Politics > Spiral of Political Maturation > Plutocratic Pluralism-II > Review of Cycle #1

Review of Cycle-1 in the Spiral

Stage-1 to Stage-2

■ See: Political Transition #1

In moving from a primitive pluralist ethos to a legitimist ethos, the populace has to protest violently against gross abuses of power. The people en masse typically instigate, or at least threaten, a violent revolution. 

So the socio-political world does indeed turn upside down in this initial transition.

Many of the privileged become superfluous, and the most power-oriented from among the masses ascend rapidly.

In moving back along the X-axis toward the origin, there will be less Benefit for Others—and rightly so, because people want equal rights even more than benefits. Any potential benefits are correctly perceived as being liable to be either secretly siphoned off or directly confiscated by the privileged elite.

The privileged classes do not see it that way. It appears to them unthinkable that peasants or labourers could or should be treated «equally». For their own judgements (or even whims) to be challenged, is an affront. Any unrest in the masses always looks like a law-and-order problem, instigated by trouble-makers or terrorists rather than freedom fighters, and inviting more authoritarian repression.

The development of full enfranchisement in the West took centuries and required the intellectual work of the philosophers of «the enlightenment». But it has happened once, which means it can happen—but not that it must happen or must happen soon.

► More on developments in the West.

Stage-2 to Stage-3

■ See: Political Transition #2

The legitimist ethos has no means for producing the wealth that it so tantalizingly promises to re-distribute to the people via rule of law and equality under the law.

In moving to a more prosperous state, the populace finds itself involved in ideological strife about the nature and intrinsic rights of man and the possibilities and limitations of collectivism and State control of production.

The move to an individualist ethos means moving up the Y-axis, which indicates a growth in Self-Awareness. Paralleling this development in consciousness are political battles between two ideologies: socialism favouring the security of the collective and equal misery—versus—liberalism favouring freedom and self-reliance for the individual with tolerance of intense competitiveness, and socio-economic inequalities.

The overt aim and ideal in both cases is to generate prosperity, well-being, and justice for all.

However the socialist ideology shows a lack of awareness or a denial of human nature. This denial was projected on to liberals as «false consciousness». At the same time, socialist states have repeatedly tried to abolish aspects of human nature e.g. by attacking family ties, turning children against parents, slaughtering the intellectual classes (teachers, doctors, academics), and forcing people to work in ways that deny their capacity to think and decide for themselves.

Capitalist economic principles get discredited because they are quietly and deliberately violated by their loudest political supporters with dire consequences. However, if the focus is on self-reliance and freedom of individuals to choose, then those principles, culturally adapted, become self-evidently required for prosperity.

Stage-3 to Stage-4

■ See: Political Transition #3

The problems that free enterprise leaves in its wake demand development of the rationalist ethos. Here, we note the first move to the right along the X-Axis, that is to say in the direction of greater Benefit for Others.

The critical change here has been the flowering of science and technology, and its permeation in society via socialization in schools. This ethos provides a popular respect for dispassionate inquiry and scientific expertise, as well as for systematic above-board consideration of public views, special interests, and various perspectives. Truth must be valued so that powerful interests do not obscure or conceal relevant facts.

To get action, people must still get angry and protest the despoliation of common resources or corrupt choices. They must fight the use of unfair tactics by the rich and connected. Anger alone, however, does not alter anything. Protest cannot stop the influence of wealth on government or the manipulation of money; and revolutionary violence is no longer sensible.

Stage-4 to Stage-1 Re-entry

■ See: Arrival of Plutocratic Pluralism II

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.

This pseudo-transition back to the pluralist mode seems to go down the Y-Axis i.e. reduced Self-Awareness. This is not a transition because pluralist values have never been left or lost. However, due to economic development and the financialization of society, inequalities in society start escalating and a new set of elites emerges.

The Pluralist-II mode and its elites are very different from what existed in Primitive Pluralism-I. There are many more organized groups as well as a far more complex structure of powerful groups. We therefore locate Pluralism-II (Progressive or Plutocratic Pluralism) further along the X-Axis and down the ellipse. 

An explosive situation must unfold, because power is now a function of wealth rather than status (regardless of who gets elected), and there are no effective psychosocial controls on power or wealth.

The next transition in sophistication is therefore just a matter of time.

ClosedSee a matrix summary:

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Categories Privileged
Legitimist Individualist Rationalist Plutocratic
Source of
Money and
its control
Commonality Fundamentals
Integrating Force Culture-based
Regulated markets Independent
official inquiries
Socio-Political Institution Traditional &
brute power-based groups
Rule of law Personal
Solutions for
social problems
Separation of
Equality of
Regulatory authorities Group
Individuality Fundamentals
Under control
of elites
Re-distribution of
wealth & rights
of wealth
Safety-nets for
basic needs
Dependent on lobbying &
group pressure
Availability of courts of justice Self-reliance Stakeholder
Provision of
Propaganda &
Socialization via
& privacy
Routine useful
social statistics
Via crusades &
Personal-Ethical Requirements  
Core Value Kinship Tolerance Freedom Truth Fraternity
Civic Virtue Prudence Justice Courage Wisdom Prudence

On this page, we have:

Now we can:

Then we will be ready to consider the expected degeneration of Pluralism-II to produce the calamity needed for Political Transition #4.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 27 Mar 2014

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.
All Rights Reserved.

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