The fundamental battle(s) taking place right now, on an international scale, is not as much left versus right, but instead a war between capitalism, that wild and free market economy born out of the 16th and 17th centuries, versus the rise of social democracies that were the early 20th century response to the rougher aspects of capitalism. Personally, I consider myself a social democrat, and Canada is one of 10 other Social Democracies – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and India.
A social democracy takes some ideas from pure socialism, but adds them to a capitalist system, whereas competition is present and encouraged, though (and to varying degrees) certain measures are taken in order to give citizens who do not make enough money some sort of social safety net when required.
Capitalist ideals on the other hand vehemently oppose such assistance, as they feel it destroys the underlying fabric of free market economies, and takes money from the pockets of the people who have worked for that money, undermining the system as a whole, artificially stabilizing the economy at the determent, basically, of some filthy rich persons profit margin.
But, the thing is, the industrial revolution brought with it some hard lessons, and it was within these lessons that socialist ideas were born.
See, these revolutions have a tendency to break the population into very disparate factions, of a small percentage of HAVEs at the top, with a huge amount of HAVE NOTs filling out the base. The HAVEs making sure their interests are met, and the HAVE NOTs having little to no say. Workers who once could depend on certain types of jobs, once those jobs become obsolete, just fall right through the cracks, given massive swaths of the population a precarious future.
The filthy rich 1%ers today are very much inline with the aristocracies that once flourished across Europe, bowing to monarchs and reaping the rewards on the backs of the citizens.
A social democracy, in principle, is like a compromise. By providing those who are most sensitive to these widespread changes some forms of assistance, while recognizing capitalism and free markets, in essence it both secures a healthy democracy, but also encourage new ideas and inventions which in turn help to craft a much more sustainable and successful future for more people.
By the late 19th century, new levels of squalor and poverty demonstrated how insurmountable some obstacles were to overcome, sometimes taking families taking generations to recover as entire industries disappeared, and therefore the lessons of the father & mother are no longer relevant to the sons and daughters. When this passage of knowledge and skills hits that roadblock, generation after generation, it can mean that every generation has to start over, again, and again, and again, and are never able to gain any ground.
Social Democracy is I guess a pay up front system, where the people agree to take care of one another, in recognition that, like the old proverb “a poor man shames us all“. But, not just shames, also drags the people down as a whole, as poverty creates with it a whole nest of vipers of desperate acts by desperate people.
The late decades of the 19th century in Britain demonstrated this desperation, as the industrial revolution had swept through the country, so had poverty and crime and all sorts of health crisis, opium dens became rampant, as it had pushed out to the margins thousands and thousands of desperate individuals. Whole family groups were effected, and before any birth control populations were exploding, making certain people more and more desperate. No healthcare, no birth control, no social assistance of any kind, some families even had to make that hard choice of actually giving up children to various establishments, or watch everyone starved to death. In response to this crisis, agencies popped up throughout Britain in response to these desperate people trying to feed their families, but for many it just was not enough.
Social democracy is in direct response to the lessons learned during the spread of industrialization, when whole industries where dying overnight, throwing millions of people in to abject poverty, and leading to death, but also increases in crimes, increases in violent crimes, and drug use, straining the social fabric of the whole country to its limits.
Now, the idea of Democracy, that one person, one vote, is by no means a new concept. Yet I guess in the grand scheme of things, since humans climbed out of the trees on to the plains of Africa, how we organized ourselves has changed, ebbed and flowed as ideas came to fruition from necessity and opportunity.
Democracy as a term, or idea, is around 2500 years old, going back to ancient Athens and their city-state self rule by the people. Well, even then, only ‘some’ of the people, specifically male, as women and slaves could not vote. Though, even then, the ancient Greeks named it, but the idea of rule by the people have been seen in pockets throughout India much earlier than 450 or so BC.
Even the Native peoples of North America contributed to our modern ideas of Democracy.
The Iroquois Confederacy originally consisted of ﬁve separate nations – the Mohawks, who call themselves Kanienkehaka, or “people of the ﬂint country,” the Onondaga, “people of the hills,” the Cayuga, “where they land the boats,” the Oneida, “people of the standing stone,” and the Seneca, “the people of the big hill” living in the northeast region of North America. The Tuscarora nation, “people of the shirt,” migrated into Iroquois country in 1722.PBS.org | How the Iroquois Great Law of Peace Shaped U.S. Democracy
| by Terri Hansen on Dec 17, 2018|
So now almost 300 years later America finds itself at a crossroads, a battle of ideas being fought, and now the very ideals born of democracy itself is being challenged, with one vote one person threatened in many states across those once United States.
Gerrymandering, voter suppression, all are factors in breaking down the very core of democracy in the United States, and it is this battle that is dividing the nation.
The majority of Americans now want a more social democracy, but that old rich white 1% establishment wants to maintain their stranglehold on the populace, ramping up white supremacist groups as a weapon, with many Americans being manipulated into voting against their own interests.
But, one thing that I find as an American citizen who grew up in Canada, is that the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. are quite different to the political spectrum in Canada, with our multi-party system.
Canadian social democracy is probably the closest in context to the American system, and maybe as such can be an example of what route to take to strengthen the American version of democracy.
In Canada the socialist aspects of our system wax and wane through the decades, through the voting in of majority Conservative governments that strip back protections, or majority Liberal governments voted in to shore up the protections, or minority ones were whichever side holds the power has to work with other parties, like NDP (New Democratic Party), which is the more socialist, providing a sort of check and balance to the system. Back and forth it goes, but generally within a particular spectrum of socialist and democratic values that Canada has at its core.
What scares the heck out of American politicians though, I imagine, is when Canadians get together and scare the crap out of the status quo Liberal/Conservative spectrum by voting in the NDP (which has only happened provincially) – they are the weapon we use, I guess you could say, to focus them back on the people. They know that if they mess around with too much of what Canadians hold near and dear, well, we can make them see reason.
Any who, the idea is that with a more socialist style of democracy it gives the peoples more ways to ensure our needs are met, and not just those of some elite group with all the money. Because, and this is what I think some people forget, is that all of us could fall and need to have some of our needs met, whether it be food, shelter, or whatever, all of us can be in need at some time or other.
A social democracy can take many forms, and there is no one right way, but what it does is gives everyone a say, and with that vote we decide, collectively, on checks and balances, on policies and with this power more able to ensure that the peoples needs are met, or at least we try.
Basically, it helps to ensure that we are not being led down the garden path by some filthy rich megalomaniac 1%er who reaps the majority of the rewards of new tech, hogging all the mullah off the backs of their citizens in order to fluff their own nest eggs. All of us pays into the system, all of us have the opportunity to benefit, so that all of us may have the opportunities to succeed in whichever fashion we measure success.
Revolutions in technologies, in how things are done, today they come faster and faster, and we must encourage this, while still ensuring that the more sensitive individuals are given some sort of security so that they too can have a hope of themselves one day living whatever dream they may have, or dream for the children, or grandchildren.
As is often the case, the Native peoples of this land have a particular wisdom that is of great value today, if more of us would but listen;
The Native American model of governance that is fair and will always meet the needs of the seventh generation to come is taken from the Iroquois Confederacy. The seventh generation principle dictates that decisions that are made today should lead to sustainability for seven generations into the future. And Indigenous nations in North America were and are for the most part organized by democratic principles that focus on the creation of strong kinship bonds that promote leadership in which honor is not earned by material gain but by service to others.IBID