Just thinking..

Jan 11th, 2012 | Filed under Uncategorized

History is positively littered with examples of the way in which power can be eroded over time.

One of the obvious examples is the way in which, during the 17th century, parliament gradually eroded the powers of the monarch. Kings would, in effect, require bailing out, which in turn required that taxes be raised. The mechanism for doing so would be to call a parliament, representing the land owners who would have to pay those taxes, in order to legislate for them and subsequently collect them.

In exchange for raising the taxes, parliament would then require that the king made concessions to their agenda, and so it was that limitations on the powers of the monarch and the empowerment of parliament was gradually achieved.

This worked, principally, because the king had to seek permission from the tax payers in order to collect them, and in doing so left himself open to conditions being imposed in return. Whilst only land owners were able to participate in parliament (and the more wealthy a person was, the more likely that they would have rather more personal representation), I think it’s fair to say that parliament represented the interests of those whom it so obviously served very well indeed.

Which brings us to today’s parliament. Superficially, it is meant to serve “the people”, being the entire body of voters (and, ideally, everyone else too). If we take that as its function, then it represents our interests in far less an effective way than the parliaments of 350 years ago.

During the bank bailout, when the king (being the ultimate power in the nation – the finance industry) came begging, cap in hand, the land owners didn’t impose conditions, because it was no longer their money being used. The land owners just sold out the peasants, paid off the king, and carried on regardless.

And thus, an opportunity to wrestle power away from where it’s concentrated and bring it under the jurisdiction of the people, as has happened many times historically, was lost.

Oops!

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