·  News ·  Travel ·  Food ·  Arts ·  Science ·  Sports ·  Advice ·  Religion ·  Life ·  Greensboro · 

The seventh vote

by A Person | Published on March 24th, 2007, 10:38 am | News
The recent post on the 'evils of Socialism' reminded me of the book 'In the wet' by Neville Shute. Written in 1983, it describes a Britain after 50 years of socialism (1983) - a country bled dry by socialism. While he did predict the gradual withdrawal of public funds for the Royal Family (Oh Dear), reality turned out quite differently

But what I'd like to talk about is the voting system proposed for this 'future Britain'

Shute described a version of democracy where 'one man, one vote' was just the basic entitlement. Extra votes would be allocated for life achievements:
1) Reaching the age of eighteen
2) Higher education or gaining a commission in the armed forces
3) Earning one's living overseas for two years
4) Raising two children to the age of 14 without divorcing
5) Being an official of a Christian church
6) Having a high earned income
7) By Royal Charter at the Queen's discretion

Now there are some aspects of this I like. There would be a lot of disagreement about what should warrant a extra vote - #5 seems to a good reason to remove a vote, I would substitute regular and significant volunteer work in a social agency to help the disadvantaged. #7 in the US would likely see the likes of Haggard and Cheney get the President's nod (or perhaps Monica - for 'special services')

What's your take?
A Person wrote:What's your take?

Anything other than one person = one vote will quickly get corrupted into something that severely disadvantages those who are not rich and powerful. It is a system that will guarantee feudalism even faster than we seem to be going toward that exploitative system right now.

Last week, in one of my Health Policy classes where virtually everybody works full time as a manager we had a fun exercise. I had them identify how many hours a week they had to work for their jobs. Then I asked them to take their annual salary and divide by the number of hours they actually work a year.

One of our managers happens to be a nurse with an MBA, and he is the director of the OR department at his hospital (not a top executive, but right below the Vice President of Nursing) and he is making the rather nice salary of $108,000 a year. So he figured his salary was about $51 per hour. However, he has to work an average of 78 hours per week to complete all the work involved in doing his job (and he is effectively on-call 24/7 but we will ignore that for now). So he calculated that salary out (e.g. divided his $108k salary by the product of 78 hours a week by 52 weeks a year). He found he was working for only $26.62 an hour. Now, you should know that newly graduated, nurses with just a two year associate degree make that much an hour, and have not nearly the stress he has. And if they take on a lot of double shifts or even work a second job, they will make as much or more than him, just by working the same hours he works. (He has a 6 month old baby at home that he almost never sees, but many of the new nurses aren't married yet and have no family demands, so working that many hours wouldn't be so destructive to them).

He is actually making less than most of his staff nurses per hour. (He told me that his really experienced RNs make about $33.50 an hour). And many of the other executives in the class discovered they were making less per hour than their experienced staff too! In fact, hospitals are now having a big problem recruiting directors of nursing departments. Unless a person is really in love with doing management work, management today is actually a poor paying, family-destroying, rather nasty job to have.

My point here is that America does have greater productivity than the other industrialized countries right now. But is that really something to be proud of? We have it at the expense of the people and their families. Americans are now working more hours than do the people of any other industrialized country. I interpret that to mean that Americans are very stupid people. They are willing to work thousands of hours a year for nothing! And the beneficiaries of all that work is not the Americans doing the work, it is their rich employers. Now, does anybody want to explain to me why the American middle class is so happy to let themselves be worked to death for NO pay???? Only slaves work for no pay. And frankly, some of them got better benefits than the American middle class is getting right now.
March 25th, 2007, 8:51 am
Location: Colorado
Questioner wrote:Anything other than one person = one vote will quickly get corrupted into something that severely disadvantages those who are not rich and powerful.
Not necessarily - and isn't that the case now anyway?
The current system seems, in all countries that do not have proportional representation, to result in a two party state and most people realize that the only way to influence things is influence from within the party who gets to be put forward as a candidate. Once the candidates have been selected, the election becomes almost secondary. The Democrats and Republicans alike bring forward white, rich, powerful men as candidates. The Democrat candidate is more likely to be a bit more socialist, but it's not because he ever had to stand in an unemployment line or because she was a single mother trying to bring up her children on minimum wage.

I find it interesting that the internal elections within a party NEVER use the same process as a general election. They always have some form of proportional representation and multi-stage election that is explained as being too complicated for the general population to understand.
March 25th, 2007, 12:02 pm
User avatar
A Person
Location: Slightly west of the Great White North

Return to News