OPINION

On established democratic rights

Over a decade ago, George Soros, a man who truly knows how the markets work and doesn?t just theorize on the subject, had said in an expansive analysis that the emerging trend in Europe?s economies would result in the erosion of the ?democratic? system of which Europe?s leaders were so proud.

Of course Soros did not mean that there were nefarious forces at work plotting to impose totalitarian methods of governance, but he foresaw that the changes being made on a financial level would inhibit the growth of structures founded under conditions of broad social prosperity. His view, which was unheard of at that time of fiscal bliss and delusions regarding ?popular capitalism,? are confirmed more firmly with every day that passes.

Indeed, the first blow to representative democracy has been dealt by the fact that while a government may be elected on a national level, it is bound to act — especially in terms of financial policy — according to the rules dictated not by its peers, but by the markets. In other words, legitimacy is no longer gained through the harmonious coexistence of elected officials and voters/citizens, but through the relationship between these two components of the representational system with the markets, which are at present the only true source of power.

At the same time, forced and occasionally violent reforms in line with market requirements are considered likely to lead to intense social unrest.

The wave of violence that has gripped parts of London and other English cities proves that the danger of violent reaction from the people is not restricted to the southern states of Europe.

Of course these events will not compel the British government to promote policies that are more equitable or more society-friendly. What they will result in is more caution and more policing, not just in the United Kingdom, but gradually throughout Europe.

During times of crisis, saving the system is without doubt the top priority. However, it is possible for this effort to fail completely and for a new order to emerge from the ashes of total destruction.

What is certain, though, is that the longer the process persists, the more ?established democratic rights? will be lost, with everything that this entails.