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HK 'protesters' moving in wrong direction of democracy

Updated: 2014-10-28 07:42
By Li Dabing (China Daily)

The ongoing "Occupy Central" movement by protestors demanding "democracy" has wreaked havoc in Hong Kong. What is this "democracy" they are demanding? Does it really work?

Facts show that this "democracy" hasn't really worked. Started in Greece around 500 BC, the "one man, one vote" concept of democracy now dominates the West. But this form of "democracy" has inherent problems, one of which is that the voters are often ignorant of the burning issues and susceptible to political manipulation. How else could Adolf Hitler have been democratically elected as the leader of the Third Reich?

In recent years, "democracy" seems to have failed in other places on the social and economic fronts. In 2008, a global financial crisis engulfed the world. It started in the US where "democracy" has bred generations of "consumers", who had the notion of entitlement ingrained in their minds. As a result, they indulged in all sorts of consumer behavior and lived beyond their means, and in the process elected politicians who were engaged in a perpetual popularity contest by promising them all kinds of free economic and social benefits funded by taxes and the country's exchequer.

The democracy that the Americans wished to see was supposed to help the lower ranks realize the American dream. But what they got were "sub-prime" mortgages to buy homes. These sub-prime junk loans exploded, "encouraged" by US Congress, extended by happy bankers, packaged into "asset backed securities" and sold to financial institutions all over the world. The mortgage defaults triggered the global financial crisis that shrouded the entire world. Is this what was expected of the American form of democracy?

The Domino Effect of the global financial crisis spread across the world, having the worst effect on Western democracies, especially Greece, where for a long time voters had been electing those who had promised the world to them. But when the Greek treasury ran dry, the country's politicians started to borrow - leading to the so-called sovereign debt crisis.

The politicians kept on promising, borrowing and spending. All the while, the Greek people took it for granted that they could continue, thanks to their strong sense of entitlement, to live off other people's money until Greece defaulted on its sovereign debt. And when the belt-tightening, called "austerity", became necessary, the Greeks suddenly found that the high life they took for granted was nothing but an illusion.

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