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Is Capitalism a Hindrance to Democracy - Essay Example

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Is Capitalism a Hindrance to Democracy

Before making an argument on this issue, it is necessary to fully understand the terms involved. Democracy is typically used interchangeably with the form of government more properly known as a republic. Because true citizenship democracies have rarely ever existed, representative democracies have co-opted the term despite lacking key factors. For the purpose of argument, this paper will use as a definition of democracy that which is agreed upon by the authors of The Politics of Power: A democracy is a system based on popular participation by its citizens, representative government and a commitment to equality in the ability of citizens to influence policies directly affecting their lives (Katznelson, Kesselman and Draper 2006, p. 8).
Capitalism is typically defined as an economic sy...
The nuances of capitalism that affect the course of democracy revolve around the power of capital itself. If it is accepted that part of the definition of democracy includes representative governors elected by the people, then a question immediately must be raised. Who are these representatives and how are they elected In the current American system, the pool of those eligible for election is becoming increasingly smaller. The reason has to do with the cost of getting elected. As the cost of a candidacy increases, so does the power of those who can contribute the most to these candidates.
ARGUMENT
Corruption is an unavoidable component of any political or economic system. There is no such thing as a universally viable economic system that is inherently corrupt. Capitalism and socialism could both theoretically work without the taint of corruption. The reason that neither ever has is due to the human factor. Human beings have needs that require currency and sometimes the easiest way to acquire that extra currency is through corrupt practices. While no economic system is in itself corrupt, they all contain practices which promote corruption.
The fact that capitalism has led democracy in the United States to the point where only a select few can ever dream of being elected to positions of power is not proof that the economic system is a hindrance to the political system. After all, there is no evidence to suggest that simply because someone has the economic basis to get elected that he will not then act in the best interests of those whom he is representing. What is far more disturbing is how the electoral process mirrors the governmental process. The ability to get ...Show more

Summary

Democracy and capitalism are inescapably intertwined in the minds of most Americans; indeed, it is almost as if democracy could not exist without a capitalist economic system. But does that idea have merit Must a democracy work within a capitalist mode of economic thought in order to flourish Or is it really the case that the true value of democratic rule is hindered by the rules of capitalism Are the democratic ideals of equality in such opposition with the inherently selfish concerns of capitalism that the two systems will forever be destined to remain at odds with each other
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