Reading David Runciman’s absorbing review of David Graeber’s new book (The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement), this paragraph leapt out at me:
To make his case that electoral democracy entirely stifles the expression of everyday experiences, Graeber provides a brief history of how we got into our present mess. This is where the book comes alive, because Graeber’s uncompromising approach, so wearying when applied to his personal history, is bracing when applied to the world at large. He believes it is no accident that the current political system protects the interests of the super-rich at the expense of almost everyone else. Our democracy is not some imperfect version of the real thing. It is the opposite of the real thing. Genuine democracy enables ordinary people to break free from the conventions that limit their capacity to lead fulfilling lives. In our democracy, the limitations are entrenched, because the conventions are all about protecting the power of money.
Or, to translate it into programmer-speak: the fallout from the banking catastrophe is not a bug in the system, it’s a feature. It’s what the system now does: privatises profit and socialises losses.