Sir Humphrey: East Yemen, isn’t that a democracy?Foreign Office Official: Its full name is the People’s Democratic Republic of East Yemen. Sir Humphrey: Ah I see, so it’s a communist dictatorship. — Yes, Minister
When casting around the names of the nations of the world, one is tempted to think Oscar Wilde was onto something when he observed ‘Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life,’ because countries with ‘Democratic’ in their name would challenge even Isocrates to make a convincing argument for their democratic composition. Thus it was with some amusement I learn of plans to establish a D10 club.; democratic partners to build a Huawei free 5G mobile network.
For those who fear a Chinese eaves dropper more than someone whose nationality is one of the Fourteen Eyes, such a move makes sense. Perhaps because it is less invasive to have someone spy on you who is of a similar cultural background? For those who don’t wear a tinfoil hat, there is a concept that still comes into play when looking at the nexus of where companies and countries meet. The notion of distributism.
Stemming from the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, distributism seeks to distance itself from the binary poles of capitalism and socialism and instead favours mutual organisations which are owned by their members. Its popularity is often fueled by the thinking that business owning government or government owning business are not polar opposites, but essentially the same thing. As a result, distributionists advocate for the decentralisation of property ownership to make it as widespread as possible.
From that standpoint, to replace a People’s Republic network with a Democratic Club network isn’t necessarily an improvement — notwithstanding that for many, the flag on the network is as important as the network itself — because in the end it is only preferring one centralised solution over another.
In such a scenario, Sir Humphrey’s words will come floating back to pronounce a Democratic Club network to be a network dictatorship.