At the end of WikiRebels, Iceland TV journalist, Kristinn Hrafnsson concludes, ?Democracy without transparency is not democracy.?
There are two problems with this conclusion since it assumes (or implies) wrongly that a democracy actually exists at all.
Transparency is just one of many pre-requisites, very few of which exist in any political entity that calls itself a "democracy". The most important of the pre-requisites is probably that all citizens / citizen groups have an equal opportunity to get their message to the rest of the nation. Since print, television, & other forms of communication are profit making organizations, those with the most money have the greatest opportunity to spread their message or propoganda.... this means of course that those with the greatest funds can overwhelm / buy exposure of their message and relegate the opposing message or point of view to the mushroom farm.
BTW, any significant transparency is just a utopian ideal ... I think you'ed have to agree. Lack of transparency begins with the reality that power / advantage is proportional to information... hence withholding information gives the entity withholding it greater power / advantage. This is true in all walks of life and all cultures. It's a characteristic of the human survival instinct.... i.e. built into our DNA.
Therefore, if democracy requires transparency, and transparency is a utopian ideal, then democracy is a utopian ideal ... hence cannot in fact exist.
I find I'm not the first to think democracies don't really exist --- Pereto (848 - 1923) found, with objective data taken from centuries of income in various nations:
"At the very top sit the elite of the elite, who control wealth and power for a time ? until they are unseated through revolution or upheaval by a new aristocratic class. There is no progress in human history.Democracy is a fraud. Human nature is primitive, emotional, unyielding. The smarter, abler, stronger, and shrewder take the lion's share."Pareto had argued that democracy was an illusion and that a ruling class always emerged and enriched itself. For him, the key question was how actively the rulers ruled.The 20th Century Italian thinkers Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca(independently) argued that democracy was illusory, and served only to mask the reality of elite rule. Indeed, they argued that elite oligarchy is the unbendable law of human nature, due largely to the apathy and division of the masses (as opposed to the drive, initiative and unity of the elites), and that democratic institutions would do no more than shift the exercise of power from oppression to manipulation. Femia, Joseph V. "Against the Masses", Oxford 2001
BTW, Pareto is the same one you know as in Pareto Charts; ... also so the "80:20 rule". He found, for example, that the distribution of wealth follows the equation:
log N = log A + m log xwhere N is the number of people with wealth higher than x, and A and m are constants. Over the years, Pareto's Law has proved remarkably close to observed data.
He also originated the economic principle that economic "value" was not necessary, resulting in the what is now standard macro-econ understanding:
Pareto realized that cardinal utility could be dispensed with?that is, it was not necessary to know how much a person valued this or that, only that he preferred X of this to Y of that. Utility was a preference-ordering. With this, Pareto not only inaugurated modern microeconomics, but he also demolished the alliance of economics and utilitarian philosophy (which calls for the greatest good for the greatest number; Pareto said "good" cannot be measured). He replaced it with the notion of Pareto-optimality, the idea that a system is enjoying maximum economic satisfaction when no one can be made better off without making someone else worse off. Pareto optimality is widely used in welfare economics and game theory. A standard theorem is that a perfectly competitive markets create distributions of wealth that are Pareto optimal. Vijay K. Mathur, "How Well Do We Know Pareto Optimality?" Journal of Economic Education 22#2 (1991) pp 172-78
Not a bad set of contributions. Bottom line though is that he found that democracy is actually just an illusion created to retain power by those that already have it.
There's a more important question related to democracy though? What's the objective of this form of gov't? Some answers are that there' is no objective, rather the only reason for its being is that it's the not the other forms of gov't:
|Monarchy||Government by a single ruler (king/queen, emperor)|
|Aristocracy||Government by noblemen (hereditary)|
|Oligarchy||Government by few persons|
|Theocracy||"Government by God" (in reality this means government by religious leaders)|
|Dictatorship||Government by people, that have seized power by force (often: military dictatorship)|
| Politics |