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beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Great American Institutions

January 5th, 2017 by Kit

This country likes to talk at length about how much it values democracy, as a core concept. For a long time, I’ve said that this strikes me as strange, when two out of three of our major cultural institutions are (mostly) based around (substantial) autocracy.

That is, while we pursue democratic government, we maintain autocratic military (in service to a democratic government at least, which, I think, makes sense) and autocratic businesses (which we know we have alternatives to, but rarely pursue).

This is why I have always been opposed to the rhetoric of “running the country more like a business”. To me, that sounds like “run the country autocratically”.

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  • What is the basis of the idea that our business is run autocratically?
    And what would the alternatives be?

    Given that the most successful companies are ostensibly owned by whichever member of the public wants and can afford to buy them and run as mini-democracies, to me capitalism seems more democratic than autocratic, in principle. In practice, yes, many large companies are owned by a small elite, but again, that doesn’t match my conception of autocracy, since even in that case, there is rule by consensus.