Re: [OPE] Venezuela is the most democratic country in Latin America

From: Alejandro Agafonow <>
Date: Tue Feb 24 2009 - 14:54:02 EST

I’m happy you pointed out this transcendental issues. Let’s try to deal with them with wide-mindedness.   Jerry: **Why should the majority of people be allowed to take away the 'entreprenourial' rights of employers, i.e. their right to exploit workers?**   Well, you are describing the situation in the terms a *comprehensive doctrine* would do it. That is, if you have the certainty that this majority will endure, you are right. But the historical evidence is that these majorities change and, unless one think in terms of the annihilation of opponents, it is advisable to accept the vanishing of majorities.   What does the acceptance of this imply? That you have to set out the problem in an *original position* and *behind a veil of ignorance*. That is, imagine that you, as a representative of workers who fight against exploitation, are about to found a new society in company with your fellow exploitative employers (we are assuming that you decided not to annihilate them). Since the endorsement of the terms of this society have to be agreed upon by unanimity, the negotiation could be blocked by either party.   That is why it is important to introduce another qualification. Neither you nor your fellow exploitative employers will know anymore the roots of your interests in this future society, i.e. you have to draw a veil of ignorance. What this analytical artefact does, is to let you all think about these terms in a way that they don’t favour anyone at the expense of either party.   Then, why a socialist society has to accept the right to employ workers? Because neither you nor the exploitative employers know anymore which class they belong to. Since behind a veil of ignorance you–workers– don’t know if you are going to be the employers in this future society, it is in your interest to allow the right to employ workers.   At the same time, since behind this veil of ignorance employers don’t know if they are going to be workers, it is in their interest to introduce socialist institutions: fair legislation to avoid abuses in the place of work; plenty of universal and publicly funded primary goods; universal basic income; workers participation in the run of capitals; etc.) We can advance toward a democratic, peaceful and accountable socialism through this way.   Are these premises too abstract? Not at all. Every society faces similar conditions to the original position and the veil of ignorance during periods of transition, i.e. when power relationships are unclear, the design of political constitutions often offsets increasing returns to power, allowing assurances for either party against potential losses. This happened in Venezuela in 1958, allowing to establish a democracy that performed reasonably well in a regional context marked by military dictatorships. Of course, Venezuela never reached Scandinavian-like standards, but they are not unlikely provided that we run a democracy during enough time.   I encourage you to think your *socialist democracy* in these terms, and let’s see what the result is.   Regards, A. Agafonow ________________________________ De: GERALD LEVY <> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> Enviado: martes, 24 de febrero, 2009 19:49:20 Asunto: RE: [OPE] Venezuela is the most democratic country in Latin America > That is why every democratic constitution has *counter-majoritarian measures*, to protect a core of values which only could be > amended under extreme demanding circumstances.   Alejandro A:   This same principle can be cited in defense of capitalist exploitation: after all, why should the majority of people be allowed to take away the 'entreprenourial' rights of employers, i.e. their right to exploit workers?  And these rights of "private property" etc. are precisely part of the "core of values" embedded within the legal system of bourgeois democracies.  Surpassing these "core values" is an urgent and necessary task for the construction of socialism.   In solidarity, Jerry   PS:  Here's an example of the "enlightened" arguments given in Venezuela against Chavez as well as the true character of the "Opposition":

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