The statement 'capitalism undermines democracy' has become so patently obvious that little more needs to be said. However, capitalists will refute the contention, so perhaps it is necessary to supply a little corroboration.
Paradoxically, modern capitalism arose in the cradle of modern democracy, that is, the United States of America. The American philosophy called capitalism is based on two concepts. The first one which was promulgated by Adam Smith and others is that without growth there is stagnation, and the other comes from the Harvard Business School: the only thing that matters is profit. Throw the Stock Exchange into the mix and you have a recipe for making some people very, very rich at the expense of many others. In the late 20th century and now in the 21st century, greed is the driving force behind capitalism, and exploitation is normal.
Democracy has all but disappeared as Corporations and Wall Street, or the equivalent, basically run the show and dictate policy. Currently Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is suffering the effects of capitalism run wild. According to the World Socialist Web Site
“The fate of this small nation (Greece) is being decided solely according to the predatory interests of the global financiers and their political representatives.”
In the United States there is also mass unemployment, while poverty and homelessness are endemic. Austerity measures are being implemented at the state and local level. Businesses are cutting back to protect their profits, and to hell with the working man.
In his book Capitalism is not Democracy, Raymond Samuels II writes, “The well-being of people are (sic) the last thing on the mind of most financially wealthy elites. These elites do such things as fire people from their jobs without thinking twice, or create knowingly unhealthy and dangerous products in order to maintain high levels of commercial profit.”
Elections are not free and fair even in the most “democratic” countries. In fact, the more prosperous the country, the more the elections are influenced by special interests such as the NRA, the energy industry and the military-industrial complex, which needs to foment a little unrest here and there in order to keep the machine ticking over. Bush didn’t invade Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction; he did so to give a boost to his Vice President’s business.
Arguably, all the economic woes that beset the world at the moment could be alleviated if multi-national corporations decided to be a little more democratic. Instead of laying off workers, they could accept a slight decrease in profits and hire more workers. More people working means more money circulating, and a more even sharing of wealth. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?