I want to sell my vote. And you too, dear citizen, should be able to sell yours.
So much is made of the supremacy of the democratic vote, the privilege of its value, but we have failed to reach this basic liberated position. Surely it is a commodity just waiting to be exploited in a free market. Since when has my ability, nay, ‘Right’, to sell, dispose of, and trade my ‘possessions’ been out of the question? Have our marketeers been asleep? Are we being deceived?
On becoming 18, this value naturally accrues to us – and then we give it away for free! The sale of votes would surely be a way to encourage greater voter ‘turn-out’ at election times. What better way to discourage voter apathy. “Pay me and I’ll vote.” A win-win situation. It seems consistent to me, and it becomes a way to celebrate liberalism capitalism.
As our democracy never tires of telling us, a vote is of such high value, then surely, according to our modern market logic, this ‘good’ should not be denied its inherent exchange value. Why not sell it to a parliamentary parties, who blatantly solicit us for it. We should allow this piece of chattel to ‘come of age’, within a well established commercial morality. Such a market is blatantly obvious, isn’t it? So much demand, so much supply. Yet at the moment, a vote is ‘devalued’ by not being traded; kept as as a mere one cent piece, a romantic relic of 20th century idealism.
I propose either, a) a one-off sale, say, for the price of a house, or a permanent living wage, or, b) that a vote is sold at every election to the highest bidder. (We could employ a type of ‘parliamentary ebay’ auction – “VoteBay”, and have apps on our devices.) We have to do better for ourselves, and make the electoral system more honest. Really, what’s absurd about all this?
For many people this asset is one of the few things of value they posses that is sought after by the State. A payment to them at every election would not be benevolent welfare, but a strict market deal. This way we could avoid the seemingly ideological problems of ‘entitlement’ that are now surfacing, while keeping all citizens engaged.
How about a “Voting Trading Scheme?” This might have too much ‘national’ focus initially, succumbing to antiquated notions of sovereignty. However, later, we could sell our votes to international buyers in massive blocks, to electoral corporations, and create all kinds of new ‘products’ and markets. Voila! Enter the Titanic of Financialism; to trade in these ‘stocks’ and their ‘futures’, to ‘hedge’ and to ‘leverage’, to create some serviceable debt….Growth! This could be just the boost for a failing global economy – the new ‘product.’ (This might well be the way out the European Crisis!)
I can imagine the advertising campaigns,…can you? “Let me buy your vote, a vote that you can trust with me, and that I hold close to godliness. If you sell now, we’ll throw in an iPad.”……..on tv, on webpages, on supermarket dockets….a new Eureka.
Such market logic is incontrovertible. The ‘accounting’ would be overseen by banks of repute, like,…Barclays, or the IMF. Taxes and fees could be imposed on the transactions. Fantastic. Then, the successful parliamentary party gaining office might even boast that they spent more than the defeated opposition. A new symbol of success.
But I have digressed beyond the simple question…why aren’t votes for sale?
(originally published Thursday, 5 July 2012)