Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘election laws

Can Capitalist systems be reformed? Part 3.

Posted on September 26, 2010

In the previous two articles, I discussed the foundations of Capitalism, the variations in capitalist systems, communist/capitalism systems, the ideology of private property ownership, and the reforms needed.

This part will discuss the practical political and legal reforms needed if change is to be effective.  

First, let me summarize the last two articles.

One:  Capitalism is based on four  foundations:

  1. Private property of means of production;
  2. free internal people movement and exchange (products, services…);
  3. open free market for commerce; and
  4. availability of a vast pool of people willing to work for salary. The main driving force is that the owner of the means of production (the bank, the partners, the shareholder, or the family)  should earn as much as the total salary that all workers receive.  Consequently, an employee is hired when the owner can generate profit, at least as equal to the total salary of the hired worker.

Two:  The foundations of capitalism have proven not to function except within strong richer State institutions, which are almost totally controlled by the capitalist classes.

Three:  The one foundation that all economic systems in developed States share is free global trade, which means the liberty to exploiting the developing countries in natural resources and cheap labor. 

How this work and corollaries to capitalist systems:

First, the developed States are allowed to subsidize their agriculture, but the developing nations are Not to do it and they cannot, even if they realize the need to do it .

Second, the developed States are to flood the markets of developing countries with affordable products with No “legal rights” for the developing nations to increase import taxes in order to safeguarding their own means of productions.

Third, the developed States can find financial resources at low-interest rates with a phone call, but Not the developing nations that have to borrow at at least twice the interest rates.

Fourth, in return for blatant exploitation, the developed States agree “voluntarily” to setting aside a small fraction of their GNP to developing the infrastructures in the poorer States.  Mainly, self-serving their interests to improving infrastructure to facilitating exploitation efficiently.

Fifth:  All “international” institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Commerce and Trades are dominated by the US, China, and a few European States. Thus, transparency and access to timely information and intelligence are denied the developing nations.

Sixth:  Financial institutions (banks, insurance companies…) are the real owner of means of production in capitalist systems.  They own 30% of the total wealth of a nation and represent only 1% of the population.  This is NOT acceptable. 

Fact is, financial institutions generate three times more money than the combined tax collected by the government.  This is NOT acceptable. 

Any reforms should first target the level of profit that financial institutions are permitted to generate.  “Effective” interest rates should be lowered accordingly, and tougher regulations imposed of these behemoths.

Community banks with excellent transparency in decision process and lending policies should be the norm.  The current status of financial institutions is generating abnormal profit with No risks whatsoever.  

The aristocratic political family class (representing 10% of the population and hoarding more than 20% of the nation’s wealth or what is called “Old Money”) is the main beneficiary of the current capitalist system dominated by the financial barons.

Seventh:  If capitalism needs salaried people, it must secure the fundamental right to work, a wide range of jobs that satisfy varied opportunity, access to affordable education, safe workplace, universal health coverage, caring for the elderly, and justice for people who worked most of their life for a comfortable retreat.  Has capitalism satisfied the basic needs of its workforce?

Basically seuring Equal starting life to all its kids.

Eight:  States should start taxing according to the number of employees hired and total revenue generated:  These two criteria are the most objective representative of net profit and are easy to investigate.  This gimmick of taxing on “net profit” is an accounting fraud that is not objective or fair.

Companies relocating for cheaper workers must be taxed according to the original “national wages” of the workers.  Companies substituting workers for robots should be taxed according to the number of workers substituted.  States will then be able to subsidize unemployed people, until they find jobs and be imaginative enough to opening up newer job opportunities…

Ninth:  There is a trend for owners with strong ethics and moral standards to including employees as shareholders and participating in management decisions:  These companies are doing very well and not suffering from financial crashes.  Institutions and companies for profit are amoral and do not deal in ethical conducts. 

Ethics and morality are individual characteristics:  The more such individuals gather in groups to reclaiming fairness and justice in actions, the more institutions will be reminded of what is best for society.

Tenth:  Historically, land and private property were the basis for the emergence of the “bourgeois and merchant” classes and which initiated the major leap forward into creating wealth. This system of private ownership lead to the abolition of feudalism and absolute monarchic powers, backed by the clergy.

The structure of private ownership of land and properties materially weakened nobility and clergy and eventually displaced them. Private property of land should be revised…Read part #4.

Eleventh:  Private ownership of land and properties are not currently economically essential for capitalist system to function properly:  Enterprises can lease properties and resume their business as usual.  It is the political ideology behind private properties that is the culprit.

 Private property ownership remains as a reminder that aristocracy image of power must not vanish in order to retaining political power in “democratic” political system.

Twelfth:  Ownership of land and real estates must be legally abolished in order to having a serious chance for political reforms.  Land should be owned by communities and regulated by community councils.

Land and real estates should only be leased for durations, and never owned by individuals and never renewed for any member of the family in order to dissuade political inheritance of images and statuses.  Inheritance of private real estates and money is the main reason for the existence of aristocratic lineage in wealth and politics.

The inheritance mentality encourages sustaining ancient beliefs that the aristocratic class is better fit to rule, guide, and lead simply because this class created the system that perpetuates its interests and egoistic power.

I then offered the required necessary reforms on property ownership.  For example, enterprises may be allowed to renew the lease for specific duration as long as the nature of the business did not change or will not change after the renewal.  For example, transforming from a manufacture to real estates development.

This section of the series will develop on Election processes and laws reforms.

In the current “capitalist democracy”, the judicial system obeys laws decreed by the parliaments (supposed to be representing the common people) that are dominated by the richest and political “aristocracy” classes.. And the executive branch is intrinsically dominated by the highest classes, directly and indirectly.  

This entire political system is called “capitalist democracy” where people have the illusion of electing their representatives for a duration.  After election, people are to behave as spectators:  Any serious disturbances are crushed in the name of Law and Order.

It is imperative that real political power in reformed election laws should  shift the odds for the middle class and lower classes to acceded to legislative and executive positions.

Private enterprises within a free internal movement and exchange of people and merchandise, and supported by a smooth flow of liquid money, as commerce increases and develop, are the basis for creating wealth.  

The State should not be doing business, but regulating laws and order, and securing the well-being of  all its citizen “equal under the law of fairness to work, opportunity, and happiness.”

Thus, the sole reason for the existence for State government is doing politics.  

Mainly, equalizing the odds so that all its citizens live equally in dignity.  So far, the current capitalist system appears to  running smoothly only for the survivors of the holocausts of financial crisis and degradation of normal living conditions.

Election laws and regulations reform targeting all citizens, regardless of gender, ethnic minority, and wealth status must be undertaken relentlessly and closely monitored and supervised by ethical, moral, and just citizens.

First, No fee  charges should be levied for submitting any documents to being candidates to any representative community, council, or State chambers and Houses.  This costly application favors the well-to-do.

Second, contribution to campaigning is strictly done on individual basis and having a fixed limit representing the capacity of lower classes for contribution.  Thus, flow of contribution from rich classes and enterprises are off-limit in election campaign.

Third, stiff penalties should be levied on owners, executives, and managers of enterprises (not the entity) who bribe or press upon employees to get biased toward candidates and extending bonuses at election periods.

Fourth, quota should be imposed on rich and aristocratic classes in number of candidates, commensurate to their representation of the entire population.

Fifth, the campaign should be made easy to comprehend and run, so that many citizens would be encouraged to participate.

Sixth:  All candidates should have equal air time and receive fair contribution from the State to running an equitable campaign and supporting staff.

Seventh:  Prison terms should be attached to officials in any enterprises  or interest lobbying groups who are backing candidates by fraudulent financial means.

These are sample example for fairness in election laws so that many more common people get into the legislative chambers on their own potentials, without feeling indebted to any rich baron or political aristocrat.  

Either power is democratically obtained or anarchy is the end result for the state of injustices in capitalist systems.

Market cannot regulate itself for the interest of the common people.  Rich classes are not just following their interests, but also their overextended egoism to grabbing more power when left at their own volition.

Enterprises have No moral or ethical standards regulating them.  

Only external pressures, for example State politics of fairness to all and justice to all, can make a difference.  

Practicing democracy is hard work and it requires constant vigilance, reflection, and mass actions.

What Social and Political System?  What Electoral System after the withdrawal of Syrian troops?

Written in Dec. 5, 2004

Note:  This article was written a year before the Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon as the international squeeze on mandated Syria was on to vacate Lebanon.

The dialogue on “what Lebanon we want for after the Syrian withdrawal” is still not serious and very superficial.

There are nowadays heated discussions about the parliamentary laws for the coming election in April and the heavy interference of the Syrian intelligence services in our internal affairs.

The coalitions of pro and con the current political orientations of the government in Lebanon have missed their targets.

Their political programs are non existent. Their political discourses are plagued by coded insinuations of pure sectarianism and a coward evasion to face the requisites of the future.  The society has made a full circle to where it was before the civil war.

The only differences are that:

1) the Muslim bourgeoisies (Sunni and Shia) have captured a sizeable share of the economy compared to the overwhelming monopoly of the Christian, especially the Maronite, bourgeoisie and

2) the polarization of the citizens into sectarian enclaves is almost complete throughout the land.

How the retreat of the Syrian forces from Lebanon would change this stagnant social fabric if we are still apprehensive of asking the right questions?

What forces would replace the Syrian forces to ensure law and order if there are no communication among the political parties?

How the Lebanese citizens could ever fall again into the trap that foreign powers could guaranty a long lasting stable political system that satisfies the interest of all the citizens?

We all know that the Lebanese Army (soldiers and officers) is old and still is no match to the entrenched militias who have been governing ever since the Taif agreement.

If Lebanon is to experience a profound and lasting rebirth, drastic political reforms have to be discussed at all levels in the society.

These reforms should attack the fundamentals of a civilized society, mainly a new Constitution and the clipping of the sectarian powers that is insidious in every phase of the citizen life and status.

What I propose is an alternative that would make digging of trenches a worthwhile endeavor if no rational responses are offered for a compromise.

I will develop two facets of Lebanon in the future:

First, the fundamental internal changes needed in the Constitution and

Second, the 4 political problems that are dividing the Lebanese society:  Mainly the presence of the governments with all its institutions in the South, the disarming of the Palestinian camps, the dismantling of all the armed militias, including Hezbollah and obviously, the withdrawal of the Syrian troops and its intelligence services.

The Constitutional acts to be discussed are as follow:

1) Half the parliament members should be represented by the female sex in accordance with the spirit of a true democratic representation.

The rationales: Women are more than half the population and their intrinsic problems are more intimately understood by them as well as their solutions. They will be the guarantee that their rights are fully considered, applied and secured.

2)   Election laws should be revisited.

Everyone who voted twice in any general election, municipality or parliament, and who can read and write in the Arabic language should be eligible to be a candidate. No fees should be attached to the application for candidature in order for the election to be for the people and by the people.

The minimum age for voting should be 18 so that new spirits and demands become major factors in political programs.

3)   Part of the parliament members should be elected on the basis of individual departments that would guarantee the fair representation of all religious sects.

The rationales: Electoral districts should include between 15,000 and 25,000 voters and a male and a woman deputy elected. This system might prevent unknown candidates to win by taking advantage of the notoriety of the other candidates on the list.

Also, this system will insure the representation of all sects implicitly and save the Constitution to be discredited by explicitly requiring that Christians and Muslims be equally represented.

Part of the parliament members should be elected on political party lines and syndicated affiliations and on the proportional basis.

The rationales: The political life in Lebanon is almost non existent because the political parties have been weakened and sidelined after the civil war. There is a strong link between the immigration of the youth and the political void that excludes them from expressing their dreams and their needs of varied opportunities.

I suggest that the election law allows voters to select two political parties so that part of the members should represent the political parties that come second in the ballot boxes. The second choices should be among parties that are non sectarian historically or have proven to include other religious affiliations in their membership.

The rationales: The non sectarian political parties should also be included in the first choice list of parties.  The second choice is important so that sectarian parties would embark on programs that would promote them to be acceptable by many more than one sect.

Everyone of the 18 officially recognized religious sects should be represented by one member in the parliament.

The rationales: It is becoming urgent that responsible and legitimate discussions on religious differences be aired to the public and how these different values might be affecting the interests of all citizens..

Decentralization and autonomy of the districts in the administration and financial spending on projects and programs so that competition heighten performance and efficiency.

The rationales: Many ministries have to be eliminated and decentralized so that communities start enjoying the benefits of the concept of subsidiaries.

Ministries like Youth, Sport, Tourism and Communication (Propaganda)…should be dismantled and regrouped within the administration of the districts (Mohafazat) and a post of a general counsel, for each one of these ministries, attached to the Prime Minister, has to be created in order to coordinate and harmonize among the administrations of the districts.

The districts have to keep three quarter of the tax revenue without the need to be redistributed by the Ministry of Finance at later date, if ever. I suggest that Lebanon should be divided into only 3 districts having a continuous link from the sea to the Bekaa Valley, direction west/east.

Beirut should NOT have a special status since all the central administrations are located in the Capital and would enjoy the expenditures of the central government anyway.

Competition for performance and attraction of investments would drive these districts into steady growth in all fields.

The Mohafazat should enjoy their seaports, local airports and equal number of citizens and land size. The local airports should service the internal requirements, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, and Cyprus.

Election of the administrative bodies of the Mohafazat should take place with the elections of municipalities.

The Northern and Southern regions should retain three quarter of the tax revenue for 4 years, because they were denied serious budget investment since Independence, the middle region two third and Beirut a third. These proportions should be revisited on the fourth year to establish an equitable balance.

As working examples, the North region might include the departments (Cadaa) of Batroun all the way to the northern borders of Lebanon with Syria and the Bekaa and Hermil to the East;

The South region might include the departments of Shouf in the north all the way to the southern borders of Lebanon and the Hasbaya and Rashaya in the East.

The Middle region might include the departments of Jbeil in the north, Aley in the South and Zahle and middle Bekaa in the East all the way to the eastern borders..

Civil marriage should be the law of the land.  Providing options outside the civil law is tantamount of increasing the power of the religious sects by their effective means of rendering the law virtually weak and inexistent

All marital rights and responsibilities, like heritage, divorce, adoptions and so forth should be governed by civil laws.

The rationales: It is about time that sectarian powers to our everyday life are reduced to their bare minimum and allowing the citizens to mingle, communicate freely and do commerce freely among them.

The President of the Republic should be elected by the people for 4 years with the option of being reelected for another single term.

The rationales: It is of paramount importance to curb this vicious cycle of making a mockery of the Constitution every six years in order to prolong the term of the President. A four years term with option for another full term would give strong incentives for the President to perform in order to be reelected for a second term. Personally, I would encourage the citizens to desist in re-electing a President for a second term.

The 3 highest political positions President, Prime Minister and Parliament head must be rotated according to their religious sect (Maronite/Christian, Sunni and Shia) every 8 years.

This rotational arrangement will be the best catalyst for thinking out a fairer Constitution and restructuring the rights and responsibilities of the highest political personalities

Ambassadors Extraordinary should be appointed in Beirut and Damascus.

General Commissioners for the inter commerce and common policies should be attached to the Prime Ministers in Beirut and Damascus.

“Arab Spring” revolts overflowing to Southern European States:  Are we confusing causes and catalysts?

In the last four months, I published a dozen articles on the “Arab Spring” revolts related to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Greece…One of the posts is: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/the-january-revolution-of-the-century-great-people-of-egypt/

I stated that the non-violent and determined revolt in Egypt is the revolution of the century and will spread to every State, even to so-called democracies that fail to reform their election laws, entirely biased toward the elite oligarchic classes.

The sit-ins popular uprising in the main squares of Capitals in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, and Ireland are displaying banners and panels that read:

“Let those liable for the financial crisis pay the bill”

“We are people and NOT market places”

“You steal the money, we take over the streets”

“We want real democracies!”

“The ambitions of a few are destroying the dreams of all of us”

“Democracy is not voting for the one who ends up robbing you dry”

“I don’t want for my children to pay for my Real Estate mortgage”

“Finally, we are wide awake. They won’t shut us up and the street is ours.”

“A revolt is also feasible in Spain…I want nothing for myself.  For the people I demand everything”

“For a true democracy now.  There exist a more just world for all.”

“Romans offered bread and games. Currently, bread is not delivered and doing politics is the circus”

The widespread insurrections disclose this popular consciousness: “We refuse the international financial monsters to dictate and overpower the democratic political systems.  The international financial behemoth is not to the interest of the common people or directed to sustainable growth and economic and social stability.”

After four years of the worldwide financial crisis, the only parties that benefited from the calamity are the banks and investment financial institutions, coupled with outrageous bonuses to managers that coincide with drastic budget cuts.  Budget cuts are not affecting military spending but social services in national health coverage, affordable schooling, retirement benefits, security for the jobless people, opening new opportunities for the small enterprises to thrive…

Apparently, the healthy worldwide insurrection is not about to abate and will continue as long as election laws are biased toward the elite oligarchic financial classes.  People consciousness has come to term that sustainability for survival must satisfy basic conditions:

First, if most States are growing by accumulating more debts and incurring higher budget deficits, using worthless currencies, especially the dollar, it is time for drastic long-term cuts on military spending and expensive programs targeting the maintenance of the well-being of the 1% elite richest classes around the world.

Second, the rich classes have demonstrated total irresponsibility to the survival of the downtrodden.  You cannot digest the fact that the expenses of keeping vegetative rich people means the death of millions of children less than 5 year-old.  Life expectancy should account for the children dying before reaching 5 years!

Third, the causes of the insurrections are not the rise in prices of basic food ingredient, due to feeding cows and manufacturing “clean” energies, but to untenable political systems that rob the common people from effectively sharing in political decision-making.  The people in Bahrain and Libya didn’t revolt for lack of affordable food!  The people in Spain, Portugal, and Italy are not invading the public squares for lack of food.  The Syrians demonstrators have spread a banner saying: “We are not hungry, thank you.  We want to change our undignified status for the last 40 years.”  Prices and shortages of food… are the catalysts and not the cause.

Fourth, the causes of the insurrection are for just and fair election laws that permit the common people to share in the decision-making.  People in the Arab World have been suffocated being considered as chattel.  People in Southern Europe are into upheaval because their “democratic Systems” have failed to include the voice of the youth, their wants, and wishes in the equations, which are entirely written by the richest oligarchic elite classes and amoral technocrats.

Fifth, the financial crisis was not because of the subprime financial tool (a catalyst), but because of the whole financial structure that was unregulated and people’s taxes spent on “stabilizing” fragile financial institutions at the expense of the well-being of the majority of citizens. (To be continued).

Note: You may read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/raise-your-head-youre-egyptian-exploded-tahrir-square/


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