Monday, December 11, 2006

Democracy Destroyed by Consumerism

Another quote from Philosophy in a Time of Terror. This time by Jurgen Habermas.

"Without the political taming of an unbounded capitalism, the devastating stratification of world society will remain intractable."

In other words, we can push for Democracy as hard as we can ("we" = U.S., U.N., etc.), but until we "tame" our consumption (consumerism, capitalism), we will ALWAY be forcing some countries to be lower and some countries to be higher (especially while we remain at that top).
- the height metaphor being defined as: who can take over, devastate, or force their will on another

Problem: Democracy is based on Capitalism as a form of government. Consumerism is also based on Capitalism - as a form of economics. We don't want to be told we cannot buy something, for example. We have come to live on Democracy and Consumerism as the politco-economic foundation of our daily living.

And as long as we do this, we force the rest of the world to remain "under" the U.S. Even worse, I would contend, we cannot stop just the economic part of Capitalism - it's an all-or-nothing issue in that it is so foundational.

[Notice: the Kingdom of God has its own government, economics, society, and (non)geography!!!]


tug said...

I think one problem with that theory is that you're not comparing apples to apples. That when you take three countries, or regions or people groups, your not seeing: country #1 (capitalist and on top), country #2 (capitalist and in the middle), country #3 (capitalist and on the bottom). Usually you're not comparing three countries with equal appreciation and implementation of a free-market economy. Before I conclude that "our capitalism/consumerism is hurting them", I need to be convinced that "their socialism" or "their oppressive government regulations" or "their crooked dictator" aren't "keeping them down" first.

David Malouf -- said...

True that. The point that Habermas is making that I am concurring with is this: our push for world-wide Democracy is being STOPPED by our Consumerism. We will NEVER be able to apple-to-apple because our Consumerism won't allow it!!

I personally think we'd be surprised at what happens when multiple, Democracy-type nations are compared side-by-side. I think we'd be surprised what happens when those two nation-states clash!!

Am I missing your point, though?

bob razz said...

I heard African--American spokesman talk a few weeks ago. He said that whites say that all the Af-American needs is a fishing pole (to learn how to fish for himself) rather than a handout of fish once in awhile. He said that isn't the case. What the African American needs is not only a fishing pole but a fishing hole containing fish that he can visit and catch food for his family. He was making the point that much of our advantages as whites are institutionalized such that we (whites) aren't aware of it. the next day I was running and say a real estate sign in front of a house saying "Issaquah Schools!" (which is one of if not the best school district in the state); the house was a very nice one, and I wondered to myself, "I could probably afford to buy that house, which would give my kids the chance to go to that good school (if I still had school age kids); which would make my kids likely to get a college education and good jobs, which would make things look pretty good for me in my old age.... Alas, the poorer man can't buy that house, and so goes his different story line. How much of my privilege is hard-wired into the system such that I don't realize it. Conversely, do I choose to forego these available privileges in the name of "fairness" and thereby give some other white family a chance to ace out the aspiring African American family who still doesn't have a pond to fish from?