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Economic Democracy? In the EU? - Part 1

Economic Democracy? In the EU? - Part 1In coming issues we will publish a few chapters of this bilingual book, newly launched at the Federação Empresarial de Portugal, presented by its President Antonio Saraiva, with foreword by the President of the Auditing Court of Portugal, Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins.
It was edited by our author Jack Soifer, supported by co-authors Francisco B.Weinholtz, John Wolf, Stefan de Vylder, Luis Silva, Armindo Palma, Henrique Neto and Viriato Soromenho-Marques.

History - 1

Solidarity is a law printed in the sons of God - Pope Francis

Many politicians use this word in different ways, but with the same goal, to simplify the adoption of draft laws and legal practices to impose the will of their governments. This is similar to dictatorship or oligarchy (rule by a few). In modern countries in the EU and in a few others, there is an increase in the strength of something resembling an oligarchy; but to give the impression that it is just information, it is called a lobby. Lobbying is carried out by strong corporations or employers’ associations; often using Public Relations companies which promote the interests of one or more clients. These lobbyists influence opinion-makers such as politicians, journalists and columnists through law firms belonging to politicians, ex-politicians or their close relatives working within ministries to support the drafting of bills, decrees or regulations. Some consultants work for governments to define precisely what will be done by public servants. There are others that create the software that facilitates or hinders the implementation of each law at the wish of large private clients.

The so called representative democracy is increasingly moving away from the Greek concept of government by the people (not by deputies, still less by ministers who ignore their constituents) in agoras, congregations in each city where all free men had complete freedom to express their thoughts on vital issues and where every citizen voted directly on laws and decrees that served to rule their community. Today the very word 'rule', which meant originally to be responsible for various sectors of the State, is inter-twined with the power in the Cabinet of passing a bill with the unspoken promise of approving later bills of colleagues.

The machine to elect one Member of Parliament or Congressman costs around €250k in small countries, and may reach half a million in others. He and his party need the support of lobbyists, so more and more politicians, with few exceptions, represent the interests of lobbyists more than those of their constituents. In the US I went once to dinner at a club in the presence of a congressman. He got 5 min. to speak, while many members had 4-5 minutes each. In the end the president briefed the congressman what he should say in Washington as a representative of that group.
The actual representation of constituents implies that there can be no loyalty to party wishes, which contrasts with the concept of good governance, but is in line with the concept of demos-cracy, i.e. governance by the people - in this case those who truly represent their constituents.

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