Politics > Spiral of Political Maturation > Stage 4: Rationalist > Spontaneous Evolution

Spontaneous Political Evolution

The Watershed

The rationalist ethos is a watershed in political development. For the first time, something truly powerful, an impersonal scientific approach, is allowed, in principle, to insinuate itself into the intricate mesh of individual interactions around social goods. It has the power to tame the previous omnipotence of lusts for power and wealth.

Inquiries do occur and, on all too rare occasions, thwart politicians whose irrational and harmful behaviours have been accepted, if not condoned, by the populace.
ClosedMore on the Quality of Government Inquiries

The rationalist mode requires an impartial examination of problems affecting people in the society, while respecting wealth, laws, and valid interests. It assumes there is a truth in regard to many matters: a truth which can be discovered given the will and the resources.

By contrast, inquiries in earlier Stages typically dealt with a short-term crisis. If more fundamental, they were instituted and staffed to provide an answer that had been determined largely in advance by vested interests or politically powerful individuals. The value of truth was routinely neglected.

Extremely powerful social bodies can be created to deal with corruption in the commercial, political and official classes e.g. Royal Commissions (in the UK and British Commonwealth), and special Police Directorates. Their findings are not always welcomed.

Example from South Africa:Closed A Directorate of Special Operations, nicknamed “The Scorpions”, was set up to deal with organized crime and political corruption. It was remarkably successful and won many cases, but the trail inevitably led to prominent politicians. At their insistence, the Directorate was shut down and merged with the regular police service.

Power is now obtained through wealth rather than privilege and so in the re-entry to Pluralist mode after the Rationalist mode there is financialization of society and control by vested interests.

If powerful politicians can easily block or dismiss societal-oriented inquiries, this only indicates that the political institutions of the Rationalist Mode-4, even if embedded in the consciousness of society, are insufficient.

Pursuit of Modes 1-3 is associated with severe social trauma when pushed too far:

Mode 1exploitative power
Mode 2economic failure
Mode 3tragedy of the commons.

Mode 4 is different. The rationalist mode does not degenerate through its determined application. Instead, it poses a constant challenge to unmodified passions for power and wealth, especially when innocent people suffer. It is a constant thorn in the side of the elites.

Modifying Pluralism-I

Achieving a rationalist ethos modifies the operation of early Privileged Pluralism. For the first time, evolution in society is not driven by side-effects or problems of the ethos. Instead, as the rationalist ethos becomes established, society spontaneously moves to a different and much improved form of pluralism.

Wealth from commerce can now replace brute force and tradition as the primary source of power in society. The largest, most wealthy firms and business leaders become preoccupied with using that wealth to gain power to enable them to get more wealth. These become the «vested interests» that come to influence government choices.

Plutocratic Pluralism (i.e. Pluralism-II) is defined by a focus on powerful wealthy «vested interests». Over time, a highly effective business-financial elite class develops. As the focus on money increases, society eventually becomes financialized.

The pressure for further political development comes from the degenerate effects of this empowered re-structured and financialized pluralist ethos.


Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 27 Jan 2010




All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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