In, there was little rational design because people functioned spontaneously in accord with their cultural values and imperatives.
Ethical and religious doctrines (cf. the Indian religious epic: The Mahabharata) specify that elite-rulers should care for and protect the people. Even when there was a self-serving tendency or lapses due to character flaws in monarchs, the better traditional elites still saw their responsibility in a paternalistic way.
Self-interest played a part as well: effective kings were desirous of dynastic succession, and were genuinely concerned to hand over a wealthy and powerful state to their heirs. This type of self-interest is noticeably absent in.
Plutocracy: A system of government whereby wealth and the benefits that wealth accrues lead to a concentration of power in the hands of those with disproportionate access to financial resources—in modern times: politicians and the financial sector.
Now read on…
Financialization occurs as the rationalist phase embeds itself e.g. by 2007, the finance sector in the US was earning over 40% of domestic corporate profits—almost 3x the usual ratio—while not producing social goods and simultaneously unleashing financial disaster domestically and abroad. Read more.
Politicians have little incentive to care about the long-term effect on society, because their interests are served by short-term decisions related to elections.
Centralizing power and wealth becomes a priority. So more and more people become directly employed or indirectly dependent on the State for benefits. Businesses win padded contracts, subsidies and protection; individuals enter public service, get direct payments and receive many services.
As time passes, society gets ever more complex and government gets ever more elaborate, intrusive and expensive. Money isn't everything: politicians know that. There was always, and there still is the lust for power.
The drive for power to bolster the security of the political elites leads to increasing efforts to control the populace, resulting in:
Has anyone noticed such things in their society?
The most powerful vested interests end up being:
There is no self-restraint personally or socially within the political-financial class. There will be individuals who might wish to set a limit, but they depart or are pushed aside by others who are less squeamish. The purest political power comes from the manipulation of money within the financial sector to create an illusion of wealth for all and the reality of colossal wealth for the new elites.
Where does this end? It seems as if it can, must, and will end in one way: economic collapse and societal disaster. Most suffering will fall on the middle classes. For more in this vein: see financialization in the US and UK.
Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 27 Mar 2014