Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
A lot of people will always feel that inequality is good. This is a natural part of humanity, just as are rape, murder and theft.

The problem, in terms of public policy, comes when inequality becomes acceptable as a political discourse. This is paradoxical, in that it only ever benefits a small minority. The political audience for inequality is composed of two groups : those who are  instinctively obedient to their betters, and the wannabes.

As long as democracy is public and transparent, the inegalitarian discourse should really never gain the upper hand, because collectively, peçople are generally egalitarian. If it becçomes legitimate and normal to vote in one's individual best interests, then the inegalitarian thesis will triumph.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 03:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that once inequality creates political advantage, you have a political system which is inherently unstable. There's a feedback loop which promotes the influence of selfish sociopaths and narcissists at the expense of everyone else. Any system that does this will fall over, for the same reason that you can't balance a pencil on its tip.

You can't solve this with Rawlsian argumentation. You can only solve it by building policy around some other set of feedback loops - ones which promote stability and collective rather than individual progress.

If you want to see how democratic a system is, don't waste time on rhetoric about votes, democracy or ethics. Look at the feedback loops. Use them to see which behaviours and attitudes are promoted and rewarded, and which are punished.

You can then see that (e.g.) NCE is inherently disastrous because although it's surrounded by a fog of rhetoric about freedom, choice, democracy, and the rest, and although it pretends to promote stability, it's based on feedback loops which explicitly reward greed and selfishness.

Soviet Communism was disastrous for different reasons. After Stalin created a monster, the feedback loops promoted conformity, dull political cunning, and lack of imagination.

And so on.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 1st, 2010 at 05:50:25 AM EST
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While offentlighetsprincipen is a cornerstone in Swedish public bureaucracy, making everything that is not secret public. The mere knowledge that anyone can walk in and demand your records makes the bureaucrats much more honest. Thus creating trust, which gives pride, which gives more honesty. Feedback loop.

Not perfect or anything, we have a scandal unfolding in Gothenburg right now regarding embezzlement of public funds. But no single feedback loop should be trusted, rather an intricate web of loops should be woven.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 1st, 2010 at 07:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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