Principles of Democracy

I recall doing library work for research years ago. Sitting on the floor in a section of the Dewy decimal system looking at tables of contents, indices and illustrations from books on the same subject often took one in strange directions, off on new ones or even reminded one of basic information that one often overlooked in the excitement of the new research topic. While sitting at my computer desk using search engines, I almost recreated part of that old experience when looking for pointers to democratic principles, I inadvertently stumbled upon the online Robert’s Rules of Order. In doing a Bing Search, over 15 million results “pop” up (assuming something that massive pops and doesn’t actually recreate the big bang). Google produced over 250 million results. Checking, Robert’s Rules of Order popped up in that one, too.

As I say, I was looking for references to “democratic principals.” Heaven knows I should know what they are, but in writing about them, even in a small chapter of a book, I figure an author’s presentation should be backed up by other authors—after all, that is the way the information game is played—evidence even if the evidence is just some other bloke’s word. But, I had forgotten about the basic source for governing most democratic organizations: Robert’s Rules of Order. I was grateful for the reminder. Not only that, but the way Robert’s Rules presents democratic principled, brings them down to a local and very personal level. We all can envision ourselves as members of a small group. So, when we understand the democratic principles in the context of that group, it makes it a bit easier to place our selves in a larger group, say as a citizen (member) of the United States of America.

Democratic principles can be summarized in may ways. Perhaps they are best summarized as they are in Robert’s Rules of Order as “six essential principles that ensure that the democratic process is upheld in any organization [including a government].
1. “All members are equal—they have equal rights and responsibilities.
2. “The organization is run with impartiality and fairness.  The rules are applied equally and fairly to all and not just a few. There is no favored group within the organization [which] will get preferential treatment or who considers itself above the law.
3. “Ideas come from the members and are presented to the assembly to decide upon. Everyone gets the right to present ideas, speak to these ideas, and vote on the ideas, not just a select group…
4. “The majority rules but the rights of the minority and absent members are protected.
5. “Everything is accomplished in the spirit of openness, not secrecy. Members have the right to know what is going on within the organization by attending meetings, inspecting the official records and receiving notices and reports form committees, officers, and boards. And
6. “Leaders come from the people through an election process which is fair and not slanted so a favored group can control the organization. When a leader’s term of office ends, he or she returns to the people.  A hierarchy of power doesn’t exist; it is shared equally.  All members have the right to be considered for office.” (10/20/2018)

A coupld of points stick out. First the notion that everyone is equal because of membership (citizenship in the context of the United States of America) Second that the minority’s rights and rights of members not present ARE protected from the majority. This one makes lies of vote suppression attempts in the name of voter fraud, or even laws requiring fixed addressed. With the low turnout rate in American elections, those who are not voting fall into the group of members not present. The third things that strikes me is the “spirit of openness.” Interestingly, this is not apparently a part of confirming justices of the Supreme Court.
If one reads the Robert’s Rules of Order statement of prinicples of democracy carfully one might begin to translate the operations of our elected representatives in a wholly different light.


A Note on Global Warming in Response to My Friend, Cj


Yesterday I wrote on deartedandjody that the new version of a book on my proposal to democratize money was moving at a snail’s pace. My friend Cj commented “I wouldn’t worry too much about the money thing, in 80 yrs time the global warming will have finished us all off with several ‘big ones’ by the sounds of things.” Her comment got me to thinking about the way we, human beings, seem to respond to small changes around us—we either don’t notice or we don’t believe they are real changes. But then, we do notice some that seem to threaten our grasp of things and our grasp on things. By grasp I mean both our understanding and our ownership.

Out understanding of things is predicated upon our experiences (experiential and indirect experiences we have by reading or listening) our beliefs and our wants. All too often, our understanding does not include empathy for others in who have had different experiences than we have had. All too often our understanding is based on a very local or parochial view of the world. So, Cj’s comment that “in 80 years time the global warming will have finished us all off,” is one that accurately expresses our, human beings, response to a subtle change that has manifest itself in regions of the world in which most of us do not live or even visit—the Arctic, the Antarctic, low islands, and high altitudes. While the rest of us experience once in a thousand year storms, droughts, wild fires, and the like about once a year, we brush them off as anomalies. Besides, those once in a thousand year events, on average happen to someone else (millions of someone else). So, understanding will come too late to too many that global warming is taking place and eventually it will reach a tipping point with too much carbon in the atmosphere will make the change impact everyone and be, as scientists say, irreversible.

But understanding is not the only reason for our doom in 80 years. Ownership is another. We grasp things, own them and hang on for dear life. While we might argue that we manage what we own and keep it up to snuff and increase its value, on balance, that is not quite accurate. Largely prolonged ownership tends to cause real and other property to deteriorate over time. We get comfortable with the small cracks and inefficiency so we call them character and let them go. Large corporation tend to get a bit complacent with its resources and over time giant corporations tend to become ‘historic’ and no longer the titans of an industry they once were, if they continue to exist at all. They too get set in their ways and some of their inefficiency catch-up with them. None-the-less they, like human beings, hang on to what they have with a death grip—that all to often is a death grip. In a very parallel sense, people who hold white supremacist thoughts, either explicitly or implicit, hold on to power by denying others access. This is becoming more and more obvious in the US today as whites slip into minority status. These with supremacists talk of values and history as if that alone were reason to hang on to something they never had. By the same token we localize this ownership and trash our neighborhood property with our garbage and trash—check out floating islands of trash in the oceans and on some remote beaches as evidence of this lack of stewardship beyond our immediate property lines.

Finally I would add our wants, desires, or wishes for how we want things, fantasies if you will, to the list of culprits for our demise in 80 years at the hands of climate warming. Simply put, we don’t want the climate to change. So, we don’t beleive3it or we deny it. Then too, if we are in business and it costs us something to minimize our carbon footprint, we will eschew the cost on the basis of either belief or denial. As the Gore lecture serice made into a documentary was titled it is “An Inconvenient Truth.” A truth which will cost everyone something in the short term and everyone everything in the longer term.

I would submit that our wants and desires or wishes for how we want things in the future is the biggest problem as it is the one which dictates if we, human beings in every country, will take action. I assert this ad all of our political will and decision making processes are tied up in moneyed interests. Moneyed interests rule the world. So, a better response to my friend Cj’s comment would be, it is more imperative than ever than we change how money is created. For under the current system, dominated by moneyed interests, there is no motive to ward off climate warming, for it is in the moneyed interests of the word’s short term interests to keep making a profit.
If the average citizen were the recipient of newly created money rather than the bankers and financial wizards as they are now, perhaps, our priorities could be modified to the point where the warming climate may get noticed and an impetus to take action can be made?


Inflation under the plan to Democratize Money by Monetizing Citizens? NO WAY!

I sent a copy of my book to an old college friend months before I published it He was concerned about inflation under my proposal to have the Fed put new money (give) into adult citizen’s bank accounts. However, inflation would not be a problem that the Fed could not deal. There were less than 208 million adult citizens in the US in July of this year. The Fed held over $17 trillion in debt. If the Fed thought doling out money to the citizens in monthly or biweekly installments created a bubble (too much) money) and stimulated inflation they could sell the debt instruments they hold to contract the money supply by as much or more as the new money in the hands of citizens created. During the first year Fed deposits into citizen accounts would amount to (rounding up) $4.982 trillion (including new money the governments will get. The feds hold more than three times that in debt instruments they could sell. So, there is absolutely no reason for a surge in inflation caused by too much money entering the system given the Fed’s resources (which are in debt so it is strange to call them resources, but that is finance) to manage the money supply.

Yes there are, theoretically different cause of inflation. So, pick out one and then we can examine the tools that are used to combat it. In all cases it is a matter of psychology (Greenspan used to call it jawboning), open market operations (buying and selling debt instruments), reserve ratios (the percent of a bank’s depositors accounts it can lend) and what they call the window (the rate at which the Fed allows banks to borrow). None of the Fed’s tools are changed by my proposal. So they can still manage the money supply in the ways they have learned over the years.

Footnote: I did not cit my sources for numbers. I did that on purpose. This way a reader has to look them up on their own. I always felt more comfortable checking other people’s numbers when I could find them on my own. But to give you a hint, I googled two questions: how many adult citizens live in the US? And, How much debt does the Fed hold?


A 226 word statement from Robert Redford. And, a way to escape from the vicious cycle of Transfer Payments.

Robert Redford
Friday, October 5th, 2018 

Tonight, for the first time I can remember, I feel out of place in the country I was born into and the citizenship I’ve loved my whole life. For weeks I’ve watched with sadness as our civil servants have failed us, turning toward bigotry, mean-spiritedness, and mockery as the now-normal tools of the trade.
“How can we expect the next generation to step up and serve, to be interested in public life, and to aspire to get involved when all we show them is how to spar, attack, and destroy each other?
“It’s hard to blame young people for calling us out, and pointing to our conflicts between the values we declare, and those we stand behind only when it’s convenient to partisanship. Many people are rightly calling it a damn mess.
“But I want to encourage you to dig deep for hope and civility right now—to try to make connections with people you disagree with, to be better than our politicians.
“We don’t have to share the same motivations to want the same outcomes. Let’s focus on each other, and strengthening our communities, and reflecting on what’s happening. “Let’s live in justice and respect and let others fight it out now to the bitter ends.
This is our country too. Every woman, man, and child in it, our American future.
“We’ve got work to do.”

Sometime in the last month or two, Kevin Costner was on the View when I was riding my stationary bike to nowhere. He comment that he no longer recognized this country. This morning I caught reference to a statement that Robert Redford published  (see above): It would seem that Mr. Redford has said it most succinctly and non-threateningly in 226 words! The only question is how do we begin to start with the current three ring circus that passes for the three central branches of government today? History shows that the big name bank robbers and mafia chiefs of the 1930s were heroes to a segment of the population too? How do we get through to today’s worshipers of false heroes?

There is a sense in which a segment of the population view tax supported programs to give the poor a leg up as taking money from them through taxes and giving it to the poor. Unfortunately, they do not similarly view the tax loopholes, subsidies and outright payments to big money interests as giving the rich money. An analysis of the amounts transferred to the poor would pale in comparison to the amounts transferred to the rich. But the segment of the population that feels their money has been taken and given to the poor does not seem to see the vastly greater amounts their tax dollars have gone to programs to aid the rich. Then too that same segment of the population feels they have been discriminated against with Affirmative Action and Equality Opportunity programs designed to bring minority members of our communities into the mainstream with “equal treatment.” A segment of our white middle class and working class population saw Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity was opportunity and action for minorities only.
Rather than try to debunk these perceptions. Le me take a completely different track. Aside from individuals biased against minorities, a big reason minorities, or any one needs a leg up in our economic system is lack of money to get the education, skills, experience or the like to get ahead. Lack of money is the reason families can not provide the secure home for raising children ang moving them into productive adulthood. So, rather than taxing people to get money to give to those who need money, we can merely change the way we create new money by giving new money to all citizens in equal amounts. (See earlier posts in this bog or check out the book form on Kindle for 99 cents below for more than you ever wanted to know about new money and how to democratize it.) Then, the segment that is truculently being taxed to provide benefits to others, will not be taxed to do that any longer.

I estimate that we can give every adult citizen $20,000 a year without creating inflation (there are some hoops the Fed will have to jump through, but it can be done). Then the only argument against this, aside from the very rich who will not longer get all the newly created money as they currently do, will be from those who do not want others to get what they are getting.

I have to find a way to get the word out.

“We’ve got work to do.”