Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to curtail greed in a democracy ?

Greed is the fundamental driver today in human civilization. Greed has grown to be the major problem in the world today because of several factors. Greed which takes it's birth from fear has always existed in all thinking living beings on earth, but nature's laws prevent it from growing to be a major problem. Like if there was no concept of money, then it would be difficult to hoard goods and transport the same easily hence discouraging greed.

Corporations with monopoly (or ineffective competition) due to various barriers like scale, capital etc capitalize and over charge customers for goods and services. Today's majority of corporations are inherently undemocratic in nature and therefore put the interest of the wealthy shareholders on top of everybody else viz, the floor workers (job cuts), environment(exploitation and pollution) and even customers (poor products and customer service).

Easy solution to tackle greed across the board can be as below,
Simple way of curtailing greed is to have federal top income tax rates for all individuals at 90% just like between 1950 to 1980s in the United states. If somebody somehow makes excess money, they have to let go excess money to the government. Now since the government is democratic, it is obliged to spend this collected money on the poor and the needy. This solution will to a large extent solve the problem of greed, provided we elect honest people as our representatives. Another advantage of this approach is we need less complex regulations, as nobody can cheat, take shortcuts, exploit environment to make excess money as in the end excess money has to be handed over to government. There is less incentive to make money (less greed) which is exactly what is needed.

There are few problems with this approach like the Federal government becomes all too powerful with all this money and will start exercising this power across the world by waging unnecessary wars etc, etc. Remember concentration of any sort of power is bad and against the concept of democracy. So we need to reduce the money power of federal government. What can be done is the federal government can have the power to collect federal taxes but they shouldn't have the power to spend it. The power to spend the federal income taxes should lie with the states and local/city governments. Say for ex, federal government collects the tax money and distributes it among all states on the basis(ratio) of the human population in that state. When the state government get's this money (they no longer need to collect state income taxes) they should be forced to distribute this money among local governments. All the expenses for running the federal government will be born by the states on expenditure basis. Say for ex, the salary of Senators, Congressmen and federal employees will be borne by the states where they reside. They key message is distribution of power. If power is concentrated in a place(like an oil well) or an individual (like a CEO or a judge), some evil person will abuse that power.

Please feel free to leave your comments.


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