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Our Descent Toward Third World Status

By       Message Stephen Unger     Permalink
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Clearly, the greater the role of government in our lives, the greater the importance of ensuring that it is democratically controlled by the people and not by some elite class of rulers. The Bill of Rights must be restored. The democratic political processes must be protected by minimizing money in politics--only  individual humans (not corporations) should be allowed to contribute money to parties--and only limited amounts. We need to re-examine the election process to fix problems ranging from rigged e-voting systems, to spoilers due to plurality voting, gerrymandering, and the electoral college [Unger-Broken]. Wide open discussion of political issues must be encouraged. A greater variety of news sources should be encouraged, and governmental secrecy reduced drastically to a bare minimum. 

Is the above wish-list unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky? Not really. Many of the above ideas have been implemented, at least partially, in the Nordic countries, which, tho not without their own problems, seem to be far more egalitarian than the US. But, in terms of the current US political scene, we appear to be going in the wrong direction. None of the listed items are even discussed by the politicians comprising the two major parties. As I write this, we are just emerging from the exciting donkey-elephant show, in which lunatic Republicans, forcing a partial governmental shutdown, took the spotlight off both the revelations of the assault on our liberties being perpetrated by the Democratic administration, and the Syrian debacle.

In the usual election day scenario, the great majority of those most sympathetic to the above ideas, fearing a Republicans victory, hold their noses and vote for the Democrats [Unger-Best]. But now, the Republicans may have antagonized so many people who normally vote for them that their chances at the polls have greatly faded. So there is at least a chance that those who usually vote on the basis of the lesser evil argument might feel that it is safe to vote for parties that come close to representing their views, without risking a victory by the party they most fear.

References

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BLS, "Union Members Summary", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 23, 2013

G. William Domhoff, "Wealth, Income, and Power", Power in America, 2005-2013

Global Macro Monitor, "Chart of the day: US Manufacturing Employment, 1960-2012", Global Macro Monitor, May 1, 2012

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Steven Greenhouse, "Union Membership in U.S. Fell to a 70-Year Low Last Year", NY Times, January 21, 2011

Jim Hightower, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is a Corporate Coup in Disguise", Truthout, October 2, 2013

Elisabeth Rosenthal, "The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath", NY Times, October 12, 2013, p.1

Murray N. Rothbard, "The Libertarian Manifesto on Pollution", Mises Daily, April 17, 2012

Michael Snyder, "19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Make You Weep", Business Insider, Sep. 27, 2010

Richard Stallman, "What is free software?", Gnu.org, 2013

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Karl D. Stephan, "Engineers and Technological Unemployment: What Are People For?", Engineering Ethics Blog, September 23, 2013

Stephen H. Unger-benefits, "Where Did the Benefits of Technology Go?", Ends and Means, February 10, 2012

Stephen H. Unger-Best, "Should You Vote for the Best Candidate?", Ends and Means, August 7, 2012

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http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~unger/myBlog/endsandmeansblog.h

I am an engineer. My degrees are in electrical engineering and my work has been in the digital systems area, mainly digital logic, but also computer organization, software and theory. I am a Professor, Emeritus, Computer Science and Electrical (more...)
 

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