How Do We Know?

It used to be “Do you know where your children are tonight?” Now we must ask “Do you know which laws and regulations were violated yesterday?”

Laws and regulations are insufficient to protect us from individual, organized, and corporate skulduggery.  The reality is thoroughly articulated by Truth-Out: Capitalism and Its Regulation Delusion: Lessons From the Volkswagen Debacle <read>

VW’s massive evasion was hardly the only socially destructive mockery of regulation. Ford and other auto companies had earlier done the same as Volkswagen, gotten caught and paid fines. Other auto companies have not yet been caught, but similar evidence has surfaced about diesel vehicles produced by Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi. Exposures and punishments, if and when they occur, clearly fall far short of dissuading major capitalists from evading regulations. Thus, we now know that General Motors and Toyota did not follow regulations recently requiring notification of government agencies after crashes, injuries and deaths associated with ignitions and airbags, respectively.

As products using computer devices increase, they spread opportunities for similar evasions of regulations. New mechanisms have enabled electrical appliance makers to falsify regulated energy-use tests. Capitalist competition and profit were motivators in these and many other regulation evasions too. The problem is endemic, for example, in the food and drink industry. Since 2008’s global capitalist crash, the world has learned of parallel failures of financial regulation with horrific social consequences. Nor is the failed relationship of capitalism and regulation only a US problem; it is global.

Paraphrasing, we could say “As voting and voting support using computer devices increase, they spread opportunities for similar evasions of regulations, changing results, and voter suppression. New mechanisms could enable elections officials, vendors, and hackers to falsify pre-election testing, audits, and recounts. Capitalist competition and profit are included in the motivators for these and many other regulation evasions too.”

We said “could”  because we do not know and ask “How Do We Know? How Could We Know?” that election fraud has not happened in in a particular election and will not happen?  Actually we know that it has happened, but we have no estimate of how widespread and successful election fraud has been.  The question is “How do we prevent and detect election manipulation?”

We recommend reading the entire article.  Some of it applies more to corporations and their main business activities, yet the delusion of regulation/laws generalizes to elections:

Regulation thus represents an enduring delusion (much like taxes on profits that show parallel histories of corporate opposition and evasion). Whether it be “self-regulation,” performed by capitalist enterprises or industry organizations, or regulation by government, both amount to applying bandages when the problem is a grave internal illness. Regulations do not successfully correct or repair

As we blog forward, we will be asking those questions  of our election system “How Do We Know?, “How Can We know.

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