- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Capitalism and Democracy

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 20, 1999 at 00:13:17:

In Reply to: Lies, damn lies and... posted by Darcy Carter on September 17, 1999 at 20:29:39:

No, i don't think i will "pull a rabbit out of my hat and call in Susan", since I don't knwo how, first of all. But there are a couple of points I would like to answer.

You seem to be confusing capitalism with democracy. In fact, however, they are not related in the least. Historically, there have been plenty of socialist democracies as well as capitalist dictatorships. Democratic socialism or communism existed in such places as Kerala, Bengal, Nicaragua, Chile, a few African countries, parts of Italy, and to some extent Yugoslavia. These states were all quite liberal. capitalist dictatorships have included Pinochet's Chile, Guatemala, Somozist Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, malaysia, Idnonesia, and formerly taiwan and South Korea. In the pre-modern ear, of course, tehre were many mroe capitalist tyrannies such as Belgium, Bismarck's Germany, and other European states.

So the link you attempt to draw between capitalism and democracy is not clera to me. Is it that the most advanced capitalisms today also possess liberal democracy? But this is also not true. The most capitalist societies are not the most democratic. Scandinavian counrties have substantial social welfare systems and state ownership, and wealth redistribution; I would not call them capitalist. They are also the freest countries in the world. South KKorea, Brazil and Chile, on teh other hand, are more capitalist than the US, and they are hardly very liberal. South korea still restricts freedom of speech, for example. No democracy has yet existed without substantial restrictions on the power of capitalism; for example, laws that provide a safety net, protect human rights, etcetera. The US become democratic only as it passed laws that limited corporate power in teh late 19th and early 20th century.

Thus, your statement taht capitalism has proved more fertile ground for democracy seems to be invalid.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup