Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

How should society be organised, if at all?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Logik » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:24 am

Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:20 am
Logik wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:51 am
A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean. At its cradle (to repeat a thoughtful adage) religion stands, and philosophy accompanies it to the grave. --Will Durant
I suspect that here, philosophy is a failed attempt to overcome the inevitable problems of theists and fatalist moralisers, too little too late. Further, all healthy societies move from theism to philosophy. You can see what's happened to cultures that have not grown up into philosophy - they make up the world's poorest and war torn nations with the worst women's rights.
What about the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans. The list goes on.

They all made their way to philosophy.

It cradled them to their grave.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Greta » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:46 am

Logik wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:24 am
Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:20 am
Logik wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:51 am
I suspect that here, philosophy is a failed attempt to overcome the inevitable problems of theists and fatalist moralisers, too little too late. Further, all healthy societies move from theism to philosophy. You can see what's happened to cultures that have not grown up into philosophy - they make up the world's poorest and war torn nations with the worst women's rights.
What about the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans. The list goes on.

They all made their way to philosophy.

It cradled them to their grave.
If they'd stuck to religion and not moved to philosophy they would have still fallen, only through stagnation and hubris. Nothing lasts forever.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Logik » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:52 am

Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:46 am
If they'd stuck to religion and not moved to philosophy they would have still fallen, only through stagnation and hubris. Nothing lasts forever.
I am not asking for 'forever', but Stonehenge is a great yardstick for robustnes.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Greta » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:11 am

Logik wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:52 am
Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:46 am
If they'd stuck to religion and not moved to philosophy they would have still fallen, only through stagnation and hubris. Nothing lasts forever.
I am not asking for 'forever', but Stonehenge is a great yardstick for robustness.
The pace of change has rather picked up since then, though.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Logik » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:12 am

Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:11 am
The pace of change has rather picked up since then, though.
And still Stonehenge stands :)

FlashDangerpants
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:54 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:34 pm

Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:22 am
All I did is refute your claim that corporations can't "have wants, motives or desires". A number of them have effectively gained governance and/or policy powers (without being elected), and neither very accountable nor subject to transparency or FOI provisions. Hello Rupert! Hello Brexit! Hello suspension of sensible governance to focus on nonsense whipped up by a self interested mogul and some billionaire club pals who noticed that those in London are more likely to do their bidding than those in Brussels. The Brexit vote happened because Rupert and his buds decided it would be so: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 99046.html.
You didn't refute my claim. You ignored it and said what was on your mind. My claim is that it is a category mistake to assign properties to an entity that cannot belong to that class of entity.

The reason why a car cannot have an opinion on the question of whether a hotdog is a sandwich or not is not that a car lacks the life experience to make such a discrimination. It is that car is not in the category of objects to which ownership of opinions is available full stop. A car is an actual thing.

A company isn't even an actual embodied object at all. Companies cannot have properties that are only available to embodied entities. They are not in the necessary category. A company does not consider itself a person because it is not able to have the capacity of considering anything. Only a person can think of a company as a sort of a person, because only actual people have conceptual abilities to consider such thoughts. Companies don't have conceptual abilities at all ... because they are not in the category of conceptualising beings.

Rupert Murdoch is in the category of beings that can have opinions and desires. This is in large measure because he is not an entity to be considered in the category of 'companies'. His outsized influence is not a result of disembodied corporations having embodied desires, but of the people who manage certain types of company having an audience.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Greta » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:48 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:34 pm
Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:22 am
All I did is refute your claim that corporations can't "have wants, motives or desires". A number of them have effectively gained governance and/or policy powers (without being elected), and neither very accountable nor subject to transparency or FOI provisions. Hello Rupert! Hello Brexit! Hello suspension of sensible governance to focus on nonsense whipped up by a self interested mogul and some billionaire club pals who noticed that those in London are more likely to do their bidding than those in Brussels. The Brexit vote happened because Rupert and his buds decided it would be so: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 99046.html.
You didn't refute my claim. You ignored it and said what was on your mind. My claim is that it is a category mistake to assign properties to an entity that cannot belong to that class of entity.

The reason why a car cannot have an opinion on the question of whether a hotdog is a sandwich or not is not that a car lacks the life experience to make such a discrimination. It is that car is not in the category of objects to which ownership of opinions is available full stop. A car is an actual thing.

A company isn't even an actual embodied object at all. Companies cannot have properties that are only available to embodied entities. They are not in the necessary category. A company does not consider itself a person because it is not able to have the capacity of considering anything. Only a person can think of a company as a sort of a person, because only actual people have conceptual abilities to consider such thoughts. Companies don't have conceptual abilities at all ... because they are not in the category of conceptualising beings.

Rupert Murdoch is in the category of beings that can have opinions and desires. This is in large measure because he is not an entity to be considered in the category of 'companies'. His outsized influence is not a result of disembodied corporations having embodied desires, but of the people who manage certain types of company having an audience.
The mechanistic reply suggests you are still not picking up on what I'm saying, Flash. I actually don't need advising of the bleeding obvious that organisations are not living things (yet).

Consider what a desire is and compare with organisational responses. Desire, like any emotion it is a biological subroutine that evolved and stayed because it aided survival and reproduction. It is a suite of responses that occur together in various systems of the body in response to certain stimuli. Now consider the response of News Ltd, even after Rupert dies, if there was the kind of scandal around Labour politicians that they regularly cover up for Tories. Functionally, it's like desire, feeding through the culture and governance rules (programming).

As with grandfather's axe, if we replace almost all of the parts, is it still the same thing? Rupert will eventually die but the corporation will live on and largely maintain its brief and culture. Does anyone believe for a moment that Fox News would much change, even without both Rupert and Lachlan? Perhaps become fair and balanced for real?

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Logik » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:02 pm

Search/replace "desires" with "mission objectives" and re-read.

FlashDangerpants
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:54 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:43 pm

Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:48 pm
The mechanistic reply suggests you are still not picking up on what I'm saying, Flash. I actually don't need advising of the bleeding obvious that organisations are not living things (yet).

Consider what a desire is and compare with organisational responses. Desire, like any emotion it is a biological subroutine that evolved and stayed because it aided survival and reproduction. It is a suite of responses that occur together in various systems of the body in response to certain stimuli. Now consider the response of News Ltd, even after Rupert dies, if there was the kind of scandal around Labour politicians that they regularly cover up for Tories. Functionally, it's like desire, feeding through the culture and governance rules (programming).

As with grandfather's axe, if we replace almost all of the parts, is it still the same thing? Rupert will eventually die but the corporation will live on and largely maintain its brief and culture. Does anyone believe for a moment that Fox News would much change, even without both Rupert and Lachlan? Perhaps become fair and balanced for real?
That's a fairly strict behaviorist position you are taking, are you sure that's what you want?

Personally I wouldn't consider a description of emotion as something which evolved in a certain way, results in some particular behavior, and perhaps involves some transit of a nervous system to be sufficient. It lacks what I would say is a necessary phenomenological component, which I think you would agree with, but isn't available to you under your current line of argument.

It seems to me it would be easier at this point to just agree that talk of corporations having human qualities of their own is form of anthropomorphic metaphor to be used with some caution.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Greta » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:45 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:43 pm
Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:48 pm
The mechanistic reply suggests you are still not picking up on what I'm saying, Flash. I actually don't need advising of the bleeding obvious that organisations are not living things (yet).

Consider what a desire is and compare with organisational responses. Desire, like any emotion it is a biological subroutine that evolved and stayed because it aided survival and reproduction. It is a suite of responses that occur together in various systems of the body in response to certain stimuli. Now consider the response of News Ltd, even after Rupert dies, if there was the kind of scandal around Labour politicians that they regularly cover up for Tories. Functionally, it's like desire, feeding through the culture and governance rules (programming).

As with grandfather's axe, if we replace almost all of the parts, is it still the same thing? Rupert will eventually die but the corporation will live on and largely maintain its brief and culture. Does anyone believe for a moment that Fox News would much change, even without both Rupert and Lachlan? Perhaps become fair and balanced for real?
That's a fairly strict behaviorist position you are taking, are you sure that's what you want?

Personally I wouldn't consider a description of emotion as something which evolved in a certain way, results in some particular behavior, and perhaps involves some transit of a nervous system to be sufficient. It lacks what I would say is a necessary phenomenological component, which I think you would agree with, but isn't available to you under your current line of argument.
I don't think the likely (current) lack of phenomenological emotion in companies is the important issue so much as they behave in a way that suggests desire and fear. My point is that companies are not collections of people. The historical synergies are such that they take on a life, will and character (culture) of their own. When a tax break is given to a company, that is not going towards improvements in staff pay rates and conditions, although it may keep a small percentage employed for longer. Most, however, will go into investments (into other organisations), the executive and owners.

It's their increasing independence of their eminently replaceable human components that I would like to point out and a significant reason why everything appears to be going so crap is that these entities are doing to us what we did to other species - took control and dominated for the sake of self interest. They are so large and powerful that we little people are being easily sidelined and that imbalance has made actual democracy ever more difficult.

It's not really a metaphor and there's no need to anthropomorphise because ants do much the same as companies. Large corporations at this stage more resemble colonies than organisms; if you injure or cut off one department it may not necessarily disturb some others. That's about interdependencies and information feedback flows. If any significant event rapidly ripples through a corporation, whose various relevant departments and sections immediately kick into action, then we are getting something like a simple nervous system.

Many dynamics in nature are repeated with some variations, eg. atoms, solar systems, galaxies, eukaryotic cells, eusocial colonies and organisations. It's looking to me that political reformations are taking place and command economies seem more likely to be a long term trend than a fad.

FlashDangerpants
Posts: 1773
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:54 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:05 am

Greta wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:45 am
I don't think the likely (current) lack of phenomenological emotion in companies is the important issue so much as they behave in a way that suggests desire and fear. My point is that companies are not collections of people. The historical synergies are such that they take on a life, will and character (culture) of their own. When a tax break is given to a company, that is not going towards improvements in staff pay rates and conditions, although it may keep a small percentage employed for longer. Most, however, will go into investments (into other organisations), the executive and owners.
You see how that is very different to a person earning an income? When I get paid, I spend some on my bills and all the other boring things that are necessary. And then I spend some on whatever I like in the moment. As a human I have the literal ability to enjoy things and purchase them towards that end for no good reason. I don't request a budget item from a board of directors to enable this, unless we are about to invoke a metaphor in which some part of the brain is really a board of directors.

You have correctly identified that what belongs to a company ultimately belongs to those people who own that company, not the company itself which is property in a way that people cannot be.

What companies actually are is a matter of philosophical controversy within the field of economics. There are competing theories but it can be roughly summarised as an organisation with some of the benefits of a family (high levels of trust and integration) that doesn't require people to work only with blood relatives, in a setting that reduces transaction costs that would occur if those individuals attempted to work without joint organisation. It's a stretch to describe any organism as doing exactly that stuff. Pick a different explanation for companies and the same problem will present itself. I'm not sure I buy into the sci-fi thing about future companies holding phenomenological properties.
Greta wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:45 am
It's their increasing independence of their eminently replaceable human components that I would like to point out and a significant reason why everything appears to be going so crap is that these entities are doing to us what we did to other species - took control and dominated for the sake of self interest. They are so large and powerful that we little people are being easily sidelined and that imbalance has made actual democracy ever more difficult.
First up there are clearly many tasks that humans perform within a company which are nothing like eminently replaceable by non-human labour. Functions that require any level of discriminating creativity remain entirely beyond computational possibility. I have seen the well publicised results of AI composing musical scores, it is impressive in the same way as the dog walking on two legs.

Secondly, jobs in which humans can be replaced by technology or animals have been getting replaced that way since the invention of farming. Before the animal drawn ard, farmers tilled the earth with digging sticks and hoes. If human labour had not routinely been replaced by other things for thousands of years, you and I would both be scratching out a living with wooden tools, not typing on fancy computers. Replacing humans in the workforce is why we aren't subsistence farmers, it makes it possible for humans to do jobs that cannot be replaced such as being doctors and teachers. Better still, replacing some of their work with machines would mean we get more one on one time with teachers for slower kids, or that doctors no longer had to work 90 hours a week to keep people alive, this would be a good thing if we can work out how to do it.

Beyond that, I am not really buying into the premise that everything is crap. I think that this gloomy outlook is drawn from loss of perspective. Frankly it would be nice if robots could do all the work because they don't consume the fruits of their labour, and thus that would mean humanity got to do so without the bit we don't like on the whole (the work).
Greta wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:45 am
It's not really a metaphor and there's no need to anthropomorphise because ants do much the same as companies. Large corporations at this stage more resemble colonies than organisms; if you injure or cut off one department it may not necessarily disturb some others. That's about interdependencies and information feedback flows. If any significant event rapidly ripples through a corporation, whose various relevant departments and sections immediately kick into action, then we are getting something like a simple nervous system.
It's a mistake to begin a paragraph with 'not really a metaphor' only to end with 'we are getting something like'.
It's either exactly a metaphor in which case it is like something, or else the transmission of significant events that ripple through a company actually is a nervous system.
Greta wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:45 am
Many dynamics in nature are repeated with some variations, eg. atoms, solar systems, galaxies, eukaryotic cells, eusocial colonies and organisations. It's looking to me that political reformations are taking place and command economies seem more likely to be a long term trend than a fad.
Command economies subvert the market driven actions of businesses to political expedience directed by states, which seems to be the reverse of your point. Atoms and solar systems may look superficially similar in that they can both be represented by diagrams of small things orbiting large things, but that is a very limited linkage and deriving economic expectations from it is likely to end in disappointing investment returns.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by Greta » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:29 am

Flash, clearly one cannot say that organisations are exactly the same as biological life. We can find all manner of differences if we choose, but it's similarities that they share with us that most impact on us. Mainly, they consume and have a tendency towards a subtle, inching form of kleptoparasitism that gradually drains resources ever more from their environment aka us. They are increasingly operating like a nerve net or kind of decentralised brains, with a similar greed

In time all jobs will be do-able by machines. There are now AI lawyers shaking up the legal system, and AI doctors will do the same. My final role before retirement was data analyst, my last year spent helping those tasked with designing my replacement. Consider this list of six professions tha computers allegedly will not replace https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-human-j ... r-replace/

I can see all of these being done by AI, providing cheap and readily available services, and humans providing "boutique" services for the well-to-do. Increasingly I can see the gap narrowing.

Had to laugh and concede that, yes "it's a mistake to begin a paragraph with 'not really a metaphor' only to end with 'we are getting something like'". I was trying to convey that the metaphor was not a fanciful one, with the similarities of consequence.

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: Why is democracy so screwed in many countries?

Post by romanv » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:03 pm

Sorry, this reply is in somewhat of a tangent to the OP. May I present a link that describes exactly why democracy is so screwed in many countries.

In a nutshell, they are elected oligarchies masquerading as democracies as most electoral systems do not require obtaining and retaining the consent of the majority of the voters, as electoral systems are based on the premise of 'lead, follow or get out of the way'.

The solution to fix that flaw is simple and powerful, and if implemented correctly, it opens the pathway to the maximisation of the common good.

It is my pleasure to present the white paper here:

https://nota-uk.org/2019/01/07/nota-uk ... te-paper/

A flavour of what can be found in the WP can be heard in the interview with the co-author of the WP on the 'Wright Stuff' radio show: https://twitter.com/talkRADIO/status/10 ... n5FHGkgk

Cheers.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests