Posts Tagged ‘China Australia Governance Economy Corporations Future’

China See, China Do, We Do?

May 13, 2012

China See, China Do, We Do?
By Jon Foyt

What system best governs? Our Founding Fathers struggled with that powerful issue, conceptualized, debated, and finally created and established the system of governance that has prevailed for more than 200 years.
Fast forward from Philadelphia to today. Add these forces: power of corporations, the influence of lobbyists, and the advent of run-away technology—three matters the Founding Fathers had no clue about. Nor could we expect them to have seen 200 years into the future, anymore than we today can gaze with any forecasting reliability into tomorrow’s crystal ball.
Elsewhere, the Australians invented a system of governance that works effectively. Patterned on the Parliamentary system, with an obligatory nod to royal heritage, their political campaign season is short and precise. Citizens must vote, or else…. Differences of opinion and philosophy abound, as they must in a democracy. There is no limitless election coverage by the media. Nor does the economy devote millions of dollars to political advertisements in a seemingly unending campaign. Nor does the voter become lost and overwhelmed in the extended election process. And some 30 days later, when the campaigns end and the votes are counted, the winners take office immediately and go to work.
But how many people live “down under?” And what foreign country is now influencing the Aussies more than a simple election outcome? Read on:
What of the larger countries? Think of China today. Huge and vibrant. Huge in numbers and vibrant in progress and development—a major world force. Like the United States of the 20th century. But we are living in the 21st century. And what are the changes in governing systems that, in this new century, appear on the horizon?
David Brady, Deputy Director of the Hoover Institution, in a recent address at the University Club in San Francisco, cited the significant rise in the number of Independent voters as a sign of discontent and even disfavor about the two party system, and the electoral college, and the societal time, money and effort spent on seemingly redundant primary elections. Perhaps, he hinted, changes may be in the wings.
In a detailed treatise entitled “The Costs of Political Corruption in America,” published by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Bruce Owen, Director of the Public Policy Program at Stanford, warns of the overbearing corporations and lobbying interests in the American governing system. Things have gone almost too far, he hints, for a meaningful correction with a return to the “good olde days of people-generated demonstrative democracy. He suggests that we’ve ceded power to the corporations and to the moneyed interests who pay for the election of the members of Congress.
General and former Ambassador to Afghanistan, David Eikenberry, now at Stanford, asks the penetrating question: “Who Owns the American Military?” He suggests that the answer is: Members of Congress, who control the budgets and who, in turn, are influenced by campaign contributions from the vast moneyed interests.
What of China? “Oh, there’s this 9-man (all male) Politburo, left over from Red China, and they control everything and determine the country’s course.“ Or is it that way? What of the thousands of new enterprises, (enterprises cast in the Western mold), that bloom in China today, many partly owned by the central government, or by almost autonomous regional governments, or by the huge numbers of billionaire investors in China, and even in part by foreign (American and European) corporations and venture capitalists?
Perhaps, and don’t breathe a word of it around Rossmoor, we are becoming more like China, than they are becoming like us. I mean, what system is really governing us today? Not in fantasy historical time, but in real time?
If we were queried by a little green person from Mars, stepping off a space ship at Gateway, and speaking in perfect English, “Take me to your leaders.” What would be our reply?
Perhaps our answer would, in reality, be: Look to the multi-national corporations, to the moneyed interests, to the forces of investment capital: international, venture, and sovereign government funds. It is with them that you will find the forces of governance at work, cloaked, of course, in the latest fashion designs of democracy’s sheep’s clothing. Therein gestates today’s American governing system, as well as elsewhere, down under and up above. Given such economic and business dynamics, can future governance anywhere develop any other way?

Jon Foyt, a Rossmoor novelist, has completed his tenth novel, Time to Retire, set in a fictional active adult retirement community. He posts his Blog at https://writerlygifts.wordpress.com/ and can be contacted at jonfoyt@mac.com

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