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Argument: Capitalism Subverts Genuine Political Freedom

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Extended argument

Capitalism can tolerate democratic forms but not democratic substance. The reason for this is that capitalism requires that a small group of elites (the capitalist class) rule society with the collusion of a larger group of elites (the coordinator class), but if there was genuine popular democracy the people would not allow these elites to maintain their privilege. This is why no capitalist society has ever passed beyond polyarchy (see Democracy and its Critics and Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition by Robert Dahl for definitions. In brief, a ployarchy is a society ruled by a group of elites where the public gets to decide on certain intervals which elites have more or less power and which elites get to rule but where the public has not effective participation). The economics of capitalism provide the elites with an excellent tool for the subversion if genuine democracy. According to Noam Chomsky in Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs: "free capital flow creates what's sometimes called a 'virtual parliament' of global capital, which can exercise veto power over government policies that it considers irrational. That means things like labour rights, or educational programmes, or health, or efforts to stimulate the economy, or, in fact, anything that might help people and not profits." The only genuinely democratic societies have been socialist (the Spanish Revolution, the Zapatista Revolution, and smaller examples) and this is because unlike capitalism, socialism is not ruled by an elite that must stay in power. See Democracy for the Few by Michael Parenti for the best account of how capitalism subverts genuine democracy in practice (with the example of America - the freest polyarchy) and see the first 4 chapters of Economic Justice and Democracy by Robin Hahnel for a more economic analysis. Economic Justice and Democracy also debunks the myth that free-markets are the best way of bringing freedom.

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