19 Jan 2015

Democracies face a war and they can't win without change

Greed is fine.
Unfettered it can destroy
The primary challenge democracies face is not military or philosophical. For the first time since the Great Depression, many industrial democracies are failing to raise living standards and provide opportunities for social mobility to a large share of their people.
Countries that have produced economic growth but have done so in a manner that has left most of their citizens no better off. This is a problem that threatens to become a problem for the political systems of these nations and indeed for democracy itself.
The citizens continue to value their freedom and their opportunity to participate in the task of self-government. They count on their political systems to create circumstances in which they can use their talents and their labor to provide a decent standard of life for themselves and their families.
When governments and free market systems cannot deliver such prosperity to their citizens, the result is political alienation, a loss of trust, and increasing conflict across the lines of race, class, and ethnicity.
Inclusive prosperity brings with it tolerance, harmony, social generosity, optimism, and international cooperation. And these are the cornerstones  of democracy itself.
There is a need to embrace the new economic opportunities of this century by finding ways to ensure they serve the vast majority of society. I'm not suggesting communism as the alternative, far from it.
In the past political institutions have responded to economic transformations to ensure prosperity is shared: the New Deal in the United States and the European social welfare state; the "third-way" in politics is putting people first and investing in people and reforming institutions.
If lessons aren't learnt from the past we are on a down hill spiral, the holy grail of the free market on its own will not save us because the free market does not have the will to change, it is after all a free market.
It has no guiding hand, nothing but market forces, humanity is not included in its make up.
The biggest looser if change doesn't come is the market, yes the markets will kill themselves.

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