Capitalism and Democracy: Oil and Water

By John Esposito.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 3, 2014 $US5.00

The two irreplaceable pillars of modern civilization are capitalism and democracy. Evidence of their widespread influence can be found in the number of peoples and polities that have come to embrace their guiding tenets and beliefs. They are often portrayed as complementary or interconnected systems, even though antagonisms have arisen when economic imperatives that prioritize efficient allocation of resources are deemed incompatible with political principles grounded in notions of equality and fairness. Still, most observers seem to agree that each system, however flawed, is preferable to comparable forms of social organization, and that any incongruities between them can be reconciled or overcome. This paper seeks to demonstrate that capitalism and democracy are, in fact, ideologically opposed forces, and, like oil and water, can only coexist as discrete entities, for their innate impulses, understood in terms of power, scale, and interaction, result in a perpetual clash of divergent values that calls into question the future viability of the nation-state.

Keywords: Capitalism, Democracy, Nation-State, Egypt

Global Studies Journal, Volume 6, Issue 3, June 2014, pp.33-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 3, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 579.702KB)).

Dr. John Esposito

Professor, School of International Liberal Studies, Chukyo University, Nagoya, Aichi-ken, Japan

Dr. John Esposito is Professor in the School of International Liberal Studies at Chukyo University in Nagoya, Japan, where he teaches courses in the Mass Media, Cultural Studies, and Critical Discourse Analysis. His research interests include the linguistic and semiotic representation of nature in mass media texts; the relationship between cultural practices and ecological principles; and the role of systems thinking in international education reform. In addition to writing a series of English language textbooks, he has published articles on contrastive rhetoric, critical pedagogy, the Japanese education system, cultural theory, climate change, and sustainable development. His most recent book is The Influence of Globalization on Ecological Literacy in Japan (University Press of America, 2006).

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