Why Is There Tension between Capitalism and Democracy Today – Essay Example

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The paper “ Why Is There Tension between Capitalism and Democracy Today? ” is an excellent variant of essay on sociology. At the moment, capitalism has been having a major impact on the progression of democracy. Countries that have both democracy and capitalism are more developed and stable economically. Capitalism is based on industrialising and creating an economical sufficient country. Democracy on the other hand is based on creating a society that recognises equal rights and freedoms for all citizens. Research shows that democracy is egalitarian while capitalism is in-egalitarian (Schumpeter, 2013). Thus, there has been a strain that exists between capitalism and democracy.

Global power is highly related to the domain of capitalism. It is highly associated with the expansion of the corporate interests sometimes at expense of common citizens. There is high expansion of multinationals which are operating across borders. In fact, multinationals firms have been able to penetrate global economies selling products and using cheap labour and resources (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001). This essay analyse the existing tension between capitalism and democracy today. The concerns that capitalism and socialism may not be compatible have been there for a long time.

From the 19th century up to the 20th century, there were concerns by the bourgeoisie and political right who saw democracy as a major threat to private property and free markets. In fact, they saw it as a form of rule of the poor over the rich (Streeck, 2011). On the other hand, political left and the working class feared that the capitalists would work together with forces of reaction and do away with the democracy (Allman, 2001). This is due to fact that capitalists were searching for the protection from permanent majority governing them who were mainly dedicated to wealth redistribution (Streeck, 2011).

The two positions show the earliest existence of tension between democracy and capitalism which still exist today. The view that capitalism and democracy are naturally in tension was held by theorists such as Karl Marx up to the neo-theorists of the 1970s (Sherman, 1995). Theorists held that the basic structure in the western societies was capitalism while democracy acted as the surface phenomenon. According to the theorists, coexistence between democracy and capitalism was only temporary.

They claimed that in the time of crisis, democracy was easily abandoned in favour of capitalism. Here, capitalism was depicted as exploitive and alienating (Streeck, 2011). In fact, it was claimed that capitalism would be overthrown under the conditions of true democracy. These views still exists today. The challenge of making capitalism and democracy compatible depicts the existing tension. In the developed countries, the left and working-class had the reason to fear democracy being overthrown by the right with an aim of saving capitalism (Streeck, 2011).

After the Second World War, it was clear that for capitalism to be compatible with democracy there was need for extensive political control (Schumpeter, 2013). This was aimed at ensuring that democracy was not restrained for the sake of free markets. There were some who advocated for the abolishment of democracy like Friedrich von Hayek. Modern capitalism works based on rule-bound economic policies, protection of markets and property rights from unwanted political interference (Streeck, 2011). This further enhanced the existing tension.


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