Democracies produced Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, fulfilling the expectation of Socrates and Machiavelli that democracies end in tyranny. Now democracies are fulfilling the complementary expectation of Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman that democracies end in bankruptcy. Put a democracy in charge of the Sahara, Mr. Friedman once said, and sand itself will become scarce. Democracies are indeed profligate trustees – or have been for the past 30 or 40 years. Mr. Friedman’s primary fret, though, was the tendency of democracy to centralize political and economic power in the same hands. Most critiques of democracy reflect this elemental distrust. “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb,” Benjamin Franklin reputedly said, “voting on what to have for lunch.”d.
Democratic self-deprecation isn’t quite as funny as it once was. Mobs have already taken to the venerable, iconic streets of European states, notably among them Greece, birthplace of Athenian democracy. It’s apparently easier to give wealth away than it is to take it back. Democracy assembled the welfare state peaceably enough. Can democracy dismantle it as peaceably? No, it can’t. The mobs are not finishe
Further down in the article is this gem:
“The adoption of Keynesian analysis provided politicians with a rationale for borrowing money to buy votes.”
And here we in the US find ourselves, much as our cousins on the other side of the Atlantic do, broke and deep in debt.
The trouble stems from the fact that you can't really buy a person's vote. At best you can only rent it, one election at a time.
It doesn't take a degree in economics to understand that borrowing money to pay a rent is madness.
Not that madness seems to bother politicians much.
And where will it all end?
Democracies have made people more dependent on the state than any humanitarian necessity required. For Italy, and for other democracies, the worst is surely yet to come. Already, hundreds of thousands of middle-class people have thronged the streets of Paris and Rome, of Milan and Sarajevo, of Reykjavik and Bucharest (where demonstrators stormed the presidential palace, an insurgent act that evokes the spectre of revolution). The World Socialists’ website proclaims an age of rage ahead – and chillingly quotes British historian Simon Schama: “You can smell the sulphur in the air.”
Fun times ahead my comrades. Fun times indeed.