Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, February 09, 2015

Plutocratic Gravity

What plutocrats denigrate as "tax and spend" is of course public investment in abiding democracy, the fragile interminable work to secure the scene of informed, non-duressed consent to the terms of everyday life for the majority who work for a living by securing civil rights, the franchise, public redress of grievances, equitable legal recourse, sound education, universal healthcare, basic income, and the sustainable administration of common goods in the public interest.

But it is crucial to grasp that the wealth concentration facilitated by reductions in progressive taxation and public spending is also an investment in abiding plutocracy. It is no accident or facile hypocrisy that plutocrats are quite prepared to endorse public spending for corporate-military priorities from which they benefit disproportionately and so consolidate their position.

What plutocrats bemoan as "passing debt to our children" is the plutocratic minority fearing the loss of position and control for themselves and their kind, just as the austerity they would pass on instead is a democracy deficit, barring the democratization through which majorities would gain and maintain equity-in-diversity.

It is crucial to grasp that plutocrats do not clash with democrats over the need for public investment but over the beneficiaries of public investment, they do not clash with democrats over the need to secure legacies but over the beneficiaries of legacies. It is consoling to fancy these battles of presence against absence, positivity against negativity, for such figurations lend the force of irresistible substance and gravity to democratization. But the arc of history does not bend toward justice, the heartbreaking historical struggle of democrats alone does sometimes bend it, for these are clashes between positivities, gravities, substances.

Whatever the rhetoric to the contrary deficits don't matter as such to anybody who clashes over them, all that matters are the ones who bear them; spending doesn't matter as such, all that matters are the ones who benefit; taxes don't matter as such, all that matters are the ones who pay.

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