June 15, 2009

A step-by-step to an undemocratic victory:

A party loses narrowly an election.

In the immediate days after the election the losing party brings all its supporters out to the streets with cries of oppression and election rigging.

It must use the latest technology fad to broadcast the message in order to grab international support: the politicians love causes abroad – they are so much simpler – and the public is usually clueless.

The democratically elected party trembles – democratic victory is no argument against popular rebellion.

With a bit of luck, the democratic victors will use force to impose the rule of law.

As the chaos builds up, the pathway to an undemocratic victory is assured.

Democracy is a waste of time when the needs of the few are louder than the will of a majority.



May 15, 2009

It is interesting that this kuffufle over MPs expenses comes straight after a similar one over bankers pay. The magnitude is stark: millions for the bankers, thousands for MPs. You could argue that the MPs expenses is of more importance for the public debate, because they are taking tax payers cash, but given that the banks brought down the economic system and credit – to the banks – is heavily subsidised I am not sure this should stick as a valid argument. But it does. After all many still think the economic mess is not the banks fault, but the government. The result is that in the day that MPs ‘concluded’ that bankers bonuses contributed to bring the system into disrepute, MPs are on the front of every newspaper bickering with the public over mortgages, swimming pools, tennis courts, jars of Branston Pickle and small bags of mouse poison. No wonder the bankers are ready to break out the champagne and restart business as usual.

chocolate jesus

March 24, 2009

Just heard Bill Maher describing someone using the statement “chocolate jesus” 🙂

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido

October 17, 2008

Yesterday, I was at a Thievery Corporation concert and a Brazilian and Argentinean singers sang some high tempo jam with the words “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” (The people united will never be defeated) to a large white middle class crowd. The crowd seemed well excited with the motto and probably feeling very smug about themselves – for the fact that they were there and being all revolutionary and stuff. I was thinking, however, that this statement is so wrong that begs belief why people use it over and over again. The people are not united in any shape or form and they have been, at least currently, totally defeated!


July 8, 2008

It is not unusual to hear commentators stating that democracy is the best way for a society to develop as a clear cut fact. These commentators almost never have to support this kind of statement, but when they do, they apply a basic interpretation of the current set of facts that supports this idea; western democracies are the more developed societies and this democracy created the right and necessary mechanisms to achieve this development. A quick glance at the world one can confirm this; western democracies belong to the developed world, whilst non-democratic societies belong to the developing world. So case closed.

However, I would argue that this interpretation is founded on a fundamental misinterpretation of the data – partly because the paucity of the data but also because people are very good at making causations out of correlations. Looking at the current situation, I would suggest that sovereignty, not democracy, is the main drive behind development. And that development then brings democracy.

The idea that economic development and social progress in the West is achieved through democracy is naïve and misguided. The real reason for the West’s current above average rate of development is due to its sovereign and authoritarian past rather than democratic reforms. Until recently, the sovereign and authoritarian past and the democratic reforms walked hand in hand – every western developed society had a sovereign and authoritarian past, which eventually progressed to democracy – but the recent rise of developing economies with particular emphasis on the rise of BRIC group (Brazil, Russia, India and China) we can now disentangle the sovereign/authoritarian past from democracy. And thing look a lot different.

These new emerging economies have one common characteristic: they have become progressively freer to decide their internal affairs rather than being told by the West what is the best path to success. Brazil has benefited from the US concentrating in the middle-east. Russia, after the disaster of the economic reforms of the 90s lead by the West, took control of its future. China is a classical case of ‘I don’t care what others think. I do it my own way’. India is finally flourishing after decades of Western/English subservience.

And their overall growth has been astonishing with, more importantly their companies are now becoming serious business players on a world scale. The key here is: they are doing it in their own way! For example, in China, state-owned oil giant PetroChina has become the largest company in the world, worth more than $1 trillion. In Russia, state-owned Gazprom has grown into the world’s largest gas company.

This recent progress from this countries is occurring when Western democracies are broadly at drift and unable to keep up with the rate of growth and investment. Using recent data only, on could conclude that not only democracy doesn’t deliver development, but democracy is actually a hindrance to development!

Development delivers democracy. This is probably clear to many, but it rarely said in this order. In addition to the causal chain; Sovereignty delivers development. Sovereignty, democracy and development seem to be all interlinked, but we have been getting the order always wrong. It is time to get it right, if we want others (and ourselves) to continue to develop.

Ann Coulter

July 3, 2007

I increasingly think that Ann Coulter is a genius. Or better, Ann Coulter is a genius to the extent others let her be a genius. She has manages to carved a phenomenal socio-political position simply by dishing out hatred.

Don’t know who Ann Coulter is? Well, in the US, she is hard to miss. She is the quintessential female right winger; she needs to be more man than most men so that her particular point of view is heard. She has used everything to drag the attention to her. Some distasteful: “I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much” about some of the 9/11 widows or “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building” about her pet hate of the New York Times.

Sometimes, she is actually very competent like on this video she got challenged by Elizabeth Edwards (Jon Edwards’ wife) on MSNBC and cope with it beautifully.

Other times she is just plain funny like when she made an entire news team from MSNBC look foolish and when she hinted that Bill Clinton is homosexual.

But mostly she doesn’t care like when David Serota tried to insult her and just look at her grinning; she even slaughtered British journalistic prima-donna Jeremy Paxman on BBC.

Her strategy however, is always the same: say something completely crazy, say it very loud and look always damn cool when you say it. This strategy generally works, however with Ann it works even more because nobody, and I mean nobody, has any idea how to even fight back.

The only people that seemed to be taking her on is Bill Maher and Richard Belzer calling her a “fascist party doll” and “syndicated communist”. This is partly because Bill Maher actually knows her quite well.

I am more interested in knowing how has this happen? How did she get to do all the good lines and insult everyone? Why isn’t everyone else responding to her attacks and matching her? It is rather worrying that they don’t and it reflects seriously on the political discourse in the US. Particularly, because others will see it working and will try similar stuff further diminishing, the already battered, public discourse.

Pop politics

June 22, 2007

Politics always had to be popular, but with Hilary seeking a new song for her campaign and Obama girl, pop music has arrived to the scene. The blend of soft-porn and catchy pop tunes is what the YouTube generation is actually doing rather than being the engine for social change that so many commentators seem to be suggesting. This video gives us a glimpse on the present state of politics. It is no longer individualist, shallow and ideology-free, but it is pornographic, monetarist and delusional. Enjoy the new musical democracy, because it is here to stay.