Direct democracy is democracy without the middle men; less costly, more efficient, real democracy

The reasons why practically all democracies are representative democracies, and not direct democracies, are not considerations like “the country is too large”, “it is not practical for ordinary citizens to decide issues and laws”, “many issues are too complex for people to understand and decide competently”, etc. The real reason is that most people do not believe ordinary citizens are capable of deciding the destiny of their countries, that somehow they need “guidance” from “leaders”, people with special qualities. Sometimes people even believe that to properly run a country, they need to follow holy books, holy men or specially wise people.

The Ancient Greeks rejected such ideas. Those smart Greeks decided they could run their nation themselves, that they did not need special people to lead them, holy books, prophets, etc. They decided that by using freedom, reason and deliberation, humans, the people themselves, could would make all important political decisions.

Unfortunately, the beautiful stories of various religions proved more seductive for most humans than the Greek ideas and history. The result was that direct democracy, that extraordinary Greek invention, gradually disappeared.

Fortunately, the seed of democracy did not completely died out in Europe; in the Renaissance, Europeans reconnected with the classical World, the rest is history; holy books, holy men, special leaders, etc., gradually yielded to the will of the people to have a say in the governing of their countries.

Finally, with the French and the American revolutions; the “divine” kings, the religious leaders, were pushed aside; the people decided that they would elect their leaders.

It was a great advance; for the first time since the Greeks, humans had freedom of expression and could also elect the rulers.

But they did not catch up with the Greeks; the Greeks had no elected representatives, they themselves made all important political decisions, and, crucially, they decided which were important.

During the French Revolution, some of its leaders warned that a democracy in which the people elect representatives is not a democracy, that representation is incompatible with democracy. If they lived today, they would say: “representative democracy is an oxymoron”.

Berhaps by luck, in 1867, the Swiss people decided that the elected representatives would not be the ones to decide laws, pass regulations, sign treaties, rise or lower taxes, etc., that the people would have the final word on all those issues and on any issue the people decided they wanted to decide. Not as direct as the Ancient Greeks, but pretty good compared to representative “democracy”; representative democracy is no democracy; it is clever political marketing to present as democracy what really is an elected aristocracy.

The Swiss have come closer than anybody else, since the Ancient Greeks, to have “democracy without intermediaries”. They did not fully not catch with the Greeks, because the Greeks had no intermediaries, but they surpassed all representative democracies by severly clipping the power of the intermediaries, and they have not looked back.

Direct democracy shifts the responsibility for the major decisions affecting the present and future of the country, to the citizens and away from the politicians.

The Swiss clipped their wings of the elected representative to such an extent that the elected representatives and their parties have an important, but secondary, role in the running of Switzerland.

This makes Swiss democracy far more efficient; they do not have hundreds of politicians and their staffs working the whole year drafting legislation, preparing debates, preparing news conferences, interviews, speeches, etc. In Switzerland, even the in the national parliament, most politicians are part time politicians, they hold regular jobs. That is why they meet only four times during the year, each time for just three weeks.

The direct savings are huge, but there are more savings because when politicians have less power, business, unions, environmentalists, etc., spend far less money on them; all lobbies quickly realise that in a direct democracy it does not make sense to invest millions, even billions, on politicians who can not deliver because the people are the final decision makers.

Direct democracy also does away with the endless debates in parliament and through the media about right-left, conservative-progressive and on and on. It does that because when the people debate the issues directly, and are the ones to decide the issues, it does not make a lot sense to have all those parliamentarian and media fireworks. It does not make sense either to look at issues through a political “religion”, with a preconceived notion of how to solve issues. Direct democracy forces voters to look at the practical details of each issue, ideology take a back seat.

The debates take place among the public instead. In a direct democracy, the people inform themselves of the issues because they know they will have to decide, that they can not shift the blame to the politicians.

Some people say that direct democracy is slower than representative democracy, that is not true, in a direct democracy there are provision for the politicians to quickly make emergency decisions. But there is a huge advantage direct democracy has; because the major decisions taken in a direct democracy are truly democratic decisions that truly represent the will of the majority, those decisions are sounder.

They are so for several reasons; one of them is that being clearly democratic, they find more acceptance among people who did not vote for them.

Direct democracy is also more efficient; the Swiss, the only almost direct democracy we have, is more efficient than any other democracy, that is why Switzerland is the best run, more stable, more prosperous democracy in the World.

With Internet and its various technologies, ordinary people can now quickly become acquainted with the essential details of any issue even the most complex ones. This happens because the many experts among the population explain to ordinary citizens, in a language they can understand, each issue.

Furtehrmore, direct democracy leads to better decisions because it involves in decision-making the brain power of many more individuals than what political parties, think tanks, etc., can bring to the issue.

Ordinary people can also understand any issue if properly explained, just like politicians, who also have no expertise on most issues, can understand them thanks to the explanations of the consultants and other experts.

With all the information available today, voters do not need the middle man, the elected politician, to decide for them, they can decide themselves.

If you want the democracy in your country to work better, push for direct democracy, democracy without the middle man, or with middle men but with their wings clipped.

Direct democracy is the system that guarantees to voters that politicians will do what the people want them to do.

Because the people decide by themselves, in a direct democracy there is no need for leaders with “vision”, “mission”, “leadership qualities”, “character”, etc. Like in a representative democracy, in a direct democracy the people are free and the also vote they vote to elect but, mostly, they are also the ones who decide; the executive decision makers.

As a result of direct democracy, the Swiss government has not permanent leader because it does not need one, the president of the country is the first among seven equals. They decide as a group and each holds the president for one year. But even in that post, the President can not make any decision by himself or herself, the 6 other members of the Council have the same power as the President has and all decisions are made my consensus.

So, if you want a democracy without the middle men, or want the decision -making power of the middle man severely reduced, demand direct democracy. The Swiss got it that way; Swiss politicians did not want direct democracy either, they preferred representative democracy because in a representative democracy, the politicians have much more power than in a direct democracy.

Victor Lopez

The elected politicians of all parties will never modernise representative democracy; ordinary citizens will have to do it, this is why and how

This is a short post.

Politicians in representative democracies like the US, Canada, France, the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, etc., will never want to change the system because the system is good to them. How can it not be if they have all the power to pass laws, raise or lower taxes, set up their own salaries and pensions, sign treaties, declare war, etc.?

Such power also atracts wealthy lobbies who, in many ways, are good to politicians; they make big nonations to their campaigns, “deliver” votes, offer then comfortable well-paying jobs once they leave politics, their high level of power also gives politicians the presence in the minds of the public to write books that make them millionaires, etc.

No matter that most Americans, British, French and others, are not satisfied with their democracy, and their politicians, the politicians will not change the system in any meaninful way. At most they will go for proportional representation, that gives smaller voter groups more voice, but still zero power. They will get the same zero power the majority has, even those who voted for a majority government.

The fact of the matter is that to fix representative democracy we have to bring direct democracy. But the politicians will never bring it, unless the people, ordinary citizens, push them until they have no choice.

Let us stop fooling ourselves with programs to “empower women” and other such initiatives. The programs to “empower women” are designed to give them as much power as men, which in representative democracies is close to zero. Sure, there are more men in government and in board rooms, that is good for the women that get there, but most women will continue, like most men, with next to zero power to decide issues; all they can do is vote and hope for the best, often the worse arrives instead.

It is the politicians who decide everything in representative democracies. The voters have freedom and vote decide who governs, but beyond that they decide nothing; it is the politicians who decide what laws to pass, how to apply them, what treaties to sign, what will the level of taxation be, what educational system we will have, when to go to war, and on and on. All voters can do between election is complain, they do not have the power, they have no formal procedures to stop anything the politicians do, or force them to do anythings.

But there is a way, it is called direct democracy. Until 1867 the Swiss had represemntative democracy, similar to what the US and the rest have now. But in 1867, the people of Zurich decided they had enough. Another pandemic was the trigger. The people decided that from then on they would have the power to stop laws and decisions by politiccians, that they would tell the politicians they had to pass a law on this or that issue.They also decided that it would be the people who would change the constitution, and that the supreme court would not have the power to declare any popular referendum “contrary to the constitution”. They also decided that the people would have the power to call referendums, not the executive, not the legislative.

From Zurich direct democracy quickly spread to the rest of Switzerland. The Swiss have developed a direct democracy that is light-years ahead of California’s direct democracy, and of other states in the US; I have no space here to go into that. California’s direct democracy does not work very well because it is not a real direct democracy.

The Swiss have not looked back sin ce 1867; why would they if they have the most politically and economically stable, most prosperous, most democratic country in the whole World?

By the way, ignore the flawed rankings of The Economist about “quality of democracy”. Why flawed? because The Economist places Switzerland behind 11 representative democracies. It is absurd that the country that comes closest to “government by the people”, which is what democracy is, will not be ranked number one, or even in special category far above the rest.

Real empowerment of ordinary women is not about how many of them are in parliament or in boardrooms. That is empowerment for the women who get there, but it is foolish of other women to feel empowered because some women are in government. Just as it is foolish for ordinary men fo feel they are empowered because most politiciaans are men. Real empowerment of ordinary men and women happens whan ordinary men and women are the final decision-makers on any issue the decide that they must decide.

That is what they have in Switzerland; Swiss men and women are more empowered than the men and women of any other country. Real empowerment happens when ordinary citizens decide their destiny.

To bring direct democracy to youir country, men and women have to forget tha fake division and join forces to force politicians to accept direct democracy, just like the Swiss did. Sure, Swiss women earned the right to vote later than many other women in the West, but today are ahead of all of them, no other women in the World come even close to the decision-making power Swiss women, and men have on the important issues for the nation.

Victor Lopez

Are you concerned about the virus of inflation in your country? Direct democracy is the vaccine you need

In most developed representative democracies, inflation is raising its ugly head again.

According to Trading Economics, these are the numbers:

France 2.2%
Italy 2.5
Netherlands 2.7
Sweden 2.5
Denmark 2.2
Norway 4.1
Australia 3.0
United Kingdom 3.1
Euro Area 3.4
Germany 4.1
United States 5.4
Canada 4.4
SWITZERLAND 0.9

This means that inflation in the United States, the country with the highest inflation number in the list, is 6 times higher than in Switzerland !, but inflation in the two countries with the lowest inflation, apart from Switzerland; France and Denmark, inflation is 2.4 times higher than in Switzerland.

Countries that many consider still serious and responsible, like Sweden, Norway, are even worse than Denmark and France.

Perhaps the most shocking data comes from Germany, at 4.1%,inflation it is 4.6 times higher than in Switzerland. You probably heard things like “the Germans will never forget when Germany’s representative democracy; the Weimar Republic, destroyed the economy and itself, creating the conditions for Hitler’s arrival.

Well, it is obvious the Germans have forgotten. If they have not forgotten, perhaps they are paralysed by collective guilt, or by a nutty “sense of solidarity” with other (irresponsible) EU governments.

Why Switzerland has such low inflation?

Since the 1990s, inflation in Switzerland has been low. Most of the time it was kept below 2%. It is not unusual or Switzerland to have negative inflation; things become cheaper in Swiss Francs. That is not what happened in the US for decades. That is why since 1971, when Nixon threw the Gold Standard ot the window. This is why since 1971 the US Dollar has lost 85% of its value against the Swiss Franc.

By the way, it does not matter if the progressives or the conservatives govern; in the US Trump was not any better than Biden at preventing inflation.

Switzerland is mostly a German-speaking country; more than 60% of the Swiss are German-speakers. Considering that the Swiss German-speakers are approximately 5 million, and share borders with about 93 million German-speakers in Germany and Austria, it is reasonable to think there must be quite a few cultural similarities among them, yet the political history of the three countries can not be more different.

But, somehow, the Swiss, including the French-speaking, Italian-speaking and Romansh-speaking Swiss, developed a unique political and electoral system; the closest to the most direct democracy humans ever developed; Ancient Greek Democracy. Amazingly, 2600 years later, modern democracy, including Switzerland, has not caught up the Ancient Greeks.

The Swiss never went for kaisers, emperors or führers. Switzerland is the most stable country in the World, and has been so for almost the last two centuries. Direct democracy has a lot to do with it.

Direct democracy brings many benefits. Direct democracy gives voters the power to elect representatives, nothing special here. But it does something very different; it gives the people real power to stop laws made by politicians and also to introduce laws and to change the constitution. The people have the final say on anything they want to have the final say on.

The Swiss people do not need the consent of the Executive, the Legislative or the Supreme Court to do all that, they exercise their power by themselves.

Direct democracy forces Swiss voters to decide responsibly because it is them, no the politicians, who have the final say. The Swiss people decide every important issue that affects the present and future of the country. This means that Swiss voter can not do what often the voters of the other countries do; blame the politicians, the parties, the lobbies (who often have too much influence on politicians), etc.

This means that Swiss monetary policy is more responsible than the policies of those other countries because the people know and understand that inflation is bad and vote accordingly. The Swiss do not let the politicians, the central bank, etc-, print money the way they do in the other countries.

Swiss politicians do not have the power to “buy” votes with this or that program or project devised to make people feel good for the short term.

You must keep in mind one thing; paper currencies are unstable because governments in representative democracies can not resist printing money so the the “economy will function”. What they in fact do is try to hide the fact that the economy is not functioning, by printing money.

That is what the politicians did in 2008 to avoid the collapse of many irresponsible banks, mostly in the US, and also mismanaged companies, many also in the US, but in other countries too. They never stopped printing money because “it worked”.

When “the virus from Hell” arrived, the politicians could not resist applying the same “medicine”, but in much larger doses. The result is a lot more paper money chasing more or less tha same goods. This means prices go up because the value of money goes down.

I am no economist. This is how the Foundation for Economic Education describes what happens.

I quote:

“We learn from extreme cases, in economic life as in medicine. A moderate inflation, that has been going on for only a short time, may seem like a great boon. It appears to increase incomes, and stimulate trade and employment. Politicians find it profitable to advocate more of it—not under that name, of course, but under the name of “expansion­ary” or “full employment” policies. It is regarded as politically suicidal to suggest that it be brought to a halt. Politicians promise to “fight” inflation, but by that they almost never mean slashing government expenditures, balancing the budget, and halting the money-printing presses. They mean denouncing the big corporations and other sellers for raising their prices. They mean imposing price and rent controls.

When the inflation is sufficiently severe and prolonged, however, when it becomes what is called a hyperinflation, people begin at last to recognize it as the catastrophe it really is. There have been scores of hyperinflations in history—in ancient Rome under Diocletian, in the American colonies under the Continental Congress in 1781, in the French Revolution from 1790 to 1796, and after World War I in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, not to mention in three or four Latin American countries today.

But the most spectacular hyperinflation in history, and also the one for which we have the most adequate statistics, occurred in Ger­many in the years from 1919 to the end of 1923. That episode repays the most careful study with the light it throws on what happens when an inflation is allowed to run its full course. Like every individual infla­tion, it had causes or features peculiar to itself—the Treaty of Versailles, with the very heavy reparation payments it laid upon Germany, the occupation of the Ruhr by Allied troops in early 1923, and other developments. But we can ignore these and concentrate on the features that the German hyperinflation shared with other hyperinflations.

Convertibility Suspended

At the outbreak of World War I­ on July 31, 1914, the German Reichsbank took the first step by suspending the conversion of its notes into gold. Between July 24 and August 7, the bank increased its paper note issue by 2 billion marks. By November 15, 1923, the day the inflation was officially ended, it had issued the incredible sum of 92.8 quintillion (92,800,000,000,000,­000,000) paper marks. A few days later (on November 20) a new cur­rency, the rentenmark, was issued. The old marks were made converti­ble into it at a rate of a trillion to one.

It is instructive to follow in some detail how all this came about, and in what stages.

By October 1918, the last full month of World War I, the quantity of paper marks had been increased fourfold over what it was in the pre­war year 1913, yet prices in Ger­many had increased only 139 percent. Even by October 1919, when the paper money circulation had increased sevenfold over that of 1913, prices had not quite increased sixfold. But by January 1920 this relationship was reversed: money in circulation had increased 8.4 times and the wholesale price index 12.6 times. By November 1921 circula­tion had increased 18 times and wholesale prices 34 times. By November 1922 circulation had in­creased 127 times and wholesale prices 1,154 times, and by Novem­ber 1923 circulation had increased 245 billion times and prices 1,380 billion times.

These figures discredit the crude or rigid quantity theory of money, according to which prices increase in proportion to the increase in the stock of money—whether the money consists of gold and converti­ble notes or merely of irredeemable paper.

And what happened in Germany is typical of what happens in every hyperinflation. In what we may call Stage One, prices do not increase nearly as much as the increase in the paper money circulation. This is because the man in the street is hardly aware that the money supply is being increased. He still has confidence in the money and in the pre-existing price level. He may even postpone some intended pur­chases because prices seem to him abnormally high, and he still hopes that they will soon fall back to their old levels.

Later Stages of Inflation

Then the inflation moves into what we may call Stage Two, when people become aware that the money stock has increased, and is still increasing. Prices then go up approximately as much as the quan­tity of money is increased. This is the result assumed by the rigid quantity theory of money. But Stage Two, in fact, may last only for a short time. People begin to assume that the government is going to keep increasing the issuance of paper money indefinite­ly, and even at an accelerating rate. They lose all trust in it. The result is Stage Three, when prices begin to increase far faster than the govern­ment increases, or even than it can increase, the stock of money.

(This result follows not because of any proportionate increase in the “velocity of circulation” of money, but simply because the value that people put upon the monetary unit falls faster than the issuance increases. See my article, “What Determines the Value of Money?” in The Freeman of September, 1976.)

But throughout the German inflation there was almost no pre­dictable correspondence between the rate of issuance of new paper marks, the rise in internal prices, and the rise in the dollar-exchange rate. Suppose, for example, we assign an index number of 100 to currency circulation, internal prices, and the dollar rate in Octo­ber 1918. By February 1920 circula­tion stood at 203.9, internal prices at 506.3, and the dollar rate at 1,503.2. One result was that prices of imported goods then reached an index number of 1,898.5.

But from February 1920 to May 1921 the relationship of these rates of change was reversed. On the basis of an index number of 100 for all of these quantities in February 1920, circulation in May 1921 had increased to 150.1, but internal prices had risen to only 104.6, and the dollar exchange rate had actual­ly fallen to 62.8. The cost of imported goods had dropped to an index number of 37.5. Between May 1921 and July 1922 the previous tendencies were once more resumed. On the basis of an index number of 100 for May 1921, the circulation in July 1922 was 248.6, internal prices were 734.6, and the dollar rate 792.2.

Again, between July 1922 and June 1923 these tendencies con­tinued, though at enormously in­creased rates. With an index num­ber of 100 for July 1922, circulation in June 1923 stood at 8,557, inter­nal prices at 18,194, and the dollar rate at 22,301. The prices of imported goods had increased to 22,486.

The amazing divergence between these index numbers gives some idea of the disequilibrium and dis­organization that the inflation caused in German economic life. There was a depression of real wages practically throughout the inflation, and a great diminution in the real prices of industrial shares.

How It Happened

How did the German hyperinfla­tion get started? And why was it continued to this fantastic extent?

Its origin is hardly obscure. To pay for the tremendous expen­ditures called for by a total war, the German government, like others, found it both economically and politically far easier to print money than to raise adequate taxes. In the period from 1914 to October 1923, taxes covered only about 15 per cent of expenditures. In the last ten days of October 1923, ordinary taxes were covering less than 1 percent of expenses.

What was the government’s own rationalization for its policies? The thinking of the leaders had become incredibly corrupted. They inverted cause and effect. They even denied that there was any inflation. They blamed the depreciation of the mark on the adverse balance of payments. It was the rise of prices that had made it necessary to increase the money supply so that people would have enough money to pay for goods. One of their most respected monetary economists, Karl Helfferich, held to this rationalization to the end:

“The increase of the circulation has not preceded the rise of prices and the depreciation of the exchange, but it followed slowly and at great distance. The circulation increased from May 1921 to the end of January 1923 by 23 times; it is not possible that this increase had caused the rise in the prices of imported goods and of the dollar, which in that period increased by 344 times.”¹

Of course such reasoning was eagerly embraced by Germany’s politicians. In the late stages of the inflation, when prices rose far faster than new money could even be printed, the continuation and even the acceleration of inflation seemed unavoidable. The violent rise of prices caused an intense demand for more money to pay the prices. The quantity of money was not suffi­cient for the volume of transactions. Panic seized manufacturers and business firms. They were not able to fulfill their contracts. The rise of prices kept racing ahead of the volume of money. The thirty paper mills of the government, plus its well-equipped printing plants, plus a hundred private printing presses, could not turn out the money fast enough. The situation was desper­ate. On October 25, 1923 the Reichsbank issued a statement that during the day it had been able to print only 120,000 trillion paper marks, but the demand for the day had been for a quintillion.

One reason for the despair that seized the Germans was their con­viction that the inflation was caused principally by the repara­tions burden imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. This of course played a role, but far from the major one. The reparations payments did not account for more than a third of the total discrepancy between expen­diture and income in the German budget in the whole four financial years 1920 through 1923.”
END OF QUOTE.

So, if you want to save your savings, your familiy, your country, from the mess ahead, you better demand direct democracy before it is too late. We the people must control the politicians. Elections are not enough, we need the power and the freedom to decide issues. Without the freedom to decide issues that affect us we are not really free because the politicians control or lives.

Under Swiss-style direct democracy, we do not have to get rid of the politicians, we only have to clip their wings by demanding that we, the people, have the final say on anything the politicians want to do that the majority of us consider is not prudent; from printing too much money to getting involved in wars, rising or lowering taxes…, anything.

Once the politicians have less power, the lobbies will have less power too; the voters will have the final executive power on any major issue.

The politicians will change their behaviour radically; they will become responsible because they will have no other choice. They will govern never forgetting the concerns of 70-80% of the voters.

That is what happens in Switzerland; when the Swiss politicians realized they could not pass any law or sign any treaty without the explicit or tacit consent of the majority of the people, they looked at each other and decided: “you know what?, it makes no sense we fight in Parliamenat about this or that law or policy, let us work together to make sure the majority of the people will accept and support what we do”.

Because of that, the 4-5 major Swiss parties govern together in a coalition; nothing of “major party in power, “major party in the opposition” and all the verbal fireworks, demagoguery and other shenanigas we see in the parliaments of representative democracies.

Another enormous benefit of direct democracy is that it erases the Right-Left polarisation we see in representative democracies. Why? because the people do not rally around “political religions”. This means political fights are far less aggressive because less power is at stake. The lobbies know that too. They know there is not much point in throwing millions into political campaigns because, in the end, it is the people who decide, not the politicians.

Many people try to discredit direct democracy as “dictatorship of the majority”, “it is slow”, and other foolishness. It is obvious that direct democracy has propelled Switzerland ahead of the rest in practically all indicators and facts on the ground; from highest income per capita to best universal health care.

But you better get moving. Do not be like those Germans of the 20s and 30s who believed their elected politician would guide them in the right direction. It is time for us, the people, to take the running of our countries in our own hands.

If we complain about “the Left”, “the Right”, “the politicians”, “the parties”, “the lobbies”, “big business”, “big unions”, etc., but do nothing to bring change, we are also part of the problem; in fact, we are the root problem.

If you think this post and direct democracy may be of interest to others, pass it on to relatives, friends, co-workers.

Victor Lopez

Direct democracy is about real empowerment of voters by depowering politicians, lobbyists, “opinion leaders” and demagogue

Direct democracy is the only real democracy. Democracy means “government by the people”, you know that in your representative democracy the people do not govern.

They do not have “government by the people” in the Unitede States, in Canada, in Scandinavia, in Germany, in the Netherlands, in France, in the UK, in Australia, in Japan, in India, in Brazil and in the rest.

The hard truth is that the leaders of the French Revolution stole direct democracy from the people, and the rest did the same.

The leaders of the American Revolution they never believed in “government by people” either. That is why they set up an elaborate system to make sure the people do not decide anything; in the US and most other countries all the hard power to make decisions is in the hands of the politicians and in the hands of the judges the politicians appoint.

During the French Revolution, in. 1793, Deputy Pierre-François-Joseph, put it well:

“There is no democracy with national representation,” he opined, “and those who wish to adapt all the principles of democratic government to a representative government are either imbeciles who disrupt without knowing it, or rogues who knowingly disrupt in the hope of not losing the fruits of anarchy.”

Unfortunately, the French Revolution ditched direct democracy and embraced representative “democracy”.

The expression “representative democracy” is really an oxymoron. I suppose the French and the rest of the “democratic” world accepted it because it still was a huge improvement over rule by the Kings, the Aristocrats and the Church, bud it is not democracy.

Nevertheless, the fact is that with the French and the American revolutions, the people won the right to elect the rulers but not the right to rule. In representative democracies, in all of them, the people have freedom of expression and the power to elect, but do not have the power to decide.

For the people to be really politically empowered, only direct democracy delivers. In a way the campaigns to empower women, minorities, etc., in representative democracies, are just morsels to distract men, women and everybody else of the root problem; that power is not in the hands of men, women and ordinary people in general.

In a direct democracy it is very different, the people have the freedom, the people elect AND the people decide the issues.

Because the people decide what issues they want to decide, and decide what to do about them too, the people know they are responsible for the direction the country, the state, the province, the city, the town, the village, etc., takes on economic, social, educational, health and any other issue.

Because of this responsibility, the people inform themselves and also listen to the points of view of politicians and experts on the issues. Unlike what it happens in representative “democracies” where the voters rely on the election campaign and what the media says about “the character”, “the experience”, “the leadership”, “the vision” and other vague “messianic” ideas, to decide in which candidate to put their trust, in a direct democracy the people become the executive, and demand facts because they have to decide the issue, they do not put their trust in elected politicians, they are responsible.

This is what the Swiss have been doing for nearly two centuries. It is not coincidental that Switzerland is, by far, the best country in the World for the rich and the rest. Ironically, the rich in Switzerland have less power but are better off than the rich in other countries because the rich, the wise rich, know that political stability is the best guarantee their money is safe, and no system produces more stability than Swiss-style direct democracy. The non-rich also know that political stability is crucial for them. If to that you add the best universal health system in the World and many others “bests”, the non-rich also do very well in Switzerland.

By the way, in a direct democracy it does not matter much if the head of the executive is senile or falls under the control of its advisors, it does not matter because the people can control,even reverse any important decision.

It does not matter much either if the elected politicians fall under the control of lobbies for the same reason; they do not have much power because the people can throw out any law they pass.

But because the politicians do not have much power, the lobbies know it is not a good “investment” to lobby them hard.

For all that, in a direct democracy there is hardly any corruption of politicians; they do not have enugh power; you know the saying that power corrupts.

As a matter of fact, politicians are so relatively unimportant in a direct democracy. that in Switzerland (the only real, almost full direct democracy we have on Earth, many members of the national parliament are part-timers and the national parliament only needs to meet for 12 weeks in the whole year. It does so in 4 sessions of three weeks.

That is also why most Swiss national politicians, as well as politicians at lower levels, continue holding their regular jobs.

The Swiss system is as far ahead of the rest that most people in other countries can not imagine it exists. That is why spreading the word and the work about direct democracy is essential.

Direct democracy gets rid of nice-sounding but empty words like “liberty, fraternity, equality” or “government of the people, by the people, for the people” we oten hear in representative democracies. All we need is “decisions by the peoplee”, the rest are just verbal shenanigans.

It is time to bring direct democracy, by depowering those now running the country, and empowering voters at the expense of politicians, the rich, the big corporations and the media is the best way forward, to bring people together, to prevent polarisation and, most important, to make sound decisions.

Victor Lopez

Direct democracy is better for the rich and the rest, this is why

There are many reasons to prefer direct democracy over representative democracy (I do not consider systems like dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, religious regimes and other similar systems because they all disrespect the freedom of the individual to choose rulers and to dismiss them, and also do not allow criticism of the rulers;to me they are all illegitimate regimes).

My objective is to increase awareness of the advantages of direct democracy. I have no doubt it is the evolution representative democracies need to overcome or greatly mitigate its flaws. Today I will write about the advantages of direct democracy for the rich and the rest.

Because in a direct democracy the voters have the power to stop anything the politicians in the executive and the legislative want to do, neither branch of government dares make decisions or pass laws that do not have the support of the majority of voters.

Furthermore, because the voters can also force the legislative and the executive to pass laws and put in place policies the people want, the politicians can never deviate from the will of the people.

In a direct democracy, the people are the ones who can propose and make changes to the constitution too.

In representative democracies, the voters have no such power; the only power they have is to elect politicians; all other decisions concerning laws, policies and the constitution are under the control of the politicians. In some representative democracies the people have to approve changes to the constitution, but it is the politicians who propose the changes.

In representative democracies there is an additional problem; they give the Supreme court of the country the power to overturn the outcome of popular referendums if the court decides the result of the referendum is unconstitutional. In a direct democracy, the Supreme court has no such power because the people are the final decision makers; by definition, in a direct democracy the results of a referendum are always constitutional. The judges of the Supreme court, or of lower courts, can only cancel the results of the referendum if they find evidence of irregularities in the process.

By having the people as the ultimate decision-makers, direct democracy makes sure that the politicians and the elites (who in representative democracies have a disproportionate influence over the politicians) never do things that alienate the people. This means public anger at politicians, the elites, the rich, does not arise because they do not gave the power to impose their will over the people.

Direct democracy is like safety valve. Just like the safety valve of a pressure cooker lets steam out to prevent an explosion, so does direct democracy.

The rich in a direct democracy know it makes no sense to invest large amounts of money in the campaigns of politicians because, with their severely curtailed power, the politicians can not guarantee, propose, etc., laws or policies that will help the rich.

Because in a direct democracy the people know they are in control, that neither the politicians nor the rich can by-pass them, the people do not resent the power of the rich and of the politicians. This is very important because most people do not resent the rich (if they have become so by respecting the law), what ordinary people really resent is the political power and influence of the rich in the political process and over the politicians.

In representative democracies people resent also that they vote for someone or some party, but them feel betrayed when those elected ignore them, betray their electoral promises, or do things they never said they would do.

Direct democracy ensures that the politicians and the rich can never do things that alienate the people.

This is also why in a direct democracy the people have no need for massive, sometimes violent demonstrations.

Direct democracy brings unmatched political and social stability. This is perhaps what is most important for the rich and for everybody else. Wise rich people know that a stable society is the best protection of their wealth. Such rich people have learned to think for the long term, not for the quarterly results of their business.

By giving so much power to politicians, representative democracy corrupts itself because the power of the politicians corrupts them and corrupts the rich also, because it pushes them to meddle in the political process. It does so because rich people, big business, have to lobby for their interests, otherwise their rivals and competitors will have crucial influence over the politicians.

Direct democracy is good for everybody else too because it gives voters the dignity of knowning they are in charge of their country. It also develops in ordinary voters the awareness they need, and the sense of responsibility they must have to run the country.

Switzerland is a good place for the rich; the rich Swiss do not place part of their money in London, Paris, Berlin, Toronto or New York, but many wealthy English, French, Germans, Canadians and Americans do put “emergency” funds in Zurich; quite a few even move there.

Yet Switzerland offers some of the best universal social services in the World. For example, they have the best universal health coverage and very low cost university education;the not rich do very well in Switzerland too.

Why those other major countries, and many more, do not adopt and adapt the Swiss system can only be attributed to ignorance, fake pride or… a deliberate but silent scheme by politicians and elites to keep people distracted for their short term economic gain.

Switzerland is living proof direct democracy is a better system for the rich and for everybody else, study it, push for it.

Direct democracy is the way forward to overcome the discredited and wobbly political, economic and monetary system of representative democracy.

Victor Lopez

Direct democracy and Bitcoin; again ahead of the rest

You heard of Bitcoin and the controversies surrounding it; investors in Bitcoin say it plays the role of gold, “digital gold” they call it. Those who do not believe in it, those who feel threatened by it, because, among other things, Bitcoin means governments and banks will lose the control they have over money, say things like “Bitcoin is rat’s poison”, “it is worth nothing”, “it is a Ponzi scheme”, “it has no intrinsic value”, etc.

I think that Bitcoin is a sound new technology which shifts the control of money from governments and banks to the people. In a way, it is the monetary equivalent of direct democracy.

Direct democracy shifts the control of political decisions, laws, regulations, changes to the constitution of the country, from the politicians and the lobbies who influence the politicians, even control them, to the voters.

Unlike representative democracies, where the people have freedom to think and to elect their representatives only, in a direct democracy, the people have those freedoms, and they also have the freedom to decide issues like laws, policies, regulations and changes to the constitution.

This means that in a direct democracy, the final decision makers are the people, not the politicians. Likewise, Bitcoin and the world of cryptocurrencies, shifts control of the monetary system to the people.

But I am no expert on Bitcoin, what I want to write about here is how a direct democracy gives the people the authority to decide what to do with Bitcoin.

In some representative democracies, governments have decided to adopt or accept Bitcoin, but that is not a  democratic decision because it is not a democratically made decision. It is a decision made by democratically elected leaders but it is not a democratic decision.

The decision to elect leaders is democratic because the majority of voters decide who will govern. The decision to adopt bitcoin is not democratic if the people do not have the chance to vote on the adoption of bitcoin and if the majority did not decide that Bitcoin be adopted.

Here is where direct democracy comes in, specifically Swiss direct democracy, the only one we have with a solid track record, although Taiwan has also started to follow in the Swiss footsteps.

A Swiss non-profit organisation 2B4CH (2b4.CH is its web) was established in 2017 to study the social and financial transformation brought by Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, and also the impact of cryptocurrencies in general.

The organisation decided that the Swiss people should decide if Bitcoin should be integrated into the Swiss constitution, just like the current Swiss currency, the Swiss Frank, is.

You probably know the Swiss Frank is the most serious currency in the World, that is why many rich people keep all or part of their money in Switzerland. Ity also helps that taxes are lower than in many other countries. It does not hurt either that ordinary Swiss voters have acquired, thanks to direct democracy, a level of awareness of how the economy of the country works that is unmatched by the population of any other country.

The Swiss Frank is the currency that has depreciated the least against gold, much less than the US Dollar, etc.

Direct democracy forces Swiss voters to understand how the economy and everything else works. They have to, because they are directly responsible for the direction of the country.

The awareness of the Swiss is such that they do not fall for demagogical proposals from the Right of the Left. For example, very recently decided to make gay marriage equal to traditional marriage, this irked many on the Right, and they also decided it would not be a good idea to increase taxation of capital and decrease taxation of wages, which irked many in the Left.

So, 2b4ch decided that the Swiss people should decide by referendum if Bitcoin is important and serious enough to become part of the Constitution of the country.

To do that, 2b4CH has initiated the collection of signatures. They have to collect 100 000 signatures in 18 months. If they succeed, then a referendum will take place to decide if the proposal is approved or rejected. If rejected, another group could organise the initiative again in a few years, perhaps because the political climate might have shifted.

It is very important to keep in mind that the elected politicians do not have the power to hold referendums or to reject the results of referendums. The Swiss Supreme Court, or any other, do not have the power to overturn the results of popular referendums either. In Switzerland, the people are really the boss. Swiss politicians do not speak of “serving the people” much, they have no choice.

The government does have the power to propose an alternative to the initiative, in this case, if 2b4CH accepts the counter proposal, the referendum will not take place and the government is given time to implement its proposal.

For the initiative to pass it needs to win the popular vote in the nation and also needs to win in the majority of the Cantons (states or provinces) of Switzerland, because Switzerland is a confederation.

100 000 signatures represent approximately 1% of the population of Switzerland.

Shouldn’t the people of the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Australia and all other representative democracies have the same rights as the Swiss people? Why should the Swiss people have more rights than the people of those other countries?

Whatever decision the Swiss people make on Bitcoin, it will have the credibility of a true democratic decision; the decisions by the politicians and bureaucrats in the US, UK, Japan, India. France, Germany, etc., do not have it. Why should Biden, Trump. McConnell, Pelosi, etc., decide for the people?

Representative democracy no longer makes sense: “the people pay, the peoples decide”.

Victor Lopez

How direct democracy is starting to react to the madness of creating money out of thin air

I am sure you heard; “governments are printing too much money”.

You might have also heard that paper money not backed by anything ends up as nothing.

Many years ago people traded by paying with gold coins. Then they traded with paper money backed by gold. This meant that you could go to the bank and exchange the paper bill of one dollar, or whatever, for one one gold coin of one dollar.

That used to be the system we had in the World years ago, when onme paper dollar was backed by a one dollar gold coin.

But politicians could not resist the temptation to make money beyond the amounts possible if all money had to be backed by gold.

One day, in President Nixon’s term, Americans and the World woke up and learned that from that moment on, one paper dollar could not be echanged for a one dollar gold coin. This meant one paper dollar could be exchanged for on paper dollar.

That started massive money printing by central banks. As the central banks are controlled by the politicians, they can not resist printing more mone in times of crisis, so that the people will have money to survive.

But things are even worse now. Until recently, only the central bank of a country was allowed to create money, now even private banks create money.

Mnay people still believe that when they go to the bank to borrow money, for example, to buy a house, that what the bank does is lend them the money savers deposited in the bank. It  used to be like that, it no longer is. Now the bank is allowed to ned much more money than what depositors have in their savings accounts.

How does that happen?, because the central banks of countries allow private banks to create money out of nothing to lend it, neat, isn’t it.

More and more people are catching on that there is too much paper money, that is why inflation is growing.

You will not be surprised to hear that the people more aware of the problem are the Swiss. I have no doubt this is because Swiss voters have learned to be responsible. They have no choice because direct democracy forces them to make decisions and to live with the effects of their decisions.

You probably know Switzerland is the country with the most solid finances and the highest degree of political stability. Swiss politicians are not as free as the politicians of representative democracies to be financially irresponsible.

The first sign that the Swiss people are becoming concerned about excessive money creatio  out of nothing, is that in 2018 the Swiss people voted on a referendum to decide if private banks would no longer be allowed to create money when they make loans.

The proponents wanted to prohibit private banks to lend more money than they had in deposits.

The initiative was defeated, but is shows the concern about excessive creation of paper money.

But these are signs that concern in growing about uncontrolled creation of money. It is not by coincidence that the Swiss people are the first, and the only ones so far, to start to worry about out of control money creation. No doubt it is because direct democracy has made them more responsible.

Actually, it was the massive creation of money in 2008-2009 to rescue US banks and other business in 2008-2009, and also banks and business in other countries, as well as whole countries, that led Satoshi Nakamoto to create Bitcoin.

Excessive, out of control, money printing by elected politicians should be brought under control. Only the people in a direct democracy has the power to do that. This is another important reason to bring direct democracy to all countries.

Victor Lopez

 

In a direct democracy politicians never stay too long; there is no need for term limits

People in representative democracies complain that politicians stay too long; some of them stay in power and/or parliament for decades.

In some places they have introduced term limits, in others they have recalls, which means the people can remove from office a politician before his or her term is up.

Neither measure addresses the root problem. The root problem is that in representative democracies, politicians have too much power. The executive has too much power and so does the legislature. They have too much power to pass laws, regulations, policies, impose taxation levels, decide what educational and health system the country will have, etc.

That is the real problem. Term limits is basically a cosmetic measure because while the politician is “serving the people” he or she has too much power.

Recalling is the same; it does not do much good to remove a politician the people consider grossly incompetent once he has done the damage.

Direct democracy is the proper way to run a society because it gives the people the power to stop anything the politicians want to do. It does not matter if what the politicians want to do is a result of them staying in power too long or if it is the result of gross incompetence, etc.

Besides, term limits and recall affect only a few politicians. The problem is that politicians, as a group, have too much power. The issue is not if one of them stays too long, is incompetent or corrupt.

In a direct democracy, the people do not complain if a politician stays too long or if he or she should be recalled. In a direct democracy, the people have the power to control all politicians, as well as the political parties. It does not matter if they are in the executive or not, it does not matter if they have the majority in parliament or not.

In a direct democracy, the people can make radical decisions over the heads of the politicians.

In a direct democracy, anyone, any group can draft a proposal; if approximately 1% of registered voters back the proposal and put their signature behind it, there must be a referendum on the proposal.

This means that the voters decide if the proposal will become law or not. The role of the elected politicians is to elaborate the law, they can not challenge it, much less reject it.

The other power the people have in a direct democracy is to gather also a limited number of signatures to force a referendum on any law, policy or treaty the elected politicians want to enact.

Sometimes, the constitution itself specifies  which laws must go to a referendum.

As you might suspect, the results of the referendums are binding for government; neither the executive, not the legislative, not even the Supreme Court can reject or overturn the results of the referendum.

Another characteristic of direct democracy is the the people are the only ones who can change the constitution.

In view of that, you can see how the people in a direct democracy are not concerned about term limits or recalls.

In a direct democracy, the people have so much power that the politicians do what the people want; there is no need to limit terms or to recall anyone.

Just imagine the laws, policies and other decisions the people of your country would have stopped dead if they had the power direct democracy gives the people. I am sure you can think of  laws, treaties, policies and decisions your government has  enacted that, if they had gone to a referendum, the people would have rejected.

Representative democracy is obsolete. But what is even worse is that politicians have so much power in a representative democracy that can not help but create an spiral of continuously accumulating more power.

One of the powers they have is the power to print as much money as they want. As a result, what they do to “manage” economic crisis is what politicians all over the World are doing now; print so much money that money starts to rapidly lose its value. Soon the confidence of the people in the politicians is lost, because people see their salaries buy less and less. The final outcome is always economic and social disaster; bloody uprisings are also possible.

Direct democracy also makes election less important. This is because in a direct democracy the politicians do not really have the power to do much against the will of the people.

Such is the power of direct democracy that it eliminates the concept of the “opposition party”. You might think that harms democracy, but it is not so. When politicians see that they have to govern according to the wishes of the people, they work together, they realise it makes no sense to have all those verbal fireworks, we see in representative democracies between the party in power and the parties in the opposition.

How do I know that direct democracy works like that, and much better than representative democracy?, because I have studied Switzerland, the only direct democracy we have on Earth at the national, regional and local level. You can study Switzerland too, I am sure you will reach the same conclusion; Switzerland’s direct democracy has produced the most stable, more democratic country on earth. Direct democracy will help your country become a much better, more democratic, country.

Victor Lopez

Representative democracy pushes politicians to act irresponsibly over the long term, direct democracy promotes responsibility in politicians and voters.

The basic difference between representative democracy and direct democracy is the amount of decision-making power in the hands of the politicians and in the hands of the voters.

In a representative democracy, the elected politicians have in their hands all the decision-making power; they pass laws, regulations, policies, decide with which countries to have commercial or peace treaties, taxation level, the size of the armed forces and on and on. In representative democracies, except deciding their own election or re-election, the politicians decide everything else and, short of massive demonstrations and riots to scare the politicians, the people can do nothing.

In such countries, the voters only have power to elect, they do not ace any institutionalised power to decide laws, regulations, taxation level, treaties, etc.

In representative democracies, all voters can do is go, vote and hope for the best. But we all know what the promises of politicians mean. All the people can do is vote and hope for the best.

Because politicians have so much power, one thing they can afford to do is to violate their electoral promises and also to introduce actions they never talked about during elections.

Because politicians in representative democracies have so much power, the economic, political and social lobbies know that to influence the laws, regulations and policies of the country, all they have to do is lobby the politicians. They lobby them by meeting with them but, even more important, they lobby them with their actions. For example, lobbies know politicians need donations from business, rich organisations and rich individual. They also need loans (from the big banks).

Such dynamic creates an obligation on politicians to return the favour in some manner. It can be by passing a law that benefits the lobbyist or the clients of the lobbyist. It can also e by tailoring calls for government contract to the capabilities of the business of donors.

But to get elected, the politicians need votes, lots of them.

Because in representative democracies, politicians have so much power, at election time they fight like hell to win.

One way to increase their chances of winning is through promises to the voters. Those in power seeking re-election, like all others, they promise a lot; “if you vote for us, we will do this and this”, but also do something else. They do things that most voters like, and they do it right before the election. For example, they can enact a new law that gives people cash if they do this or that.

They may say to the citizens: “if you vote for us, we will institute a system of grants of x thousands of dollars for those buying a house, of if they instal highly efficient heating systems in their homes”, etc.

They may also say: “The government will give people in apartments grants so that they will buy a home, etc.”

In other words, to gain power, politicians in representative democraciesdo things to please the voters.

Such promises, as wells as the many social programs, can cost more money that the country can afford, but the affordability issue will not show up immediately.

If the government needs more money than it has, it goes into debt of deficit. The crisis created by excessive spending will not happen immediately. And when it happens, the politicians will be out of office and will not have to pay the consequences of his or her irresponsible actions.

In other words, the politician finds himself/herself in a situation where he has to behave irresponsibly to win the election.

Perhaps the worse consequence of the dynamics of representative democracy is that it also fosters the development of irresponsible voters. It does so by appealing to the desire many voters have for immediate gratification.

Another effect of the aggressive fight for power in representative democracies is political polarizations; the parties rip each other to pieces and this polarises the followers.

In a direct democracy, electoral fight are much less aggressive because the politicians have less power.

Because of that, polarisation in a direct democracy happens to a much smaller extent.

So, if you are tired of politicians practically bribing voters, if you are tired also politicians that to win election do things that threaten the economy and the political instability of the country, if you are tired of politicians using public money to seduce voters with promises and actions that are bad for the country, then you must support direct democracy.

We know from the example of Switzerland, the most prosperous and politically stable country on Earth, that direct democracy works.

Direct democracy also has another enormous benefit; it forces voters to vote responsible for deciding issues, because the crucial difference between representative democracy and direct democracy is that, in a direct democracy, the people vote to decide the issue. In a direct democracy, the voters can not blame the government, precisely because the people are the decision-makers.

For example, the mess the US and in so many other countries, would not happen if the US and the rest had Swiss-style direct democracy at all levels.

Victor Lopez