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October 17, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, October 17, 2000

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

Kiln

Is capitalist democracy' an oxymoron?

Edited and managed by ', to EM
students at the Ed
University of Michigan
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion
the Daily's editorial boad. All other articles, letters and c
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan L

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
ILY ACHENBAUM
itorial Page Editor
n of the majority of
artoons do not
Daily.

FROM THE DAIL

Shothmne
AATU deserves to stay with new budget
At last week's meeting, the Michigan dent government or any other sources.
Student Assembly proposed to cut Second, MSA claims that the AATU
funding for the Ann Arbor Tenants does not deserve such "exorbitant"
Union from $26,000 in 1999-2000 to funding because MSA has limited
$1,523. This 94 percent cut in funding funds and needs an increased amount
would severely jeopardize the existence of money internally. MSA also argues
and effectiveness of the Ann Arbor Ten- that as a registered studentgroup, the
ants Union. At this week's meeting, AATU should apply for funding in the
MSA will vote on a proposal to allocate same manner as other groups, who
$9,500 from a variety of internal usually only receive around $500.
sources to fund the AATU for one Finally, although the AATU is largely
semester. Although less money than the funded by MSA, MSA has little over-
AATU requested, MSA should pass this sight over how the organization is run,
resolution. While MSA holding only two posi-
has a number of legiti- The Ann Arbor tions on their board of
mate concerns about directors.
the apropriateness of Tenants Union has Although these are
the funding (and the legitimate concerns,
AATU submitted their gc none constitute a justi-
budget over one month afication for slashing
late), cutting their fund-a d rental funding in a dramatic
iin man abrupt way" oayi wa .Students need the
hurts not only the housingiseAATU, either in pre-
AATU, but students sent or preferably
who might need their improved form. The
services. organization could be
Founded in 1968 by University grad- quite powerful with the right tools and
uate students, the AATU has a long his- leadership. Administrative delinquency
tory of advocacy in rental housing should not be a reason why thousands of
issues - something that affects virtual- students will not have the benefit of a
ly all students at some point. The group fully funded AATU. And although MSA
has expanded to serve not only Univer- might believe that the AATU receives
sity students, but also renters across excessive funding compared to other
Washtenaw County. In the past decade, student groups, it is only fair to recog-
MSA has traditionally provided about nize that the organization helps many
half the revenue the AATU needs to students, and deserves to be forewarned
operate, increasing from $24,000 in about any cuts in funding.
1993-1994 to $26,000 last year. The Fortunately, if today's resolution to
AATU claims that in the '99-'00 school allocate $9,500 passes and a plan
year, they provided direct informational designed by MSA to provide the AATU
and counseling services to 5,350 stu- with free volunteers through the School
dents. This year, the AATU had request- of Social Work is instituted, the AATU
ed $30,000 to help pay for computer will be able to function somewhat nor-
hardware and software to improve their mally this year. Despite disagreements
Website and launch a legislative cam- about the appropriateness of MSA
paign to restrict fees landlords can funding, it remains that the AATU
charge, and to continue other programs offers an important service to many
and services such as publishing a book- students, and relies heavily on MSA for
let on tenant's rights. financial support. The least MSA can
MSA has a number of reasons why do is pass both of these resolutions.
they have suspended funding, both Although a review of funding proce-
procedural and practical. First, MSA dures may be appropriate, the AATU
cites administrative and procedural deserves to be warned about funding
errors - the AATU applied for fund- cuts, so that they might find other
ing over a month late, and did not sources of income in order to maintain
apply for funding through the LSA stu- their valuable services.
Where's the ke.
New bill infringes on students' rights
L ook out keg party fans. If a bill halls without reasonable cause. Like-
introduced bystate representative wise, police should not be able to use
Sandy Caul (R-Mt. Pleasant) passes the keg tracking information to infiltrate
state Legislature, buying a keg may parties for the same reason they should
mean more paperwork and responsibil- not be able to monitor e-mail or phone
ity. Unfortunately, the paperwork bur- calls - a basic right to privacy.
den will fall on the paying customer, While binge drinking is an
the responsibility will go to the inno- acknowledged problem on campuses
cent businessman and the ultimate throughout the state and nationwide, a
effect of the bill could leave serious Big Brother answer is the wrong way
repercussions. to approach the problem. The second
The bill, in it's cur- problem with a bill
rent state, would Ke a "Isb like Caul's is that it
require any person pur- g drinking is by places an undue bur-
chasing a keg to leave no means the only den on liquor ven-
their name, address, dors. Liquor stores do
phone number, driver's source of alcohol not - and most defi-
license number and the nitely should not -
address for which they on this orgg g have the responsibili-
are purchasing the keg. tcampus t of tracking kegs,
One of the biggest on any other unless they want to.
flaws in Caul's House y _As long as they do
bill is the assumption not sell any alcohol to
that the detailed registration of kegs a minor, they have fulfilled their legal
will curb binge and underage drinking obligation.
- especially at colleges and universi- Some stores, including a few in Ann
ties. Arbor, already require a minimum of a

This law will be ineffective because name along with proof of ID. Naturally,
keg drinking is by no means the only stores wish to get their kegs back and
source of alcohol on this campus or protect themselves. But this is their ini-
any other. To attribute binge drinking tiative, not something that should be
to kegs, while ignoring cans, bottles forced on the stores and their cus-
and other beverages is a thinly veiled tomers. But even with the Caul law on
attempt to make it easier to restrict the books, nothing guarantees the form
house parties and underage drinking. will be filled out truthfully. Buyers
If passed, the law would have two could easily create a fictitious phone
negative consequences. First, police number or use a fake ID.
could use the information required by Our representatives are well inten-
the bill to discover who is throwing a tioned in trying to slow binge drinking,
party and then break the party up. With but legislation like this is not going to
no real reason to investigate, this could work. Instead of curbing binge drink-
constitute an unconstitutional search. ing, a new bill complicating the keg-
Based on the Fourth Amendment, buying process will only infringe on
Police are not allowed to conduct ran- individual rights and place an undue
dom searches of houses or residence strain on businesses.
NON SEQLWTUR tty tuY
ff 's' ld , y, ip
..I T
~ FSB; . . *a¬ęsz n s

or whom are you going to cast that oh-so-
precious ballot of yours on Nov. 7th? Has it
been a hard decision? Have you spent the last
few weeks doing utilitarian calculus to see
whether you should vote for Al Gore or Ralph
Nader?
Well fret no longert
young voter, because no<
matter what anyone tells'
you, no matter how .2
much you want to_
believe it's not true, the
fact of the matter is that
your precious vote isn't
so precious after all. In
any society where
wealth is distributed
unequally (as it must be N ck
under capitalism) the
real question isn't "who Woomer
are you going to vote
for?" it's "how much are
you worth?" :>;-
The popular intuitive
conception of electoral democracy is that voters
elect candidates whose views best thatch their
own to represent them in government. That can-
didate then enters government as a representa-
tive who embodies the will of his or her
constituents. Since every eligible citizen only
gets to vote once then, at least indirectly, every
voter has an equal say in which way policy
should be directed. Therefore, as long as people
are not arbitrarily excluded from the electoral
process and as long as everyone's vote counts
equally, we live in a democracy ... or so the
argument goes.
In light of this, it would seem like economic
institutions have no bearing on democracy. As
long as there's no mechanism that lets people
pay $100 for an additional vote, what's the

problem ? There are two.
The first, and most obvious, problem has
become an issue in the current presidential
campaign under the label "campaign finance
reform." Inequalities in wealth allow some indi-
viduals to make bigger direct or indirect contri-
butions to candidates of their choosing in the
form of direct campaign contributions and/or
soft money donations to various political action
comtittees.
This is a big problem that deserves the atten-
tion it's getting from media elites, but the focus
on soft money contributions hides the even
more fundamental conflict between huge dis-
parities in wealth and democracy.
The real problem with "capitalist democracy"
is that it necessarily gives those who control
vast amounts of wealth significant control over
how policy is crafted - if only by threatening
divestment and/or capital flight. With the
increasing globalization of the economy and the
capability investors have to move money any-
where in the developed world with a mouse
click, even the most reform-minded politician is
going to have to answer to the Steve Forbeses
and Warren Buffetts of the world.
Suppose Congress is trying to decide
whether it should terminate a particular corpo-
rate subsidy. Investors are going to be wary of
such a proposal in proportion to how vital that
subsidy is for the profitability of a particular
industry or business they have a stake in. If
investors get too jittery, they'll just move capital
elsewhere - either to a different business or
industry or out of the country altogether. Capi-
talism allows one person's investment decisions
to reverberate throughout the economy. Know-
ing this, it's highly unlikely the subsidy would
be repealed - no matter how strong the elec-
toral mandate to do so may be.
If American democracy is what most people

seem to believe it is, then one would think that
anyone who does not vote has no say in how
policy is crafted - supposedly, only the will of
voters gets reflected in policy decisions. But this
clearly isn't the case. Do the German CEOs at
DaimlerChrysler influence policy making at
all? What about Australian media mogul Rupert
Murdock? Of course they do, even though it's
illegal for foreigners to give money to political
campaigns in the United States.
One response to this argument is that it con-
fuses the difference between policy making and
being informed that a policy might have bad
repercussions. So it's not that the wealthy have
any more sway in the policy making process, it's
only that their wants have to be factored into
policy decisions in the same way that law mak-
ers need to consider natural facts about the
world. For example, there may be an electoral
mandate for the government to build massive
solar panels in Washington state, but legislators
also need to consider that Washington state is
often cloudy so building solar panels there
might not be a good idea.
Wealthy people are not like natural phenome-
na; there is no clear divide between the realm of
law and the way society should work. When
people vote, they're not just voting for a certain
vision of what the law ought to be in a vacuum,
there is also the expectation that society should
change in accordance with the law. This is why
people say we live ina "democratic society,"not
"we live in an oligarchic society and have a
democratic government." Tyranny can come
from the ruling classes as well as the govern-
ment.
Go vote on the 7th; let your faint whisper be
heard -just remember that when money talks,
it screams.
- Nick Woomer can be reached via e-mail at
nwoomerghtumich.edu.
d to a diverse student body
fort to make sure we reach
goals.'
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs,
inary numbers indicating an increase in
d minority enrollment at the University.

'The University is committe
and we will put forth the efi
those
-Lester Monts,l
commenting on prelimi
under-represente

Neuman should have
warned of Org.
Studies closure
To THE DAILY:
Thank you for notifying the University
student body, faculty and staff of the clos-
ing of the ICP, Organizational Studies. I
was fortunate enough to learn of the clos-
ing through the Daily and not like the LSA
junior I saw in the advising office who was
told she could not declare the major she
had been working on for two and a half
years.
I would like to suggest to the Dean of
LSA, Shirley Neuman, that there are an
infinite amount of better solutions to the
current problems of the IC O? Hrganization-
al Studies than closing admission to the
program. Her rash reactiotn to problems
that have existed for over a year have
caused many students to feel displaced and
distraught. I have to wonder if she even
considered all of the first-year and sopho-
more LSA students who are preparing
themselves to be organizational studies
concentrators.
Because of the interdisciplinary
approach of organizational studies, it
demands that one take a multitude of pre-
requisite courses (much of which is done
during your first-year and sophomore year
before you have declared a concentration.)
Additionally, I wonder if she consid-
ered all of those junior and senior LSA
students who have been pursuing the pro-
gram for years, but have not yet filled out
the form to declare their maior. Without
any warning, Neuman has successfully dis-
placed all of these students.
I am aware of the current problems of
the program. However, closing the pro-
gram without warning is not the answer.
From my past experience, it seems that
when universities institute curriculum
changes they do not usually affect those
students currently enrolled in the college.

but would affect any future enrollee. This emphasized. First, modern curative health,
only seems fair to me. while beneficial, is costly. The fundamental
importance of health prevention and healt
KRISTY DELONG promotion cannot be overlooked in the awe of
LSA SENIOR modern medical miracles, especially in situa-
tions where resources are scant. Second, the
horrific lack of sufficient health care in much
Editorial was right of the developing world mirrors health care
access dtsparttes tn our own country. There
t0 identify d ispa rity clearly exists, not only in Africa, but in the
United States, a system whereby those fortu-
in drug ava i lab i I ity nate few who have money will live better and
longer. I don't think the average person wants
the world to operate this way. However, are w
To THE DAILY: willing to sacrifice our cell phones, $2 coffe
I applaud yesterday's editorial, "Medicine each day or even a loss in our pharmaceutical
for more," discussing how the market-driven stocks to ensure that income doesn't affect
pharmaceutical industry is unable to meet the health?
health needs of the world's poor. In light of the
editorial's facts, and the absence of a thriving T. TODD RITTER
Communist platform, two points need to be SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
THOMAS KULJURGIS TE 5.5.nv i EK.\NG.
~..,
4/t f 66
. : t C V &Rt GLE 11111S ARC EAbtL'Y SCAV.Eb OAF' $
" ' . SlDb N G0tIN E A# D Eut~OSitS.I

A generally bellicose society

ssentially and eventually, expiration
dates claim both you and your groceries.
Before that comes society. A generally belli-
cose society, in which indulgency is the norm
of a psycho-sexual-etrading realm where
policies are dictated by two-party elections,
Nasdaq promiscuities
and profligate home-
coming circuses.
Here, uncertainty
remains an obscure yet
concrete tenet of day-
to-day biology. Like w
shaved legs on her. It
has to exist for mutual z
comfort.
An absolute lack of
heroes proliferates
Presidential candidates, aj
bohemian professors,
even intimate room- Syed
mates, leave your inspi- <
ration antennae
overextended, catching '
static and prone to dam-
age from the elements, thoroughly in need of
an overpriced parka from Bivouac.
With this lack of heroes, you read. You
read.comics. You read Superman. But one
day, the new-agers at D.C. change his cos-
tume. On another day, they kill him. Effec-
tively, heroism becomes a past tense, a
collector's item, an antiquated anomaly
which is then prostituted on a dot-com or
thrown into some burbian family photo
album.
In a generally bellicose society, naivete,

sweet concupiscence and a rustic code of
conduct have to be cashed in for a cell phone.
For a suit, or an interview. For family plan-
ning and 401k plans. For a no-food-or-drink
and don't-forget-to-logout lifestyle. Everyone
cashes in, despite the 1,000 person waitlist.
They call it competitive flair and resource
management. The part about throat slitting is
not printed on the menu of Caf6 Conquest.
In a generally bellicose society, ex-girl-
friends become an aberration for normality.
Soon enough, normality becomes an
aberration.
Mothers never let go of umbilical cords.
Sooner than later, you let go of the moth-
ers.
In a generally bellicose society, posters
become friends. Afterwards, friends become
posters. Ever-ready to charge the atmosphere
of the whitewashed, single-cell, $450/month
quasi-studio you park your humanity at.
Meanwhile, all parking spots get taken.
Quickly.
In a generally bellicose society, no one
writes back. They just reply. To all other
recipients. With the original message includ-
ed.
In a generally bellicose society, there's
nothing homely about homecoming.
Medicare enhanced alumni are looked down
upon as cute maize and blue archival records,
that's all. Otherwise, square-spectacled cof-
fee-shop eclectics fight cold wars with
leather-adorned meat-market Greeks. Gazing
with austerity. Guarding their prosperity.
In a generally bellicose society, women
are denied their right to choose, by men, who

are also denied their right to choose, by
women: Only voting contingencies matter.
And they choose tax-cuts. Always tax-cuts.
In a generally bellicose society, the only
divine intervention holy cities see is through
high powered Air Force One diplomacy.*
Here, presidents play prophets with pariah
states as suicide bombers play eightball with
teenage sailors. Helicopters pay homage to
mosques with missiles. Oil prices are hiked
for strategic defense as homeless shelters
turn off their heaters. To break the tension,
rag-head and Jew jokes are promulgated in
Washington's secularly sexy circles. Nasdaq
sharks retreat to their golfing havens. Politi-
cal dramas on Fox pick up the chase. The4
Tom Clancy comes out with a novel. How
novel.
In a generally bellicose society, some of
the 30,000 readers of a college newspaper
don't read. They peruse. They don't absorb.
They wait for the disinclined foreign profes-
sor to start yapping. They don't measure the
worth of the work of the hundred-odd advo-
cates who speak out every day. They look out
for happy hour specials and redundantly
punchlined columns. Romanticized journalis-
tic integrity is thus wedded to deluxe dolla*
Coronas. In the end, no one catches the bou-
quet.
In a generally bellicose society, she never
calls back.
In such a generally bellicose society, Bob
Dylan at Hill on Nov. 5th is perhaps the only
sedative which sounds like a plan.
- Waj Syed can be reached via e-mail at
wajsyed@tumich.edu.

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