Richard Moore


                     DEMOCRACY AND CYBERSPACE

                Copyright 1997 by Richard K. Moore

[part 4]

The see-saw of democracy and the advent of globalization
Democracy has always been a see-saw struggle for control between
citizens at large and elite economic interests.  This struggle has
been perhaps more apparent in a country like Britain, where a
consciously acknowledged class system long operated.  In the U.S.,
with its more egalitarian rhetoric, there has often been a tendency
to deny the existence of such struggles and to embrace the mythology
that popular sovereignty had been largely achieved in the "land of
the free".

But in fact, the tension between popular and elite interests was
anticipated by America's Founding Fathers, was articulated explicitly
by James Madison (primary architect of the U.S. Constitution), and
was institutionalized in that document by the balance between the
Senate and the House of Representatives, and by numerous other means.

Under democracy, power is officially vested in the voters, and hence
the balance of power between the elite and the people would seem to
be overwhelmingly in favor of the people.  For their part, the
economic elite have considerable influence due to the investments and
credit they control - and the funds they have available to influence
the political process in various and significant ways.

Hence the balance of power is not that easy to call, and there has in
fact been a see-saw of power shifts over the past two centuries.
During the late-nineteenth century "robber baron" era, for example,
with its laissez-faire philosophy, there was a clear pre-dominance of
elite power, with monopolized markets and widespread worker
exploitation.  In the reform movements of the early twentieth
century, on the other hand, with its trust-busting and regulatory
regimes, the elite found themselves on the defensive.

In today's world of neoliberal globalization, the economic elite are
again clearly in the ascendency.  The vehicle of elite power and
ownership today is the modern TNC, and globalization - with its
privatization, deregulation, lower corporate taxes, and free-trade
policies - adds up to a radical shift of power and assets from the
nation state (where the democratic see-saw operates) to TNC's, over
which citizens have no significant influence - the campaigns of Ralph
Nader, Greenpeace, et al having been systematically constrained and

Economic policy making, which has traditionally fallen under the
jurisdiction of sovereign nation states, is being transferred
wholesale by various treaties to the the WTO (World Trade
Organization), the IMF, and other faceless commissions - all of which
are dominated overwhelmingly by the TNC community, particularly by
that clique of TNC's which are known as the "international financial

This transfer of economic sovereignty is most advanced in the Third
World, where the IMF increasingly dictates economic, fiscal, and
social policies at a micro level.  In India, for example, public
officials often turn directly to IMF staff for policy guidance,
leaving the Indian government out of the loop entirely.

The trends - and the binding treaty commitments - indicate that the
First World as well is destined to come under increasing domination
by this TNC-run, globalist-commission regime.  Already we are
beginning to see examples of such inroads, as U.S. policy toward Cuba
is being challenged under NAFTA and EU beef-import policy is being
challenged under the WTO, along with market protections for Carribean
banana producers.  These examples are only the tip of the formidable
globalist iceberg lying in the path of the once-sovereign Ship of

Globalization amounts to a coup d'etat by the global economic elite.
_Temporary_ political ascendency in the West is being systematically
leveraged into _permanent_ global political ascendency,
institutionalized in the network of elite-dominated commissions and
agencies.  The see-saw game has been abandoned by the elite, and the
citizenry find themselves down on their backs.

The democratic process may continue to govern the affairs of the
nation state, but the power and resources of the nation state are
being radically constrained, democracy is being rendered thereby
irrelevant, and global power is thus being shifted from democratic
institutions to elite institutions.  Democracy is less and less
society's sovereign, even though public rhetoric continues as usual.
The deliberations of the commissions go largely unreported - the
globalist revolution, profound as it is, is mostly a stealth affair.

According to this analysis, democracy is in considerable trouble
indeed, and by comparison the future of cyberspace would seem to be a
secondary concern.  But the plot continue to thicken, as we continue
with an examination of propaganda and its institutionalized role in
the machinery of modern democracy.

[to be continued]

Posted by Richard K. Moore - •••@••.••• - PO Box 26   Wexford, Ireland
         http://www.iol.ie/~rkmoore/cyberjournal            (USA Citizen)
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