This year the old Siamese oligarchy decide there had been enough corruption, too many illegal immigrants, and far too many demonstrations disrupting Thai business so they threw the politicos out of government. Quite right. If elected representatives cannot govern then a selected body should be given the job.
Sadly that goal is not so easy to achieve in the richer countries where the roots of democracy have sunk deeper and the ideology of one-person-one-vote continues to outweigh all alternatives.
Loose financial reins are synonymous with, essential to in some books, capitalist democracies but they shouldn’t be – they should be tighter in money fuelled systems otherwise all the nation’s assets, air, land, water, minerals . . . slip away from the many only to be corralled and harnessed by the few for the good of only the few. History endlessly demonstrates that – not with cherry picked examples, but with examples taken from under most democratic administrations over long periods. The renowned economics Professor Thomas Piketty in his recent masterpiece Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, carefully presents 250 years of the economic history of Britain, France, and the United States revealing, in the process, the dangers of loose financial reigns. He draws conclusions from known data and demonstrates the inadequacies of administrators, both in analysis and corrective action, yet the court of public opinion blunders on under the flag of democratic freedoms.
It is hard to find a more glaring example of administrative folly than that currently being carried out in the Eurozone. How can policies that leave 50% of a nations’ recent graduates standing on the street corners be the right ones? Such policies are clearly asinine yet we continue. We continue to elect the wrong people who, in turn, employ the wrong people, to do the most important work. Why do we insist on that? Why is such mindless medalling allowed to prevail? We might as well worship an invisible god and spend our days chanting and singing of wonders never performed. We might as well throw our scientists and historians out of the window and allow the stimulating odours of fear and greed come rushing in to return us to the survival of only the very fittest.
Twenty-five hundred years ago our most enlightened ancestors examined these issues and concluded that democracy works only if the populous is informed. Poorly educated electorate are doomed to seduction by the sophists so our only protection is education. We learned that then, and have seen the lesson repeated endlessly because we fail to face the facts. One-person-one-vote only works if all are informed. Until that situation prevails democracy cannot be usefully employed.
As I write the people of Hong Kong are declaring themselves well enough informed to choose their own candidates for election to high office but the oligarchy that oversees them doubts their wisdom. The citizenry can voice their objections, even demonstrate in public places, but if they extend those activities to obstruction of business and chaos in the streets then they will have proven their inadequacy, leaving the oligarchy no choice – as was the case in Thailand.