Representative democracy “at work”

Yesterday, Canadians voted in another general election. It changes nothing, not only because the same party will continue in power, with the same third opposition party supporting it, even if the main opposition party had won, even if it did with an absolute majority, none of the real, tangible issues that affect the daily lives of millions of Canadians would have been addressed.

The major daily issues that affect Canadians every day are:

Health care: 5 million Canadians without a family doctor and long waiting periods to see specialists, up to one year, and long waiting times for non-emergency surgery.

Anyone knows that the solution requires more family doctors, more specialists and more operating rooms.

Direct democracy Switzerland has twice as many doctors in proportion to the population, far faster access to specialists (often Swiss patients can book the appointment with the specialist themselves). It takes days, a few weeks at most, for the Swiss to see specialists and to have non-emergency surgery.

Why does it happen?, because Swiss politicians know that, in their direct democracy, the people have the power to force them to act, so they do. The lobbies, who might not want them to act, know that lobbying them will be a waste of time because the people have the power to prevail.

The Swiss also have far better and cheaper Internet and Telephone service. Cheaper, in spite of the fact the Swiss have 25 to 30% higher real income. Why?, again, because direct democracy pushes politicians away from the lobbies and closer to the people.

The cost of air fares in Canada is absurd too, same story.

Sometimes it seems that organisations like the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission) exist more to control consumers than to set fair prices and fair competition.

Same goes for the CanadianTransport Commission, otherwise, air fares and other fares would be far lower.

Education is another issue. Perhaps Canadian universities are comparable to Swiss universities, particularly in more or less theoretical research in the hard sciences. But they lag in applied research of use to industry to enable it to compete in the World in high tech, high value added products and services.

By the way, high tech is much more than Google, Amazon or Shopify, it is much more than the software they use, it is also al sorts of hardware, machinery, tools, etc.

Canada is far worse than Switzerlnnd in areas like professional training in skilled trades; fewer Canadians receive that training, and the training is not as good. Youth unemployment is much higher in Canada because Canadian industry is not competitive enough and because young people lack the skills to absorb the necessary training beyond smiling and wishing clients a good day.

Canadian business schools pretend to train people as professional managers in the MBA schools; it is absurd. Training a manager requieres far more than two years in a classroom, but the schools have done a great job at marketing…

The Liberal platform talks about “all Canadians having a family doctor and affordable medication”, but we all know those a just nice sounding promises.

I can picture Trudeau, and the leaders of the other parties too, saying with great solemnity “and a “xxx”  goverment will make sure every Canadian who needs to see a doctor can see one, and quickly, it is a shame what is happening now” (applause).

We all know the number of doctors will not increase, waiting times for surgery will not change because the Liberals and the others lack the will, or the power, to do much about it.

Internet and telephone service; we all know improvements and costs will change at a snail’s pace. Same goes for air fares, etc.

The other two parties, the Conservatives and the NDP you can see in their platforms they will not little or nothing about those issues.

If you also take into account that the promises of politicians are often just nice sounding words blowing in the wind, you know nothing about the major issues will change; millions of Canadians will continue without access to family doctors, and to specialists too, except when they have no choice but go to a hospital emergency room. It is a shame. No wonder Canadians have life expectancy lower than the Swiss; the Canadian health system is clearly worse.

It is obvious many Canadians die early becaure of the Canadian Health Care System. Sure, the American system is crazy worse; about 25% of Americans can not have a family doctor, in Canada the figure is “only” 13%.

The issue affects equally the voters on the Left, Right and Center, but the parties, with the help of lobbies and most media, manage to distract many voters with empty promises and sexy issues like energy efficiency. For example, the Liberal government is handing out millions in grants to middle class Canadians who can afford to buy heat pumps. To do that before an election does not seem too different from the vote buying of banana repuplics.

Same goes for internet, telephones and transportation; no party will do much.

Nothing really will change until most Canadians realize representative democracy is not good enough, that they need to take their destiny in their own hands. That is what the Swiss did in 1867; they have not looked back. Switzerland has become the best country in the World.

Without direct democracy, the major issues affecting the daily lives of Canadians will not be addressed. But, again, when the next election comes around, there will be lots of noise in the media, lots of seductive words by politicians, while the lobbies, working quietly in a thousand ways will get their way.

What just happened in Canada is similar to what happens in the US, UK, France, Germany, etc.

Victor Lopez


This direct democracy at work (third post)

In today’s post I continue translating the information package the Swiss government sends to voters to help them decide how to vote on the issue at hand. In this case the issue is to decide if taxes will be raised on capital and decreased for salaries.

I hope these materials convince you that you are as capable of deciding major issues as the Swiss are, and that it will motivate you to demand direct democracy wherever you live; from your town or village to the whole nation.

I continue the translation:

The term “capital income” is not currently defined in tax law. This term can be understood, for example, as interest, rental income, dividends and gains from the sale of securities or buildings. Part of the income of the self-employed can also be considered as capital income.

Currently, all types of income are in principle taxed in Switzerland in their entirety: income from work (salaries), pensions and income from capital. However, there are some exceptions to the taxation of capital income:
– Dividends are not taxed in their entirety as income in case of a participation of at least 10% in a company. Dividends are profits that companies distribute to their owners (e.g. shareholders). This partial taxation is due to the fact that profits are already subject to income tax. Without a shareholding of at least 10%, dividends are taxed in full.
– Private real estate gains are only taxed at the cantonal level. Such gains are realized, for example, on the sale of land or a house.
– Other private capital gains are exempt from tax. Such gains are realized, for example, on the sale of shares.
Capital is not only taxed as capital income, but also in other forms: – The cantons and municipalities levy a tax on the wealth of individuals and on the capital of companies.
– The Confederation, cantons and municipalities tax profits.
– Companies pay a stamp duty on trading in securities.
– Most cantons levy a transfer tax on the transfer of property.
In terms of the overall taxation of capital, Switzerland is above average compared to the EU member states.
For the authors of the initiative, the current taxation of capital and redistribution are insufficient. They call for a higher taxation of capital income when it is high. Capital income above a certain amount would be taxed one and a half times, i.e. 50% more heavily than other types of income. Above this amount, each franc of capital income will be counted as 1.50 francs. If the initiative is accepted, the Parliament will define the amount in question. The higher taxation will apply at both federal and cantonal level.
What the initiative proposes is that if you earn in salary 150 000 dollars, you will be taxed on 150 000 dollars, but you derive income from investments you will be taxed as if you earned 175 000 dollars.
If the initiative is accepted, the first 100,000 francs of capital income would be taxed at 100%, while the remaining 50,000 francs would be taxed at one and a half times, and thus at 150%. The taxation of  income in salaries would not be affected by the initiative and would remain unchanged.
In addition to the taxable income, the tax rate is also decisive for the calculation of taxes. The initiative does not impose any conditions regarding tax rates. The Swiss Confederation (national government) and the cantons remain responsible for setting them. If the tax rates remain unchanged, the persons concerned will pay more tax on the part of the capital income exceeding a certain amount.
The additional revenues resulting from the higher taxation of capital income will, as the initiative states, be used to reduce the taxation of low and middle income earners or for social welfare benefits.
It is not known how the initiative will be implemented. If it is accepted, it is the Parliament that will decide the concrete terms of implementation. Among other things, it will have to decide which incomes are considered as capital income, above which amount taxation will be higher, and in which form the additional revenues will be distributed.
Increased taxation of capital income could lead to behavioural changes. For example, people with high capital incomes may move to other locations. Savings patterns could also change, as income generated from capital savings would be taxed more heavily.
It is not possible to assess the extent of such behavioural changes, particularly in the absence of a clear understanding of how the initiative would be implemented. For this reason, it is also not possible to quantify the additional revenue that would result from higher taxation of capital income. Since capital income is very sensitive to taxation, it is unlikely that the additional revenue expected by the authors of the initiative will be realized. Thus, the intended redistributive objective is not likely to be achieved.
That is what the Swiss government is telling voters. The same government package also includes the position, in detail, of the committee who gathered the signatures to have the referendum.
In the next post on this issue, I will translate in detail the position of that committee.
Victor Lopez

This is direct democracy (second post)

As I said in the previous post, I am translating from French the documentation Swiss voters received from the Swiss government prior to the referendums of the coming Sept. 26.

This is when Swiss voters will vote on ,and decide, two issues; the legalisation of gay marriage and the level of taxation for salaries and capital.

Besides this documentation, Swiss voters acquaint themselves with the issue through traditional media, Internet, debates on TV and radio, and also through discussions with friends and family.

As you may be aware, in representative democracies, people do not often engage in political discussion with family and friends, because such discussions quickly become polarised. But this because in representative democracies, politicians and the media generate polarisation among the votes; you know, “righ-left”, “progressive-opposed to progress”, “good-bad”, etc. Rational discussion is not possible in such climate.

But polarisation happens because the media and politicians create such polarisation.

In Switzerland, the people do not discuss so much if approving gay marriage is “progressive” and not approving it is “backward”. Same goes for tax reform to increase taxes to capital and reduce taxes to salaries is “progressive” or “backward”, etc.

Because Swiss voters bear the responsibility for the effects of their actions, they look at the merits of each issue and the consequences of voting “yes” or “no”.

It is difficult to explain; it is a bit like the differences between an agitated discussion and a more calm, rational discussion anywhere on any issue.

I will now translate other documents Swiss government sends voters, and that include the positions of those for or against what the referendum proposes. To assist me with the translation I used DeepL.

As I translate, I add comments and clarifications to help those outside Switzerland.

“Distribution of income and assets”

In Switzerland, incomes before taxes and before receiving social benefits, are more balanced than most other OECD countries. The percentage of the population with the highest incomes receives a little more than 10% of the total income of the country.

There are indications that income inequality in Switzerland, before taxes and before social benefits has increased slightly in th past few decades. In relation with th total of incomes from salaries, the incomes from capital have remained stable during the same period.

If we consider the distribution of available incomes, meaning the disposable income of the population after taxes and after receiving social benefits, Switzerland is more or less average among OECD countries.

As far as wealth is concerned, the the portion of the total wealth in the hands of the wealthiest, has increased in Switzerland in the last  decades. In order to reduce inequalities among the population, redistribution takes place through taxation and social benefits.

Redistribution through taxes.

Concerning taxes, the people with the highest incomes pay proportionally more than those with lower incomes.

These taxes thus contribute to redistribution. For example, the top one percent of the population earns just over 10% of total income, but pays about 40% of the federal direct tax.

We should keep in mind that in Switzerland, the cantons (roughy similar to American states, German Landers or the Canadian provinces, but with considerable more power and autonomy) and municipalities collect the bulk of the income tax: here too, high-income earners pay proportionately more tax. For the one percent with the highest income, the share of cantonal income tax is lower than the share of federal income tax. This contributes to inequality.

Redistribution through social benefits.

In Switzerland, income redistribution takes place primarily through social benefits. Old-age provision, health costs as well as disability and unemployment insurance account for the largest share of social benefits. In total, spending on social benefits amounted to about 190 billion US dollars in 2018, which corresponds, more or less as in other prosperous Western countries. It amounts to about a quarter of the overall economic output.

This share has increased since the 1990s and has helped to counteract the growing economic inequality of recent decades.

Thanks to social benefits, including old-age pensions, fewer people are living below the poverty line: the share of the population that is poor in terms of income has fallen from over 30 percent to less than 10 percent. Inequality has not increased in terms of disposable income.

In my next post I will continue with Definition of Capital Income.

I hope this does not bore you; the idea is to convey to you the sort of information voters receive in Switzerland’s direct democracy to prepare themselves to vote to decide a specific issue.

As you can see, there is no comparison between the quality and tone of this information with the information voters receive to just elect politicians.

Victor Lopez

This is direct democracy; it is the democratic empowerment and assertiveness of the majority, nothing of “dictatorship of the majority” and similar foolishness

So that you will have a feel how a well-run real democracy works at the national level of government, at lower levels is similar. I have translated from French into English the information package each potential voter receives in Switzerland.

Sometimes I do not translate literally. This I do when I judge it is necessary for clarity in English.

If you want to examine the original documents, the Swiss government sends to each potential voter, you can download the mobile app Voteinfo.

As you can will see, the packaged is a serious and fair document, no “hot air” promises, no demagogical attacks to those with different positions.

The document is serious because Swiss voters know they will make a decision and that they will be responsible for the consequences. This is very different from representative democracies, where the voter’s only decision is for whom to vote.

In representative “democracies” the people can not decide on what issues, laws, policies, treaties or changes to the constitution of the country, they will vote. In a representative democracy, the people can blame the politicians for everything, in Switzerland they can’t, because the people can stop anything the politicians have done or want to do. If the voters do not do that, it is because not enough people are interested, but they have the power to do it. In representative democracies, all the people can do is “vote and hope”. If they are very angry, they can take to the streets, as we see in the US, UK, France, Germany, etc.

The information package the Swiss voters receive, is also fair because it includes the views of the most significant parties, suggesting to the voters to vote “yes” or “no”; the government, the parliament and the committee of ordinary citizens who collected the signatures to make the referendum possible.

In the case of the Sept. 26 referendum on the popular initiative to reduce taxes on salaries and increase them on capital, this is what the information package states:



Currently, all incomes from salaries, other incomes and incomes from capital (for example, interest, dividends, incomes from rents) are in principle applied to the total income. Taxes on income help to mitigate the inequalities in the distribution of revenues in the population. In this way, the people with high incomes pay more, proportionally, than the people with low incomes. Besides taxes, other instruments allow for redistribution of income. This is done mainly by social benefits, like income assistance and social assistance.

The popular initiative

The authors of the initiative (which basically is the group of citizens who organised the collation of signatures. In this case they are the youth branch of the Socialist Party, but other times is just a group of unaffiliated citizens. This is one strength of direct democracy; people vote on issues based on the facts as they see them, not so much along ideological lines) are of the opinion that the current redistribution is insufficient and not fair. They demand that the revenues of capital be taxed more when they are high. To calculate the tax, the portions of the revenue of capital surpassing a certain amount will be taxed  at one time and a half; each franc (or dollar, or pound, etc.) will be taxed as if it was 1.5 francs.

If the initiative receives the support of voters, parliament will define the amounts to which the 1.5 times criteria will be applied. The revenues thus generated will be applied to a reduction of of the taxes paid by persons with middle and low incomes or to social assistance measures.

The question that we present to you:

“Do you accept the popular initiative to lighten the taxes on salaries and tax capital more equitably?

Recommendation of the Swiss Federal Government and of Parliament (both chambers):


The Federal Government and Parliament are of the opinion that the initiative will weaken the Swiss economy and reduce the incentive to save, that it will harm employment and prosperity. In comparison with other nations, incomes in Switzerland are distributed in a balanced manner, and capital already pays heavy taxes.

Recommendation of the committee who proposes the initiative:


The committee is of the opinion that the initiative will create more equitable taxes for 99% of the population. Currently, incomes from capital receive privileged treatment in several ways. The rich speculate with money and benefit.  This is money that does not go to the people that work, and is missing from the real economy.

Note: Both the government and the committee who gathered the signatures include references to support their positions.

Tomorrow I will translate the documents that the committee also includes in the package to support their position.

It does not take much to imagine that the voters in Canada, UK, Germany, France, the US, Northern Europe, and even less stable representative democracies, can assimilate similar information and vote as responsibly as the Swiss historically do.

Victor Lopez

This is how direct democracy works in Switzerland, and how it would work in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Australia, etc., if they became real democracies.

What direct democracy does is turn the people into the masters of the politicians, a radical change from the politicians being the masters of the people, as is the case in representative democracies.

The real difference between representative democracies and dictatorships is: in representatives democracies the people elect the politicians and can throw them out at the next election. There is also freedom of expression and there is a separation of powers (to a relative extent). However, once elected, the politicians in representative democracies have almost as much power as dictators. Representative democracies are ruled by an elected political class or group oligarchy. This happens particularly when the same party controls the executive and the legislature; there no mechanism for the people to stop the politicians, or tell them what to do, once the election is over.

In a direct democracy, the people have mechanisms to control the politicians also after the election. They do that with people-iniatated referendums, whose results are mandatory for government to follow, on any law, issue or policy.

In representative democracies, it is always the same; the people vote, the people elect and the people hope for the best because they do not have any decision-making power on any law or issue; the politicians have all that power. No wonder so many people do not bother with voting; It does not matter if the progressives or the conservatives are in power; they both dictate to the people. They tell the people what laws they will have to follow, the taxes they will pay, how the health system will work, how the education system will work, when a new road will be built, and on and on.

Direct democracy stops all that, in a direct democracy, the politicians can only do what the people approve of, tacitly or explicitly, and the politicians have to do what the people, democratically, by majority vote, tell them to do.

To illustrate how direct democracy works in Switzerland, I will use two referendums the Swiss will have on the coming Sept., 26th.

Swiss referendums are not called, can not be called, by the politicians, they can not do that, Swiss referendums are called by the people, and the results are mandatory for the politicians to follow.

In the Swiss referendums, the politicians, the executive and the legislative give their opinion on the way they believe the people should vote, no more. They have no power to do anything else. The people who propose the referendum also give their opinion on how the voters should vote.

It all starts with one person or a small group of people thinking: “I believe the government should be fairer, business should pay more taxes and individuals less”.

The people mobilise and gather the required number of signatures.

The number of signatures and the time the people have to collect them is reasonable; the people do not consider the number of signatures too high, or the time to collect them too short. Of course, if enough people felt that way, they would make the extra effort to hold a referendum to reduce the number of signatures, and/or the time required to collect them.

To collect the signatures, the group who proposes the referendum put together their arguments as of why it is necessary, in the case of one of the votes to be held on Sept., 26th, to reduce taxes to individuals and increase them for business.

Once they gather the signatures, which is a process carefully supervised by the law-enforcement authorities to ensure the rules are respected, the people present their document and the signatures to the government.

But the referendums is not automatic; the government can present to the referendum organising committee an alternative. If the committee accepts what the government proposes, they can withdraw the referendum.

Neither the federal executive nor the federal legislature can stop the referendum, only its proponents can stop it. The Swiss Supreme Court can not stop the results of any referendum on “constitutional” grounds. For the Swiss, the highest constitutional authority is the people, not the Supreme Court. For the Swiss, it makes no sense that judges, directly or indirectly appointed by the politicians, could overturn a referendum.

In Switzerland, ordinary judges can decide that a referendum is invalid if evidence shows that procedures were not followed in any of the steps of the referendum, starting with the collection of signatures.

One of the two referendums that will take place on Sept. 26 will decide if Switzerland will reduce taxes for individuals and increase them for business.

For the next post, I have translated from French the documentation the Swiss government sent on this referendum to every household. In it, the government explains the position of the executive and the legislative, and recommends to the voters acceptance or rejection of the proposal by the group that collected the signatures. In the same document, the proponents of the referendum present their arguments and recommend that the people vote in favour of the proposal.

The recommendations of political parties, unions and other significant groups are sometimes included in the information package sent to the people.

I translated the documents so that you will capture the tone and atmosphere surrounding Swiss referendums.

It is easy to appreciate the absence of the usual demagoguery and other fireworks we see in politicians in representative democracies, during election campaigns and also in parliament.

In Switzerland, the executive, the legislative and the proponents of the referendum present their arguments in a calm, factual way. There is no attacking directly what the other parties say; each presents their arguments to support their position, nothing else.

This fosters rationality and the rational expression of convictions, not the shenanigans we see in representative democracies.

Swiss electoral campaigns are also relatively subdued events. This is due to the fact that Swiss politicians have much less power than politicians in representative democracies. Everybody in Switzerland knows the people are really the sovereign, even the lobbies know and accept that they have no choice. The fight is not as aggressive as in representative democracies either. In part it is because Swiss politicians can not please the economic and political lobbies; they lack the power to do so.

Victor Lopez

On September the 20th, Canadians will vote in a free and fair federal election… to decide nothing: On September the 26th the Swiss will vote to decide real issues; gay marriage and taxation levels, because they have direct democracy

Two democracies but very different. In Canada, the election will be free and fair, unfortunately, it is dominated by lots of cute and clever slogans and…, promises, lots of promises. Here you will see most of the promises of each party.

In all representative democracies; Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, etc., it is always the same; promises and more promises.

But from experience, we know that many of the promises will go nowhere for this or that reason. We also know that whoever we elect will betray the promises, because of this or because of that….

From experience, we also know politicians will also do things they never said they would do. Even worse, sometimes they will do exactly the opposite of what they promised.

We also know politicians inrepresentative democracies also avoid tackling issues that may upset those who deliver the votes and/or the money to their campaigns. For example;, no politician in Canada is promising to overhaul the outrageous rates of mobile phones and Internet. For example, in Canada is normal to pay 50 to 60 dollars for 10 Gigabytes of data, unlimited phone calls within Canada and unlimited texting. Check here how much the Swiss pay.

And remember, the average wage in Switzerland is 65 000 USD, in Canada it is 55 000. These are real dollars adjusted for inflation and cost of living. This means the Swiss earn 18% more than Canadians and have far better and cheaper mobile phone service.

The reason for the disparity? In Switzerland, the politicians and the mobile phone companies know that if the Swiss people felt as outraged as most Canadians feel about mobile phone rates, pretty quickly they would collect the 50 000, or 100 000 signatures required for a referendum or a popular initiative. In this manner, the Swiss people can reject laws passed by the Swiss parliament, they could also propose, vote and decide a new law is necessary. They certainly would not be at the mercy of the CRTC; whicn never fixes the problem of high fees and bad mobile service in Canada.

This means that if Canadians had the power of the Swiss people, they would have organised a referendum or initiative and, long ago, Canadians would enjoy much lower rates. As it is now, Canadians make less money than the Swiss but pay more for worse phone service.

It is embarrassing that in the land of Alexander Graham Bell, phone service is so expensive and not very good. The customer service personnel of Canadian phone companies are extremely nice, perhaps nicer than their Swiss counterparts. But I suspect that if they had to choose, most Canadians would prefer the nice feeling of more money in their pockets.

Phone service is just one example, The Canadian universal health system is another one. Sure, it is much better for most people than the almost universally broken, American health system but, again, the Canadian system is clearly inferior to the Swiss universal health System.

For example, in Switzerland ALL citizens have a family doctor; 5 million Canadians do not have a family doctor! Waiting times for surgery are much longer in Canada. Surgery that in Switzerland is resolved in days or weeks, in Canada takes months.

The Swiss also have almost twice as many medical doctors per 100 000 patients as Canada. they have more hospital beds. Swiss patients hardly have to wait to see the specialist, they are even able to directly book an appointment with and specialist, no need to go to the family doctor.

In their wisdom, the Swiss realise that if a person has obvious symptoms, like heavy coughing or problems breathing, most people are smart enough to know they have to go to a specialist in that area. Likewise, if they have acid reflux, the fellow to go to is the digestive system specialist. The Swiss are also smart enough to know that if their symptoms are not so clear, the logical thing is to go to the family doctor.

Canadian political parties talk a lot about improving health care, the phone system, etc., but none of them tackles the core issues; radically cheaper and better phone service, more doctors everywhere, more surgeons, more hospital beds. Why don’t thay? I do not know if it is the phone lobby  the medical lobby, the hospital lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby, etc., but Canadian politicians do not dare overhauling the Canadian mobile phone service, Canadian health service, etc.

But Canadian voters had the power of Swiss voters, Canadians would pay less for mobile phone service, for Internet and would have better health care. They would also have cheaper universities and would not have the crazy system of student loans either.

Just 6 days after the Canadians vote on September 20th to decide nothing, other than to elect the same party, or another party that will not change anything of real importance, the Swiss will go and vote to decide two important issues; if gay marriage will be legal in Switzerland and they will also decide if corporations will pay higher taxes and individual will pay less.

Such votes will happen because the Swiss people decided they want to decide those issues. The Swiss politicians do not call such votes, the law forbids them to do it. Perhaps just as interesting, the results of those votes must be fulfilled by the politicians; there is nothing the executive and the legislative can do to change or ignore the results, nor can the Swiss Supreme Court change the results of what the voters decide.

Swiss voters, men and women, are really empowered, they have real power, not the fake empowerment propaganda we see in so many countries.

But here comes what is perhaps the most importan difference between direct democracy and representative democracy; the decision the Swiss voters will make on September 26 is really a democratic decision because the majority decides; the decisions the democratically elected Canadian politicians will make are not democratic decisions because Canadian voters will not make those decisions, nor do they any mechanism to directly reject or overturn the decisions of Canadian politicians regarding laws, regulations and policies.

In fact, it is not uncommon for politicians in representative “democracies”, like Canada, the US, UK, France, Germany, etc., to make decisions that are contrary to the will of the majority, or that it is not clear at all the majority of people would support them; you can not get much more antidemocratic than that. And that can not happen in a direct democracy because the people have the power and the tools to force a democratic decision.

The democratic superiority of direct democracy is so obvious that is hard to understand why it is taking so long for representative “democracies” to transition to direct democracy. But perhaps the “conspiracy of silence, a conspiracy without conspiring” of the elitist elites in politics, business, academia and the media, in Canada and all other representative “demooracies” is the reason. However, just like the French and American nadapopular revolutions overturned the old regimes, so a bloodless popular revolution will overturn the current regime in Canada and the rest.

The time has arrived for direct democracy. It is almost 2 centuries behind the Swiss, but not too late.

Direct democracy puts the people in charge, and places the politicians where they ought to be; obeying the will of the people.

Canada is one of the best countries in the World (although most of the World is not very impressive), but Switzerland is even a better country.

By the way, ignore the silly rankings of democracies by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It ranks Canada and 10 other representative democracies ahead of Switzerland in quality of democracy. It makes no sense that Switzerland, the only democracy that is a democracy, because democracy is “government by the people” (because the people vote to elect and to decide issues) ranks behind countries where the people vote to elect, hope for the best, forget and resent even more, because they lack the power to stop the politicians or to force them to do what the majority of the people want.

Victor Lopez




No, Mr. Robert Reich and Yahoo Finance, Capitalism is not broken, what is broken, and has always been in need of repair is Representative Democracy, because it puts the political system at the service of capitalists

On  Monday, September 6, 2021, Yahoo Finance interviewed Robert Reich “celebrated US economist” and former US Secretary of Labour.

The interview is available in Yahoo. Yahoo summarised the interview. My comments address what, according to the summary, Mr. Reid said.

Perhaps in the interview, Mr. Reich said things that made sense; several statements Yahoo attributes to Mr Reich in the summary make little sense and I address them. I also take issue what some of Yahoo’s Financial staff statements.

According to Yahoo, even before the virus, many people saw Capitalism as a system that failed them. Not that the statement is false, it is literally true; but you can also say that many people feel democracy failed them, or that many people feel Socialism failed them, or Catholicism, or Buddhism and many other ideas.

If Yahoo had said; thanks to Capitalism millions of people in China, India, Africa, etc., have left poverty behind, but many still feel Capitalism has failed them, it would have been a much more reasonable and truthful statement.

The interview is framed as an effort to see what business can do to make Capitalism more equitable; in principle it is a good goal, unfortunately, they interview the wrong guy. Anyhow, to expect that business will do much to make Capitalism more equitable is like asking the fox to look after the chickens; the job of business is to do whatever the system allows to maximize profits. We have to change the system, not ask anything of business.

The interview, can be considered as an effort to distract, just like the foil warplanes drop to “distract” the enemy’s radar.

“Capitalism is broken to the extent that big companies or very wealthy individuals, are able to become so powerful that they essentially override democracy”.

Reich describes capitalism in the US, and to some extent in the UK, as probably the most brutal form of trade and economic relationships we see around the World”.  This is an idiotic statement because there are many other places like China, most of Africa, most of Latin America, Russia, practically all Middle Eastern countries (with the possible exception of Israel), etc., as places that practice far more brutal forms of trade and economic relationships than the US and the UK, and even much worse things than trade and economics.

If Mr. Reich had said that “Anglo-Saxon Capitalism is far less socially oriented than the Capitalism they practice in Germany, Switzerland, Northern Europe, France and perhaps Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and few other places”, Mr Reich would have been partly right, but he is wrong.

I do not know if Mr. Reich can not see US and UK Capitalism objectively because he is ignorant, or if he is a self-hating American, or he just says what he says as anti-American and Anti-UK propaganda for some ulterior motive.

He is right about the bankers, GM and others getting bail outs by the Obama Government and Congress while people lost their homes was extremely unfair. He could also add that some executives might have been tried and gone to jail. But remember, Mr. Reich was a member of President Obama’s economic transition advisory board…

According to Yahoo, Mr. Reich also states: “What we need, if we are going to have Capitalism and Democracy, is for democracy to be in charge”. “We need regulations, antitrust rules, we need to restrict the kinds of subsidies that go to business that are unrelated to any social goods”.

Yahoo also seems to attribute to the outsize donations to political campaigns by large business and wealthy individuals, as the cause of the outsize influence they have on American democracy. Yahoo could also add outsize donations by unions, professional associations and the political lobbies.

By the way, I would like to know how much Yahoo, or the wealthy people who own or run Yahoo, contribute to political campaigns.

Because of the large donations, “a handful of CEOs control substantial portions of the economy”, Yahoo-Reich states, “this prevents government from doing very much about the power they amassed.”

The summary of the interview continues along similar lines. Mr Reich manages to say incredibly foolish and demago-illogical things, but you can read the summary yourself in Yahoo.

Well, Mr. Reich and “Mr. Yahoo”; let me tell you, you have in front of your faces the answer to prevent too much influence of big corporation and the rich in politics, it is called direct democracy.

Direct democracy transfers most political power from the elected politicians to ordinary voters. Direct democracy means that voters vote to elect politicians but, and this is much more important, they also vote to stop laws, they also can propose and decide laws and even changes to the constitution. They can, and do that, regardless of what the politicians, the large corporations and the wealthy may want.

But direct democracy never comes up in the summary of the interview. Perhaps Yahoo and Mr. Reich never took the trouble to study direct democracy, perhaps they know about direct democracy but do not believe in it because “ordinary voters are not smart enough”, or perhaps because “the issues are too complex for ordinary voters”, or some other nonsensical stuff. Most ordinary voters run their lives competently, constantly making decisions of great consequence in the personal and business lives.

No issue is too complex for a competent specialist to explain in terms lay people can understand. By the way, most politicians learn about complex issues because specialists explain the issues to them; what does Joe Biden, or Trump, or Sanders, or most anybody else, know about high tech, low tech, nuclear energy, climate change, etc., not much. Most ordinary voters are as capable as most politicians to understand complex issues.

But even more important is that direct democracy places the issues right in front of the people for the people to decide. In direct democracy there are no meetings between the lobbyists  and the politicians to decide a new or a new policy, because the politicians and the lobbies know the people have the final say, not them; why waste a lot of money and effort on the politicians is they can not deliver?

Once the people have real power, once they are really empowered, instead of the fake stuff that passes for empowerment, but it is more like charity from politicians to those without power.  Once the people have real power, the big corporations, the very wealthy, lose all that disproportionate influence over public policies and laws.

How do we know that? Because we have an example of direct democracy in Switzerland.

For almost 200 years, the Swiss people themselves decide when a to reject a law, when to propose a new one or when to change the constitution. There is nothing the politicians, or Nesté, or UBS, or Swatch, or Roche, or any rich Swiss can do about that. Not even the Swiss Supreme Court has the power to overturn the results of a popular referendum. This is why California is not a real direct democracy; the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court can overturn, and have, popular referendums.

But there is another reason California, or any of the other states who practice direct democracy at the state level, are not direct democracies; in the US the government with most power to influence, and even control, the lives of Americans, is the Federal Government; there is no people’s power at all at the Federal level. At the Federal level all Americans can do is vote, forget and hope for the best.

I suspect that Mr. Reich does not believe in direct democracy, or is ignorant of it, otherwise he would be promoting direct democracy as the remedy to America’s huge political problems and growing polarization and instability. I suspect Mr Reich is an elitist, people who believe that ordinary people need special people to lead them, special people that somewhat have been chosen by nature because of their special vision and ability to lead the masses. It is total baloney; Switzerland is far better governed than the US, and most, if not all, other countries.

It is because of direct democracy, direct democracy forces voters to look at the facts themselves, instead of listening to demagogues like Trump, Biden and practically all politicians in the US Congress, and to people like Mr. Reich himself.

Do not listen to Mr. Reich. Mr. Reich proposes that another elite pass laws and regulations to control capitalists, it will never work. In fact, that is what the US has been doing for decades; change the people at the top but, after lots of smoke, mirrors and slogans from the Right and the Left, nothing really changes because the large corporations, the rich and the political lobbies of the Right and the Left know their contributions create obligations for politicians to help the donors and “vote deliverers”.

If you want real change, the people will have to do it ourselves, that is called direct democracy.

Victor Lopez


Texas abortion law and direct democracy

I just learned that Texan politicians voted 81 against 63 to pass a new law which, according to its critics, will ban most abortions in Texas.

I do not want to discuss if abortion is right, wrong, ethical, unethical, is against the rights of women or against the rights of the unborn.

What I want to discuss is that a decision by 81 politicians is thoroughly undemocratic; they do not have an explicit mandate by the people to do that. Even if they campaigned on that issue, unless they campaigned on that issue alone, they would not have a mandate.

Abortion is a controversial issue in Texas, and in most other places. A controversial issue of that importance should not be decided by 81 politicians, no matter how ethical, principled they believe they are. It is not a democratic decision because it is not an explicit decision by the people.

No matter how many conservatives of liberals try to paint the decisions by elected politicians as democratic, they are not because democracy means government by the people. Only a decision explicitly made by the people in a referendum is a democratic decision.

Naturally, it would not be a democratic decision if the elected politicians decided that abortion is legal. Furthermore, the Texan Supreme Court or the US Supreme Court should have no say on the matter if the decision in Texas was the result of a popular referendum.

A decision by politicians would barely be democratic, even if Texan voters had an easy and simple way to call a referendum on the matter. Such a simple way would be, for example, if any Texan, group of Texans, a Texan political party, a union, a group of pro, or anti abortionists, were able to collect 300 000 signatures in one year.

If with that procedure in place nobody is willing or able to collect the 300 000 signatures to force the Texan government to hold a referendum, then perhaps we could say the decision by Texan politicians on abortion is democratic because the people, decided not use the opportunity they have to challenge and reject the law.

Bu the way they did in Texas on abortion and other issues, and the way they do it in other states, in the whole of the US, in France, and the rest of representative “democracies”, it is not democratic at all because the decisions by their parliaments are not decisions by the people.

To say a country is a democracy because they elect their representatives, and the executive and the legislative check each other’s power, or because the Supreme Court can check the power of both, it is false. For example, the politicians in the executive and the legislative often belong to the same party; where are the checks and balances on that? They want us to believe that because the politicians of rival parties fight each other bitterly to destroy the rival and get more votes, it is a check and a balance, it is not that at all, it is just a bitter fight for power, not a fight to honestly control the power of the other branch.

As for the Supreme Court, what sort of check and balance can it provide when the Judges are appointed by politicians and we see how the Judges fall in the conservative or the progressive camp. The hard truth is that what they want us to believe are checks and balances is just more politics.

Just in case you are thinking. “But in California and in some other 30 US states, they have popular referendums”. Those referendums are not worth much because the judges can declare the results are contrary to the constitution of the State or the US Constitution. Popular referendums, if the country is a real democracy, can not be stopped by anybody; only another popular referendum could do that.

It is time that the people in Texas, in California, in the whole of the US, in Canada, France, the UK, Germany, Japan and other representative democracies, have the right to call for referendums with mandatory outcomes for the politicians.

Just in case you think this is not possible, or that it is “Promised Land” messianic stuff; the Swiss have been doing it for not much less that 200 years.

That is right. For example, the Swiss people legalised abortion in Switzerland by a popular referendum.

Swiss citizens proposed that abortion should be permitted in Switzerland. They collected the required number of signatures and, in June 2002 the voters decided abortions would be legal.

Naturally, if the values of the public change, in a few years’ time another group could collect signatures to hold another referendum that abortion be banned.

That is the way it should be; the people, not the judges, not the politicians, not the Church, not anybody else, only the people, should decide by referendum any issue that enough people consider should be decided by referendum.

When the people decide, nobody can question the democratic credentials of such decision; when the politicians decide we all know the decision is not democratic, that is why the groups that are pro-abortion in Texas will not accept it.

The root problem in the US, and in all representative democracies, is that people are brought up to believe that they need leaders, special people with the wisdom to know better than ordinary people what is right or wrong. Anybody who believes that is as naïve as you can get. Few people believe that, that is why the US Congress gas such poor reputation among Americans.

The reality of Switzerland shows they have been able to get rid of “leaders with vision”. Swiss citizens decide the destiny of the country by themselves, they do not need more or less “illuminated” politicians to lead them. In Switzerland the voters decide and the politicians do what the people want; should it not be like that in all countries who call themselves democracies.

But in 2002, the Swiss decided by binding popular referendums on many other issues. For example, they decided the country should join the UN, that working hours should NOT be reduced, the use of the country’s gold reserves, a law regulating the electricity market, on asylum seeking, on unemployment, etc.

In addition, they held cantonal and municipal referendums on many other issues.

In Switzerland, while they still elect politicians, the enormous direct power to decide that voters have makes Switzerland the only real democracy we have on Earth. While it is not a fully direct democracy, it has the laws and practices that make Switzerland very close to a direct democracy.

You may be surprised to know that Taiwan, inspired by Switzerland, is the only other country where the people have comparable levels of power. If Taiwan, with only a few years of voting and electing politicians (it was a dictatorship before) can introduce direct democracy; what is the matter with the Americans, the Canadians, the British, the French, the Germans and many others, that seem unable to transition to direct democracy?

The Germans in particular should be eager to bring direct democracy to their country because Hitler was not the root problem of Germany in the 30s, the root problem was Germany’s representative democracy that messed up things so badly, particularly with hyperinflation, that the people, desperate, turned to Hitler; to a “visionary leader.

Anyone observing the US can see how US representative democracy is rapidly deteriorating because the politicians can not help but use their excessive power to corrupt everything, including the voters with many “gifts; mostly by approving many laws and policies that are weakening the country. Americans should demand direct democracy before the time when they can demand nothing arrives in America.

Victor Lopez

Bitcoin and crypto are, to money and finance, what direct democracy is to representative democracy; a threat, to politicians and those who lobby them.

That is why the political and financial ruling elites like neither. They pay lip service to democracy but when it comes down to real issues; they dislike direct democracy, which decentralises political power, and they dislike crypto because it decentralises economic and financial power, as well as pushing the decentralisation of political power.

Let us look at the facts, at what the politicians on the Right and the Left say, as well as to their policies.

After their statements, I put my comments in brackets.


“Cryptocurrencies are a disaster waiting to happen”.

(It is obvious that if he could he could ban crypto to “prevent” a “disaster” he would. Trump can not resist spewing out what the New York financial and political clique, an his professors at the Wharton MBA school say; the only “serious financial system is the one we support and the supports us…”)

He isn’t a big fan of digital currencies because they’re hurting the dollar.

(No, Mr Trump, the dollar is hurting because the politicians like yourself keep printing money with nothing to back it up with. It is as if a person had a printing machine in the basement and prints dollars to go to Costo. Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden and Congress are in fact giving Americans dollar, just as is they printed the dollars in their basements. To say that Crypto is hurting the dollar is like saying that Toyota hurts GM because it makes better cars.)

“They certainly are something that people don’t know very much about,”

(I do not think Mr. Trump knows much either, otherwise he would not make the comments he makes.)

As for Biden and his administration, they are not as hostile as Trump but they are no friends of Crypto either. For example, the US Administration has rejected all applications to set up Exchange Traded Funds (ETFS) for the major cryptos, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Even Canada, where the establishment is no fan of direct democracy or crypto either, has approved several ETFs for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Other US politicians, like Senator Warren, say things like:

“There are substantial difficulties with our current payment system.  Nearly 33 million Americans have been locked out of the traditional banking system. They’re forced to use check cashers and payday lenders for basic banking services. And even those with traditional checking and savings accounts find that many of the largest banks have proven to be untrustworthy, gouging customers for overdraft or other fees or, in the case of Wells Fargo, just outright cheating their customers with fake accounts and fake services for which customers paid dearly.”

(Very interesting perspective; she says the current system is not working, but instead of aiming her guns at the political and financial operators of the current system, that leaves 33 million Americans locked out of the financial system, and many more trapped in it, she attacks crypto, a new technology that could help the 33 million and everybody else, in the US and around the World.)

(Warren shows her true beliefs; she is not concerned about the people, what she is concerned about is power and control, she does not like freedom, all politicians in power like control.  She uses protection of the people as the fig leaf to hide her private true beliefs. The difference between representative democracies and dictatorships is that in representative democracies the people can replace those in control; the control changes. but the control never goes away. Warren knows she needs the big money of big money, the money of those who leave 33 million out, and have others trapped, to get elected)

(When Internet started, and even today, it had political and financial enemies, and not only in totalitarian regimes. Elected politicians like democracy only because it makes it possible for them to get elected and replace those currently in power, but once in power, they dislike democracy; they dislike the people to have any say on any specific decision.)

(Warren just reacts in the natural way elected politicians react. When something new challenges their decision-making power, they fight it. Crypto challenges their decision-making power. They know it and they dislike it. But they will never say that. They are very articulate, they know how to find cover with clever words about “protection of the weak”, “fairness”, “equality” and so on. But they hate and fear that the people have as much power as they do, and far less do they like that the people have more power, power to stop their laws and decisions.)

(Her reaction to Crypto, which means the people will have financial freedom and independence from banks and politicians, is like the reaction of Swiss elected politicians when the Swiss people decide to bring in direct democracy in 1867; Swiss politicians did not like direct democracy, either. During the Second World War, they even tried to revert to representative democracy, but the people stopped them. For all the talk about the Swiss banks, Switzerland is far friendlier to crypto than the US.)

Warren continues: “So, what are the alternatives? Digital currencies have been hyped as a solution to these problems. Early advocates claimed that cryptocurrencies would open up the financial system and deliver fast, cheap, and secure payments to anyone with an Internet connection. Others pointed out that crypto was a way to avoid the risks of dealing with the giant banks that squeezed customers dry.”

(Crypto is barely 11 years old; the most important crypto, Bitcoin, was launched in 2009. The second most important, Ethereum, was launched in 2013. All others are also very new. The services that crypto can provide are barely starting. Unfortunately, Warren does not want to give them a chance, I think I know why.)

“Cryptocurrencies have turned out to be a fourth-rate alternative to real currency. First, cryptocurrencies are a lousy way to buy and sell things. Unlike the dollar, their value fluctuates wildly depending on the whims of speculative day traders. You know, in just the last two months, the value of Dogecoin increased by more than ten-fold and then declined by nearly 60%. Now that may work for speculators and fly-by-night investors, but not for regular people who are looking for a stable source of value to get paid in and to use for day-to-day spending.”

(These are silly arguments. The people who buy crypto know what they are doing; they are not the naïve or the very old. The value of crypto only fluctuates wildly because it is just starting, it is mostly investors that are not averse to risk that buy crypto, just like the investors not averse to risk invested in Netscape, Apple, Google and all the others, and continue to invest in new ones, when they start. It is normal their value fluctuates wildly; it is in the nature of any new industry. I am sure the same happened with steam engine, cars, etc.)

“Second, crypto is a lousy investment. Unlike, say, the stock market, the crypto world currently has no consumer protection – none.  As a result, honest investors and people trying to put aside some savings are at the mercy of fraudsters.  Pump and dump schemes are outlawed in the case of ordinary stock, but they have become routine in crypto trading. One study found that the level of price manipulation in cryptocurrency is – and I quote – “unprecedented in modern markets.” ”

(This is laughable. If she is arguing current laws, and action by politicians, protect consumers, she is joking. Let us remember 2008; nobody rescued the millions homeowners who lost their homes, but the politicians rescued that big banks; is an interesting twist in consumer protection. Don’t sometimes naïve investors lose their shirts in stocks?)

She continues:

“And third, crypto has become a haven for illegal activity. Online theft, drug trafficking, ransom attacks, and other illegal activity have all been made easier with crypto.  Experts estimate that last year more than $412 million was paid to criminals in ransom through cryptocurrencies.  And unlike other payment systems that make it tougher to move money illegally, a key feature of crypto is its secrecy. So just in the past few weeks, cryptocurrencies made it possible for hackers to collect a ransom to release the Colonial pipeline hack and to free JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, from a paralyzing cyberattacks. And every hack that is successfully paid off with a cryptocurrency becomes an advertisement for more hackers to try more cyberattacks.”

(Crypto-related crime does not even come close to the dollars drugs, theft, smuggling and many other illegal stuff move around the World. If use in criminal activities is the argument to attack crypto, a much stronger case can be mounted against the US Dollar.)

“Finally, there are the environmental costs of crypto. Many cryptocurrencies are created through “proof-of-work” mining. It involves using computers to solve useless mathematical puzzles in exchange for newly minted cryptocurrency tokens. Such mining has devastating consequences for the climate. Some crypto mining is set up near coal plants, spewing out filth in return for a chance to harvest a few cryptocoins. Total energy consumption is staggering, driving up demand for energy.  If, for example, Bitcoin – just one of the cryptocurrencies – were a country, it would already be the 33rd largest energy user in the world – using more energy yearly than all of the Netherlands. ”

(She has a small case here, but small. The carbon footprint of bit coin is relatively easy to calculate; so many computers using consuming so many watts of electricity. But for paper money, trees have to be cut and transported, processed in polluting pulps and paper mills, shipped to printers and shipped again to the banks. Something similar is necessary with coins; mining, transporting, refining, etc. I doubt bitcoins have more environmental impact than paper and metal money. The pollution and contribution to global warming of crypto is minuscule compared to many other industries)

“And all those promised benefits-the currency that would be available at no cost to millions of unbanked families and that would provide a haven from the tricks and traps of big banks-well, those benefits haven’t materialized.”

(Isn’t she going too fast? Services based on crypto are barely starting. It is not logical to speak like that, unless you have already decided crypto is evil; like Trump, but in longer sentences.)

So, I leave there for you. But if we want to have political and economic freedom, we need direct democracy and crypto.

Victor Lopez

You pay to sustain government and the salaries of politicians, don’t you think you should have the last say on anything politicians do?, that is direct democracy

If we had direct democracy the likes of Trump or Biden would not be presidents of the US, Trudeau and Harper, prime ministers of Canada, Boris Johnson PM of the UK, Macron or Holande presidents of France, Merkel chancellor of Germany, Orban president of Hungary, Bolsonaro president of Brazil and others who by their personality or their policies, or both, polarise their nations.

In a direct democracy we would not have parliamentarians and media who deepen and expand the polarisation to the whole population.

In a direct democracy it is not possible to elect people with such profiles, people who polarise the nation with their lies and exaggerations to discredit rivals; we all see how rival politicians treat each other as incompetent, dishonest, stupid, etc.

Such behaviours that representative democracy generates in politicians ends up discrediting politicians, politics and representative democracy itself.

What kind of country can you have if the people themselves are polarised?, certainly democracy will not be sustainable in such countries.

Such political degeneration is not possible in a direct democracy because in a direct democracy the people have the right to introduce issues and decide them. They also have to right to to veto decisions, laws, regulations, policies and treaties made by the politicians. This removes most critical power from politicians, and their power to polarise every issue.

If politicians have less power to fight over, there are fewer fights and less intensive fights. Furthermore, because politicians know that the people can stop anything they do, in a direct democracy, politicians of rival parties are forced to cooperate to draft laws, regulations, policies, etc., because they will not pass if they do not have the support of a clear majority of voters.

Furthermore, in a direct democracy, only the people have the authority to change de constitution, the politicians, even if all of them agree, can not change the constitution.

Because of their power and the practice of making the most crucial decisions for the country, the people of a direct democracy does not need presidents, prime minister or chancellors with the “vision”, “character” and other foggy marketing tricks to seduce voters.

Come to think of it, the concept of the “opposition” is irrational too; no organisation should be based on the idea that more or less half of it has to have an overall view of issues that is contrary to the views of the other half. It is not logical; the logical thing is that each issue be considered on its merits by the people.

No country should be based on that idea idea either because it weakens the country. The idea of opposition automatically creates division. If unity creates strength, division creates weakness.

Direct democracy fosters unity among the people, as it should be. It does not impose fake unity from above, as all authoritarian and other absolute power rulers, religious or atheist, do.

For example, on the issue of health care, it is likely most ordinary voters prefer universal health care, regardless of individual means, or if a person is unemployed or working, regardless if the person is self-employed, works for a small local business or a successful corporation.

This means that on the issue of universal health care, “progressive” and “conservative” voters will agree it is necessary.

The reason why many voters on the “right” oppose universal health care is not because it not logical to have universal health care, it is because the lobbies that now make a lot of money in health care have convinced many voters on the “right” that universal health care is “socialism”. Such voters have been “herded” into the “conservative” herd.

Likewise, many “progressive” voters oppose border controls and limits to immigration because they have been herded into the “progressive” herd; “progressives” are for open borders because to oppose open borders is something only conservtives, even only fascists would do.

It is likely that most voters support immigration and border control but the political “herds” representative democracy creates makes it impossible for many “progressive” voters to favour such controls.

But even with the polarisation representative democracy creates, if the people had the power to decide by popular referendum on health care, borders and immigration, it is likely that a majority of voters on the “left” and the “right” would favour universal health care coverage and would also favour border and immigration controls.

In a direct democracy, congress , parliaments or chambers of deputies do not encage in the theatricals, posturing and verbal aggression we see every day among politicians and parties in representative democracies, because such fights are not worth it, if winning does mean winning a lot of decision-making power.

In a direct democracy, the executive and the legislative learn to cooperate because they quickly know that only pleasing the majority of voters they together represent, and that includes voters on the Left, Right and Center, will the politicians be able to avoid that the people stop dead their laws, regulations, policies, treaties, etc.

Citizens also learn, that when they use their power to organise referendums to decide issues, change laws, to challenge what the politicians do, they must make proposals supported by the majority of voters. If they do not do that, their proposal will be rejected and they will not achieve their goal.

The power voters have in a direct democracy to decide, also forces the proponents and organisers of referendums to make moderate proposals, because only such proposals will get the support of the majority of “conservative” and “progressive” voters, who always are moderate when they have the responsibility to decide.

Direct democracy enhances political diversity because it does not simplify politics to “right” or “left” or “center”; it creates many other shades.

In a direct democracy, the people do not have to vote for a large party, they do not even have to vote for any party because it is not necessary; in a direct democracy, even a small group of citizens can launch a referendum on any issue if they collect the required (and relatively small) number of signatures.

Of course, in a direct democracy, even the smallest party, even a party without representation in parliament, can launch a referendum.

This is why in a direct democracy people can not “be herded” into one of two large parties.

Another effect of direct democracy is that makes all decisions by government and by the people, real democratic decisions.

In a direct democracy, in most cases, the people do not challenge the law, the regulation, the policy or the treaties, politicians introduce, in so doing they give tacit democratic approval to the politicians.

Exceptionally, but regularly, enough citizens disagree with what the executive or the legislative have done or want to do, that they sign up in enough numbers and a binding referendum must be held.

The polarisation wo see in representative democracies is the result of the polarisation the system of representative democracy creates, it is not inevitable, it is not because of culture either, it is because representative democracy places too much power in the hands of politicians (and the lobbies who help them win campaigns), naturally,  they fight like hell to get that power.

How do we know that in a direct democracy things work very differently, and for the better?, because that is what they have been doing in Switzerland for more than 150 years.

As you probably know, Switzerland is, overall, the best country and the most democratic country in the World. By the way, ignore the fake yearly “Democracy Rankings” by the Economist “Intelligence” Unit, which ranks Switzerland behind 10-12 (depending on the year of publication) representative democracies.

How can Switzerland not be number one democracy every year, when it is the country that by far comes closes to the definition of democracy, which is “government by the people”?

Too many voters in other countries still do not feel comfortable saying to themselves: “wait a minute, if we pay for everything, even the salaries and pensions of the politicians, why do the politicians have power over us and have the power to make all the decisions that affect us, why should the politicians decide what we can or can’t do, must or must not do? It is time for us to have more power than the politicians”.

Until a clear majority of voters shake off the believe that they need leaders, often almost “messianic” leaders, (even members of parliaments see themselves as special) and start to believe in their intelligence, character and common sense, they will still need to be ruled by the elected aristocracy they now have, the elected and re-elected caste of professional politicians who now rule the most important, most developed, most humane and civilised countries of the World, but they shouldn’t.

When that change of mind set happens, direct democracy will come to those countries because the people will demand it. From them, it will spread to the rest of the World and dictatorial, totalitarian regimes, atheistic or religious, will join the waste basket of history.

To Americans and others, let me say this: what they have in California, and other states, is not direct democracy.

In California they have some of the formalities of direct democracy, but California voters do not live in a direct democracy because the most important decisions affecting their lives are made by the US executive and legislative, and there is no direct democracy at all at the federal level in the US.

Furthermore, the democratic decisions the people of California make can be overturned, and have been overturned, by the courts; the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court have overturned decisions made by the voters of California. In California they have fake direct democracy because the people are not sovereign, the politicians and the courts rule over them

As you probably suspect, what happens can not happen in Switzerland. Not even the Swiss Supreme Court can challenge the results of a popular referendum. In Switzerland, the Swiss Supreme Court can not declare the results of any referendum “unconstitutional”. In Switzerland, the courts can only intervene if laws have been violated in the process of collecting signatures, voting procedures, etc.

Each of us who believe in direct democracy must do all we can to help convince people that “yes, we can now, (because we have the power to decide)”.

We have to leave political marketing, catchy slogans and other shenanigans behind, we must demand the right to decide. Freedom to vote without freedom to decide issues is not real democracy, it is a step towards democracy.

Victor Lopez