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Montevideo, March 25th 2019 - 14:23 UTC

The model of Western democracy is broken: unemployment stats questioned

Saturday, April 28th 2018 - 07:44 UTC
Full article 18 comments

By Gwynne Dyer - If the model is broken, should you try to fix it, or scrap it and get a new one? In questions of technology, increasingly the answer is: scrap it. Computer repair shops are dying out: if your laptop doesn't work, just buy a new one. What applies to consumer technology, however, does not necessarily apply to politics. Read full article


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  • :o))

    Hello, Gwynne!

    REF: “The model of Western democracy is broken”:

    The model of Western Democracy is broken ever since BILLIONS started pouring in for funding the election-campaigns; with the supposedly respectable motives such as donation, contribution, charity, foundation, etc.

    As the result, the candidates are “marketed” and the campaigns are the staged by the professionals, the speech-writers, etc. to guarantee a successful “SHOW” to impress the already Media-Brainwashed masses.

    Usually; these highly respectable - [as far as possible] DISCREET - donors [investors, speculators, punters, gamblers] reap the harvest of HUGE financial benefits; after the elections are won by THEIR very own candidates! Is that called “democracy” to begin with?

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 12:22 pm - Link - Report abuse +4
  • Enrique Massot

    Kudos to MP for publishing a column by insightful Gwynne Dyer on a significant topic.

    It is a reality that the millions of jobs taken by robots and computers are not coming back--rather, the bleed will continue. Wealth, however, is not disappearing because productivity is increasing--it's just concentrating in fewer hands.

    As a result, redistribution measures such as universal basic income are required to adapt to the new productive, automated systems.

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 03:50 pm - Link - Report abuse -4
  • bushpilot

    EM, does this re-distribution involve any of your own money?

    Are you one of those holders of “concentrated wealth” who will also have some of it taken away for a UBI?

    Do you do nothing for your money? Would you want to?

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 04:33 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • Greendreamer

    Democracy isn't broken, but the American political system is. The presidency is broken.
    The world gapes in disbelief that Americans can't remove a president who is destroying all the values that once made America great.
    The Presidency has been broken since the CIA assassinated one president, and conspired treasonously against another's re-election. We can finally make those statements with some degree of confidence now, but America has yet to recognize them for what they imply.
    The 17 security agencies in the US may be just a muddle now, but new dangers have risen.
    The monopolization of the media has trampled the public discourse. Corporate infiltration of government and educational institutions has risen unchecked. The system makes it impossible to establish new political parties, so a takeover of the two ordained parties is quite achievable.
    The American system of government is broken since the Supreme Court allowed it to be sold to the highest bidder with it's 2010 Citizens United ruling. It didn't take long for the kleptocrats to gain control of both parties and the office of President. Yet clearly this has happened - and they are squelching any remedy.

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 04:50 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The problem I see with the basic income is that people are just going to sit around and watch TV all day, and that is not a recipe for happiness. People want to feel like they are doing something useful, achieve something, especially young people. Bored, restless young people with nothing to do are just going to go hunting for trouble.

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 05:11 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • darragh


    Or as my old Granny used to say “the Devil makes work for idle hands”.


    Universal Basic Income? - how does that work then?

    Does each country decide what that should be as each country's standard of living is different.

    How about a country, like Italy, which has a richer northern area and a poorer southern area, does the northern area have to accept a lower UBI or the other way round?

    What happens if the country can't afford this UBI does some other wealthier country have to chip in?

    Who decides which other country is to chip in?

    What if some poorer country decides to boost the standard of living of it's citizens by setting the UBI artificially high to ensure that some other country has to pay for it.

    etc. etc,

    Sorry centralised Marxism doesn't work at local level so there is no chance of it working at national or supra-national level or maybe you're thinking along the Maoist line of “what's yours is mine and what's mine is my own”.

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 10:38 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • bushpilot

    If you love your country, if you like your culture the way it is, if you are ashamed to be unemployed, you prove the entire free world needs a “democracy overhaul”. Your wishes prove “we're broken”.

    American election system = Trump win = I don't like that = System is broken and we need to repair it.

    EU = people protesting against current levels of immigration = I don't like that = System is broken and we need to repair it.

    We should just keep on ignoring the wishes of the people like we have been because, we should be deciding what is best for everybody, just like we have been. A “good” democracy would legitimize this prerogative.

    And now that we've presented completely solid arguments and proof, which clearly have no room for being critically questioned, that democracy is without question broken, here is how we can fix it.

    Give everybody money. Tell them they don't need to be humiliated by taking money and doing nothing for it.

    UBI would be their, get this, their “right”. Why does UBI now become a God-given right where no such right existed before in 3K years of human history? Simple, because we can afford it, because we are still growing despite unemployment. No matter that it might not work in practice, as long as it works on paper. As long as it is at least addressing the “situation”, let's pay for it.

    Isn't giving everybody free money an act of unseemly populism also?

    But don't current levels of government debt show that we are, contrary to the above observation, very “unable” to afford something like this. This UBI solution might not be affordable after all.

    Mr. Dyer, do you have another solution that will prevent the people from expressing any politics that do not conform with your supra-enlightened politics?

    And when the people just shut up, and just finally let only the socialists decide what is best for everybody, then fascism will have been defeated and democracy will have finally been fixed.

    Could it be that Gwynne Dyer is broken?

    Apr 28th, 2018 - 11:25 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • :o))


    “The world gapes in disbelief that Americans can't remove a president who is destroying all the values that once made America great”:

    REF: “The model of Western Democracy is broken”:

    It's not only broken but is also made into a fake one - a mockery of the principles & objectives of democracy!

    THAT's the reason a scandals-riddled president can't be overthrown by the same population which helped him to be the president in the first place.

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 03:48 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I think each country would have to set their own, and it would not depend on where you lived. If people wanted a better standard of living they'd have to move to a cheaper area, or get a job.

    You're misunderstanding the article. Voting for Trump or Brexit isn't the problem, it's a symptom of the problem which is the hidden high levels of unemployment. While politicians looking at the figures might think everything is fine - the economy is growing, official unemployment counts are low - ordinary people can see that the current system is broken and have voted for people who promised to fix it. (And the politicians have finally been forced to notice that something is wrong.)

    What the author is saying is that the real cause of the unemployment is automation, and neither Trump nor Brexit will do anything about that, so ultimately they can't solve the problem either.

    What do you think we should do? Would it be better to ban automation so our kids can have jobs in factories and offices? It seems silly to make people do unnecessary work just to give them something to do, but what is the alternative? And what if other countries don't do this? They'll be producing the same things much more cheaply.

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 09:05 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • :o))


    REF: “the real cause of the unemployment is automation”:

    THAT, is progress; which is inevitable + necessary. With time, the population will have to adapt to the evolution. Mostly, it is painful but there is no other choice but to remain on par with the rest of the world.

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 09:45 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    I found that in China there existed a real goto hunger to advance and prosper. They realised how far behind the country was in the early 80s. As well as a hunger for progress there was State pressure too. This was similar to Britain and America both emerging from the war which had almost totally impoverished Britain.
    But since then both countries have lost it and become decadent and unfocussed whilst Asia has taken up the progress baton with gusto.
    The lowest bands of income have been dragged down by immigration. Talk to skilled factory and construction workers and they will tell you that. Lots of processes can be automated its been happening since the mid 70s, but many cannot be automated economically yet, and many wont ever be.
    Policies dreamed up by PPE graduates and people like Willets are just sticking plasters, UBI is a typical product of people who have never done a proper creative job with an end product.
    What we need is to recreate that hunger to progress which appears to have waned and withered by reforming education, changing attitudes to manual work and backing our creative people. Trumps solution certainly isnt the answer.

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 11:59 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Room101

    It isn't merely money: that only oils the wheels... it's about population attitudes, and their cultures.
    Democracy doesn't fail through mechanics or technology: they are the the tail that wags the dog.

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 01:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    If you believe immigration has dragged down wages then why don't you think Trump's solution is the answer?

    Personally, I think you have a point about hunger for progress, but - dispensing with political correctness - the people I see who have it ARE the immigrants. They seem to have no problem getting jobs, setting up businesses, learning English and moving on to better things. If Britain is such a land of opportunity for them, why isn't it for the locals?

    In any case, Brexit won't fix that attitude. If anything it will make it worse because there will be no competition to push us.

    As for UBI, I don't think it's workable and we couldn't afford it today anyway, but the danger now is that white collar jobs are automated away and another swathe of people become unemployed, even while manual jobs continue to disappear. If you have no skills anyone is willing to pay you for, what are you supposed to do?

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 01:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Why isnt it the locals, because the local have things too easy. There are too many easy jobs that pay good wages but dont add much to the economy. The supplement in todays Sunday Times gave details of lots of so called entrepreneurial startups. I read it with incredulity because hardly any one of them was worth a fig. Pie making etc!

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 07:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I can't believe you think having easy jobs that pay good wages is a bad thing! Do you hate your fellow Brits or what?

    And what's wrong with making pies? There's a guy who sells pies in our local market and they're really good, much better than the supermarket ones. Seems like a perfectly respectable business to me.

    Apr 29th, 2018 - 10:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))



    The people should UNITE to ENSURE that The Leaders [political & the others] STRIVE to offer:
    - Better Standards of Living
    - Better Quality of Life
    - Lower Cost of Living

    Apr 30th, 2018 - 03:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    “And what's wrong with making pies? ” Absolutely nothing except that it does absolutely nothing for our country. Thank you for openly displaying typical ignorance.

    May 01st, 2018 - 11:30 am - Link - Report abuse -1
  • DemonTree

    You're the ignorant one. Selling pies contributes exactly as much to the economy as selling anything else. Why do you hate Britain?

    May 01st, 2018 - 10:39 pm - Link - Report abuse +1

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