The Death of Democracy

Every morning I wake up and turn on the news. It is no longer a surprise to hear newscasters reporting on problems. Scandals, catastrophes, hunger, disease, government crises, immigrant problems, wars, and climate change are all on the menu. My problem is this barrage of negative stuff seems to be getting more serious and threatening day by day. This is a negative trend.

It seems globally a number of things are going wrong at the same time. Whether it be the instability of the political stage, the fight between the truth and fake news, social media, globalization, the Corona epidemic, climate change, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, or the sudden rise of major inflation, we just seem to be heading in the wrong direction. Somehow, it just doesn’t feel right. What’s happening?

Many experts have been sounding the alarm that Capitalism and Democracy are no longer working for Western Civilisation and that this is the base cause of many of these problems. The vast majority of us are being left behind as governments mismanage resources and globalization has allowed financial institutions to take control of the world.

So let’s get back to basics. No matter where we live or who we are, we are all part of Society, which is supposed to be organized in such a way to satisfy the needs of all of its participants. This principle should apply to any country on our planet but I want to focus here on our Western Democracies. Experts are predicting the social and financial order we have become accustomed to could easily collapse.

I have studied extensively what others have said and written on this subject, both philosophers and academics. They quickly get buried in theories and concepts most of us cannot understand. To make things worse, many of them are theorizing about the symptoms and get lost in complicated detail instead of trying to analyze the real causes of our problems from a global perspective. I will try and break things down to a format we can all understand so we can discuss real solutions and how “We The People” can take back control of our own destiny and save Democracy.

Democracy and Capitalism

From the beginning, the human race has always tried to organize itself in social structures by which it can survive. From the Stone Age, when the men were responsible for providing food and security for the family in their caves and the women for the care and nourishment of the children. In modern times such responsibilities have become more shared and can only be achieved with sufficient access to income and capital.

What is happening and where are we going? There just seems to be a feeling of uncertainty and lack of direction at the moment and many experts are predicting the world we currently know is about to change to the point it could even cease to exist. The collapse of Society as we know it?

Experts often split their analysis of the problems into two distinct areas, Democracy and Capitalism, although there is still no consensus as to which comes first, or which of these two are the cause of the problems we are now facing. In my view, they are both separate subsections of Society interacting with each other and we should take a closer look at both.




One could argue both are necessary in order to achieve the best solution for Society as a whole but in reality, they often compete with each other on different levels. The common element of both Democracy and Capitalism is they involve people but often with completely opposing views and goals.

“Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps”― Karl Marx

These two “camps” could also be described as the “Wealthy” and the “Poor”, or the Capitalists and the Consumers. Of course, there is no defined line between the two and there is a group often referred to as “the middle-class” who might have their feet in both camps. However, the middle class is getting poorer and the wealthy more powerful.

It could be argued that Capitalism is also part of a Democracy but if we take a closer look at the difference in the interests of the Poor and the Wealthy, we see there is a clear split in focus and responsibility. This is why, for the purposes of this article, I have chosen the “two hostile camps” philosophy of Karl Marx, who has been recognized as one of the most advanced philosophers who ever lived.

However, I also want to make it clear, I do not in any way subscribe to his solution which was based on the introduction of communism.


Fig. 2 depicts some of the opposing interests of these two camps. In our Capitalist world, it is clear the Wealthy want to increase their wealth and have an agenda to achieve this goal. On the other side, Democracy has the responsibility of allowing this to happen but not at the cost and wellbeing of the general population, especially the Poor and the underprivileged.

Capitalists want to increase shareholder value by maximizing profits and the value of their assets. Consumers on the other hand often don’t own capital and are just trying to survive on the income they are often receiving from the Capitalists. These are two totally opposing worlds. The lower the income the Capitalists pay, the more profit the Capitalists make.

This is where Democracy steps in and is supposed to formulate laws and regulations which, in the main, are there for the protection of ConsumersConsumers in turn have the responsibility and power to elect the politicians whose job it is to protect their interests. This in itself is a problem, according to Marx who stated:

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”― Karl Marx

This was true in the nineteenth century but is still a major problem. It is probably one of the main causes of the degradation of society we experience today, a gradual process not recognizable in the short term but the long-term trend is undeniable.

So how do average citizens reverse this trend and make sure governments protect them and provide the ability for financial independence?

Electing The Government/Representatives

Choosing a political party to represent our needs is becoming increasingly more difficult. In most European Democracies, there has been a proliferation of political parties, each one with a somewhat different focus. This now means we often have a choice of five or six different political parties from which a government majority has to be formed. This leads to the creation of coalitions, where two or more parties join forces to achieve a 50%+ majority.

We may have selected a particular political party because of their promise to deal with climate change, but through the coalition process, they may have to accept the philosophies of other parties in order to be part of the government. These may no longer truly represent our own views. In some cases, they may have to drop some policies altogether that won them votes. This leads to a growing disinterest in the voting process as voters conclude they are not able to influence government policies anymore and decide not to vote. This causes another problem.

If we take the recent reign of Angela Merkel as the political leader in Germany for the last 16 years, the average result achieved by the CDU (Merkel’s political party) has been 38% of all votes cast. However, the overall voter participation was just 70% (on average). Therefore, Angela Merkel was elected by only 27% of all eligible voters in Germany and 73% did not vote for her! What does this mean?

It could be argued that, because of coalitions, the wishes of the majority of the voting public never get fully represented. In some cases, extreme decisions that need to be taken in the interest of the country as a whole are shelved for another day as they are controversial and are not supported by all of the coalition partners. In some cases, the formation of a government doesn’t even survive the full mandate period because of disagreements between the coalition partners.

This encourages the emergence of protest parties that present some form of vague alternative to the establishment and attract “protest votes”. These parties tend to be more radical and in some cases emerge from the extreme right where they do not really represent the Poor. A good example of this is the emergence of the AfD Party in Germany which has taken votes from all other parties but is still not part of the coalition government. (N.B. I am not a supporter of the AfD party).

But elections are still the only definitive tool available to the Poor to enact any kind of change to their current situation, by exercising their right to vote. This is why in many Western Democracies there is an attempt to limit the peoples’ voting rights, mostly from the political parties supported by the Wealthy. The best, current example of this is the movement by the Republican Party (the GOP) in the USA to limit voter registration and/or their right to vote. The more the Poor participate, the less chance they have of staying in power.

I once read an article in the USA that stated if there were a 100% voting requirement that everyone had to vote, the Democrats would always win by a wide margin. Instead, there has always been a movement to try and prevent poorer voters from voting by the Republicans. And who are the main supporters of the Republicans — the Wealthy!

Political Influence

It is no secret that government enacts laws and regulations for Society. This is why the election of government officials is one of the prime targets for the Wealthy. They want to make sure the politicians who get elected are on their side. This they do by financing the election campaigns of their chosen candidates.

Money dominates U.S. political campaigns to a degree not seen in decades. Super PACs allow billionaires to pour unlimited amounts into campaigns. Dark money groups mask the identities of their donors, preventing voters from knowing who’s trying to influence them, and races for a congressional seat regularly attract tens of millions in spending. It’s no wonder the super-wealthy exert complete total control of Democracy in the United States.

One of the most used philosophies by the Wealthy in the USA is the rule “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. What does this mean? When applied to politics, it means “If you (the politician) do what I want, I will make sure you get elected”, through massive support and campaign contributions.


After elections, the Wealthy then employ armies of lobbyists, people who keep in constant contact with politicians and their party, to influence the decision-making process. In many cases, these lobbyists are former politicians who know the ropes, have full access to the parliament buildings and know personally many of their ex-colleagues still in power.

There was an infamous ruling by the Supreme Court in the USA on January 21, 2010, called “Citizens United”. A conservative nonprofit group called Citizens United challenged campaign finance rules after the Federal Election Committee stopped it from promoting and airing a film criticizing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton too close to the presidential primaries.

A 5–4 majority of the Supreme Court sided with Citizens United, ruling that corporations and other outside groups can spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. This opened the door for millions to be spent by so-called “Interest Groups” and has allowed the Wealthy to control the election debate in their favor. The ruling, based on an argument about free speech, has basically put corporations on the same footing, with the same privileges and protection, as normal citizens. It opened the door for massive corruption and has also led to foreign influence on the American political process.

This is probably the most blatant global example of money controlling a Democracy and taking away from the average citizen the ability to enact changes and improvements to his/her situation. The problem is this is happening in the World’s largest economy (USA) which has for centuries been the shining example of how Democracy should function.

The result of such tactics is the Wealthy protect their own wealth, and get it to grow substantially. At the same time, the wealth of the Poor has declined and their income has not increased over decades when adjusted for inflation. The question now being asked is how long can this continue? One thing one can learn from statistics is they show a trend that always continues unless something changes to alter it. What will this be in a Democracy?

If we dig deeper into the numbers we find the problems are much worse than they appear initially. Many of the trends are pointing in the wrong direction.


In the vast majority of cases, the problems we are trying to resolve are often just symptoms of another underlying cause. The discussion about the symptoms then becomes endless as we never get to the core of the matter and then don’t spend our time, energy, and resources on ways to resolve the core of the problem which is the cause.

The classic example is the case of aspirin. You have a headache that just persists so you take a couple of aspirins. Problem solved! But are you resolving the cause of the headache? Every time the headache returns you take another aspirin. This continues for months or years until you are eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor which was the cause of the problem.

This question should be raised every time an endless discussion evolves from trying the solve a problem when no solutions are on the horizon. Are we discussing the cause or just a symptom? So how do we apply this thought process to the problems in our Democracies?

If we step back for a moment and take a closer look at many of the issues we have, the root cause of almost all problems in Society is money. Either too much of it or not enough. But if we dig deeper, we find the reason this occurs is that governments allow this to happen through their lack of effective regulations and laws to protect the Poor. This is actually the cause of the problems.

If we then search for a solution, there is really only one — elect politicians who are capable of and willing to create the necessary structures to allow all members of Society to benefit from our Democracy. The paradox is, every citizen has the solution needed. Get out and vote. If the general public is not made aware of this, the statistics will continue to drive Democracy in the wrong direction to the point where it will devour itself and eventually cease to exist!

A retired Englishman, lived in 6 different countries on 2 different continents and speak 5 languages fluently, I provide a true global aspect in my writing


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