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Author Topic: Ethical Standards: Rich People & Large Companies Donating to Political Parties  (Read 228 times)
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January 24, 2020, 09:02:42 PM
Last edit: January 26, 2020, 09:01:37 PM by JollyGood
Merited by Quickseller (2), alani123 (1)
 #1

How ethical is it for political parties to receive donations from large companies and/or wealthy individuals?

No matter which country, as long as there is a multi-party election process in a democratic system (based on their local norms), there will be funding. Large companies and wealthy individual donate phenomenal amounts of funding to these parties. Mostly it seems a clear case of trying or hoping to influence various decisions in favour of donors. In some cases it is fact, they donated and various political decisions seemed to favour them.

What would be an ethical way to limit the impact financial donations are having on real free and real fair election processes internationally? The most obvious would be to cap the limit any individual and any company can donate.

If you were to be asked how this modern day bribery could be either stifled or stopped, what would you suggest as the best way to handle it?

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January 24, 2020, 10:10:36 PM
 #2

How ethical is it for political parties to receive donations from large companies and/or wealthy individuals?

No matter which country, as long as there is a multi-party election process in a democratic system (based on their local norms), there will be funding. Large companies and wealthy individual donate phenomenal amounts of funding to these parties. Mostly it seems a clear case of trying or hoping to influence various decisions in favour of donors. In some cases it is fact, they donated and various political decisions seemed to favour them.

What would be a en ethical way to limit the impact financial donations are having on real free and real fair election processes internationally? The most obvious would be to cap the limit any individual and any company can donate.

If you were to be asked how this modern day bribery could be either stifled or stopped, what would you suggest as the best way to handle it?

of course its not ethical but if the rich and powerful can't influence the political process directly they will do it indirectly, with gifts etc.

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January 25, 2020, 08:41:28 AM
 #3

I find it highly unethical, even if there were rules to disclose campaign donors. Personally I prefer it if political parties have other ways of funding their campaigns.

For one thing I think these parties should only be receiving donations during election periods for use of whoever they chose to be their representatives. When people join a party they should pay a membership fee. Maybe even make that annual so the party have something for operation costs. This makes the party beholden to members rather than members sucking to leadership for money.

I think these parties should also be allowed to invest their money. This way influence works the opposite way, rather than having businesses "invest" in parties via donations.
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January 25, 2020, 09:20:01 AM
 #4

It is absolutely unethical but this is how the lobbies work.
This is why usually happens what the rich want and politicians do not give a clap about the poor people and the lower ranks in the society. Because if they do so, they are going to lose their funding.

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January 25, 2020, 11:25:26 AM
 #5

It's very clear those who have political interests invest in political parties of there choice. Businessman invest in those parties who can safeguard there interests after winning elections. Its totall unethical but it's going on for centuries.

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January 25, 2020, 01:23:31 PM
 #6

Public funding of election campaigns with an individual cap and also zero allowances for corporations and businesses to make donations.

Corporate interests always use the excuse that a corporation is out to make money when they're caught doing shady shit. Well, if that's true then they shouldn't be allowed to participate in politics, since they're only interested in a fundamentally corrupt tit-for-tat sort of transaction with the politicians and the political parties involved.

Public funding, would ensure everyone gets some exposure.

An individual limit would ensure that the rich don't get amplified too much.


The most important thing in my view would be paying citizens to attend the most important elections.

If everyone got $100 to vote then the turnouts would be huge. That money is money that would go straight back to the economy thus it would regenerate a decent amount of taxes and economic activity (since the recipients would largely be working poor).
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January 25, 2020, 01:49:18 PM
 #7

Going by what you say, in most cases around the world it would be deemed as having no difference between certain aspects of lobbying and bribing.

What would suggest is the best way to try to limit the manner in which people/companies lobby?



It is absolutely unethical but this is how the lobbies work.
This is why usually happens what the rich want and politicians do not give a clap about the poor people and the lower ranks in the society. Because if they do so, they are going to lose their funding.

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January 25, 2020, 05:54:24 PM
 #8

For a company it's not unethical because they have no moral standards. A company that pollutes the environment and threatens people like Monsanto or a company that runs cruel tests on animals will try anything to stay afloat. It's always up to the politician to accept or return a donation and if heas a moral spine he should watch out who he allies himself with.
In a perfect world the people should show them that they will not allow someone controlled by lobbysts to reprsesnt them.
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January 26, 2020, 07:22:41 PM
 #9

If you strictly limit campaign financing, then it just supports different types of influence. If powerful interests want to influence government, they're going to do it no matter what. (It's not as if they're going to break laws very often: they'll just find alternative ways to exert influence.)

If for example every campaign was required to be 100% publicly financed, then it would be difficult for anyone to stand out, and this would greatly benefit the established parties and incumbents, even in >2-party systems. Since most voters wouldn't know much about any of the candidates, or wouldn't be able to distinguish between them, they would usually just vote for their favorite party. Upsets would occasionally happen, but not frequently enough to make a difference. Powerful interests would move more toward cozying up to the parties themselves. For example, a CEO might be active within the Republican party, and when a Republican president needs unemployment to go down, he'd ask the CEO to avoid layoffs; subsequently, there'd be an implicit expectation that someone in the Republican party would repay this in terms of more favorable policies in the future. Or a billionaire under investigation for something or other while a Democratic president is in office would "just happen" to donate $50 million each to Planned Parenthood and the Brady Campaign (ie. ideologically Democrat organizations). This kind of thing happens a lot even now, and happened even more in the past when campaign financing laws were more strict. The boost to incumbency and party strength might actually make influence more streamlined, since politicians would have to worry less about being primaried, and would therefore have to care less about satisfying their base. Though honestly I don't think that campaign finance laws have that much effect on anything: powerful interests will find ways to influence things regardless.

Democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made. In the specific case of government, where citizenship is more-or-less involuntary, maybe democracy is on average better than very top-down/entrenched political systems. The US Framers' original intention (now mostly lost) of having three separate power bases -- president=monarchy, Senate/Supreme-Court=aristocracy, and House=democracy -- was probably also a good idea to improve things a bit. But the real solution is to limit the role of government as much as possible so that its inevitably terrible & corrupt decisions don't have as much impact.

It'd be interesting if you could pay $1000/vote to the Treasury in order to get additional votes, without limit. Obviously profit-motivated actors are only going to do this if they can extract more value from their votes than they're paying, but this already happens now with PACs, lobbying, etc. Even before Citizens United, you had groups such as the sugar lobby which spend money to get policies enacted which clearly help them at everyone else's expense (in the case of the sugar lobby, tariffs and price fixing). Paying for votes directly would at least have the money spent to achieve these bad policies going somewhere a bit more useful than toward lobbyists and political ads. Instead of paying for extra votes via the Treasury, you could also allow people to sell their votes, and this'd end up as almost a UBI-type welfare system!

(That isn't really a serious proposal, since I think it'd probably be worse than the status quo, though it would be interesting.)

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January 26, 2020, 08:49:12 PM
Merited by Quickseller (3)
 #10

One could argue that there are circumstances where donating to a campaign could be the most altruistic way to donate your money.  (of course, you would have to factor in the possibility that your preferred candidate may still lose even if you donate)

For example, if you believe that if candidate A wins, millions of people will suffer because of their policies on [fill in the blank], but if candidate B wins, they won't.

The whole point of donating to charity is so that other people suffer less, right?

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January 26, 2020, 09:19:01 PM
 #11



Public funding of election campaigns with an individual cap and also zero allowances for corporations and businesses to make donations.
The public funding part is going to be tricky as all parties would have to have exactly the same expenses, very tricky to show conclusive evidence that they actually did it. However, capping individual and corporate donations would be a great way forward as a first step in trying to weed out political corruption.


Corporate interests always use the excuse that a corporation is out to make money when they're caught doing shady shit. Well, if that's true then they shouldn't be allowed to participate in politics, since they're only interested in a fundamentally corrupt tit-for-tat sort of transaction with the politicians and the political parties involved.
Well if any individuals are caught in corruption influencing politicians then they should lose the right to donate for 5 or 10 years. Should it be a company that was caught then that corporation should be hit with the same ban.


Public funding, would ensure everyone gets some exposure.

An individual limit would ensure that the rich don't get amplified too much.
Public funding would certainly help the cause for equality but it would only work if there was an external auditor, a great idea if it could be implemented properly and fool-proof.


The most important thing in my view would be paying citizens to attend the most important elections.

If everyone got $100 to vote then the turnouts would be huge. That money is money that would go straight back to the economy thus it would regenerate a decent amount of taxes and economic activity (since the recipients would largely be working poor).
Interesting concept. I think there is a law in some countries (including Australia) that not casting a vote in elections is punished by a minimum financial penalty and possible criminal conviction. Would paying voters be a better incentive than a financial penalty deterrent?

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January 26, 2020, 10:29:03 PM
Merited by Quickseller (2)
 #12

Public funding of election campaigns with an individual cap and also zero allowances for corporations and businesses to make donations.

Corporate interests always use the excuse that a corporation is out to make money when they're caught doing shady shit. Well, if that's true then they shouldn't be allowed to participate in politics, since they're only interested in a fundamentally corrupt tit-for-tat sort of transaction with the politicians and the political parties involved.

Public funding, would ensure everyone gets some exposure.

An individual limit would ensure that the rich don't get amplified too much.


The most important thing in my view would be paying citizens to attend the most important elections.

If everyone got $100 to vote then the turnouts would be huge. That money is money that would go straight back to the economy thus it would regenerate a decent amount of taxes and economic activity (since the recipients would largely be working poor).

Well the current issue with public funding is that it would only work in theory and in a vacuum of everything else. Because even if you remove the wealthy and corporations from donating directly to campaigns, you're still left with them being able to air their own advertisements for a campaign. This is why SUPER PACS are present right now.

To explain this simply: There are funding restrictions on the amount of money that people and corporations can give directly to a campaign, but it wont stop them from spending their own money to buy billboards, release tv ads, radio ads, and so on and so forth stating that they support that candidate.

So even with public funding, some will get exposure, but others will get a ton more exposure depending on who supports them (and who has money) Money isn't always a determinant in showing who will win, but it does ensure that the two party system is stable. Clinton outspend Trump 2:1, but the two of them were both interested in ensuring that the status quo stays the same and that the rich continue to be richer.

If you strictly limit campaign financing, then it just supports different types of influence. If powerful interests want to influence government, they're going to do it no matter what. (It's not as if they're going to break laws very often: they'll just find alternative ways to exert influence.)

If for example every campaign was required to be 100% publicly financed, then it would be difficult for anyone to stand out, and this would greatly benefit the established parties and incumbents, even in >2-party systems. Since most voters wouldn't know much about any of the candidates, or wouldn't be able to distinguish between them, they would usually just vote for their favorite party. Upsets would occasionally happen, but not frequently enough to make a difference. Powerful interests would move more toward cozying up to the parties themselves. For example, a CEO might be active within the Republican party, and when a Republican president needs unemployment to go down, he'd ask the CEO to avoid layoffs; subsequently, there'd be an implicit expectation that someone in the Republican party would repay this in terms of more favorable policies in the future. Or a billionaire under investigation for something or other while a Democratic president is in office would "just happen" to donate $50 million each to Planned Parenthood and the Brady Campaign (ie. ideologically Democrat organizations). This kind of thing happens a lot even now, and happened even more in the past when campaign financing laws were more strict. The boost to incumbency and party strength might actually make influence more streamlined, since politicians would have to worry less about being primaried, and would therefore have to care less about satisfying their base. Though honestly I don't think that campaign finance laws have that much effect on anything: powerful interests will find ways to influence things regardless.

Democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made. In the specific case of government, where citizenship is more-or-less involuntary, maybe democracy is on average better than very top-down/entrenched political systems. The US Framers' original intention (now mostly lost) of having three separate power bases -- president=monarchy, Senate/Supreme-Court=aristocracy, and House=democracy -- was probably also a good idea to improve things a bit. But the real solution is to limit the role of government as much as possible so that its inevitably terrible & corrupt decisions don't have as much impact.

It'd be interesting if you could pay $1000/vote to the Treasury in order to get additional votes, without limit. Obviously profit-motivated actors are only going to do this if they can extract more value from their votes than they're paying, but this already happens now with PACs, lobbying, etc. Even before Citizens United, you had groups such as the sugar lobby which spend money to get policies enacted which clearly help them at everyone else's expense (in the case of the sugar lobby, tariffs and price fixing). Paying for votes directly would at least have the money spent to achieve these bad policies going somewhere a bit more useful than toward lobbyists and political ads. Instead of paying for extra votes via the Treasury, you could also allow people to sell their votes, and this'd end up as almost a UBI-type welfare system!

(That isn't really a serious proposal, since I think it'd probably be worse than the status quo, though it would be interesting.)

This is pretty much what I'm saying. There was always money in politics, and there will probably always be money in politics. People hate that and it is terrible, though if you ban one forum lawsuits will ensue and people will move to another form of influencing.

Lobbying has and always will be legal. You either pay for the legislative changes when the person is still in office (through donations to their campaign, super pacs, etc) or through offering them a job once they're done with being in politics. Why do you think so many politicians end up working for big corporations that they have no qualifications for -- it's because they ensured that they took care of that company while they were in office, and they're being rewarded for it now.

Theymos is without a doubt right when he talks about making government less powerful, as it ensures that certain people (either politicians) or bureaucrats or whatever are able to make such large decisions that can change the fate of corporations. If you look at the role of government over the entire history of the US, you'd find that the government is the only entity which hasn't stopped growing in their role in your everyday life throughout this time.

Our current system sucks, but I honestly don't know how to fix it and I don't think any current ideas can fix it. We're kinda stuck at the moment.




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January 27, 2020, 01:52:11 AM
Merited by Quickseller (2)
 #13

if you tried to stop it by having politicians sign a 'conflict of interest' contract where they cannot have any form of other job/other investment aside from their government salary then big-business will simply promise them a job at the end of their political career.

if you tried to prevent politicians from entering the corporate world after politics. then thats like saying that students who went to state schools can only work for government roles the rest of their life. or saying a state funded doctor cant work in private hospitals. state teachers cant do private tutoring. public transport workers cant then work for a private trucking company..
.. in short it just wont happen

as for things like limiting donations. well if someone can only get $10k per 'business' then 10 board members wont agree to write 1 business cheque for $100k. but instead each board member would write 1 personal cheque each for $10k

..
my problem with politics is that politicians seem to have a heck of alot of spare time to affiliate themselves with others. they dont actually work  40 hour week 48weeks a year doing political stuff. the whole attendance rate of things like US senate and UK parliament is poor. imagine if amazon had 650 staff on contract. and most days on average only 100 turned up. whilst amazon didnt do anything about it and the workers excuse was they were doing other things.. most rational employers would sack them and employ someone more loyal to the job role requirement

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January 27, 2020, 02:36:45 AM
 #14

We all know political parties are the legal mafia. It's not just donation, it's for the network building between criminals and mafia. It's for their security.
Political parties are the highest grade of mafia as they are the ones that forms government and they make laws. They are also the one that controls the state fund, the taxpayers money.
The political parties just can't give the state money to themselves so they funnel it through large companies under different names and they take it back as donations.

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January 27, 2020, 10:18:45 AM
 #15

We all know political parties are the legal mafia. It's not just donation, it's for the network building between criminals and mafia. It's for their security.
Political parties are the highest grade of mafia as they are the ones that forms government and they make laws. They are also the one that controls the state fund, the taxpayers money.
The political parties just can't give the state money to themselves so they funnel it through large companies under different names and they take it back as donations.

Sad but true. Donating a large amount of money to a leading politician because they have a personal interest. Whether it is for their security, business protection or getting government concessions if the candidate wins. Its a form of lobbying, where they put the support for a certain candidate and get some favors if he wins. I'm disgusted but its  happening,

 
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January 28, 2020, 08:40:22 AM
 #16

I think it should be made illegal. The donations should come from individuals rather than corporations and there's a cap on how much each can give. Maybe make it so that the donations can only be sent after candidates for the party has been chosen. If people don't like them then they don't get much campaign funds.

Or make it a part of the taxpayer's monthly contributions. Every month they can list which party they like to support and a part of their tax money is sent to that party. I think this will make it possible for more than just 2 parties to stay alive.
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January 28, 2020, 10:01:01 AM
 #17

@theymos

This part has a much deeper meaning than what it seems on the surface.

If "democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made" then what system would be ideal to replace it? One thing to consider is that democracy in itself has different meanings to different people in different countries so that in itself is not a one-system-fits-all issue for those that proclaim it.



~snip~

though honestly I don't think that campaign finance laws have that much effect on anything: powerful interests will find ways to influence things regardless.

Democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made. In the specific case of government, where citizenship is more-or-less involuntary, maybe democracy is on average better than very top-down/entrenched political systems. The US Framers' original intention (now mostly lost) of having three separate power bases -- president=monarchy, Senate/Supreme-Court=aristocracy, and House=democracy -- was probably also a good idea to improve things a bit. But the real solution is to limit the role of government as much as possible so that its inevitably terrible & corrupt decisions don't have as much impact.

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January 28, 2020, 07:58:20 PM
 #18

If "democracy is just inherently not a good way for decisions to be made" then what system would be ideal to replace it? One thing to consider is that democracy in itself has different meanings to different people in different countries so that in itself is not a one-system-fits-all issue for those that proclaim it.

I'm an anarcho-capitalist, so I believe that if you look at any particular function of government (eg. building roads, providing defense, etc.), then a voluntary, market-based solution is both possible and better than what a state can do. See The Machinery of Freedom (free PDF book). If you replace pieces of government with market solutions or eliminate pieces of government entirely (eg. road-building could be replaced, while drug laws could be eliminated), then you reduce the area that democracy (or any alternative system) can make poor decisions on, and this is good progress. It's better for democracy to impact 10% of the economy than 50% of the economy. Once you completely reach anarcho-capitalism, then democracy's ability to cause harm is eliminated. I want to defeat politics: democracy, monarchy, whatever.

Since we're probably not going to see an anarcho-capitalist society anytime soon (though maybe someday), the question remains of how best to structure the government that exists, even if we want to move toward reducing its role. For this I think that the Framers of the US constitution had the right idea: democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy all have advantages and disadvantages, and it's a good idea to try to create a system which combines them, even though the result will still make a lot of bad decisions. (Also see my old thread on the concept Anacyclosis, which influenced the Framers.) One of the most harmful developments over the past ~100 years IMO has been the idea that democracy=morality. Democracy is a useful tool in a toolkit for designing a good system, but it shouldn't be seen as an end unto itself. The average person is easily-manipulated, not properly incentivized to vote properly, uninformed, and easily persuaded into supporting immoral policies. So in the US I think it'd be helpful to undo a lot stuff from the Progressive Era, such as the 17th amendment and party primary elections.

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January 29, 2020, 04:42:04 PM
 #19

Aside from whether it is ethical or not for rich people and various companies to donate to political parties, I think that the best solution for this problem would be a top-down instance that would receive subsidies from these entities. It should be not possible to donate directly to given parties, but to submit a donation to such a neutral environment, which later would be fairly distributed between starting and qualifying parties.

This would obviously cut off the possibility of influencing the parties through donations, and finally, give equal chances to all participating parties, so that they could have funds of similar size for campaigns. Of course, donations in any other form would have to be prohibited, just like lobbying.
 

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January 30, 2020, 02:00:42 AM
 #20

if you tried to stop it by having politicians sign a 'conflict of interest' contract where they cannot have any form of other job/other investment aside from their government salary then big-business will simply promise them a job at the end of their political career.

if you tried to prevent politicians from entering the corporate world after politics. then thats like saying that students who went to state schools can only work for government roles the rest of their life. or saying a state funded doctor cant work in private hospitals. state teachers cant do private tutoring. public transport workers cant then work for a private trucking company..
.. in short it just wont happen

as for things like limiting donations. well if someone can only get $10k per 'business' then 10 board members wont agree to write 1 business cheque for $100k. but instead each board member would write 1 personal cheque each for $10k

..
my problem with politics is that politicians seem to have a heck of alot of spare time to affiliate themselves with others. they dont actually work  40 hour week 48weeks a year doing political stuff. the whole attendance rate of things like US senate and UK parliament is poor. imagine if amazon had 650 staff on contract. and most days on average only 100 turned up. whilst amazon didnt do anything about it and the workers excuse was they were doing other things.. most rational employers would sack them and employ someone more loyal to the job role requirement

If we're going to start picking countries, I think that this is most likely a common theme with of any country.

 Politicians are obviously going to work with the richest people and the people who run / own the biggest businesses in their countries. There's two big reasons for this.

1. They know that they need the support (financially) from these companies in order to run and win their election. This isn't just a US problem when it comes to campaign finance, this is a INTERNATIONAL problem.
2. They also need the support of the workers. In some cities, towns, countries, states, etc -- certain companies employ such a large part of the population that they're considered a voting bloc.




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