I talk a lot about polls and how our society doesn't reflect the values expressed by the general population. If it did, we wouldn't be at war in Iraq. We wouldn't be in Afghanistan. We'd have a nuclear weapons free zone in the middle east, we'd have a peaceful resolution to the occupation of Palestine, NAFTA would not have been ratified, we'd have a health care system similar to that of the rest of the industrialized world, we'd have adopted the Kyoto protocols, radically reducing our greenhouse emissions, etc. Aggression and the embargo against Cuba would end, methods for fighting drugs would change for the better. (See here, here, and here for some of my sources on these points). The list goes on.
But we don't have these things because our society in fact reflects the needs and values of a privileged, propertied minority. These people are largely immune to the negative consequences of these policies, especially over the short term. So take global warming. Who will suffer first? The poor. The rich will run the A/C more, pay extra for food from newly developed crops. They can afford to drink bottled water. They don't depend on glacial runoff. Since they don't feel the consequences, but do reap the rewards of large profits due to the sale of fossil fuel and consumer goods, it's natural for them to pursue policies that don't reflect the will of the public at large.
Take war. Those that suffer of course in Iraq are poor Iraqi's. Something on the order of a million dead so far. The next group that suffers is US military personnel. Finally the American public as people from occupied regions react with violence in the only way they can: assaults on civilians (though there hasn't been a lot of this yet). The wealthy can insulate themselves from this better than the poor can. And the upside is substantial. The worlds largest proven oil reserves are of course a source of revenue and profit.
The two greatest threats to human survival are probably environmental catastrophe and nuclear destruction. Because our society reflects the needs of a privileged few rather than the public at large, the policies that are pursued in fact exacerbate both of these threats. If our society enacted policies that reflected the values of the public at large our society would be organized in such a way so as to reduce these threats.
These problems must be addressed. But what can be done if not the imposition of democratic values? And how to do that except through democracy?
Some suggest that we get away from democracy and government intrusion and move to free markets. People are the best judge of their own needs. Let them, via free interactions, engage in their own exchanges.
Well, we know what the values are of the public at large. We have the polling data. What values would be reflected in a society without government intrusion or democracy? That's obvious. Those with the most property would have the largest involvement in shaping that society, and that society would reflect their needs and desires. These are the people that just turn up the AC when things get hot. These are the people that pay more for food when it becomes more scarce. These people would send their own private armies, consisting of their poorer employees, to enact policies that they favor by force. The victims would be the peoples that were attacked and the private army personnel that suffered the reprisals. We would expect the same kind of society that we presently have.
Privately owned businesses are nothing but totalitarian institutions. The decisions made are not based on the will of the public at large, but on the needs and desires of the few owners. Therefore the decisions made reflect their needs. What reason is there to expect that abolishing democratic government entirely would change the societal structure given that the needs and desires of the heavily propertied peoples should be expected to match the policies presently enacted by the government we have which is not responsive to democracy but only private power? These two systems have the same incentive structure, so they should be expected to produce the same results.
Darf tells us that Arrow's Theorem shows that no voting system can entirely satisfy the needs and preferences of a community. True enough. But neither can an exclusively price based system. Democracy is imperfect, but so is every other system. So let's get out of our ivory towers and offer solutions to the serious problems our world faces. Democratic values reflect a move toward alleviating these serious problems. The values of the few and the wealthy are already in force and are exacerbating the problem.