Getting wealth out of politics completely?

The face value arguments against trying to drive wealth out of politics might posit that no one would be able to steward a concentration of wealth or make much use of it for good without access to politics. It might be noted that some of our best politicians (US example) and those most able to deal with the excesses of wealth have come from the wealthy families, FDR, JFK… they may be most inoculated against the charms of personal wealth. Under the current system comparatively wealthy individuals can check out of much of the coercion that every other member of society is subjected to and this may be the chief benefit of wealth.

In the US we don’t allow criminals to vote, but we allow them to run for office. We would do better to bar the wealthy from voting (at least 3 million) and allow felons to vote (about 6 million,) while also barring the wealthy from running for office. It’s quite plausible that we allow felons to run for office because we didn’t want to disenfranchise wealthy felons. We might do well to reverse that logic and make it more consistent.

We are having a problem with rule by inherited wealth in the US. We’ve had a Bush in office for 5 of the most recent terms, this is dynastic and a sign of devolvement into empire. Imperial ideation is a natural consequence of politics corrupted by wealth and hereditary money.

Given the history of wealth and its capacity to destroy democracy, why allow the wealthy to vote, or to hold office or to contribute any money to any political process while they hold their wealth. They are not a legitimate minority, but merely people who have come into an optional set of circumstance which by its nature grants them a certain amount unelected power. From a societal perspective it’s a discretionary set of circumstances and the unelected power is also arbitrary and historically shown not to be another check on state power but quite the contrary. Removing the wealthy from political participation as long as they held any foreseeable title to wealth can be a check to rule by inherited money.

Maybe it’s time we took our democracy more seriously. Why, for instance, does election tampering not lead to life without parole? Tampering seems to be a tradition that even a Supreme Court Justice or two was involved in during their early professional life and later in life on the bench with tactics meant to rig elections through money. Why do we allow sponsored media, when it’s about the most basic and blatant conflict of interest we could have? Do we really want sponsored law and institutions? Really, any conflict of interest with regard to money and politics should yield to as complete a check on money as we can devise because the risk is outright tyranny. Why rely on scholarship and social promotion as an outside corrective. Why not just make sure politicians take a lifetime vow of membership in the middle class. Life time because we don’t want revolving doors.

Last time I read the constitution, it had an equal protection clause.

The wealthy are not a protected minority, they are just another part of the majority like people with red pick up trucks. Our system was not meant to protect arbitrary privilidge and to the extent that it was it must change that to survive.

Always loving more tyranny as an answer.

Presenting things out of context is the favorite tactic of a tyrant.

All of your grand ideas include taking freedom away from somebody you hate.

No I don’t hate the rich, it just that their gains can’t come at the expense of others, they have to contribute, and cannot expect to abridge the freedoms of others, have to come by their gains fairly and don’t get privilege as a result of wealth, nor a greater political voice. Their voice must be equal to the merits of its arguments.

Current entitled rich in the US like to argue with Tyler that masses can vote themselves a share of the wealth. Which is ridiculous because that is the point of democracy, to not be over a barrel especially over wealth and to have a political voice and a share of the power to prevent that. Watch the movie “12 Days a Slave,” when Clinton said the current GOP had a plantation mentality and wanted a plantation economy she was right. When her party used to talk about a culture of corruption, (although not exclusive) they were right. When Obama pointed out “you didn’t earn it (unearned income,)” and pointed out that the economy had to work for everyone they got so pissed. They talk about the job creators, but the job creators are not the point of a democratic society, their needs should be last not first. They drink their own cool-aid and as a group come to think they are better and its at that point that they need to be reacquainted with the economic basics.

@Warren,

I sympathise with this idea in general and if MaidSafe could level the playing field then that would be great but I suspect it will take a lot more than that. In theory, progressive taxation should do what we want and we know that that hasn’t worked . . the rich can manipulate the system at will it seems . . there will need to be some sort of paradigm shift for us to survive and make it to the next century I think. There are some hopeful signs with people working on “Steady State” Economics, MaidSafe etc but I think Martin Rees is right but optimistic when says we have a 50% chance . .

Phil.

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