318 posts tagged with democracy.
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When Adam Smith and Karl Marx agree...

Ha-Joon Chang on why separating politics from economic policies is bad for democracy. What free-market economists are not telling us is that the politics they want to get rid of are none other than those of democracy itself. When they say we need to insulate economic policies from politics, they are in effect advocating the castration of democracy. (Related FPP.)
posted by asnider on May 9, 2013 - 13 comments

"You can't have a fight because you don't have two sides."

In his retirement speech, Donald Kagan, eminent historian of Ancient Greece, sounds the alarm about the decline of American democracy and Western Civilization. The Academy is fragmented, overrun by political correctness, and lacks focus. American society is plagued with similar problems, and Americans are no longer self-sufficient enough. Is his lament simply an echo of declinism?
posted by ChuckRamone on May 6, 2013 - 50 comments

The Anarchist Revival

David Graeber’s “The Democracy Project” and the anarchist revival. "Is the current arrangement of our democracy unstable? Should we start thinking about what might come next?"
posted by homunculus on May 5, 2013 - 61 comments

Criticism of Criticism of Criticism

"One can almost hear the anticipatory echoes of something like Yelp in the context of José Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses (1930). The multitude, he wrote, once “scattered about the world in small groups,” now appears “as an agglomeration.” It has “suddenly become visible, installing itself in the preferential positions in society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the footlights and is the principal character.” The disgruntled diner, now able to make or break a restaurant through sheer collective will. Against this leveling of critical power, the old guard fulminates. Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet, recently harrumphed that “anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.”"—Star Wars, by Tom Vanderbilt, in The Wilson Quarterly [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on May 5, 2013 - 38 comments

Still far from that digital democracy any utopian could hope for.

7 (well, technically 6) myths of the digital divide.
posted by iamkimiam on Apr 26, 2013 - 8 comments

Attack of the zombie directors (or: "Whatevah. I do what I want!")

When Shareholder Democracy Is Sham Democracy: Directors in 41 publicly traded companies remained in their posts despite "resounding votes of no confidence" from their shareholders, prompting New York City’s comptroller, John Liu to observe that the right to elect directors, "one of the few rights afforded shareholders is illusory," and “Shareowners need accountable directors who will ensure the company isn’t being run for the benefit of insiders at our expense.” Meanwhile, studies seem to back Liu up: "...firms with stronger governance exhibit a higher propensity to pay dividends and, for dividend payers, pay larger dividends." [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Apr 12, 2013 - 43 comments

The Priority of Democracy

Dissent Is the Health of the Democratic State - "We live in big, complex societies, which means we are thoroughly interdependent on each other, and that we will naturally have different ideas about how our life in common should go, and will have divergent interests. This means that politics we shall always have with us. It also means that political problems are largely ones about designing and reforming the institutions which shape how we interact with each other..." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 6, 2013 - 9 comments

Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship

Representative democracy is what's happening. Unfortunately, democracy is broken. There's a hidden failure mode, we've landed in it, and we probably won't be able to vote ourselves out of it. (via cstross)
posted by j03 on Feb 8, 2013 - 91 comments

This is why we can't have nice things

Petition to 'Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016' garners over 25,000 signatures thus requiring an official White House response. [more inside]
posted by mazola on Dec 13, 2012 - 95 comments

Has politics gone peer-to-peer?

Has politics gone peer-to-peer? A rich 90-minute panel discussion with Steven Johnson, author of "Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked World", featuring Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford and Lawrence Lessig.
posted by mhjb on Nov 26, 2012 - 6 comments

"Used to be that the idea was 'once every two years voters elected their representatives.' And now instead it's 'every ten years the representatives choose their constituents.'"

Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority, undermined Obama's mandate, set the terms of the sequestration fight, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade. It's not a new problem. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it could get a whole lot worse. And the electoral college may be next. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 14, 2012 - 137 comments

we choose to have an election thread and and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard

Finally, it's almost over. Obama and Romney tie in Dixville Notch, Obama landslide in Hart's Location. Interactive Infographic: 512 Paths to the White House. More election 2012 infographics. And still more. How to tell who is winning Ohio. Ohio recount plan could take election into overtime. Gandalf speaks: Late Poll Gains for Obama Leave Romney With Longer Odds. Final estimates from Votamatic and Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium. Google's voting education page. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Nov 6, 2012 - 8185 comments

Voter ID - Jay Bookman - The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Beautiful Georgia, my adopted state as I finish life’s journey ... my last year ever to vote in a presidential election. I wanted to feel part of this great privilege, wanted to again walk out of my precinct tapping my Georgia Peach voter sticker. Even if the day were dark, gloomy and cold, the sun would be shining. One Georgia nonagenarian's quest for voter ID
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 3, 2012 - 46 comments

Become a Citizen Election Monitor

My Fair Election crowd-sources pollwatching: "We hope that this information will be used by citizens, journalists, and election officials to identify the worst polling places and work to fix them. We hope that officials in charge of polling places with long lines or otherwise operate poorly will be embarrassed, held to account, and so motivated to do a better job." (via Hollie Russon-Gilman and Archon Fung)
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 1, 2012 - 21 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

You mean they sat on the platform with you?

In the spirit of the Nobel season, Yasha Levine discusses the history of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel as a PR gimmick for laissez-faire economics, and how its existence is an affront to the Nobel legacy.
posted by clarknova on Oct 26, 2012 - 26 comments

This is a public service announcement...

Citizens United has wrought widespread changes in the election law landscape. Yet, a lesser-known consequence of this watershed case might have a significant impact in the workplace: it may permit employers to hold political captive audience workplace meetings with their employees. Under Citizens United’s robust conception of corporate political speech, employers may now be able to compel their employees to listen to their political views at such meetings on pain of termination. [1]
And employers such as Koch Industries are taking full advantage of this. [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Oct 14, 2012 - 83 comments

epistolary novel

Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government [1,2,3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 26, 2012 - 46 comments

Croudsourcing Democracy

Finland is about to start using croudsourcing to create new laws: Earlier this year, the Finnish government enabled something called a "citizens’ initiative", through which registered voters can come up with new laws – if they can get 50,000 of their fellow citizens to back them up within six months, then the Eduskunta (the Finnish parliament) is forced to vote on the proposal.

Now this crowdsourced law-making system is about to go online through a platform called the Open Ministry. The non-profit organization has been collecting signatures for various proposals on paper since 1 March, when citizens’ initiatives came in, but a couple of days ago the government approved the electronic ID mechanism that underpins the digital version of the platform. That means it can now go live on 1 October.

posted by troll on Sep 23, 2012 - 69 comments

use value vs. exchange value

What Is Value? What Is Money? (via via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 1, 2012 - 15 comments

Also Mulvar approve message

Undecided voter? Look no further. (SLYT)
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 23, 2012 - 21 comments

The boat with two captains sinks.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy sacks the head of the Army. Hussein Tantawi (head of the Egyptian Army and SCAF) has been dismissed as the Egyptian president asserts his power over the traditionally dominant military. Morsy has also cancelled the SCAF memorandum keeping legislative powers with the military council, and it's widely thought that the fight over that will end up at the constitutional court again. If the cancellation stands, Morsi will also have almost complete control of the constitutional drafting process.
posted by Hosni Mubarak on Aug 13, 2012 - 36 comments

And Shopping. Always Shopping.

Propaganda - A film alledged to be from North Korea about the excess of Western decadance and public relations propaganda - hits Youtube (1:35:52)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 10, 2012 - 44 comments

I'm changing my name to No Taxes A1 for 2014

Despite not raising any money or updating his campaign website (cache) since 2009, 35 year-old flooring installer Mark Clayton has won the Democratic Party primary in Tennessee and will be running for US Senate against Republican incumbent Bob Corker. Clayton's policy positions are unusual for a Democratic candidate. [more inside]
posted by ghharr on Aug 3, 2012 - 100 comments

“A Republic, if You Can Keep It”

"[T]he corrupting influence of money is the first problem facing this nation. That unless we solve this problem, we won’t solve anything else... The Framers, Lessig says, had just one kind of dependence in mind for members of Congress: a dependence on the people. He quotes The Federalist (the then-anonymous essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that are often used as a contemporary account of the Framers’ intentions) to make this point: number 52 describes the House of Representatives as that “branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone” (emphasis added). But in the last two decades, Lessig writes, members of Congress have developed a fearsome dependency: campaign cash. The total amount spent on campaigns by all candidates for Congress in 2010 was $1.8 billion. Fundraising has become a way of life..." (via 3 Quarks Daily)
posted by caddis on Aug 1, 2012 - 48 comments

Our country has never solved anything with less democracy

With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
posted by cashman on Jul 23, 2012 - 96 comments

Stagnation in the Meritocracy

Why Elites Fail. Christopher Hayes writes in The Nation about how meritocracy and democracy become compromised by Robert Michels' Iron Law of Oligarchy.
posted by Sticherbeast on Jun 12, 2012 - 30 comments

Cognitive Democracy

"Here’s a paper we’re working on, which argues that we should (for some purposes at least), think of markets, hierarchy and democracy in terms of their capacity to solve complex collective problems [and] makes the case that democracy will on average do the job a lot better than the other two ways..." Henry Farrell and Cosma Shalizi on a cognitive approach to democracy (pdf). [via]
posted by daniel_charms on May 24, 2012 - 12 comments

Hint: the answer is democracy.

The Costs of Capitalism's Crisis: Who Will Pay? Economics professor Richard Wolff gives some context to the latest economic crisis and suggests a solution to prevent this from happening again.
posted by mhjb on May 20, 2012 - 58 comments

How many ways to get what you want

Anarchy is Boring
posted by Artw on May 14, 2012 - 120 comments

Agora, a virtual parliament

PDI is a policy-agnostic political party that does not have, nor will ever have, a political ideology. It has a single and radical proposal: PDI elected representatives will vote in congress according to what the people have previously voted through the internet using Agora.
posted by mhjb on Apr 14, 2012 - 89 comments

How is democracy doing?

Are Western states true democracies? Has democracy become a casualty of the financial crisis? Can you have too much democracy? -- The Browser's best articles on democracy from the last 12 months.
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Mar 27, 2012 - 30 comments

Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear they're right?

Is SEO killing America? Clay Johnson about how media gives us what we want, not what we need, and how it's destroying democracy. If you don't have time or can't watch a 17 minute video, read this article discussing and summarizing the video.
posted by desjardins on Mar 2, 2012 - 88 comments

The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
posted by kliuless on Feb 23, 2012 - 25 comments

A Democratic Ambivalence

"A staggering 49 per cent of Pakistanis said that it did not matter to them whether the government was democratic or not. Even more surprisingly, 21 per cent of Indian respondents also said that it did not matter to people such as themselves whether the government was democratic or dictatorial. Added to the fact that a third of respondents offered no response at all, many people in countries with substantial experience of democracy or with significant experience of both democracy and dictatorship appear to share the Libyans’ ambivalence about democracy as the preferred form of governance."
posted by artof.mulata on Feb 21, 2012 - 83 comments

California is the future

Why China’s Political Model Is Superior [SLNYT] [more inside]
posted by metaplectic on Feb 17, 2012 - 105 comments

Doll 'protesters' present small problem for Russian police

Lego figurines, Kinder surprises and other toys played the role of 'demonstrators'. Police in Siberian city ask prosecutors to investigate legality of protest involving display of toy figures holding miniature placards. "Political opposition forces are using new technologies to carry out public events – using toys with placards at mini-protests," Andrei Mulintsev, the city's deputy police chief, said at a press conference this week, according to local media. "In our opinion, this is still an unsanctioned public event." [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jan 26, 2012 - 24 comments

the new humanism and socialism? developing human and social 'capital'...

The Future of History (non-gated, summary): Many have noted that democracy [1,2,3] does not often sit well with capitalism [1,2,3], but Foreign Affairs argues in its latest issue that, while the ideological battle was won in the 20th century, the challenge of 21st is one of implementation -- how to make liberal democracy work. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2012 - 12 comments

Will we be all right in the end? David Runciman on democracy, fatalism, and the European crisis (LRB)

Democracy, fatalism, and the European economic crisis
posted by Philosopher's Beard on Jan 8, 2012 - 62 comments

Hungarian Democracy Under Threat

Previously. On 1 January Hungary's new Constitution came into effect which, amongst other things, entrenches the power of the current ruling party, FIDESZ, and enshrines social issues such as the right of the unborn child. Many so-called cardinal laws have been passed in Parliament which requires a 2/3 majority to change. The president of the EU, José Barroso wrote to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orbán, requesting a rethink of two such laws which impact the political independence to the Central Bank. This was rejected by the Hungarian government. Economically things are tough with Hungary requesting additional IMF assistance but they withdrew from informal talks, citing concern over the independence of the central bank. Hungary's debt was downgraded to junk status with rating agencies citing concerned at the relationship with the IMF. [more inside]
posted by vac2003 on Jan 3, 2012 - 27 comments

An unusual coup d'etat

Today is the 30th anniversary of Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawling's coup d'etat catapulting him into the crowded ranks of military dictators in Africa. Yet, Ghana chooses to celebrate this date and Rawlings' speech on this historic occasion has been shared and published, his words hearkened to (albeit) and his global standing only embellished by his [role]* as the African Union's envoy to Somalia. What manner of military dictatorship was this and what changes did the coup accomplish in democratic Ghana, today considered the fastest growing and stable Sub Saharan economy expected to be elevated to middle income status in the near future? [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 31, 2011 - 7 comments

Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'

Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'. Kenan Malik's essay is awarded 3 Quarks Daily's Top Quark for politics & social science by judge Stephen M. Walt: "Soldiers in today’s culture wars believe 'European civilization' rests on a set of unchanging principles that are perennially under siege—from godless communism, secular humanism, and most recently, radical Islam. For many of these zealots, what makes the 'West' unique are its Judeo-Christian roots. In this calm and elegantly-written reflection on the past two millenia, Malik shows that Christianity is only one of the many sources of 'Western' culture, and that many of the ideas we now think of as 'bedrock' values were in fact borrowed from other cultures. This essay is a potent antidote to those who believe a 'clash of civilizations' is inevitable—if not already underway—and the moral in Malik’s account could not be clearer. Openness to outside influences has been the true source of European prominence; erecting ramparts against others will impoverish and endanger us all."
posted by homunculus on Dec 19, 2011 - 87 comments

By no means just another struggling Michigan town.

Now that the factories are closed, it’s tee time in Benton Harbor (SLNYT, previously).
posted by xowie on Dec 15, 2011 - 8 comments

"I would rather be sitting back home at my desk, believe me. But this is too important."

"The political elite have actually no interest in explaining to the people that important decisions are made in Strasbourg; they are only afraid of losing their own power." Jürgen Habermas on the crisis of the European project and how it could be overcome.
posted by daniel_charms on Nov 28, 2011 - 29 comments

horizontal democracy

David Graeber profile: Meet the anthropologist, activist [1,2], and anarchist who helped transform a hapless rally into a global protest movement... " 'Most people don't think anarchism is a bad idea. They think it's insane,' says Graeber. 'Yeah, sure it would be great not to have prisons and police and hierarchical structures of authority, but everybody would just start killing each other. That wouldn't work, right?' Graeber's father, however, had seen it work."
posted by kliuless on Nov 27, 2011 - 70 comments

This is The Goldman Sachs Project

"By putting an [unelected] senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic." This is The Goldman Sachs Project [more inside]
posted by rubyrudy on Nov 18, 2011 - 67 comments

Trickle up economics? Or soak the rich?

Standing up for the little guy. Robert Reich spoke last night on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley -- the epicenter of recent violence -- as the speaker for the Mario Savio memorial lecture. Reich has been making the rounds, both within corporations, in the media, and at Occupy events, has been lecturing on the dangers of inequality well before the current income/opportunity disparity crisis. "There is going to come a time when the (inequality) trends we are seeing are going to cause something to snap... There are two kinds of snaps... one is the snap back... and the other is the snap break."
posted by markkraft on Nov 16, 2011 - 69 comments

A prehistoric monster which has mysteriously survived into the modern world

The City of London Corporation has been in the news lately related to Occupy London. But the deeper story of how this medieval remnant functions in 21st century England is far stranger... and more sinister.
posted by Joakim Ziegler on Nov 2, 2011 - 51 comments

Who watches the technocrats?

Peter Orszag (previously of Obama's OMB) argues that circumventing democracy is the best way to save it, but Catherine Rampell isn't sold, and Uwe Reinhardt points out that technocrats base "science" on moral values.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 28, 2011 - 91 comments

Straight guy for gay marriage

Why A Heterosexual, Married, North Carolinian Father Of Three Cares About LGBT Equality. Married father of three boys writes eloquently about the reasons why he opposes the proposed constitutional amendment banning any legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. The amendment goes before voters in May primary election, when heavy Republican turnout is expected. Meanwhile Senator Goolsby says that it is all about "empowering voters" "so no activist judge is able to decide on his or her own what marriage is." [original]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 16, 2011 - 38 comments

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