What if we simply got rid of elections altogether? Could we still have a functioning democracy without elections? I think so. There is another process, long established in free markets and free societies, that could function to serve the will of the people, while simultaneously ensuring the most productive, most valuable citizens have an amplified voice and the least productive, least valuable citizens are heard, but can’t form a shrieking mob.
We don’t elect public servants.
We auction public offices.
Think about that. We won’t have ballots with names that get a tick, but bank slips with an amount pledged. How much will you pay to see your candidate of choice win the office? Bids can have no lower limits (you can bid a penny, if you like) but they should have an upper limit, to prevent the Mark Zuckerbergs and Oprahs of the world from outbidding the rest of us to install their preferred candidates.
We could take all the money collected for every auction and use it to pay down the national debt, so no matter who wins the office, every citizen who bids can be sure their money is being used for the benefit of everyone, not just the government elite.
Why would this limit the influence of women at the ballot box/auction?
Remember the wage gap? Women have less money than men because they typically choose work that pays less, or work fewer hours than men. By definition, women can’t bid as much as men. Men will always have more money to bid than women, ergo women will have limited influence. Women who do work commensurate hours in highly paid occupations will have just as much opportunity and influence as men, and any women offended by her lack of influence can change that by working longer hours and gaining better qualifications. Easy peasy.
But most women won’t work harder, smarter or longer. In fact, it’s the opposite in modern nations like ours: the more freedom women have to choose any occupation they wish, the more likely they are to choose occupations that are typically feminine. Given the freedom to follow their own desires, women choose to be women.
There is a secondary reason women will have limited influence. Scented candles and throw cushions. These two industries exist by and large because women take their limited money and dump in on superfluous products like this. Women spend 80% of the money, regardless of who earned it, and they tend to spend it on stuff that doesn’t look very much like elected candidates. How much of the money in Kim Kardashian’s bank account has been put there by women, spending trivially?
That won’t change.
Women have less money to spend than men, and what money they do have, they tend to spend foolishly. Women will continue to do this, thus ensuring that men bid most of the money to determine who wins public offices. No coercion or limiting of rights is required. We don’t have to repeal the 19th. Just change the wording, and then let women be free to be ….. women.
Shout out here to my husband’s childhood friend, who has a PhD in Chemistry and a mind that brooks little dissent not founded in rationality and practicality. Dr. R made a case for auctions over elections, but did not suggest that women’s voices would then be limited, nor did he (or would he) suggest that this would be a good thing.
To quote one of the greatest living female artists of all time, an exemplar of women’s achievement, “that is just so typically me”.
Lots of love,