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RE: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality

From: John Turnbull

> At the risk of joining this thread too late, I feel I have to take issue with Gary when he says,

>> The idea, for example, that a million non-thinking people can arrive at better solutions than a few 
very intelligent, thinking people who study the issues seriously is simply silly.
> Who are these 'non-thinking' people, Gary? This is exactly the kind of attitude that has prevented real democracy from emerging, that has
kept millions of people from playing a meaningful role in the conduct of their own societies' affairs.
If you really believe that a mass of people can make any sort of decision, I suggest that you actually try it. I accept that all people need to be able to “play a meaningful role in the conduct of their own affairs,” but I do not think that extends to obtaining opinions on matters which do require specific expertise. If you read all the post (a chore I admit) you will see that I believe that group participation is good for determining “how we would like things to be,” or “give a set of workable options and their consequences, which do we prefer (or non, so look for more option.” If you think this is elitist, consider having the people in the hospital waiting rooms vote on how to perform your brain surgery and then make the surgeon conform to the “will of the majority”.
> Somebody asked in an earlier posting 
"what is wrong with democracy?" The answer is that we don't have any - all we have is pseudo-democracy, which has evolved for the
purpose that is implicit in Gary's thinking: to exclude the masses and let those who 'know best' make the decisions.
There is *no* such purpose implicit in *my* thinking. You are correct that we have problems with the way our democracy is organized. A major problem that we have is that we get to vote on which of a set of unworkable proposals we want to implement. Having lawyers attempt to design systems of any sort with a purpose to get re-elected is not a good way to get workable systems.
I keep hearing about becoming an informed citizen – has anybody tried lately? When a typical piece of legislation runs to several thousand pages, much of which makes modifications to other multi-thousand page documents, and which is written to obfuscate in the first place, becoming informed is a hopeless task. In my youth I believed that this was the problem with government – that the information load was overwhelming – so that better information systems (knowledge systems, if you will) were a part of the solution. I now know that the problems are *not* simply a matter of information overload.
If we are to have
anything approaching a just society, ALL of the people affected by decisions MUST be have the opportunity to be involved in the
decision making process. Democracy must be a learning process, with all of us learning from each other, not simply the 'non-thinking'
people being lectured at by those who 'know' what's good for them.
I agree. How many people in any volunteer organization actually participate? About 20% - 30% if the figures that keep cropping up are correct. What leads you to believe that this percentage will be different if we extend it to millions? We should make it possible for all of the people affected by decisions to have the opportunity to be involved in the decisions.
The idea of  simply the 'non-thinking' people being lectured at by those who 'know' what's good for them” is yours, not mine.
I will continue to insist that we should leave it to those affected to decide whether to invest the resources in a bridge, a mine, a satellite, but I do not accept that this means that this same group should *design* that bridge, mine, or satellite. I have seen what happens when that job is tackled by an “elite” of college-trained engineers numbering in the hundreds of thousands – not a pretty site. Trying to accomplish this by letting everyone who wants to vote on the engineering required would never result in a project that works –it almost doesn’t now. The affected people *should* get more input than they do as to *whether* these projects are undertaken.
As a final point, we have a very select group of people on this forum, with a relatively narrow set of goals (relative to the total set possible) and even with this “elite” and several years of time, we have not yet been able to agree even on what it is we are trying to accomplish, much less how to go about doing it. There is good work being done by a few individuals, but the democratic process hasn’t been having a lot of success at developing a system that works.




Garold (Gary) L. Johnson