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Influencing the new world order: how or when?

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This topic is a response to an article democrates linked in another topic.

democrates wrote:

Just some grist for the mill, an interesting outlook in a New York Times article concerning global strategic trends.

It is by no means a counterpoint to the Orwellian prognosis, but less bleak nonetheless than a lot of the doom and gloom of articles overly focussed on the USA. It's a big world.

I've just read the NYT article you linked and I can see why you would call it a "less bleak" than the Orwellian prognosis. Basically the world powers consolidate around EU, China and USA which continuously, but peacefully compete for power and resources. Peacefully because all of them are too strong to engage each other (the cold war mentality I suppose, compete, but don't dare launch the missiles). If I understood it correctly, this prognosis actually says that there will be no big wars in this new order. Middle east is where the worst of those seem to happen nowadays, but apparently combined with their own desire to stabilize and Big Three's influence on them, they could stabilize, which means less warring, right?

I suppose, globalization that brought more balance and less hegemony while at the same time decreasing the amount of wars, is definitely something easily seen as a Good Thing.

But unfortunately, it is easy to see just how generalizing and shallow such analysis is. USA's relevancy and influence may be declining, but all it takes is another Bush-like or just stagnant enough leader for it to do a whole lot more damage to the world and at the same time this vision of the world of balance between three fairly equal powers. In other words, even as it is going down USA may try to pull as many of others as it can down with them, by continuing to act like an irrational and arrogant bully that we've seen during the Bush's administration. I'm surprised that wacko didn't wake up in the middle of some night and order someone to nuke Iran - yes, that's how much trust in his sanity I have!

I find author's message to the next leader quite appealing, but it will be very hard to un-brainwash the american masses from the mantra of their previous leaders. American's have been so brainwashed to think of their nation as one and only, their values as the ultimate and that it is somehow justified to spread them all over the "uneducated" world. The phrases like *American Values* seem to be so deeply engrained in a common american that he is almost incapable of believing that *values* can ever be other than american - hence everyone else is inferior and unworthy.

That may seem like an extreme view on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm right.. God damn american propaganda is all over this country as well. All you need is watch hollywood movies. Seriously. It is so strong that even I find myself in moments of sympathy for those "american values" yet wondering next moment "wtf? They got to me.. The American imperium got to me."

So it would be nice if for once America turned the volume down when it spoke its own name and spoke of Earth as Earth not Earth as America.

Anyway, moving on, about EU - the one which according to the author projects the western ideal of freedom and democracy more successfully now than US. Well, that was bright. Of course it does! It didn't attack another country to show its ideals down their throat! But don't think that EU is some sort of a freedom paradise. There's a good reason why I'm so vary of my country entering that empire.

There have been too many examples of just how well this European democracy works. Not to mention my increasing distrust towards the very idea of "democracy" as it is currently seen. And what better example can I testify of than one involving my country, Croatia. Most of the people here do not want to enter EU, but who asks us anyway? We are bending over and backwards for the EU - our politicians will sell theirs and our people's soul just so that they can be annexed into the european empire.

And then I'm supposed to think that it will be all freedom and democracy in an empire which we entered against our will?

It is easy, even juicy, to talk about big powers arranging the world as they see fit. But it feels more like watching someone play a chess game while having your mouth plastered so that you can't even make a suggestion on the next move. It may accidentally happen that we like the next move, but that doesn't make us any less free. The big three "administrations" will make all the moves and what are The People going to do if it happens they don't like the next one?

Oh right, we have democracy. We choose our leaders. I say bullshit. Democracy is just a smoke screen to make us think that it is us who somehow shape the new world order. Elections are just a party thrown by the government where we all get to play "whose propaganda movie did touch you more?". Inconsequential.

So where does this leave me? Frankly I'm beginning to see two choices emerge.

I'm beginning to think that to a certain point in its development humanity simply cannot function without having the leaders make all of the moves regardless of what the actual people think, simply because there are no means by which the people would unite and, most importantly, AGREE on what exactly they want!

This comes from a semi-realization that even if all world leaders threw all of their cards and asked the masses to lead themselves, to sit together and decide where next to go, they would simply be incapable of agreeing to ANY of the proposals for the next move. Hence, they would revert back to what they know as "democracy" and just do a majority vote - and we'd be at square one, because the one elected will become just another new government, new leadership which will make all the moves by itself as most of the masses go back to their daily ignorance.

So really, complete freedom beyond democracy? Would it even work?

Perhaps we just have to put up and wait, while we prepare for what we are waiting for, actually MAKE what we are waiting for, building it piece by piece, the new paradigm that we shall reveal sometime in the future, while making just enough noises in the mean time to prevent current powers from locking us out of deploying of this new paradigm - preventing dystopia.

We the social thinkers are the underdog power that counter-shapes the masses into a balancing force against the government.

They brainwash them, we brainwash some of them back.

So, I mentioned two choices. That's the first one: accept that things are as they are because they couldn't be any different. Because nothing better than democracy would work at this point in time, that humans haven't yet evolved to such a point, while working on making that evolution happen.

Second choice? Second choice is about not accepting the above fact and working towards un-democratic freedom anyway, basically trying to give the people a chance to lead themselves no matter whether it will lead back to square one or not. We don't wait for evolution, nor we build it gradually. We do it all today, all at once. We revolutionize rather than evolutionize. Instead of being "the underdog power that counter-shapes the masses into a balancing force against the government" we strive to crush the government as it is as soon as possible and transfer the governance to the masses themselves, creating a completely de-centralized society.

Interestingly the first choice seems both more realistic and sane. What makes it interesting is that by saying this I essentially say that the fact we don't have much power to influence the creation of the new world order is actually fine, for now.

Interesting, isn't it?

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"Democracy is absolutely the

"Democracy is absolutely the worst form of government, except for all the others." -- Winston Churchill

I like that quote a lot. Sure, if you let stupid people vote, you get stupid decisions. But what's the alternative? Letting some elite vote (possibly even a one person elite, a dictator) and depriving everyone else of the only effective non-violent way to defend their own freedom.

One could hope the elite will be enlightened and will rule in such a way that nobody will ever miss their right to vote. But there is no guarantee whatsoever that the elite will not be or become corrupted. The people need an easy way to remove corrupted leaders.

Of course we could remove the right to vote politicians IN, and only keep the right to vote them OUT. I don't think that's going to help at all, though. Corrupted politicians will convince the people to vote out the competent ones, hire their friends, and then it won't matter anymore who is ever voted out because they will simply be hired again. Yay for freedom by less democracy.

How about direct democracy or anarchism then? Nice in theory, but in practice our planet is so crowded nobody can try to help solve all the issues that involve them, never mind solving them while also considering the effects on everyone else affected. If you want a system like that, you have to remove 90% of the world population first. How? Send them to different planets? Ah great, if that is at all possible, that makes us like the aliens from Independence Day, always multiplying and eating planet after planet. Birth control? Welcome to geriatric planet, where those who are too old to work die of hunger.

The problem with democracy isn't that it's democracy, it is that we currently have a system that is not quite democratic, and yet we call it democracy.

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tbuitenh wrote: "Democracy
tbuitenh wrote:

"Democracy is absolutely the worst form of government, except for all the others." -- Winston Churchill

I like that quote a lot. Sure, if you let stupid people vote, you get stupid decisions. But what's the alternative? Letting some elite vote (possibly even a one person elite, a dictator) and depriving everyone else of the only effective non-violent way to defend their own freedom.

Excellent quote. Yes I agree. There's just no better way that we know off yet.

tbuitenh wrote:

The problem with democracy isn't that it's democracy, it is that we currently have a system that is not quite democratic, and yet we call it democracy.

Exactly. There lies the opportunity to fix what little can be fixed. If our states are democratic then they better start acting like ones. But there's a big topic underneath this notion. What is it exactly that makes our democracy not true to itself? Biggest problem I see is that they all eventually lead to an oligarchy - only two big parties to choose from and the differences between them barely significant. Why does this happen? Ignorance and hence manipulability of the people? How do we prevent parties from consolidating into such big powers?

Perhaps there should be a limit in inner membership number of all political parties and some other restrictions on what methods can they use to consolidate themselves. I also think a way elections are done should be reformed, in a way that would remove much of the weight from the four-yearly elections and spread this over many little elections (referendum style) over the course of these four years..perhaps having something to vote on 4 times every year?

I know at first it would seem like a burden to the people, but they wouldn't be forced to vote. But such a reform would have to be followed by a good awareness campaign towards such a change that would encourage people to give it a thought and see if and how could this new style of democracy, real democracy in fact, benefit them! People eventually get ignorant because they feel they can't make a difference anyway. But once they feel this is really changing I think they'd be much more willing to do something. At least it would be easier to encourage them to do so.

tbuitenh wrote:

How about direct democracy or anarchism then? Nice in theory, but in practice our planet is so crowded nobody can try to help solve all the issues that involve them, never mind solving them while also considering the effects on everyone else affected. If you want a system like that, you have to remove 90% of the world population first.

I'm not sure I entirely understand what you mean. The magnitude of problems is too big with so many people to consider?

tbuitenh wrote:

Send them to different planets? Ah great, if that is at all possible, that makes us like the aliens from Independence Day, always multiplying and eating planet after planet.

I remember you mentioning that comparison some time before. Smiling I don't quite agree. Aliens in Independence Day were conquering planets even with life and civilizations on them. They did attack Earth, a human planet, after all. If humans seek new worlds to settle on and make sure that they are not "occupied" by existing civilizations (by sentient beings) it wouldn't be quite what is seen in the movie. And if we learned anything from living on Earth it's that it makes sense to watch for the natural equilibrium of the planet. If we take care of that on other planets (and it is easier to if we don't overcrowd them too), we would be far from Independence Day invasion force. Sticking out tongue

Besides, I defend the notion of space colonization not just because we are overcrowding this planet, but because experiencing space changes people's perspective from one with disregard towards our environments to one that finally sees and understands that planets are fragile things as well. Ask anyone who's been to space. Stuff dealing with space exploration (and subsequent colonization) is stuff that changes our Earthly perceptions and mentality to one much more broad, fitting to a space faring race. It is a mental paradigm shift.

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I think we're agreed

I think we're agreed democracy is no panacea. Representative or direct, there are weaknesses. Where there are vetos like the UN Security Council it's like an AND gate, the planned new permanent members with vetos just reduce the odds of agreement so the expanded and more complex group will ultimately agree less than at present, perhaps no bad thing if it acts as a filter and denies the UN brand to aggressors, but it also means in cases like Darfur, someone on the council will likely have a dirty deal with the local oppressors and veto a much needed international intervention.

We've previously discussed the tyranny of the majority and the tendency for too much freedom to allow birds of a feather to flock together in extreme communities of paedophiles or xenophobes. That's a balancing act to tweak over time, things like the universal declaration of human rights and various international treaties set a base set of values and after that local preferences are issues for local electorates.

The iron law of oligarchy remains a big problem, and it's antidote would seem to be transparency, distrust, and democracy, so corruption is noticed, whistles blown, then entities removed and the system altered so it doesn't happen again. Aside from outright fraud for personal gain by individuals or small groups of collaborators, the endemic poison in the system is that politicians are all too often serving elite interests rather than the common good. That's ruining everything regardless of the balance of geopolitical power. One solution that keeps coming up for me is to transfer power to the people, change production from a system of unbridled wealth concentration to one of social enterprises. That way we've all got the cash.

Lo and behold, Bill Gates called for "creative capitalism" at Davos, capitalism with a social conscience (I know, why not start with making MS less tyrannical...). Existing corporations make statements on Corporate Social Responsibility, but the company as a legal entity has an obligation to shareholders, anything that adversely affects the process of concentrating wealth is actionable as dereliction of fiduciary duty. CSR is tolerated within limits by markets as it is accepted as a brand whitewash and considered marketing spend. To do it right, governing documents have to encompass these goals so corporations are not just obliged to shareholders.

My preference is to do away with shareholders and use 'company limited by guarantee but having no shares' as the legal entity, it's available now but not suited to shoestring startups as pricey annual audited accounts are required and a professional company secretary really needs to be employed. Forgive me if it sounds harsh, but I'm not a great believer in charities. Some are great and deserve support, but too many are dealing with symptoms and ignoring solutions to problems. It reminds me of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, nurse Ratchet likes making a living by having patients, but we need more focus on cures and not just treatments.

Back to the political. I too am concerned at the increasing concentration of power with people in Brussels whom we can't get rid of. Tbutineh no doubt also agreed with Tony Benn that it's the whole point of democracy. The EU parliament needs more far powers at the expense of both the Council of Ministers and the Commission, that's a treaty I'll vote for. We already have basic rights and don't need an EU Constitution to reiterate that.

Why don't I trust the EU despite the undeniable achievements?

It's things like the Bolkenstein Directive with it's "country of origin" principle. If that had been left in, the final agreement would have triggered a race to the bottom in employee pay and conditions. Under that scenario we'd all end up in the same boat as those ferry crews who arrived in Ireland with appalling conditions based on another jurisdiction which our regulator was powerless to address. As usual the most vulnerable suffer the most.

The fact that they'll try that sort of thing can be seen in two ways. One, they're simply facing up to the realities of globalisation and trying to make the most of the opportunities in a positive way. Two, this move from social safety net toward every man for himself is making the worst of globalisation, it suits wealth concentrators but not the common good. I'm not accusing eurocrats of having sold out to the elite, I don't have such evidence, but it does seem that instead of being a force to attenuate the vicious excesses of globalisation by working toward a fairer world with less consumption and pollution destroying our environment, they're gung-ho to accelerate the problem. I've seen it here with the Celtic Tiger, and sorry but four holidays a year is morally untenable both in a global poverty context and ecologically.

That NY Times article says little of social justice, and in fact spoke of the need for regime change in relation to Chavez and other latin American left-wing leaders. Chavez lost the recent referendum, even though he sugar-coated it with the offer of a short working day, the masses said no to his bid for more personal power, and just as well, it's a particularly bad time to raid the treasury even for social projects, those reserves will make a critical difference in the coming few years. Rambling again now. Does that stack up so far?

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...
libervisco wrote:
tbuitenh wrote:

"Democracy is absolutely the worst form of government, except for all the others." -- Winston Churchill

I like that quote a lot. Sure, if you let stupid people vote, you get stupid decisions. But what's the alternative? Letting some elite vote (possibly even a one person elite, a dictator) and depriving everyone else of the only effective non-violent way to defend their own freedom.

Excellent quote. Yes I agree. There's just no better way that we know off yet.

I would say there is no better way. But I use a wide definition of democracy: without it, someone somewhere who should have a vote, doesn't.

Quote:

Biggest problem I see is that they all eventually lead to an oligarchy - only two big parties to choose from and the differences between them barely significant.

It doesn't happen over here in the Netherlands. And as far as I know the situation in Belgium and Germany and some other European countries is similar. It seems bigger countries are less likely to offer a lot of choice, but there has to be some other cultural factor.

Quote:

Perhaps there should be a limit in inner membership number of all political parties

And how does that prevent parties from budding clones that always cooperate with them?

Quote:

I also think a way elections are done should be reformed, in a way that would remove much of the weight from the four-yearly elections and spread this over many little elections (referendum style) over the course of these four years..perhaps having something to vote on 4 times every year?

I suppose a referendum could be required for anything above a certain level of "importantness". But I don't know if that's a good idea, it can prevent necessary painful changes.

Quote:
tbuitenh wrote:

How about direct democracy or anarchism then? Nice in theory, but in practice our planet is so crowded nobody can try to help solve all the issues that involve them, never mind solving them while also considering the effects on everyone else affected. If you want a system like that, you have to remove 90% of the world population first.

I'm not sure I entirely understand what you mean. The magnitude of problems is too big with so many people to consider?

With the scale of our societies both the complexity and number of issues to be solved gets enormous. Without representative democracy, we would either be too busy voting to do anything else useful, or we wouldn't be represented because we decided to do something more important than voting.

Quote:
tbuitenh wrote:

Send them to different planets? Ah great, if that is at all possible, that makes us like the aliens from Independence Day, always multiplying and eating planet after planet.

I remember you mentioning that comparison some time before. Smiling I don't quite agree. Aliens in Independence Day were conquering planets even with life and civilizations on them. They did attack Earth, a human planet, after all. If humans seek new worlds to settle on and make sure that they are not "occupied" by existing civilizations (by sentient beings) it wouldn't be quite what is seen in the movie. And if we learned anything from living on Earth it's that it makes sense to watch for the natural equilibrium of the planet. If we take care of that on other planets (and it is easier to if we don't overcrowd them too), we would be far from Independence Day invasion force. Sticking out tongue

At some point we'll run out of reachable inhabitable planets. In fact we're doing exactly that now.

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democrates wrote:Aside
democrates wrote:

Aside from outright fraud for personal gain by individuals or small groups of collaborators, the endemic poison in the system is that politicians are all too often serving elite interests rather than the common good. That's ruining everything regardless of the balance of geopolitical power. One solution that keeps coming up for me is to transfer power to the people, change production from a system of unbridled wealth concentration to one of social enterprises. That way we've all got the cash.

Fortunately (relatively), it looks quite likely that Obama will be the next president of the US. His biggest issue is lobbyists' influence in government. Every time I've heard him speak, that has come up. He has already done work against that (introduced a law that required that the donations accepted by campaigns is made public, and who their employer is (although that can be misleading because it can look like people are donating on behalf of their employer and not themselves)), so it does not seem like that will be an empty promise.

Disclaimer: Obama is not my favorite candidate, just the one I like most that has more than a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected (not that that would make me vote for him). I like Mike Gravel, especially because of his National Initiative for Democracy, which aims to create direct democracy in the US.

(I am an American.)

democrates wrote:

'company limited by guarantee but having no shares'

What does that mean?

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insightful quote
John F. Kennedy (US president) in a speech at the White House, 1962 wrote:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

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'company limited by

'company limited by guarantee but having no shares'

athing wrote:

What does that mean?

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_limited_by_guarantee:
"The guarantors give an undertaking to contribute a nominal amount (typically very small) towards the winding up of the company in the event of a shortfall upon cessation of business. It is commonly believed that it cannot distribute its profits to its members, and is therefore eligible to apply for charitable status if necessary, but this is not actually true."

and from the Companies Registration Office in Dublin:
"A company limited by guarantee not having a share capital: As this is a public company, there must be a minimum of seven members. The members' liability is limited to the amount they have undertaken to contribute to the assets of the company, in the event it is wound up, not exceeding the amount specified in the memorandum. If a guarantee company does not have a share capital, the members are not required to buy any shares in the company. Many charitable and professional bodies find this form of company to be a suitable vehicle as they wish to secure the benefits of separate legal personality and of limited liability but do not require to raise funds from the members."
Being classed as a public company is what brings the heavy audit and secretarial requirements. There is legislation in the works here in Ireland which may affect these entities, and by the time I have seven colleagues a review of the options and legal advice will be in order. There's also the friendly society option, and another look to be had at various co-operatives.

PS Hope the election turns out well for you folks, I'm guessing recent endorsements will swing some Irish-Americans behind Obama.

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tbuitenh wrote: It doesn't
tbuitenh wrote:

It doesn't happen over here in the Netherlands. And as far as I know the situation in Belgium and Germany and some other European countries is similar. It seems bigger countries are less likely to offer a lot of choice, but there has to be some other cultural factor.

You mean you have more than just two parties (or more) who actually have decent chance of winning elections? Croatia is a fairly small country, but the de-facto leaders are Croatian Democratic Union and Social-Democratic Party. Just this last year they were basically tied on elections, pretty much 50/50. People who were analysing it were saying that both parties essentially won. It was only up to the president to pick who will be the new/old premier and he picked the one we already had (there's a story about that being done on purpose because the old premier left quite a mess supposedly hoping the new one will inherit it, but now finds himself having to deal with it).

But, the third party is way below both of these. So we have, much like in USA, a situation between two biggest parties and others pretty weak. I mean others do get seats in the parliament, but the vast majority goes to the first two parties, so what difference can they make? Not too much I'd say.. Oh not to mention that even the third most popular party isn't exactly better than the first two.. it is actually the party which, iirc, as its former self, was at the top of the nazi Croatian Independent State (a german puppet state in the World War 2)... They're called the "Croatian Party of Rights" and don't exactly strike me as revolutionary or radical or very libertarian..

tbuitenh wrote:

And how does that prevent parties from budding clones that always cooperate with them?

I guess some restrictions should be enacted to prevent that as well. It's just a matter of phrasign the law right. The spirit of the law is about preventing oligarchies among parties, or let alone monopolies, so it would be perfectly within the boundary of such law to predict and in advance forbid any action that could only be done for such ill-consolidation.

tbuitenh wrote:

At some point we'll run out of reachable inhabitable planets. In fact we're doing exactly that now.

Well.. obviously... I mean, when I talk about space exploration and colonization as a good thing to pursue it's not like I'm having a specific planet in mind. That's why it is exploration first and colonization second. I do realize we'll have to stick with Earth for a lot of time to come, and we should never assume that just because some day people may live in space or other planets we should continue disregarding Earth. That would be absolutely wrong.

In fact, if anything space exploration and colonization should make us appreciate Earth even more, even while we don't give up in searching for new homes. In fact, we search for new homes exactly because we care about Earth more. There is only so much it can take without turning against us to a point of threatening our very existence. Space exploration is in my opinion an increasingly existential undertaking. We have to do it if we are looking to survive the way we are (constantly growing in numbers). Either that or we forbid people to have babies...

There are various possibilities even with nearby planets though. If not terra forming Mars, which is just very difficult and time consuming, we could be creating special domes on Mars in which we could build small cities and grow vegetation (in artifically adapted climate. I think with our fast growing technological capabilities this isn't just some fantasy dream.

And there are also space stations. One is to be built by Space Island Group in Earth's orbit within a decade. At first they will contain a Zero G sports center and then hotels etc. It will be incredibly simple design, so simple a child could've come up with it. It will look similar to the station from "2001: Space Odyssey" movie by Stanley Kubrick. You can watch a video about it here to see just how simple the concept is. Smiling

And at some point, by rotating the station around its axis, by centrifugal force they could simulate gravity to make living in such a station more "normal" and human friendly. If Space Island is a success I'm sure more such stations will spring up in future, becoming essentially space cities (and yes, they will have hydroponics gardens for food, artificial swimming pools (especially with simulated gravity) etc. It may be a place for those who want to live a bit of a brave life, but it would be quite a life nevertheless, out there in space, for all explorers in spirit, watching the stars without the veil of Earth's atmosphere. Everyone could have a mobile hubble watching through the windows of their rooms. Eye

Everything is possible.

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democrates wrote: My
democrates wrote:

My preference is to do away with shareholders and use 'company limited by guarantee but having no shares' as the legal entity, it's available now but not suited to shoestring startups as pricey annual audited accounts are required and a professional company secretary really needs to be employed. Forgive me if it sounds harsh, but I'm not a great believer in charities. Some are great and deserve support, but too many are dealing with symptoms and ignoring solutions to problems. It reminds me of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, nurse Ratchet likes making a living by having patients, but we need more focus on cures and not just treatments.

I agree. I'm also not much for charities. I mean it's great to donate and it's great to at least provide some relief to existing problems, but I see it more as a temporary thing to be done while working on a real solution. This is where social enterprises come in. By the more strict definition of Social Entrepreneurship it is about enterprises which recognize an unjust stable equilibrium (where people are suffering unjustly, yet have no other way) and work on providing a solution which will systematically create a new equilibrium at the expense of this existing one. So it is always large scale and always changing some of the fundamentals.

I may not necessarily agree with such a strict definition (because it limits "social entrepreneurship" to only those who are capable of undertaking large scale projects, but even small scale social enterprises, for profit or not, are in some way contributing to the higher good.

Yet we're here talking about, not so much businesses contributing to some higher social justice, but just doing business without eroding that justice, so it would be enough for a corporation to merely establish itself as a semi-social enterprise, focus on providing shiny products that offer some kind of convenience, but do it while complying to a certain set of ethical principles. Basically, if your business isn't setting out to change the society to the better, to participate in or incite a movement, it better not hinder such movements..

Anyway, I personally think at this point, it is good to start a company as a small private enterprise, the classic way (craft, LLC etc.), mostly because new businesses are usually one-man or very-few-men shops so the requirement of having to have a number of founding members doesn't exactly fit. But then place certain principles on yourself from the start, and make those principles a public promise so that if you ever break them you experience a market backslash, or just enough loss of reputation for it to be undesirable for you to break those principles. And then when the business becomes large enough to become a corporation and do an IPO, instead of doing an IPO turn it into one of these cooperative-style businesses, if there's nothing better to go for.. In any case, IPO in a classic style should be avoided.

Perhaps there could be an IPO if it could pose an additional special requirement or condition to the share holders which would cease to make profits the only factor for which they would want to keep their shares... I've no idea how though atm. Sticking out tongue

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dutch democracy
libervisco wrote:
tbuitenh wrote:

It doesn't happen over here in the Netherlands. And as far as I know the situation in Belgium and Germany and some other European countries is similar. It seems bigger countries are less likely to offer a lot of choice, but there has to be some other cultural factor.

You mean you have more than just two parties (or more) who actually have decent chance of winning elections?

Over here, parties don't win elections in the sense that they would have a majority by themselves. We always need coalitions, and sometimes it takes a long time to figure out which three (yeah, I think three is the usual number here) parties can get along well enough to form a government. It is not unusual for the biggest party to be in the opposition. Also, it seems we have a different number of parties at each election Sticking out tongue .

It's a messy type of democracy, but mostly functional.

Currently we have 11 active national parties, if I didn't forget any:

left wing:
SP Socialist Party,
GroenLinks Green Left,

center:
PvdA Labour (*),
PvdD Party for Animals (pun in English not intended),
D66 Democrats 1966,

right wing:
VVD People's party for Freedom and Democracy (freedom = free market),
CDA "Christian" Democrats (*),

right wing nationalists:
PVV Party for Freedom (should be called Xenophobic Party) (split off from VVD),
TON(?) Dunno what name they currently have; "Proud Of the Netherlands" I think (split off from VVD),

christians:
CU Christian Union (*),
SGP Reformed Party

(*) = in current coalition

Except for SGP and maybe TON they all have a significant size. So lots to choose from, although nothing I truly like exists.

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