(2) Worldwide, those adults 30 and older living within capitalist economies are capitalist consumers FIRST and above all. This does not mean these adults don't have other sentimental attachments, to perhaps a church, a football team they support, a pet they adore, a gym they frequent, a writer or thinker they respect, and a style of music they love. These all still exist, are all still fully "REAL." Yet these dalliances are also all still MINOR.
The DOMINANT daily thought patterns of capitalist adults- including their overall long term hopes and fears- center on their ability to (1) increase MONEY IN as much as they are able without unduly sacrificing quality of life and (2) reduce MONEY OUT as much as they are able without unduly sacrificing quality of life. As the days, weeks, and months "come and go" they repeatedly return AGAIN AND AGAIN to this dominant topic and seek AGAIN AND AGAIN new or better solutions to it. They spend tremendous amount of mental attention on this central topic and many of their behaviors fall in line with the various decisions they have (tenatively) reached on this topic.
The dominant daily thoughts patterns of most people in any capitalist economy ROUGHLY take these forms:
- Can various fixed expenses (transportation, health insurance, clothes, food and drink, shelter, utilities, routine recreational pursuits, cable/internet/phone fees, membership in various preferred organizations, taxes) be somehow manipulated and reduced without undue sacrifice in quality to reduce the total expenditure out?
- Can various income generation activities (job, investment in stocks, real estate assets, networking with friends, family, and alumni, training for new work) be somehow manipulated and increased without undue harm to one's quality of life?
Who would be the ideal democrat? Simply, the ideal democrat is able to do THREE things well (i.e. not perfectly): (a) identify the most important issues that deserve to be resolved via the democratic political process; (b) gather the most relevant and reliable information bearing on these issues; and (c) participate in a respectful, though still spirited dialogue, with other political actors with the sole aim of generating the BEST solution to the issue that appears reasonably likely to succeed based on all of the facts, information, and best reasoning available at the time.
(4) The habits of mind, traits of character, and critical and other mental abilities required to become an ideal democrat is within the reach of all persons if they are sufficiently motivated to become ideal democrats and their behavior and thoughts fall in line with this genuine motivation.
As discussed above, 99% of adults living within capitalist economies are dominantly preoccupied with the thoughts patterns identified in (2) above. To the extent they are so occupied- and to the extent they become increasingly so occupied as years pass- they become that much less capable of the kind of participation in the democratic process that one could- with confidence- label "worthwhile."
(5) We are not in a position to evaluate the relationship between capitalism and democracy. Capitalism's gains are obtained at the expense of gains in quality democratic participation.