Comprehension and Discussion Questions. 1. What is a popular belief concerning market economy and democracy?

1. What is a popular belief concerning market economy and democracy?

2. What is the ultimate goal of the individual in a democratic society and in a market economy?

3. Does market economy play a positive role in the life of the people?

4. What do you think of inevitable destruction under market economy and democracy?

5. What is the nature of the contradictions between the young and elder generation?

6. Why does society grow incapable of dealing with vital long-term challenges?

7. Which is more dynamic market economy or democracy?

8. What are the actions of powerful minorities under market economy?



  Eventually, democracy will fade away, having been replaced by market mechanisms and corruption. We will have a kind of market dictatorship, a “lumpen market” without strong democratic institutions to serve as countervailing powers. Political outcomes will be bought and sold, and the market will rule every element of public life from police protection, justice, education, and health to the very air that we breathe, paving the way for the final victory of “corporate” economic rights over individual human rights.

  Under such circumstances, Western civilization itself is bound to collapse.

  If we want to avert such a crash, we must seek honest answers to several fundamental questions: What is the real influence of citizen in major decisions? What is the reality of democracy among nations? Why are there always the same winners and losers? Can poverty be overcome by market mechanisms?

  To find answer to these questions, Western civilization should first become more modest about its own values. We must recognize the need to find a compromise between the market economy and planning, and between democratic and authoritarian decision-making mechanisms. We should be exploring ways to organize that compromise rather than including in triumphalist rhetoric about the globalization of values.

  Indeed, while many people in non-Western civilizations are trying to imitate the West, a wellspring of opposition to Western values has erupted in many places as well. In Asia, for example, our way of organizing urban life is increasingly rejected, as demonstrated by the Malaysian experience, where planners are considering reorganizing society to deemphasize the automobile. Asian societies suggest possible answers to the contradictory tenets of the market and democracy; by allowing a stronger role for the state in protecting citizens against some of the risks of competition, these societies balance the contradictory forces.

  On our own behalf, the West should improve and strengthen democracy in order to achieve a balance with the power of the market. To accomplish that, we must foster a new government role in enforcing the rule of law, supporting the principles of education, ensuring social justice and the participation of workers in corporate decision making, and leading the fight against corruption and the drug economy.

  Small nations must unite with their neighbors to achieve a critical mass in the face of market-driven globalization – and to be able to summon the achievement of past generation while not limiting the freedom of choice of future generations (in terms of culture, language, lifestyle, and ethics, for example).

  Western societies must decide when and by what means long-term foreign residents can be given the right to vote. As the number of expatriots grows with the development of the global market economy, the right to vote will become essential in any effort to increase the feeling of partnership between people living on the same soil. Ultimately, the civilizations capable of organizing their diasporas will be the winners. We must begin to understand multidimensional citizenship and to recognize cohesion between groups belonging simultaneously to many different entities. We also must agree on how to build a flexible, long-term framework for democracy that goes beyond national constitutions and their amendments. Some dimensions of human dignity (the right of to childhood, the integrity of the genome, and the rights of species) are not yet well protected by these constitutions.

  Western civilization is no stranger to predictions of decline and fall. Some of these predictions have been based on historical theory, others on cultural, economic, or even racial assumptions. For the time being, they have fortunately been proven wrong. But no one should accept the assumption that any civilization, however triumphant, is here to stay. Our survival is in our hands.


Vocabulary notes

eventually – в конце концов

to fade away – угасать

justice– справедливость, юстиция

countervailing – компенсирующий, уравновешивающий

to avert the crash – предотвратить катастрофу

outcomes – результаты

to be bound to… - суждено

pave the way – проложить путь

to overcome – преодолеть

modest – скромный, сдержанный

to recognize – признать

decision-making - принятия решений

to forster – воспитывать, готовить

triumphalist– победоносный

wellspring– ключ, источник

to erupt – извергаться, прорываться

to deemphasize – уменьшать значение

to improve – улучшать

to achieve – достигать

to accomplish – свершать

enforcing– соблюдения

the rule of law – господство права

ensuring – обеспечивающий

to summon – призывать

essential– существенный

ultimately – наконец

cohesion– связь, соединение

flexible – гибкий

genome– геном

species– род, вид

assumptions– допущения, предположения

survival – выживание


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