[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Democratic Governments Must Govern Democratically

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Democratic Governments Must Govern Democratically

Sounds like a logical concept, right?

Well...Miami Herald editorial columnist Robert Steinback had some comments about democracies and capitalism in a column published in yesterday's Miami Herald.

Here's one excerpt:

''We must insist that leaders who are elected democratically have a responsibility to govern democratically,'' (Condoleeza) Rice said, an obvious reference to Venezuela's populist, anti-capitalist president, Hugo Chávez, whose flirtations with Cuban dictator (f)idel (c)astro have irritated the Bush administration for years.

What Rice and President Bush can't, or won't, grasp is that democracy alone won't address basic quality-of-life concerns of real people -- particularly when the corporate decision-makers who really run the prevailing economies remain beyond the reach of the popular vote. Democracy without a parallel commitment to economic justice is a useless tool -- like a band saw without a blade.

Steinback goes on to write:
Failure to address the needs and dissatisfactions of the greater population is what undermines democracies. It's why 14 democratically elected Western Hemisphere governments have been toppled just since 1989 -- while the nations of Western Europe, which have utilized a more socialized and labor friendly version of capitalism, have enjoyed relative political stability since World War II.

Read the entire column here.

The staff at 26th Parallel decided to send Steinback an e-mail regarding his column.

Mr. Steinback,

As another resident of Robertovia (perhaps not your version, but a "Robert" nevertheless), I'd like to comment on a few of your points.

First of all, I agree with your general opinion that capitalist economies must be accompanied by institutions which guarantee fairness for all.

It's obvious that some capitalist democracies in Latin America have not succeeded because of a lack of balance and fairness. However, we can't throw the baby out with the bath water. History has shown that the most successful and prosperous countries are capitalist, democratic countries. Sure, there are elements of socialism in many prosperous European countries, but they all work under a democratic and capitalist framework where free enterprise is encouraged, not repressed as in countries such as Cuba.

Thus, I think Condoleeza Rice is right in insisting that Latin American countries have a responsibility to govern democratically. This extends to all sectors of society. Capitalism may not be perfect, after all it is a human concept. But coupled with a democratic, fair government, it's the best we got.

I'd like to finish with a quote from Willi Schlamm which I saw on the Internet the other day and is quite appropriate...

"The problem with socialism is socialism; the problem with capitalism is capitalists."

Thanks to George of Universal Spectator for the Schlamm quote.


Blogger The Universal Spectator said...

You are welcome! It's one of my favorites. Although my all-time favorite, off-topic, is this one:

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left." —Oscar Levant

7:57 PM, June 09, 2005  

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