Socialism for the Rich or Gardens of Democracy

Next year we will witness a presidential election campaign of particular severity and I bet right-wing media will portray whomever the Democrats nominate for president as the spearhead of socialism. But whatever some people want us to think, will the real choice be: Trump or socialism ?

Surely not. In my opinion, it is outside of any discussion that an economy in which private property is protected, private enterprise is rewarded, markets set prices and profits provide incentives will, over time, generate more wealth, innovation and good living conditions than other systems. The alternative in the US and other western countries is not capitalism or socialism. The alternative is a system where the super rich make profit at the expense of the tax payers or where the burdens are fairly shared.

As things have developed during the last years and decades, large corporations can partially pay wages below the subsistence level, they can cause long-term damage to the environment, banks can bring themselves to the brink of ruin through risky financial transactions in deregulated markets and under the line the tax payer – that means first and foremost the middle class and the little man – will finally pay for all.

In The Gardens of Democracy, Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer outline an argument for why our most basic assumptions about these topics need updating for the 21st century. For those finding their voice for the first time, this book offers a conceptual roadmap for a way forward—for what they are resisting, why they resist, and for the better democracy they want to grow.

For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. True self interest is mutual interest. Society, it turns out, is an ecosystem that is healthiest when we take care of the whole.

The decision in the next presidential election will not be, Trump or socialism. The decision will be: Keep it up and politics for the 1% of the super rich or a Change to politics that take into account the interest of all. Socialism for the Rich or Gardens of Democracy !

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