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Chapter 10
Consensus Government, Consensus Capitalism, and Consensus Society

In this chapter I will discuss how the practice of consensus democracy in the demos leads to consensus of the entire electorate within the rest of the government and even within the private sector market economy. The overall result is a just, balanced distribution of power, an unequal but equitable distribution of wealth, and a moderate, centered, peacefully evolving political-economic system and society. With consensus of the entire electorate achieved throughout government and the market economy, one could meaningfully use the term consensus society.


As discussed in the chapter entitled Reorganizing the Powers of the American Government, the combined effect of three major elements work together to achieve a correct distribution of political power within our (or any) government: 1) direct democracy judiciously balanced with representative democracy, 2) the use of consensus democracy in the direct democracy branch, the demos, rather than majority-rule democracy, and 3) limiting the direct democracy to “just the right” small, fixed set of easily understood economic and electoral issues of central importance to society. I have named this government design consensus government. It is designed specifically to overcome the tyranny of plutocracy and maximize the freedom of the individual while avoiding the tyranny that an incorrectly designed democracy can become.

Consensus government empowers the electorate and achieves true democracy in two important ways. It empowers not just the elite few or the simple majority but the entire electorate to directly achieve consensus on and set some fundamental economic values that the government and the nation must use as they function. And the government-supported demos electoral system empowers all members of the electorate to run for office for free and to reach out to each other across states or the entire nation to select for office not the lesser of evils preselected by the wealthy as is done today but their champions, officeholders that resemble them in body, mind, interests, and pocketbook and truly represent them. The resulting representative bodies of government automatically demographically resemble and honestly serve the entire electorate.

Thus, under consensus government the entire electorate achieves consensus in three ways: It achieves economic consensus on its demos economic issues. The demos electoral system automatically results in representative bodies that demographically resemble the entire electorate in body, mind, interests, and pocketbook, which may be taken to be electoral consensus. And, since the now truly representative bodies create laws and rules that honestly serve the entire electorate, they achieve what I call the legislative consensus of the electorate.

(Also, in a later chapter entitled Congressional Legislative Reform I propose two changes for the senate and the house that overcome their “old-boys’ clubs” and significantly democratize their function and a change in how justices are selected for the Supreme Court making the court more truly resemble and represent the entire electorate in its rulings.)

The distribution of political power permanently built right into the structure and function of consensus government—the judicious balance of powers between its direct and representative democracy branches and the specific set of economic and electoral consensus-achieving powers included in the demos—does not unduly favor any group. The result is truly democratic government in which the entire electorate and its fairly elected representatives are empowered to create laws and rules for the market economy in the private sector that honestly include a wise balance of all of our interests. This produces a balanced market economy and an unequal but equitable overall distribution of wealth in the nation. Unequal but equitable distribution motivates and results in honest reward for honest creativity, entrepreneurship, and work.

Unlike plutocracy’s obscene accumulations of private wealth in the face of abject poverty, under consensus government market forces operating within parameters set by a consensus of the entire electorate result in a moderately wealthy class, a large healthy middle class, and at least a modestly comfortable living for all who work. In a sense, it could be called a consensus economy, and one is almost gravitationally attracted to the already existing term consensus capitalism. But under consensus government the concept of consensus capitalism rises to a whole new level of honesty and meaning than exists today.

The term consensus capitalism was originally used in 1995 by the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong Sir Hamish Macleod in the attempt to win broader support for the then current form of capitalism in Hong Kong. The consensus was supposedly continued support of free enterprise and competition while promoting equity and assistance for those who need them. (From the book East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition, edited by Alan Walker and Chack-kie Wong.)

Of course, the form of capitalism in Hong Kong at the time was just another variant of history’s long sorry string of plutocracies, and this “equity and assistance” just turned out to be empty words. Under plutocracy, the bottom economic half is held permanently in the position of begging hat in hand for equity and assistance from the upper economic half—really, the upper ten percent—which may or may not respond to the begging as political necessities and expedience dictate. Even if a few alms are tossed to the poor, charity begins at home. Those who have advantage take even more advantage and serve themselves first and best. Given this permanent begging-hat-in-hand situation in plutocracy, always met with an insufficient response and result, the term consensus capitalism is essentially meaningless.

In Time magazine, August 11, 2008, in an article entitled How to Fix Capitalism, Bill Gates reminds us that capitalism has improved the lives of billions of people. But he also admits that it has left out billions more. He advocates using what he calls “creative capitalism” to bring enterprise to those parts of the world currently left behind in poverty. He advocates channeling market forces to compliment what governments and nonprofits do. Along with entrepreneurial ideas, Gates says companies should provide “the poor with heavily discounted access to products.” And governments should create more financial incentives.

While creatively expanding the world’s market economy to include everyone is an important part of a correct solution of poverty, Gates misses and his ‘solution’ does not fix the real problem. Rather, it produces, at best, a kinder gentler plutocracy in which the upper economic half perpetually paternalistically tosses an insufficient bit of equity and assistance to the lower economic half.

Poverty does not only exist in those parts of the world where successful market economies have not yet developed and created wealth. Throughout capitalism’s history abject poverty has always existed within capitalism. Like all forms of plutocracy, capitalism tends toward an extreme concentration of power and wealth and toward monopoly. In and of itself capitalism will not and cannot correct this problem. Handouts forever are not a real solution to poverty but only a palliative. A real solution to poverty is and can only be a correctly designed political-economic system that does not produce and perpetuate poverty within itself.

The real problem that Gates and others miss or turn blind eyes to is the fact that there are no nations in the world whose governments honestly mitigate the excesses of their economic systems. The weakness inherent in the market economy, the tendency toward monopoly, would be readily mitigated if the will to do so existed within government. But such will does not exist within any current governments because they do not honestly include and represent their entire electorates. Despite mythologies and wrist slapping affectations to the contrary, the fundamental design and central role of current governments are not to achieve political balance or economic equity but to facilitate and protect plutocracy and monopoly.


Precisely because government lies at the heart of the problem it also lies at the heart of the solution. By correct design, it can be made into an honest broker. All current governments concentrate too much political-economic power in too few hands. If we alter governments in a way that make them honest brokers, then we, through our governments, can easily and permanently correct the profound imbalance inherent in capitalism.

The consensus government presented in this book is an honest broker. Under consensus government with its demos and consensus democracy the economic situation and result are very different then under today’s governments, and the term consensus capitalism has real meaning. Rather than a wealthy elite creating and perpetually populating a self-serving government, the entire electorate directly sets some fundamental economic parameters within which the market economy must function, and it populates the representative branches with people that honestly represent the entire electorate as they create other laws and rules governing the market economy. A true consensus is achieved among all adult members of a populace as to how their capitalism will function. No members of the electorate are left powerless and begging hat-in-hand for equity and assistance. Equity is built right into the political-economic system. In the demos, in the representative branches, and in the general economy, the upper economic half, which is no longer obscenely powerful and wealthy, is held in a just, dynamic balance with the lower economic half, which is no longer powerless and destitute. The result is balanced capitalism that really is an honest consensus of the populace.


Several safeguards and sensible features are built into or are the results of consensus government. Moderation and consensus are favored over extremes and polarization. The practice of consensus democracy rather than majority-rule democracy results in a stable political-economic system that hovers about a slowly evolving moderate “golden mean” over time. Because correct governance and results exist in the first place and everyone is and feels fairly included in the political-economic system, there is no need and therefore no motivation for remedial measures like welfare states, labor unions, strikes, etc., not to mention insurrection or coup in extreme situations. It is highly unlikely that the will could develop for a simple majority or an organized, zealous minority of the populace to rise up against the rest of the populace from the extreme Right or Left and reassert plutocracy or establish some kind of fascism or communism. Because one of the demos issues is how much we tax ourselves in support of the federal government, the electorate controls the overall size of the state and we need never fear the rise of a huge monolithic government or socialistic state crushing individual freedom. And because the electorate directly controls the overall amount of government saving or debt, military expenditure, and entitlements, we have significant control over government using our tax money responsibly. Everyone enjoys maximum responsible personal freedom within an open, pluralistic, equitable society under a lean, efficient government.

While, were they ever instituted, there would be some amount of learning and adjustment, consensus government and consensus capitalism would not feel radically alien and unfamiliar to today’s citizens. No attempt is made to achieve some kind of idealized unrealistic high-minded altruistic behavior or governing process. Just as today, both the private economy and government would function by the messy processes of “horse trading” and “wheeling and dealing.” The main difference between what could be called consensus society and today’s plutocracy is that not just the elite but all adult members of the society are honestly included and represented in the political-economic system producing a much more just, equitable, and happy result.


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