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Reader Opinion: Investing in democracy

There are two kinds of investments, one is an investment in growth and development and the other is an investment for financial profit. Whichever of those two becomes the primary focus of the governance of a nation will have much to do with the nature of the society that is developed in that nation.

If the focus is on supporting investment for financial profit then the government will be supportive of those who have money to invest and try to help maximize their profits. This will often take the form of taxation policies. The general thrust being to change the structure of taxation to support those who are making the most profits and then using the tax money itself to help provide profit streams and to optimize profits. The result is that the taxes will tend toward regressive tax rates, taxing those on top at lower rates than those on the bottom. It will also support privatizing governmental functions and selling off public assets to private owners.

The other kind of investment, investment in growth and development, will focus on helping the individual citizens grow and develop and investing in the infrastructure of the society, including the physical, social and intellectual infrastructure. This kind of investment is, by its very nature, long term, and the returns are really about the health and sustainability of the society, although probably including economic growth.

It is not hard to see which of these is more inclusive and connected to a democracy and which is tied more to top down rule by an economic elite.

It is also clear how a nation might devolve from a democracy into more autocratic rule with a shift in such investment focus and policies.

This sounds very much like this nation over the last few decades.

Bob Passi