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Weekend reflections

March 26th, 2010

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please.

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  1. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 5th, 2010 at 09:46 | #1

    Iain – I just thought I’d let you know that I’m ignoring you for the time being. My feeling is that you’re currently too cynical for constructive discussion. Maybe later.

  2. April 5th, 2010 at 11:07 | #2

    @TerjeP

    My example served ti underline the point — the agreement was set to stand or fail on the basis of the input of the major emitters — China amongst them. Had China not even been there, Copenhagen could not have started.

  3. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 5th, 2010 at 14:01 | #3

    Fran – yes okay I accept that point. And I don’t think non-democracies should be excluded from all dialogue or decision making. However I do think there should be a forum that is exclusively for democratic nations and there should be some explicit benefits associated with membership in terms of access.

  4. April 5th, 2010 at 15:12 | #4

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    The problem you seem to be having is that, the appeal of the analogy notwithstanding, international organisations are really unlike social clubs and sovereign nations are really unlike people. If one means to apply any non-military pressure at all on any state to act in the collective interest, one must have them as a party to the negotiations and attempt to bind them to honour outcomes, even if one regards their internal behavior as appalling. Creating artificial benchmarks like “democratic” or perhaps “civilised” is simply not feasible.

    Benefits for good internal conduct flow from positive trade relationships, low sovereign risk, productivity, stability of the currency, a professional and competent bureaucracy and so forth and these have very little to do with anything capable of being resolved directly by the UN.

  5. Alice
    April 5th, 2010 at 17:41 | #5

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    How many nations pretend to have a democratic process Terje??…including the US….where votes supposedly matter but when it really boils down …its the money that buys the campaign that really matters.

    I dont exclude Australia from this warped view of democracy. The only true democracy is one where all electoral processes like campaigning and voting are purely publicly funded in their entirety (and where big business interests cant just buy their way into politics and lunches and meetings).

    I believe John Rawls advocated this in 1975. Still, I cant name a country where it happens.
    Democracy is a sham and a meaningless term.

    Australia had a better chance of democracy in the 1920s than it does today.
    To even believe that democracy actually exists in most western nations (or in most developing nations – where guns or bombs scare people away from polling booths) is naive in the extreme. Its like you just stepped out of a primary school textbook – “lets define democracy – a place where your vote matters”???.

    The real meaning of modern democracy is this – a place where some of the well funded well heeled organisations (usually large) get the government that give them the favours and concessions the rest of us insiginficant rabble pay for.

    Thats modern “democracy” Terje.

  6. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 5th, 2010 at 19:36 | #6

    Alice – your making a semantic argument. No democracy is perfect but the point is that the people should have the means to change the government without a violent revolution.

    In 2007 I stood for the senate. We did not qualify fo any public funding. And we had to fork out fees for the privaledge of standing. So private funding was the only option (ie we all put some cash in the hat). How would you have us do it or is your version of democracy only for insiders.

  7. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 5th, 2010 at 19:40 | #7

    p.s. I think political parties should be banned from getting funding from unions, corporations, non citizens and governments. And the record of donations they do recieve ought to be published.

  8. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 5th, 2010 at 19:42 | #8

    p.p.s. Happy to cap individual donations also.

  9. April 5th, 2010 at 19:59 | #9

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    The sentiment on donations is reasonable but this is hard to implement in practice without massive bureaucratic surveillance. That’s why the sortition system is simpler. There’s not a lot of point handing over serious cash to someone unless you can be very confident they are going to be able to deliver for you. That goes double if it’s only one person in a parliament and they are subject to a national plan, recall for malfeasance and are only serving a single term.

  10. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 5th, 2010 at 20:30 | #10

    Fran – no real argument with that logic.

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