Democracy v self interest?

Mar 15, 2012

When it comes to electoral reform, are political parties more concerned about proposing reforms to suit their own agenda, or do they have the greater good at heart?

This very question forms the basis of a research theory currently being explored by Flinders University PhD candidate Sarah John (pictured).

Ms John, an International Studies and Laws (Honours) graduate, is investigating the between and the rules that govern our elections, both in Australia and overseas.

“The legislature determines a range of laws from counting rules to campaign finances, and as a result political parties have indirect control to pick and choose how elections are run,” Ms John said.

“For example, campaign finance laws govern who parties can seek money from, how they spend that money and whether they have to declare it publicly,” she said.

“So a party who generates most of its funds from large corporate donations would probably want to keep it that way for their own self-interest but there are also instances where such a party has sought to eliminate corporate donations by arguing they make parties beholden to the donor, which is a democracy-based idea.”

As part of her PhD, Ms John has spent the past three years conducting predominantly archival research – including a summer scholarship at the National Library of Australia as well as several overseas study trips to the US and Canada – to scour the archives for party records.

She said preliminary findings had shown political parties were more inclined to propose election reforms based on political culture.

“The conclusion I’m coming to is that political culture matters,” she said.

“Political parties are increasingly looking towards election reform to make parliament more relevant, revive interest in politics and ultimately reduce cynicism which is an endemic problem in .

“Where a society expects people to behave properly, political parties are much more cautious about pursuing their own interests but if the public expects a party to manipulate election laws they probably will because they’re not disappointing anyone.”

Explore further: New 'Surveyman' software promises to revolutionize survey design and accuracy

Provided by Flinders University

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User comments : 16

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_nigmatic10
3 / 5 (8) Mar 15, 2012
Politics is , first and foremost, self serving. Even when it seems they are serving the greater good, it really is to either retain or acquire a goal. If you want selfless acts in politics, i'm afraid you're going to need religion somewhere.
Claudius
1 / 5 (4) Mar 15, 2012
Political parties are increasingly looking towards election reform to make parliament more relevant, revive interest in politics and ultimately reduce cynicism which is an endemic problem in Australia.


The voting process needs to be made fraud-proof and corruption-proof before any other reforms can have meaning. Until then, no democracy is possible.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 15, 2012
This one reason why a written Constitution is important.
A Constitution that protects the rights of the individual from the democratic mob.
Freedom of speech for all, regardless of economic resources, is important.
One, living citizen, one vote is important. ID laws are needed to prevent fraud.
Castro loves to tell the world he was elected. The quality of that election should be paramount to all. Unless the losing party, the socialists, know they must commit fraud to win.
Au-Pu
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 16, 2012
Democracv is an illusion.
To the best of my knowledge a demographic government has never existed anywhere in the world.
Political parties are anathema to the concept of democracy because they put the philosophy and needs of the party before their voters.
Give it some thought.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Mar 16, 2012
The voting process needs to be made fraud-proof

While important this in no way makes democracy proof from corruption. People will vote based on the information they get. Manipulate that information and you can have undemocratic governments based on perfectly democratic principles.
A particular insidious way of manipulating such information is by underfunding the education system.

The best arguments for complex subjects are useless if the electorate isn't educated enough to understan them. Never underestimate the ability of motivated people to skew election results - no matter how fair your process is.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Mar 16, 2012
The education system is the US in not underfunded. It is over unionized and biased.
The fact that Sweden has vouchers and most unionized US teachers oppose competition/choice, says it all.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (37) Mar 16, 2012
"The voting process needs to be made fraud-proof and corruption-proof before any other reforms can have meaning." - Cladius

To do that, you will first you will have to get rid of the voting machines.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (38) Mar 16, 2012
The congenital liar has some advice for Americans.

I advise they ignore it.

"The education system is the US in not underfunded. It is over unionized and biased." - RyggTard

The more Americans become Corporate slaves, the more education will be targeted toward producing corporate slaves.

An American just in time workforce is needed to compliment it's just in time inventory system.

Cattle are best served for that purpose.
ForFreeMinds
1 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2012
"... there are also instances where such a party has sought to eliminate corporate donations by arguing they make parties beholden to the donor, which is a democracy-based idea."

This is getting it backwards. Rent seekers donate to campaigns on the hope or expectation of a government favor (at our expense) - they can't force politicians to provide favors. Politicians can say no to favors. So unethical politicians do provide favors to generate campaign cash. Look at all the big money flowing to Obama. It flows because Obama has shown he's more than happy to provide favors (e.g., Solyndra, the bailouts, ObamaCare favors to specific insurers).

The reality is not the money corrupts politics, it's that politicians corrupt commerce for campaign cash.
Callippo
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2012
This is a general problem of contemporary voting systems, which enable only positive votes, which leads to high degree of populism in side of politicians and ignorance and lack of interests about negative aspects of politics on the side of publicity. Even morally controversial politicians may become successful in this system, if they're is sufficiently active in another areas, in self promotion of personality cult in particular. I believe, this MAY be one of reasons of society problems with its own political representations: voters simply have no veto privilege - they can be only partly responsible. In natural evolution such unbalanced approach to fitness function would suffer consequences, because it violates the equilibrium of supply and demand.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2012
Politicians can say no to favors. So unethical politicians do provide favors to generate campaign cash.

In one sense, socialists are correct, good govt needs good people.
Adam Smith noted that free markets understand no man is an angel and is motivated by self-interest.
The authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution understood this and intended to limit the power of the govt.
The 'progressives' changed that over 100 years ago with the creation of the FDA and the regulatory state, the forth branch of unaccountable govt for which both Congress and the President sell favors.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Mar 18, 2012
The FDA pretty much put an end to the sale of snake oil medicinal remedies.

But political snake oil is still being sold by the likes of RyggTard and his familials.

The result is the moral, ethical, intellectual, and fiscal bankruptcy of their own nation.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2012
"In 2006 the first "new" monopoly that was created by this FDA process was for the malaria drug quinine sulfate. This left only Mutual Pharmaceutical Company to manufacture quinine in the US (pdf). While malaria is not a disease that affects many people in the US, it is big business worldwide. Malaria causes 300 to 500 million infections and over 1 million deaths each year. Treating this disease with quinine used to cost pennies a day. In fact, the British turned this treatment into a cocktail, the gin and tonic (quinine water).

Another drug removed was the antihistamine carbinoxamine, which was created prior to needing FDA approval, in the early 1950s. It was approved by the FDA in a slightly modified form in 2006. It is now sold exclusively by Mikart, Inc and Pamlab, LLC with no future competition because the FDA has banned all 120 other versions of carbinoxamine."
http://www.techdi...es.shtml
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2012
The FDA pretty much put an end to the sale of snake oil medicinal remedies. But political snake oil is still being sold by the likes of RyggTard and his familials. The result is the moral, ethical, intellectual, and fiscal bankruptcy of their own nation.
The point of AWT is, every stance must remain balanced. The fanatical opponents of FDA approach will behave in the same dishonest and hypocrite way, just in dual extent.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2012
"As Sallie James says, public choice theory teaches that government favors flow to the politically connected. And favor-dispensing institutions such as the Export-Import Bank are dispensing incentives for private interests to develop lucrative political connections."
"Politicians, however, enjoy being drawn into largesse sweepstakes, which pretty much define the political profession today. So expect the bank to survive and even thrive, with its cap raised from $100 billion to $140 billion. Congress normal reaction to wayward institutions is to extend their lives, expand their mandates and increase their money. In Washington, the penalty for slipping the leash of law is a longer leash and a larger purse."
http://www.boston..._policy/
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Mar 18, 2012

Quinine was the first effective treatment for malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum, appearing in therapeutics in the 17th century. It remained the antimalarial drug of choice until the 1940s, when other drugs replaced it that have less unpleasant side effects. Since then, many effective antimalarials have been introduced, although quinine is still used to treat the disease in certain critical circumstances, such as severe malaria, and in impoverished regions due to its low cost.

Questions and Answers about FDAs Enforcement Action
Against Unapproved Quinine Products

This action does not affect quinine drug products marketed with FDA approval.

http://www.fda.go...9653.pdf

Poor RyggTard. The FDA hasn't created a monopoly in any true sense. They simply require existing manufacturers to certify their products for FDA approval.