Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Redistributing power to the people

Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.
What Gandhi once said tongue-in-cheek, you can say also about American Democracy today.
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

-Louis D. Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice from 1916 to 1939.
I agree - except I would substitute "power" for "wealth".
Balance of power is a desirable goal in itself. That's what Democracy is about. But concentration of wealth is not a problem in itself; it becomes a problem when it's part of a system that enriches a few who exploit the many to get rich, get elected, to get away with committing crimes (white collar or not).

In other words, it's about the power imbalance that comes with money - not money itself. An ideal democracy wouldn't have this problem.

I don't care how rich the richest get. I do care how the average people and the poor fare in the society. The solution though is to empower them to succeed *and* protect them from abuses by the rich & powerful - not to redistribute wealth.

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Is the world upside down?

Is the world upside down?
It's a topsy-turvy world out there!