Tell me more about this democracy thing, it sounds like a great idea

April 2024 · Last updated 2024-05-07 · 449 words

For a long time now I’ve been struggling with how people around me find it normal that we have (at least perceived) democratic participation in so-called “public” matters (policy), but little to none in the realm labelled as “private” (the economy).

In discussions about this, I often find a west- or euro-centrism and the belief that “we” have democracy, and that makes “us” somehow good, or even superior to “other” systems.

When I, on the other hand, opine that not only bad, but also good things are happening in China, for example, I sometimes receive serious blowback. Granted, this is hard to take seriously, since most everything in life has up- as well as downsides; this should be easy enough to accept, even for highly cherished concepts like democracy.

I ask: If democracy is so good, why do we only have it for some (arguably small) parts of our lives?

I stumbled about a blog article that captures this better than I could so far, and which I would like to recommend:

Weirdly, we are completely used to being told what to do for 40 hours a week, we just have the freedom to choose by whom, and then it’s apparently okay.


Maybe the economy not being democraticly controlled could be a good thing? I personally would perhaps be okay with it, if it made everyone better of.
(~ Maralorn 2023-06-17)

Maralorn has a point - maybe the business world being autocratic is the only way it can work well in the grand scheme of things? I don’t think so, but I might be wrong. Authoritarianism might be “faster” at implementing change and more efficient at collaborating towards a goal, and maybe “competition” and the power to walk away (from something one does not want to be a part of) is all the freedom we, as individuals, need.

On the other hand a no-go for me would be … if it kills all of humanity.
These days though the voices become louder that we are running in the direction of a cliff.

This is a really good argument in my opinion - but Maralorn seems more concerned about the “AI eradicates humanity” scenario than me. While I wouldn’t rule out death-by-AI (for example in the sense of the Terminator franchise, but may of course look/work out very different), more probable I find death-by-ecosystem-collapse (in the sense of Extinction Rebellion). It may happen slower, but in my opinion is a much more likely way of “killing all of humanity”. When I look at our sustained exploitation of the only planet we have, I cannot help but think this is going to end badly.

Kudos & greetings @maralorn!


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