We Do Not Have a Complete Democracy, But a Form of Dictatorship


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“All I want to say is that, firstly, the democracy that exists today is not a complete democracy. Secondly, democracy cannot be complete until in some form or other we provide a system for economic equality. Political equality alone cannot make democracy complete. Economically unequal people can only be called politically equal, in reality they are not.

A Complete Democracy

“Until and unless there is economic equality, political equality is just talk; and it will only be a plaything in the hands of few people. So in this country [India] there is democracy and in other countries such as America also there is democracy. But even in America that democracy is partial. Democracy cannot be complete until the state of economic equality emerges.

Until we plan thoroughly for economic equality, there will be democracy only in word. From behind, ‘money-cracy’ will continue.

“And I want to say that whatever options are prevalent in the world, none of them is democracy in the real sense. One option has been in [Soviet Russia], which is also not democracy, because political equality has been stripped off and economic equality has been handed over. That too is half democracy. It may be called dictatorship or whatever else; that does not make any difference.

“And in countries where there is political freedom but no economic equality, there too is only half democracy. Democracy that I call democracy has not yet been born in the world. By this I do not mean that the only alternative to this democracy is dictatorship. No, the only option to this democracy is complete democracy.

“Until we plan thoroughly for economic equality, there will be democracy only in words, from behind ‘money-cracy’ will continue. So on the face of it we think there is democracy, but the rich are dominant and run the system. And they will continue to do so. And it is natural that they will do so, because whosoever controls the mechanism of money, it is impossible that he will let go of the power. The rich will keep the power also in their hands. Democracy exists nowhere in the world, not in Russia, not in America, not in India, and not in Pakistan.”

Q. What is your idea of economic equality?

“It is simple: There can be no reason for anyone to have a special right to the wealth that exists in any nation or society on the earth. That is the first thing. Whether it is the wealth of land, or any other type of wealth, all special rights over it have been established by some or other form of violence. No one should have special right to wealth. Wealth belongs to everyone. This is the fundamental thing that the wealth belongs to everyone. It is collectively earned; it comes about through the collective competence of all. To this wealth everyone has a right. And through this wealth, everyone should have an equal opportunity and privilege to progress in life.”

Q. What will happen, in details?

“That is something else. What I am talking about is the principle. Any accumulation of a nation’s wealth through exploitation is not democracy. As long as wealth can be accumulated by any means, that system is not a democracy. Democracy cannot give the rights to wealth and the opportunity to accumulate personal wealth. Because the moment someone accumulates wealth, the value of that person’s vote does not remain at ‘one’—their vote is now equal to ‘many’. And someone who does not have wealth, the value of his vote also does not remain ‘one’; his vote is worth just ‘a few rupees.'”

The moment someone accumulates wealth, the value of that person’s vote does not remain at ‘one’—their vote is now equal to ‘many.’

“As long as wealth is divided unequally – and just now the system of all societies are such that it goes on being divided unequally – democracy will be only in word. And this democracy will continue to oppose dictatorship, but will itself remain a kind of dictatorship.

“So, whatever systems there are in the world so far are all more or less just a form of dictatorship. None of them is democracy. The alternative that I am talking about is not a choice between the system of India or the system of Pakistan, the system of Russia or the system of America. What I am proposing is a concept of democracy such that we can slowly make the financial status of every person equal, to the point that their political status can also become equal. And when all are equal in political status, democracy can be there… otherwise it cannot be.

“In a democracy which tells people, that they are independent politically and that everyone has equal value… that equal value can only be in the constitution, not in practical life. This is because your true worth is not assigned to you; it is assigned to the wealth you own.”

Osho, (extracted from an unpublished talk)