The yardstick of democracy measures the capacity of whether all people can participate equally and freely in taking decisions.
The very individuality of each person means that not all people can be equal and free at the same level. Nevertheless, democracy sets itself this goal and thus ensures on a material and social level that all people can participate equally in decision-making processes. With this yardstick democracy is able to measure and must let itself be measured again and again.
Historically, malnutrition has been the norm for much of humankind, and for many it still is today. Access to sufficient food is, however, one of the decisive prerequisites for political participation and thus an important
Yardstick of Democracy
- especially when the abundance of the Global North is at the expense of poverty in the Global South. This discrepancy in wealth is one of the things enabling Germans to spend only 14 % of their income on food, a far cry from today’s global average of around 40 %.
Over time, many people and nations have become addicted to oil as a commodity and the endless possibilities its ownership presents. The
Yardstick of Democracy
clearly shows today that most global decisions are made by people who are so highly dependent on oil that they put the need to satisfy their addiction first. People don’t back off from crimes and wars in order to acquire oil. Our recklessness leads to climate change which affects billions of people who have had no say.
"Houses belong to those who live in them." is a classic slogan of the squatter scene, but it also accurately describes the grievances of many cities: the flats don't belong to those who live in them, but mostly to profit-driven real estate companies, which are sometimes (but increasingly less) in public or cooperative hands. The tenants are thus excluded from any decision-making and the
Yardstick of Democracy
can only measure the fact that ownership of flats confers exclusive decision-making rights and virtually no obligations to the landlords and no rights to anything to everyone else.