our government’s decoupling of its authority and what some might call reckless desire to spend from its fiduciary responsibility to balance spending with taxation, and its choice of borrowing and dollar devaluing to cover tax shortfalls, created rampant fiscal irresponsibility that ballooned our debt.
Our current government health metrics are antiquated and opaque. As a result, our citizens are severely unaware of the depth of our problems. Can we openly measure, disseminate and debate our governance health metrics including these newest, greatest threats to our democracy? Government must now transparently reinvent itself to stop its deficit spending and to protect its citizenry from the ills of multnational corporations. If it cannot, the people must insist through elective and constitutional convention means if necessary that government heal itself.