The beauty of democracy is that it is the socialization of power. Every participant in a healthy democracy gets one unit of power in their vote. Anyone who gets more than one unit, be it the church, George Washington ‘s best friend, or General Motors consequently diminishes the effectiveness of everyone else’s unit of power.
The question I have and I think many others have is how do you reverse the current state of affairs since everyone’s unit of power in American democracy is obviously not equivalent? I can cite several studies for evidence but most Americans I think have enough anecdotal evidence. They see the huge leaps in wealth disparity brought about by government policy and a dysfunctional federal government that seemingly only works for companies and correspondingly wealthy individuals. They recognize this isn’t sustainable and the prosperity of America is in jeopardy from within.
We seem to be trying as a society to appeal to the moral compass of the individuals whose units of power are larger but that seems to be having little effect. We pressure individuals to give their money to charity and companies to have a moral guiding philosophy, among other things. We are trying to now finally throw facts and figures that direction. Some of the first studies on the new gilded age are coming to light, but the effectiveness of even this argumentative avenue are up for debate as we haven’t had time to judge their impact.
I personally wanted to conduct a study to try and see if a healthy middle class actually trickled up and made the wealthy even wealthier than they otherwise are and use that argument as I’m confident it would work because it gives the wealthy exactly what they are driven to pursue – more wealth. However there seemed to be a lack of data in this end to conduct a fairly iron-clad study.
The only other argument I could think of is to warn through the lessons of history: in most other instances like this where there is a disproportionate balance of power driven by huge wealth disparities, those in top proportionally were those in the greatest danger as when inevitably, social disruption occurred they were the ones that get killed.
So my question stands, what to do next? What avenue should we as a society take to ensure our experiment in Democracy survives another 200 years? The path we are on is absolutely not sustainable and will eventually lead to social collapse. Historically, wealth disparity of this magnitude has never ended peacefully. Can we change it in before it’s too late?