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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/9/21

World Democracy and the Invisible Hand Opposing It

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Here's a radical idea. Let's distribute equally among every adult citizen, no matter their status or circumstance, all the power necessary to govern our country. Then let's endow each person with the right to lend their share of power to others who pledge to represent their interests for a term. And when governing questions arise, let's accept that the majority opinion should prevail so long as it doesn't infringe on a person's inalienable rights as a human being. That's what we have. It is the democratic republic created by our founding fathers.

And isn't it so much better than having wealthy, powerful people deciding our lives in ways that suit their self-interests and the interests of their loyal friends? This latter model has always been the default mode throughout history. It is what we will have again if we fail to defend our democracy. Keeping our republic going forward will likely be as difficult as establishing it was in the beginning. We are in the middle of an acute domestic challenge today.

Why is democracy worth fighting to preserve? Democracy is fair for everyone. It alone has the ability to distribute the greatest good to the largest share of its citizens. But democracy is also hard. It has taken most of recorded history to set up just one enduring example for the world to follow. We are that first and oldest example. A democracy, with its equal distribution of power by its citizens, challenges every other power structure ever devised before it. One obvious example would be the royal dynasties of Europe.

When the aristocracy in the 1600s was forced to share power with a growing wealthy business class, they preserved their dominance by chartering corporations. These royal corporations conserved the aristocrat's financial powers over the business class because all charters followed the principle that the more one owns the greater one's say in making decisions. And no one was wealthier than the King. Also, the wealth a corporation generates is not distributed equally. It is distributed according to a person's share of ownership. The more you own, the more you earn.

And so it is to this day that the corporate model of governance continues to preserve the wealth and power of the wealthy. Many of the aristocrats are still around (The English royals, for example). The wealthiest families and the undemocratic governments in the world still have controlling interests in the global economy.

Corporate governance is among the models in direct competition with democracy. It manifests itself in many ways both large and small. For example, while governments still charter corporations, business sectors have established a political lobbying industry that funnels campaign donations back to cash-starved or business-friendly politicians. This exerts influence over government policymaking that greater than the influence of the constituents who elected these politicians. And as always, behind every corporation are the wealthy owners of capital.

The wealth of modern international corporations rivals all but the richest countries. The same is true of the wealthiest corporate owners. The economic power of just the top eighty billionaires is staggering. When their interest become align, and they push in the same direction, they are nearly an irresistible force. Up until the present era, corporations have largely benefitted from the stability and predictability of western democracies in which they were embedded. In the period after World War II businesses were mostly community-based enterprises. It was in local business owner's best interest to use their clout to strengthen and build up their local communities. It was a source of civic pride for them as well. When corporate entities grew larger and more regional and national, business interest and national interest began to merge. In recent decades, the web of pan-global international business relationships has grown exponentially.

Today, international corporate fealty to its host countries that charter it has weakened. The hodgepodge of multiple national business regulations, each country struggling to balance the interests of its people with the international corporate interests, are strained to the breaking point. This has given rise to many pan-global regulatory bodies that are inter-governmental, trans-governmental, and even private (non-governmental) in structure. Some are more prominent, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) the World Bank, and the OECD.

There are many other international business organizations (IBOs) seeking to globally coordinate and facilitate corporate interests. There are also scores of more regional and continental business organizations designed to promote regional interests and influence decision-making by the larger IBO. These are collectively referred to as RCGs or Regional Consulting Groups.

Most (IBOs) seek to influence "upstream activities of the rule-making process" in the host nations. This includes the exchange of information, data collection, and development of norms, standards, and best practices among the host nations. Some are also involved in "downstream activities" such as governmental rule-making processes including, -- enforcement, dispute settlement, and crisis management."

Rogue Actors and Shadow Banking

Into this ever-expanding universe between what world governments still control and what they no longer fully control is a still amorphous dark web of private wealth and power. It has become the sandbox for billionaires, oligarchs, cartels, and rogue world leaders. It is a wilderness in which shadow banking (unregulated by any nation) now controls nearly one-third of all global wealth. This opaque network of dark commerce connects both legitimate banking systems and international businesses with the dark lords of wealth and power. That this extra-governmental space exists is an established fact. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is real and it threatens global stability to the point where a new global financial regulatory agency, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), quietly emerged in April 2009, to modulate this new threat.

(Image by Pixabay: Artie_Navarre)
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I believe it is from this dark cloud that an invisible hand has emerged to weaken world governments, which still largely control the global economy. It intuitively follows that Western democracies in particular, with their structural commitment to the welfare and interests of ordinary citizens (whose votes must be earned), would be primary targets.

This isn't just a threat to global banking and commerce. It represents a fifth column, a phantom enemy of national sovereignty worldwide that corrupts corporate culture and poisons the well of global democracy. This is the nexus through which the interests of rogue billionaires and corrupt principalities begin to align. This is a source from which the global disinformation warfare raging against Western democracies is being waged. And this disinformation war is the direct cause of our growing political polarization and this disunion that is tearing countries apart.

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Brian Lynch is a retired social worker who worked in the areas of adult mental health and child protection for many years. His work brought him into direct contact with all the major social issues of the day and many of our basic social (more...)

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