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I'm supposed to be reading through a book about the hundreds of different definition of democracy right now.

As you say elections are neccesary but not sufficient, there's something deeper.

It's been an interesting week for me.  In a good way.  Sometimes I have these epiphanies at dawn where my things suddenly exist afloat in my stream of conscisiouness.

Like there's thixs distinction between negative libert, the freedom from, and positive liberty, the freedom too. And prior to 1914 you basically had positive and negative democratic systems emerging in Europe.  The UK being an example of a negative system, late Imperial Germany a positive one.

Although there was a dearth of civil liberties in the German state, as a practical matter, German democracy of the period was much more inclusive than that in Britain.  Of course the German Imperial government was also less constrained by the decisions of their parliament than Britain, but regardless the franchise was wider in Germany than Britain.  

Further, while British workers faced terrible uncertainty, German workers had a far more extensive safety net in place.  They had the right to participate, and they had a certain level of economic security, but they had nothing like the civil liberties of the British.

One wonders whether the destruction of developing system in pre war Germany is not humanities loss, in the sense that there was an organic evolution into truely social democracy, that existed no only formally, but at a substantive level.  The movement towards democratic rights in the firm being a principal example of this.  Naphtali would take this further in the interwar period, but here in the predecessors to the works council you had an institution that defused class conflict within the firm.

What might have been?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 02:11:46 PM EST
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