Brexit Lessons on Democracy

One striking outcome of the Brexit vote is how divided the country is… not a country, really, a union of countries (see the EURO cup with England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). The New York Times called it an overwhelming vote, although it was 52%, with half the country loathing the outcome. The question is, why such an important (and actually legally non-binding) referendum is not set at a higher threshold, like a two-thirds majority, or even 75% as is required for any change to the American Constitution. The outcome of the Brexit vote, is after all, really important. Why else would the international markets react with such viciousness (and absurdity, since nothing has changed, actually). Then there is the split within the UK, where Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. Now the Scots are itching to leave the UK to rejoin the EU. It would be funny, if it weren’t true. So what to do? Take a lesson from the Swiss (and again constitutional changes in the US) in federalism. After all, the electoral college in the US provided a victory to Bush, even though Al Gore won 52% of the American votes. Not only does one need a majority of the votes overall, you also need a majority of the Swiss Cantons to agree. This protects the minority regions with small populations to be overruled by the larger populations, with supposedly equal count in the Union. Great Britain does not have a written Constitution. Great Britain has a Monarchy without any say what so ever. Just garnish on a republican cake. The English Leavers now pride themselves of being once again independent. But independent of what? From whom? Here is a tiny nation that votes for isolation after having been an Empire for half a millennium. How far can Britain fall? To an English/Welsh also running Kingdom?

Less regulation means more inequality

Inequality is the result of an imbalance of power. And this is also true for economic power. Clearly, in today’s labor market, workers have less influence than employers and big corporations, including too big to fail financial institutions. The latter control the flow of money throughout the economy. Over the last 20 to 30 years, these institutions have enjoyed less regulation and more control over the nation’s and the global economy. The results of this influence are apparent in stagnant wages, increased profits, higher stock market, and lower corporate taxes. Their influence is such that they are too big to fail and many have been bailed out by the tax payers.

There is an oversupply of cash in the American economy that gets corporation cheap money.  But that money is not flowing into wages. Instead it flows into share holder pockets. As a result, the stock market is vibrant and has recovered from several disastrous down turns, while working wages have not, even though jobs have recovered.

So why are the job creators harboring cash instead of paying their employees better salaries or creating more jobs? Because they can and because they don’t have to. Their is no incentive for companies to invest, since they are not judged by how well they treat their workers, but how well they compensate their stock holders.

Can Trump destroy Democracy?

Donald Trump is a not so subtle bully that steamrollers over his opponents with insults and lies. Now that many of those having been gravely insulted declare support for his nomination, can we conclude that the institution called the American Republic and its Constitution are strong enough to weather the insults sure to come from a potential President Trump? For institutions are only as strong as the people that are in charge of its care. Remember Weimar.

Update on June 8, 2016

Now that Donald Trump has openly attacked a federal judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuit on the basis of his race, you better believe that this man has the temperament to run roughshod over the Constitution.

What Feminism Is

Feminism means the same rights for women that men get.

Feminism means the same respect for women than men enjoy.

Feminism means that women have control over their own life, just as men have over their’s.