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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

market democracy « Previous | |Next »
March 15, 2013

One implication of the Australian media's very hostile reaction to the Gillard Government's mild reform to beef up self-regulation is the notion that democracies must conform to markets.

This market democracy, which is contrasted with political democracy in which the economy is fundamentally subject to democratic authority, has become increasingly ingrained amongst right wing politicians and the media. The further implication is that capitalistic” institutions are the best way not only to respect political and economic liberties, but also to achieve a just society.

Such a conception of market democracy does not recognize the legitimacy of all four common justifications of market regulation: to protect workers from exploitation, to protect consumers, to protect third parties harmed by market transactions (through externalities), and to preserve the stability of the economy or society as a whole (e.g., through regulation of the financial or media sector).

It assumes that free economic activity is a fundamental expression of human freedom and it entails that corporations have a strong right to minimal regulation and that a minimally regulated capitalism leads to indefinite improvement in human well-being.

Media consumers, in being confronted by the deterioration of media services or the performance of media institutions leave or exit leaving because a better good or service is provided by another firm or organization. However they also seek a voice so as to perform the act of complaining, petitioning or protesting, with the intention of achieving a restoration of the quality that has been impaired. Voice and exit thus distinguish the world of politics from the world of the market. The politics of voice is what we call political reform.

The self-regulation by the mainstream press does not provide for a satisfactory process of complaint or protesting because the press corporations control the levers of power to ensure that their interests are protected not the public interest. Hence the need for reform.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:36 PM | | Comments (8)


We've had a fair look at market forces etc in different parts of the economy and know that political power derives of monopoly.
Too late, when democratic freedoms are abdicated without a reading first of the usually microscopic small print, that never offers a guarantee for what "reform" rosily promises.
promises and no compensation when it fails.
Did I say no compensation?
Take a look at what freedoms peasants in third world oligarchies possess and what happens if they complain.
But there's the thing.
As Joni Mitchell sang in Big Yellow Taxi:
"Dont it always seem to go, that you don't miss what you've got till its gone;
Sold Paradise, put up a parking lot".
Probably next to a detention centre.

" entails that corporations have a strong right to minimal regulation..."

Cool. Let's have the government step right back. Totally level playing field... No tax-breaks, no incentives, no subsidies, no industrial arbitration mechanism, no taxpayer-funded transport infrastructure, basic-wage workers unwilling to buy the latest shiny widgets...

Let's see how the corporations like that sort of "just society".

Gary, this essay sums up the situation in the USA, and by extension Australia and the rest of the world, quite well.
Of course the benighted ghouls at the IPA , and their USA "free" market fellow travellers were, and still are, cheer leaders for this process.

Whoops - it should have been

By the way all of these right-wing ghouls, especially in the USA, will be telling us how marvellous the new Pope is.

For a start... let's put a stop to the "job creators" mythology. It's letting the bastards get away with murder...

The monthly review article reminds us that Adelaide, in the process of turning its development processes over to developers and Australia as mentioned in GTR's thread starter, are just micro examples of what appears to be a global blueprint and one that has very little place for people except as robotic consumers and/or sweated labour.

Classical liberals talk tough about the market being the best and sometimes the only way to distribute wealth.

Classic liberal is that strain of liberalism that is “committed to:

(1) a thick conception of economic liberty grounded mainly in consequentialist considerations:

(2) a formal conception of equality that sees the outcome of free market exchanges as largely definitive of justice, and

(3) a limited but important state role in tax-funded education and social service programs.”

Market democracy is an approach that tolerates material inequality in exchange for an institutional system that benefits the poorest among us through an emphasis on economic growth.