Capitalism can exist without democracy but, democracy cannot exist without capitalism . . . at least not in any relevant or meaningful form

The “Obama Doctrine” is the Bush Doctrine is the Clinton Doctrine is the Reagan Doctrine is the Carter—you get the point. Despite all the changes in rhetorical style over the years, there’s been an essential continuity in U. S. foreign policy, not only since 1945, but even since 1917, and arguably, since 1898: make the world safe for corporate capitalist expansion.

from Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: An Interview with Eugene McCarraher, Part Two of Three by & , January 20th, 2010

The fact is that the world in general and democracy in particular, is driven by the financial self-interests of oligarchical benefactors whose only real loyalty is not to the cause of freedom as much as it is to preserving the self-sustaining model of ubiquitous and unchallenged capitalism.

Like the Greek gods of mythical proportion playing a board game with humanity as the mere pieces in an elevated exchange, capitalism and democracy are not mutually inclusive of one another, but are instead linked through situational convenience in which the overriding interests of the former relegate the latter to an optional pursuit.  Or to put it another way, capitalism can exist without democracy but, democracy cannot exist without capitalism . . . at least not in any relevant or meaningful form from a materialistic point of view.

Now some may argue this position by referring to the value a free market and the anecdotal Horatio Alger rags to riches stories that trumpet the ability for anyone with enough gumption and grit to stake their claim to the American Dream.  To a certain degree this is true and, largely irrelevant simply because we are talking about populace concentration versus democratic principle.  It is simply a matter of degrees of elasticity.

An example of this elasticity can be easily demonstrated by the cold war in which there is a common argument that capitalism was uniquely tied to the democratic concept of a free nation.  However, capitalism was as much alive in the Soviet Union as it was in America during that period.  The only difference was in the breadth of distribution or societal congruence.

In an ironic twist, and along the lines of the house divided by itself cannot stand analogy, rather than empowering the common worker, communism sought to confine the capitalist idea and ideal to a select few.  In a system in which the people were supposedly the great benefactors of the revolution, the reality and ultimately the fall of communism was not so much in its ideology as it was in its tightly regulated confinement of capitalism.  What this means is that the absence of capitalism and not democracy was at the heart of the failed experiment that was communism.

Like the sometime confusing co-morbidity associated with an illness where symptoms overlap into a blended and erroneously single diagnosis, capitalism and democracy are also bound, with most making the equally erroneous assumption that similar to love and marriage you can’t have one without the other.  Nothing of course could be further from the truth as demonstrated by questionable American  foreign policy such as the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1952 under the code name Operation Ajax.  This of course is just one example of where democracy and individual liberty took a back seat to the financial imperatives of a capitalist interest.

In fact one might reasonably conclude that U.S. foreign policy disasters in Zaire, Angola, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Cuba, The Philippines, China, Lebanon, El Salvador, Vietnam, Korea, Ethiopia and elsewhere which were referenced in detail in Jonathan Kwitny’s book Endless Enemies, The Making Of An Unfriendly World, that the economic meddling as one reviewer put it that has been going on since at least World War II, reflects what he referred to as the sad truth that ALL politics is infected with the virus of economic imperialism.

This concept of democracy like communism or any other form of political ideology for that matter being little more than interchangeable adjuncts to capitalistic interests is for many a difficult pill to swallow.  The dispiriting reality of this immutable truth was reflected in the same reviewer’s lament that “I’m probably naive or idealistic or both, but I want to believe my country stands for the principles expounded in our Declaration of Independence. Reading this exhaustive, carefully-researched, emotionally-detached and factual account to the contrary turned out to be painful and destructive to my civic pride.”

There is of course one saving grace for those of us who cherish the core values of a democratic society, and that is that a free and open market is truly the most fertile ground in which capitalism can grow.  However, we should not make the mistake in thinking that democracy is an essential element of capitalistic endeavors.  Once again, democracy is simply a discardable convenience that can be thrown aside when its interests conflict with capitalism’s overriding objective . . . perpetuating wealth.


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