“Capitalism only works in a functioning democracy,” Mike Baxter, Tim Allen’s character in the sitcom “Last Man Standing.”
What is a functioning democracy? According to Ryan Griffiths, there are 8 Elements of Democracy, and they are as follows.
- Rule of Law – In a democracy, everyone must follow the same laws (even leaders). Laws should be known, predictable, and impartial. Even the highest members of the government are subject to the law.
- Political Equality – In a democracy, every citizen has the right to vote, run for office, and to participate in political discussion.
- Common Good – Democratic citizens should work toward the common good. The ‘common good’ is what will make the most people safe, secure, and happy. Democratic citizens should have a sense of responsibility and caring for others.
- Personal Freedoms – In a democracy, people enjoy many personal freedoms including freedom of religion and freedom of expression as well as many others.
- Human Dignity – Democratic citizens should protect and uphold the dignity of all people.
- Political Freedoms – In a democracy, people can speak freely, form political associations, run for office, and vote without being intimidated.
- Being Informed and Getting Involved – Democratic citizens should communicate openly and participate individually, and collectively in issues that shape their community, country and world.
- Respect – Democratic citizens should respect the rights of others.
Ironically, American capitalists are destroying the foundation on which capitalism depends. Big money, sometimes dark money and Citizens United have overtaken the government to shift laws in their favor at the expense of everyone else. Big money must be removed from government and campaign finance laws must be changed to guarantee political equality. Voter suppression and gerrymandering must end to ensure the fair and free elections required by a functional democracy. And, most importantly, a functioning democracy requires the opportunity for everyone to earn a livable wage and an economy that works for all. Not just the few. Sadly, the capitalists think they are saving money by paying substandard wages and benefits for their workers, when they are actually destroying their own futures and the future of our country because of their greed.