October 17, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)
ANTICIPATION OF NEW REVOLUTIONS
Suppression of the middle class may result in global revolt of technocrats against transnational elites
TRAPPED BY THE CULT OF MINORITIES
Self-alienation of the ruling classes into a "nation inside a nation", despising the people's majority, is supposed to be a typical feature of Russian history – unlike the West, where governments, in accordance with the words of Abraham Lincoln, are reported to be ruled by people, recruited from people and caring for the people. However, Lincoln's formula looks outdated after a century and a half of transformation of the Western world. Self-alienation of the financial and administrative establishment from the rest of the population has become a real plague of the Western society in the era of the much-celebrated globalization.
The establishment of the United States – the country, which has been most proud of its democratic traditions, compared to the aristocratic posterity of the Old World – is increasingly transforming into a cosmopolitan community with interests and intentions directly opposite to those of the American majority. Curiously, the borderline of values and sympathies crosses the attitude towards globalization, international trade, economic freedom, cultural diversity, and political correctness.
The crisis of American identity dates back to 1960s-1970s, when the US elites, giving up their earlier efforts to melt the Americans into a single nation with common language, culture, values and history, made a stake on the cult of minorities. Since that time, patriotic feelings, along with (predominantly Protestant) Christianity, have been regarded as an anachronism.
The collapse of the USSR and the subsequent policy of "unbridled economic freedom" have increased the process of split of the US society, giving birth to the exclusive community of "golden collars" (a.k.a. Davos boys, or cosmocrats). According to Samuel Huntington, 40% of the richest layer of the world's population was represented in 2000 by citizens of the United States. In America itself, the "golden collars" comprised not more than a 4% share of the whole population. However, this community, dominating in US policy-making, is more associated – in terms of mentality and way of life – with corporate interests than with the problems of the United States.
The shift of identity promptly spread into academic circles. In this community, the notion of patriotism has become a swearword, like in Boris Yeltsin's propaganda of the early 1990s. Prof. Marta Nussbaum from the Chicago University defines patriotism as a "morally malicious emotion", substantiating the ethical superiority of cosmopolitan views over patriotic values. Prinston's Prof. Emmie Gutman experiences "shame" over American students who view themselves as Americans and not as citizens of the globe. Prof. Richard Senneth from the University of New York denounces the "vice of national identity", describing the erosion of national sovereignty as an "essentially positive trend". Prof. George Lipsitz from the University of California (San Diego) suspects that "patriotism is likely to become a resort for al kinds of scoundrels". American University’s Prof. Cecilia O’Leary insists that to be patriotic means to position oneself as a militarist, a hawk, and a WASP. Prof. Betty Jeanne Craig from the University of Georgia denounces patriotism for its "intimate relationship with military valor".
Quoting these statements, Samuel Huntington emphasizes that the values of ordinary Americans have nothing in common with academic thinking. "The US establishment, both corporate and administrative, more and more distances itself from the American people. Politically, America remains a democracy, as its political leaders are selected through free and fair elections. In other regards, America has become a non-representative democracy, as in a number of issues, especially concerning national identity, the thinking of the political leadership is categorically hostile to the popular thinking. Actually, the US population is becoming more and more alienated from state policies and management", the scientist concludes.
According to the statistics, provided by Professor Huntington, the overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to unbridled economic freedom, to inflow of immigrants and policies of multiculturalism, to the stranglehold of (especially pervert) minorities, while the US elite, on the contrary, is persistently implementing these very tendencies. The dominating financial community and ordinary citizens express their attitude to globalistic changes in American economy quite differently: in 1994, abolition of protectionist import tariffs was approved by 79% of the establishment and by only 40% of the general population. It is noteworthy that the crusade against American national values is waged by the financial elite, from which politicians, institutions, and mass media are increasingly dependent. The increase of this discrepancy may be illustrated with statistics. Between 1960 and 1979, the public values and state policies of the United States coincided in 63% of cases, while in the period from 1980 to 1993, this percentage declined to 53%.
"Reluctance of politicians to look back at the people's priorities is going to lead to quite predictable implications. When the government policy essentially contradicts to public opinion, we may expect a decline of public confidence to the government, as well as of interest to politics, and a search for alternative means of expression of views beyond the framework of official policy", says Huntington.
The political orchestration of the 9/11 tragedy was instrumental for reducing the distance between the powers and the people, but this effect was significant only for a short period. The destruction of identity rapidly continued in the following years, the elite alienating itself from the people, as well as from national thinking.
Renowned scientist and cultural philosopher Umberto Eco described a similar phenomenon in Europe, emerging in late 1990s, as "post-fascism", implementing the term to the government of media tycoon Sylvio Berlusconi in Italy.
This new phenomenon is typical for the following features: the degenerative influence of entertainment, along with relevant mass media, on the mass of the population, destroying its capability of comprehensive thinking and logic. Downgraded into a non-thinking majority, the masses eagerly vote for political showmen who may express diametrical different views on the same day in order to please various groups of the electorate – for those who easier juggle with political slogans; for those who impudently demonstrate their wealth and openly instrumentalize their positions for extracting profit for their private empires, not making a secret – as it used to be in earlier times – from amalgamation of politics and business.
The brainwashed electorate is not allergic to this type of politician and leader; moreover, it melts with delight over his arrogant manners: if the guy steals for himself, he may also steal something for us. Or: if he has stolen enough, he may get concerned of our interests.
The peculiar feature of this European post-industrial "post-fascist" thinking is expressed in most impudent manipulation of the electorate, which is fooled in an almost outright manner – on the background of deterioration of economy (most of productive facilities being outsourced to Asia), and demolition of the social state. While the middle class is being eroded and the ranks of the poor are expanding, the super-rich class is being selected into an international super-race of "golden collars".
These new rich are typical for their outright, demonstrative luxury, with astounding exquisiteness of their clothes, living premises, food and entertainment. Their behavior is imitated by the ultra-rich layer of the rest of the world, which has been especially visible in Russia. Despite rehabilitation of patriotism in official ideology, Russian tycoons continue to behave as a part of the global super-race, purchasing mansions, soccer clubs and enterprises in London, educating their children outside their native countries, and viewing the rest of their compatriots as mud under their feet.
POSTINDUSTRIAL MORALITY: NEW BARBARIANISM
We may admit with a high probability that the self-alienation of the elite from the population, and the convergence of the elites into the community of global predators, is followed with a number of implications, perfectly visible from political and social experience. In particular, the level of arrogance of the elites is typically followed with de-industrialization and relative increase of influence of top financial interests among the whole of the business community. While real economy is being physically destroyed (like in the former USSR) or outsourced to South-Eastern Asia, manufacturing and machine-tool industry being replaced with exports of raw materials, a degenerative process is taking place in the intellectual community as well – as the creative science, associated with technological breakthroughs, is replaced with the fruitless quasi-economy of financial speculation, and a surrogate of computer games and other similar "innovations" of idle pastime.
This degeneration in the technological sphere naturally results in a decline of general and higher education. This decline is pioneered by cultural dictatorship of physically and mentally perverted minorities under the cover of human rights, tolerance, and multiculturalism. This psychological invasion is followed with popular theories, justifying predatory behavior in economic and social life, and describing moral values like dignity and social conscience as a holdover of the industrial past. Consequently, values related to statehood are denounced as "nationalist" prejudice. The public opinion, deprived of socially positive values, turns a vacuum which is promptly filled with idle entertainment and its proliferating industry of vice. Denunciation of traditional religions benefits Satanic sects, practicing similar vice. Even the habit of reading, replaced with primitive video culture, is suppressed, thus hurling the human mind back to the preliterate era. The focus of mass media on demonstration of atrocities and catastrophes – virtual or real – marks the plunge into a "secondary Barbarism". This development takes place on the background of social stratification, expansion of super-rich and poor layers and destruction of the middle class.
In the "economy of a global casino", not only patriotic but also essentially human values are not welcome, as they not always correspond with the supreme principle of "profit before all, the sooner the better". Attempts to return to patriotic priorities, undertaken by political leaders (for example in USA and Russia after the year 2000), are unsuccessful in case the basic economic structure and design remain unchanged.
However, the era of domination of financial speculators and spin doctors is coming to an end. The "postindustrial" community is facing a severe systemic crisis, fraught with economic catastrophes and social collisions. The reign of the postindustrial ideologues, continuing for decades, has exhausted the economy and infrastructure of the formerly industrial nations, created a demographic crisis and accumulated huge social problems. The new era requires science and technologies, new infrastructure, new types of energy and a new effort of space exploration – in other words, a new revolution in productive forces, similar to the revolution of the XVII-XIX centuries, when the mankind ascended from the energy of wind, water and muscular force to the economy of machinery, chemical energy and electricity.
The breakthrough into the new industrial era is equally essential for the United States, Europe, Russia and China, as an only means of survival. The Gordian knot of accumulated problems is to be cut by the sword of a new technological revolution.
THE MIDDLE CLASS AS THE PROLETARIAT OF TODAY
However, the crucial change can't be implemented under the reign of the same elites. The self-discredited and essentially fruitless financial dealers are to be replaced with persons with a new psychology and world-outlook; bankers and their pet politicians and lawyers are to yield the power to technological designers, bold inventors and creators of "what-has-never-existed".
In the era of tomorrow, success will be achieved by the nation which will be the first to undertake a purge of the elites, liquidating the discrepancy between the ruling classes and the people, which will manage to implement the old Soviet slogan – "The Party (i.e. the elite) and the people are united" in order to implement a great program of universal reconstruction.
Naturally, we dream of the start of this process in the Russian world. However, the Russian establishment remains alienated from the people. Despite the growth of GDP, the social and proprietary stratification is increasing; despite the official campaign against corruption, the inefficiency of state management, largely based on the domination of "criminal ultra-liberalism" in basic economic processes, is still there. It has to be admitted that the ruling class of China, not affected with the psychology of speculation and postindustrial decay, for which "project thinking" is more typical than "media thinking", is in the best position to start a breakthrough into the future.
Obviously, the old "golden-collar" elites are unlikely to yield power without a battle. In its turn, the role of the XIX-century proletariat is going to be played by the productive middle class, composed on engineers, researchers, scholars and high-qualified workers, whose knowledge and skills, as well as morality, is not requested by globalization. The logic of history suggests that this layer of society is going to challenge the financial-media elite of the West, along with the administrative-raw-material-trading community of the East.
In April 2007, Rear Admiral Chris Parry, head of the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre at the Defence Academy in Wiltshire of UK Ministry of Defence, published a report forecasting the global situation in 2030s. "The middle class may develop into one of the revolutionary classes, adopting the role given by Marx to the proletariat", writes Parry. This view is derived from the expanding rupture between the middle class and the community of super-rich, which threatens the human civilization.
"The world's middle class may unify, using its access to knowledge, resources and skills", writes Parry. He anticipates a revival of Marxism of a new type on the background of increasing global inequality. The author believes that masses of people will seek for "new harsh systems of beliefs", including orthodox types of religious teachings along with new social doctrines.
Parry's forecasts corresponds with the conclusion that today's globalization tends to destroy the middle class on a global scale, shared by Russian authors – particularly, by prominent historian Andrei Fursov. With the outflow of productive economy from the former industrial nations of the West to Asia, the middle class of the West is neglected for the "golden collars". After the collapse of the USSR, the ultra-rich class rejected their service, earlier essential for implementation of large-scale state programs in military science, as well as in education and social policies. In today’s Western community, the most required social type is a dumb spectator of primitive sitcoms, a humble mental slave.
Meanwhile, the educated middle class is not going to abandon its potential and social role; being marginalized, it is trying to invent a response to the challenges of globalized capitalism, similarly to the working class of the early XX century, which found a perfect common language with the technocrats.
New Communism, as well as new theories based on the experience of Roosevelt's New Deal, is going to rise in the new era. The book "Human Future", published by Igor Boshchenko and this author, anticipates emergence of a new movement, named "neurosocialism", co-launched by advanced Communists and proponents of "deliberative democracy", or "democracy of dialogue"; this movement puts forward the project of a self-managing network society, running "reasoned machinery" and opposed to bureaucracy.
A young man, envisaging his contribution in the new era, will have a possibility of choice between new movements for human progress. The revolutionarized middle class and creative business are likely to find their role in the newly-emerging human effort, raising anew such issues as scientific-technological revolution, construction of a new society with a new type of citizen. These movements may result in political revolutions in a number of nations, with emergence of dictatorial technocratic societies, oriented towards progress though neglecting liberal values. This development is most likely in the conditions of warfare against financial-media elites, along with a strong competition among emerging economies. A revolution of this type is possible also in the United States.
In order to overcome its domestic problems, survive and win, Russia should play first, straddling the torrents of history. Today's elite is to be urgently replaced, in order to proceed to a trajectory of innovative development with new scientific, technological, industrial and social planning. The only alternative is an implosion under pressure of the domestic social conflict and inefficiency of state management.
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