Politics > Spiral of Political Maturation > Stage 3: Individualist > Transition #3

Political Transition #3

The Great Reversal

The individualist ethos has reversed the power & wealth dynamic in pluralist politics.

Initially, Power is the route to Wealth.
Now, Wealth is the route to Power.

Unfortunately, this creates a «mess».

Governments start benefiting from the tax flow from firms and those employed in businesses. Politicians and bureaucrats increasingly benefit from kickbacks, board positions, financial gifts or campaign contributions.

Markets and industries are extremely complicated social systems, typically extending globally. So while political interventions are an easy tool for gaining popularity, they produce unforeseen and undesirable consequences locally and internationally.

Additional efforts to correct those consequences lead to further negative side-effects, and so on and so on… until the situation is a complete «mess» i.e. a complex system of inter-connected unmanaged and virtually unmanageable problems with those in powerful positions benefiting from the status quo.

Pressures for sensible management of the «commons» will therefore increase in society. Protests will become louder and more vociferous, until society as whole feels forced to move to a new way of thinking politically. 

To tackle the mess left by uncontrolled commercial exploitation, a new political mode is required that is designed to focus sharply on genuinely practical and socially viable solutions to serious problems. That is usually tricky.

Any solution must be workable in the here and now, and must also preserve and protect institutions and values of earlier political modes.

The pressing demands for a solution point the way to the use of impersonal and scientific methods in politics. The necessary institutions are defined within the rationalist mode.

Example: Closed Public awareness emerged, in 2008, of the destruction of Australia's main river system (the Murray-Darling) through many years of politically-motivated over-allocation of water rights. A comprehensive, independent, expert audit was finally commissioned after the rivers had largely dried up.

Science is not the Final Solution

The legitimist mode embeds rule of law and popular enfranchisement; and the individualist mode embeds personal freedom and social prosperity. Both are significant moves away from primitive privileged pluralism and counteract the political classes' exploitation of the people.

Ideas that science offers «the solution» for society and that maturity in political terms is just around the corner are arrogant conceits. Nevertheless, a political process that explicitly incorporates clear thinking, common-sense, local knowledge and genuine investigation represents a shift in power from the wealthy and political elites in favour of the people.

While this transition reflects a maturation in the functioning of political institutions, it is not the end of the story. We are approaching a half-way point in the trajectory towards full political maturation.

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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