The more unequal your society is, the more your laws will favor the rich


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2015/10/28/the-more-unequal-your-society.html


#2

Everybody better get registered to vote in the USA, too much talky talk without action makes for GOP happiness.


#3

Speaking of the disenfranchised, maybe a way to get more voter participation would be to offer a free (nonpartisan, advertising-free) sandwich to anyone who votes on election day. If nothing else, it would get the homeless to participate. OTOH, it wouldn’t work in the areas where there is already a crackdown on voting while (fill in the blank).


#4

We used to be able to shake things up with some good old “storm the castle and kill the guy in charge” tactics but that’s become unrealistic now. Governments and corporations are too powerful and there’s too many people with divergent priorities to develop much momentum… regardless of whether the mission is violent or peaceful change.

The ruling classes have gotten very good at maintaining equilibrium… letting people be grumpy enough to talk about change, but not grumpy enough to actually do anything about it.


#5

“The more unequal your society is, the more your laws will favor the rich”

Isn’t this tautological?


#6

Axiomatic, i 'd say.


#7

This Presidential election brought to you by Subway! “We got rid of Jared, but we kept the food born pathogens!”


#8

Doesn’t work if you’re required to have a provable address to register to vote.


#9

As it should be! The only way it can possibly be fair is to protect various groups rights to live as they choose, rather than assume one form which is supposedly fit for everybody. Centralizing and homogenizing everything would get us - this.


#10

The tautology would be “unequal societies’ laws tend to favor the rich.”

The point here is that the effect snowballs: unfair laws give the rich more privilege, which they use to promote more unfair laws, which grant them more privilege…


#11

Wouldn’t it also be a cool thing to have a whole voting district take their assigned food and give it to the abjectly-poor district next door? I like that idea.
I also think voting day should be a federal holiday. “Having the time to vote” should never be a thing

Pssht, that’s dumb. Everyone knows those are only to be used on really cold days when no other source of heat is available and your friend is conked out and won’t yell at you for covering him entirely in stinky animal entrails.

.


#12

Fixed that for you!


#13

Yes, please see all the folks that successfully accomplished [secede] that.

[note sarcasm]


#15

Yes.

Where I live, we have close to 100% voter turnout (Australia, compulsory attendance), elections are on the weekend and I have never had to wait more than 15 minutes to vote. You can vote at any voting booth regardless of where you live, and arranging a pre-poll vote is trivially easy.

The delays and hassles involved in American voting are not some inevitable consequence of the process. They are a deliberately created and maintained attempt to suppress the vote.


#16

Point!


#17

While the threat of a castle storming might have a salutary effect on rulers, actually storming the castle and replacing the administration seems to rarely work to the long term benefit of the downtrodden.

Gradual non-violent change may feel rather boring and deprive people of “seeing those SOBs pay”, but my gut feeling is that it has a much higher chance of actually making life better for people.

As for the topic at hand, I feel that this truism is one of the central weaknesses of Libertarianism. The universal tendency of any group with power is to try and entrench themselves. After all, what is the point of power if it cannot buy security? (That includes all of us by the way, if you’re earning more than a few K$ a year, you can thank your country that has built and maintained the economic and political systems that maintain your massive wealth compared to the rest of the world.)

To deny that the powerful seek policies to increase their security is to deny human nature. Which means that if you value liberty, it is wise to architect society to prevent the inequalities that inevitably lead to the decrease of liberty.


#18

The question is: has the threat been obviously theoretical for so long that a dose of reality is required to reestablish its effectiveness? And if so, would the benefit of restoring the threat outweigh the cost?

I hope that the answer to the first is no, because I suspect that the second answer might be no as well. It’s gonna suck if it gets that far.


#19

Campaign contributions are indistinguishable from bribery.

They should be completely illegal, and instead all the candidates who get, say 2% of the vote or more in the primaries are all issued a standard amount of money from the government.

Ideally anyone who tries to contribute money to a candidate would be charged with something. Maybe corruption or attempted bribery. Or sedition.

Money in politics completely undermines the democratic process to the point of being a mockery of the very idea of a representative government.


#20

In other news, water is wet.
At some level, this is just the capitalist special case of “power tends to concentrate over time.” In feudal society, what really mattered was access to to the king, rather than money per se. Feudal lords had more power than merchants. In some communist societies it was similarly more important to be in a position to talk to and persuade the leaders than to have piles of currency.

Arguably power tends to concentrate to the point where it is unsupportable and then thing get all non-linear and there is a revolution of sorts…Democracy is just an attempt to make those revolutions peaceful changes of power rather than guns in the streets…


#21

Take all money out of campaigns, and the result will be that those candidates with name recognition, or whose behavior is a magnet to media coverage, jump to the front.

The ideal candidate to win in a zero-political-contributions world would be Donald J. Trump.