: Traditional privileged elites looked with contempt on the masses—unwashed, uneducated, poor and unimportant—except to show deference, to be taxed and to fight the elites' wars of pride or plunder.
Law, Commerce & Science have become sacrosanct social institutions.: The majority of people are fairly comfortable and enjoying their technologically sophisticated society built around the of .
The corrupting lust for wealth and power has not been tamed. The new elite classes—professional politicians, central bankers, regulatory officials, financiers—may manifest it differently or more discreetly. But the result is the same.
Television and the press are usually described as free, and this is true up to a point depending on the society. However, on important matters, the people are regularly misled due to a symbiosis of government, media owners, and advertisers linked to big business. News output is slanted and information is regularly withheld ('in the public interest') if it embarrasses or runs counter to political or monied interests.
Society is now far wealthier, so the wealth and power of the political classes is now far greater than that commanded by the cultural elites of the past Society is also more complex and sophisticated, so wealth can be transferred easily from the poor to the rich. Instruments of surveillance and control are far more powerful.
Will truth dawn via the rationalist ethos? Perhaps in theory, but not in practice. Vested interests work hand-in-hand with politicians to distort rational analyses and distract attention, so impeding the public good, and delaying implementation of solutions for many years.
Societies at this watershed find that many solutions called for by rational analysis as adjusted by social consultation are not implemented at all, or only implemented half-heartedly at best due to the pressure from vested interests.
Politicians water down recommendations while vested interests follow the letter of the law and ignore its spirit. Big firms break the law because the financial penalty is trivial in comparison to the benefit obtained; or because the wealth and power of the firm overwhelms any complainant.
Sometimes it seems that the solutions are barely understood by those who must make them work. For these reasons and others, many otherwise highly-developed societies have festering sores that persist, despite all efforts.
Discomforts for most of the people or devastation of minorities are not enough to generate pressure for significant political development in any society. Festering sores do not lead to maturational change. What society unfortunately needs and must expect is a full-blown calamity.
The natural calamity following many decades inwould be a financial or economic collapse of massive proportions. This will be brought about by the «financialization» of society combined with the corruption-incompetence and disconnection of the political-financial elites.
A crisis is inevitable because every time recession or depression threatens, the elites apply remedies that give them more power and more money—and the people less of both. Until eventually there is no remedy, and the myth that political leaders know what they are doing is debunked. Read more.
When (not if) an economic calamity eventuates, people in the West must recognize:
Sooner or later, however, an educated people will be ready to recognize their own unique and particular responsibility for allowing and encouraging the political-financial elites to dupe them, remove many liberties, and steal their wealth and the wealth of their children.
Now that free enterprise is widely valued as an economic sine qua non in most societies, the far harder task of installing and tolerating a workablein former socialist states remains.
The problem is that in many of these countries, theis weak. As a result, the masses are unable to get protection through the law; the elite classes often violate the law and cooperate with gangsters; and basic services like education, health-care, sanitation and fresh water are poor or sparse.
Where free enterprise is introduced, perhaps via foreign multi-national corporations, side-effects and societal consequences are ignored by the political elites. Science exists, of course, and may even be very advanced in universities and institutes, but thehas little impact on psychosocial malfunction.
Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 27 Mar 2014