Is Democracy a Regime of Convenience?

Reading through “Disciplining Democracy” by Rita Abrahamsen, I am enlightened of the fact that voter apathy is considered a good sign by Western democracies. She notes how it implies that a low voter turnout is an implication to governments that the people are happy with the ways things are and that whichever leader is chosen, they will reflect (at least in basic principle) that which is best for the general population. She even goes so far to say that Western countries are looking to cultivate voter apathy in Africa as a sign that the West need no longer be concerned with their “white man’s burden” if the African people appear contented with their stable governments, rather than considering that democracy may not represent an African interest in active and dynamic political participation in the determination of their country’s future.

Capitalist regimes (especially in richer countries) adopt democracy out of convenience, relegating authority to more interested men, while they carry on their daily business. The daily business being more important and containing more power in terms of wealth for those of us who couldn’t be bothered with the values and philosophy that goes into a regime devoted to the benefit of the people. It is the perfect form of mass control, slaves to profits and ignorant of political change. As a democracy (which represent social welfare and justice in many philosophical texts) attains capitalist wealth, there is a reduction in concern for the poor or the widening gaps between them and the rich. There is less emphasis on equality of opportunity and more emphasis on exclusion and bracketing off undesirable or ‘outside’ members such as the poor, immigrants, working families, etc. There is no longer an interest in keeping a middle class but in creating a ‘tyranny of the market’ and disregarding basic human security of a considerable chunk of the population. Can anyone (fore)see the regression into a neoserfdom?

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