Democracy Without Full Transparency is Plutocracy
Humans are smart animals, so smart we’ve managed to take over the planet in a relatively short period of time compared to other species and organisms.
Our uniqueness is in our ability to communicate and to preserve knowledge that has been collected and to transfer it from generation to generation so that the future generations don’t need to start from nothing and relearn everything that past generations have learned. We’ve taken the control of our future from nature and now, we’d like to believe, we’re solely responsible for our destiny.
But there’s a fly in the ointment — what brought humanity to it’s greatness is what keeps us from manifesting our collective vision of an equal and just society — our wisdom. With all the progress and technology of the human kind we’re still a product of nature, and in nature the strong survive. Not just the strong, but the manipulative and the initiator. It’s said that fortune favors the bold, rightfully so — those who don’t try and dare will not risk of failure, but won’t reap the fruits of success.
Human nature is to go boldly where no man has gone before — and as such we will always try to exhaust all the possibilities that stand before us, maybe not every one of us as individuals, but as a collective we’re always going to try every possible option.
And so the democracy that was created in the ancient days and developed in the modern age was designed to improve our lives and to create a just and equal opportunity for all is being controlled today by a small fraction of the population that have the ability to convince the politicians with funds and sway the public opinion to create and pass laws that favor those who funds this activity in the first place. De facto the demecoracy in most countries on the planet is one giant farse and for all intents and purposes we’re living in a plutocracy that does everything it can to perpetuate itself.
We shouldn’t blame the politician or the financier, they behave exactly as nature designed them. They wen’t boldly where no men has gone and along the way gained power, fortune, prestige, and status. What they know we too know — if they’re weren’t the ones to do it, someone else would, and I’m sure that some of them might think, perhaps even justly, that it’s better that they’d be up there rather than someone else.
The tragedy of the commons dictates that if there is any loophole to be exploited, there will be someone to exploit it for his own good, and so our democratic system that was created by idealists with the purpose of empowering the people and to reduce the powers that the rulers get has become a plutocracy that perpetuates and immortalizes inequality, increases the social devices, and encourages more and more laws that empower those that have even though we’re living in times of prosperity.
What are we to do? Is all hope lost and forever we’re doomed to live as salves and masters? Will every political system that we’ll build find it’s way to become a rule of power and money? Not necessarily.
The democracy that we know today is the ideal that we all would want it to be, but in reality it’s far from that ideal if only because of our inability to fix the deformities that were created over time due to that tragedy of the commons that manages to rain on our parade every time. The reason we can’t fix those deformities in an apparently democratic system is the will of those already in power to preserve the system as is, from their perspective the system behaves as it should, and as we’ve said it’s better that they’ll be up there rather than someone worse.
The deformities that are created are the direct result of the bold that have tried to create a stagnation in the system, and the reason they succeeded in doing so is because we’ve put them in power and allowed them to do the changes they wanted as part of the democratic environment they operate in. Time and time again functionaries and politicians try to create bills that benefit only a tiny portion of the people, and from time to time these bills become laws. The role of the people along with journalists is to make sure that the bills and rules that brought forth are inline with the Greater Good, but often enough the people are not well educated in regards to the laws, and the journalists are not doing their job well or unable to do their job properly because of previously set rules and laws or due to lack of transparency — if we don’t know all the reasons for the bills to come forth, and we don’t know all the things that the new bill could impact as a result of the fact that some subjects are barred from the public eye, how could we decide intelligently whether the new bill is beneficial or harmful?
Without transparency we’re blindly walking around in a library. Without transparency the information that the public has access to is distorted and deformed and does not reflect reality. Without transparency we’re condemned to know only half-truths that doesn’t allow us to make educated decisions that will benefit the majority of the people and as a result there will always be those who know more than us and could shape rules to make them look as if they beneficial to the majority but with the reveal of the missing information the ugly truth will show itself.
Transparency is the only power that we the people have. In an age where wars are a remnant of the past and primarily used by those in power to gather more power and money without any relation to ideology, territory, or survival there is no need for a government that hides information from the people it governs. In an age where gag order is almost a joke because the internet doesn’t obey territorial laws and our ability to hide news is almost nonexistent, the idea of public matters being held behind closed doors is absurd and damaging to democracy contrary to popular claims that secrecy is required for security or welfare.
In the modern age where we can get any piece of information created anywhere on the planet almost the same instant it was created, in the age where voting on the internet allows us to conduct true democracy on a global scale, and in the age of a financial system that is managed entirely in a democratic and transparent manner the idea of lack-of-transparency is absurd at the very least.
We need to come to peace with the fact that any system will have exploits and there will always be the bold one that will try to use those exploits for his own benefit, not because of evil or wrong doing, simply because of our nature that brought us to this point. Without this nature we could have still be gathering berries or perhaps even wouldn’t go down from the trees. We need to understand that the anger that is created in the people and aimed at the ruling class is not contributing anything and even damaging more than helping.
What we need to do is to create a truly transparent democratic system that doesn’t allow anyone to have more information than anyone else, that all decisions will be made with full understanding of their implications by the people and to cancel any possibility of decision making that happens as a result of lack of transparency that benefits only portions of the people and increase inequality.
Such governance system was the stuff of science fiction and fantasy until not long ago, but with the advent of technology and the tools that come with it such as the internet and the bitcoin a system like that is not only possible, it is necessary.