Democracy and Now Capitalism Are Failing Ideologically; But What Comes Next?

As I was prepping for my panel on Saturday, I was thinking a lot about PJ Crowley. Crowley is, as you’ll recall, the State Department spokesperson who was ousted after he called the treatment of Bradley Manning “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” In my panel, I quoted Crowley’s comments on American support for unrestricted media. And as I was reviewing all this, I was thinking about Crowley’s almost unremarked criticism last week of the Administration’s decision to move of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial to Gitmo.

The prosecution of #KhalidSheikhMohammed and others under untested military tribunals undercuts our global promotion of the rule of law.

For all my disagreements with Crowley about Manning’s incarceration (though note that Crowley is also one of the few in government who has criticized the embarrassing lack of security that made the alleged leak possible), I find his adherence to a now-outmoded approach to diplomacy charming. Almost quaint.

You see, Crowley still appears to believe that America’s claim to exceptionalism–the conceit that it serves as a model of democracy and rule of law and liberty to others around the world–not only still exists but still forms a part of our international policy. He believes that this country would choose to follow the law out of consideration that doing so will allow us to exercise power through persuasion rather than force.

Crowley’s ouster–the firing of a guy because he dared remind his bosses that American used to choose to do things the right way rather than the way of maximal power–seems symbolic that that approach is now dead.

Indeed, whether or not we’ve conceded it’s dead, others now recognize it, as Glenn Greenwald points out today. (h/t harpie)

Aside from what conduct like [his endorsement of Manning’s treatment and his persecution of whistleblowers] reveals about Obama, it also severely undermines the ability of the U.S. to exercise any shred of moral leadership in the world. Consider this series of events:

Washington Post, March 13, 2011:

Associated Press, April 4, 2011:

Reuters, yesterday:

The United States is beset by violence, racism and torture and has no authority to condemn other governments’ human rights problems, China said on Sunday, countering U.S. criticism of Beijing’s crackdown. . . . “The United States ignores its own severe human rights problems, ardently promoting its so-called ‘human rights diplomacy’, treating human rights as a political tool to vilify other countries and to advance its own strategic interests,” said a passage from the Chinese report.

China also “accused the U.S. . . . of pushing for Internet freedom around the world as a way to undermine other nations, while noting that Washington’s campaign against secret-spilling website WikiLeaks showed its own sensitivity to the free flow of information,” and further “lambasted the U.S. over issues ranging from homelessness and violent crime to the influence of money on politics and the negative effects of its foreign policy on civilians.” China’s human rights record is atrocious, but can anyone contest the validity of its objections to the U.S. and the Obama administration’s purporting to act as human rights arbiters for the world?

Now, all that simply shows that our ideological claim to serve as a model of law and liberty is dead.

But this–this is an ideological collapse America may have a much more difficult time dealing with, because it’s an ideological failure internally.

FAITH in the free market is at a low in the world’s biggest free-market economy. In 2010, 59% of Americans asked by GlobeScan, a polling firm, agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that the free market was the best system for the world’s future. This has fallen sharply from 80% when the question was first asked in 2002. And among poorer Americans under $20,000, faith in capitalism fell from 76% to 44% in just one year. [my emphasis]

Now, granted, capitalism still commands majority support in this country; it’s just among the people paying the price of capitalism’s failure where support has really tanked. (Update: In this Gallup poll from a few weeks ago, 67% of those polled said corporations and banksters have too much power.)

But consider this: by a count of 67% to 59%, more people in China believe in the power of free markets right now than in the US. The communists like capitalism better than the capitalists themselves! (Maybe that’s because they’ve taken the jobs of the poorer Americans who lost theirs to globalization).

I wrote a fair bit about the collapse of capitalism as an ideology, internationally, back in January.

A corollary to the question, “after such a catastrophic failure in 2008, why aren’t we reining in capitalism and expanding the safety net?” is “why isn’t anyone declaring victory over capitalism in the same way capitalism once declared victory over communism?”

But who would declare victory? (Some humor: “Hu would declare victory.”)


But I also think something else is going on with ideology as it existed during the Cold War. With the failure of both communism and (thus far, in more limited fashion) capitalism, it becomes increasingly clear that ideology doesn’t make for successful countries, governance does. Whether or not capitalism will experience a resurgence, our country has become corrupt and ineffective enough that it’s not clear we’d go with it. Moreover, the bogeyman that has replaced the Evil Empire–terrorism–is as much about an increasingly viable challenge to the nation-state, at a time when a rising number of failed states offer a geographic beachhead for such challenges. One of the most important ways to combat “terrorism” is to prevent militarization and climate issues to create more failed states. And that means there will be less emphasis on ideology as it worked in the Cold War and a greater premium on governance.

Which is important because failing capitalism is having real repercussions on things like food supply. Which, as we saw in Tunisia and may well see across the globe, cuts through any debate about ideology quickly. When it comes to the point where governments can’t feed their people, then they begin to fear the popular classes again, even if they’ve managed to insulate themselves from that for deacades.

Which brings us full circle, I think. DeBoer suggests we need greater ideological diversity in the blogosphere, and he’s right. But what we need just as badly is some way to articulate and mobilize the needs of the working class before our failure to govern (which the narrowness of our discourse fosters) ends up in food riots.

With the end of the Cold War, the US has had the luxury, for now, of completely ignoring the ideological left because the threats to the country–as the governing class sees them–have everything to do with the market and nothing to do with workers. But ultimately, the combination of failed governance and the market will lead right back to the workers.

But capitalism as an ideology internationally works differently than it does domestically. Internationally, it provides ideological cover for policies that concentrate wealth and create instability. As uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East show, ultimately reality will intrude and make such policies harder to sustain.

But free market ideology in the US has allowed far more than just anti-worker policies. In the same way our exploitation of democracy as an ideology internationally allowed us to rule through persuasion, working class belief in capitalism paved the way for corporations to take over our government without a fight.

That said, it’s unclear where this goes. Where ideology fails, force usually takes its place.

But it does seem like an opportunity. Now if only the left were prepared with a viable “something else” to offer.

  1. lysias says:

    Once even Communists lost faith in their system, their system was only living on borrowed time. And eventually that time ran out.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As far back as Adam Smith, it was recognized that the good capitalism might do can be completely undone by failure to regulate it to promote the common welfare. Sunshine and balmy days can be pleasant, but sunshine unfiltered through an ozone layer quickly leads to cancer and death.

    Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama have exorcised promoting the general welfare from their economic policy, as they have from our laws. The demise Mr. Obama is now fathering is not limited to economic policy.

  3. stryx says:

    The Unites States, with costly military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased spending by 2.8 percent to $698 billion — about six times as much as China, the second-biggest spender ahead of Britain, France and Russia. In 2009, U.S. spending grew 7.7 percent.

    The United States has increased its military spending by 81 percent since 2001,” SIPRI said. “At 4.8 percent of gross domestic product, U.S. military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East,” said SIPRI Military Expenditure Project chief Sam Perlo-Freeman.

    Somehow there’s always money to feed the corporations.

  4. matthewj says:

    Democracy hasn’t actually failed but the American form of it certainly has. We need to reinvent the principle of democracy (government of, by, and for the people). We need to understand the forces that allowed our government to be so totally captured and find new systemic structures to prevent that from happening. These changes need to be implemented by a new constitution. Until we face these realities we will keep asking what comes next while descending into a corporate police state.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m talking about ideology and the US use of it. One thing that has happened bc our imperial leaders have decided to dispose of even lip service to democracy and human rights is it makes it a lot easier for others to ignore them too.

      • matthewj says:

        I’m talking about ideology and the US use of it. One thing that has happened bc our imperial leaders have decided to dispose of even lip service to democracy and human rights is it makes it a lot easier for others to ignore them too.

        Understood. You gave me a chance jump in and offer what I think is the only way to identify “something viable”. I think its critical to start taking a hard look at reality and embrace our the uncertain future of reinventing democracy through structural constitutional reform over the certain alternative of the corporate police state. We need to overcome our fear of taking this step before we can begin to move forward.

        We may not be prepared with an alternative yet but we can begin the analysis and creative thinking to find the alternative. I don’t think it takes rocket science to identify the point of failure that lead to our current situation and design a new democratic system with mechanisms to prevent the same failures we have experienced. We need to have the same boldness of spirit that was present in those who challenged monarchy and designed our democratic system. We can bring “democracy 2.0” to the world if we’re not afraid of challenging every assumption we have about democratic institutions and find ways to radically reinvent them for the 21st century.

        How long will it take for enough of us to overcome that fear? I don’t know but I hope it is not too much longer.

      • DWBartoo says:

        Yes, now that even the pretense of a “higher moral ground” no longer serves the interests of “accumulated” wealth and power, EW, now

        that the “mask” has slipped, revealing the leering death-face of “leadership”, the people of planet earth may well lose patience with old Uncle Warbucks, and, of course, with

        thoseof us in whose name all the terror (let us be blunt AND honest) is daily committed.

        I suppose, left to our own “devices”, that in twenty year’s

        time, we MIGHT, somehow, rescue ourselves and retrieve our “good” name, but I’d imagine the rest of the world can tolerate only about ten more years of “our” shit …

        Now, I know that “we” pride ourselves on “our” ability to destroy the world several times over with our weaponry, ya know the old “Kill ’em all and let Dog sort ’em out …” routine.

        Somehow,I don’t suspect that NOW is a good time to start reminding the world of that conceit.

        Yes, do look like some chickens is gonna come on back to the “Homeland”

        to roost. Sooner rather than later, mayhaps?


  5. scribe says:

    It’s hard to sell “governance” as the solution (even though it is) when it’s accepted as an axiom that “government is not the solution; government is the problem.”

    It should be astonishing that this country will flush itself down the toilet like this – and future historians will be smacking their foreheads asking “wha?” and “how could they be so fucking stupid?” – but flush it will. Which, FWIW, is why I have no fear of a Republican beating Obama next year. We’re going to wind up in the same place regardless of whether its Obama or one of the geeks and clowns the Republicans present who wins. I figure, if we get a Republican we just get there faster, rather than the frog-in-a-pot-of-warming-water we get with Obama. If we get there faster, people will not be so inured to the depravity which passes for our government and governance, and we might have a chance of coming out of this mess with something less than a total bloodbath.

    But I’m not optomistic.

  6. DWBartoo says:

    Excellent description of “our” (mostly common) plight, EW.

    And … your last sentence is particularly telling.


  7. liberalrob says:

    Minor grammar pedant kvetch: too many paragraphs starting with “But.”

    I keep seeing arguments that we need a new constitution. I don’t agree, the one we have is just fine. As I see it, where we have gone astray is a disconnect between the leadership class and the general public. Our leaders may as well be Martians for all intents and purposes, as far as comparing their lifestyles to the “average American.” In general, they do not have a sense of the impact of their policies on the public they were elected to serve. Also, our leadership class has fallen victim to some really bad ideological hokum, malignant zombie theories of morality and ethics tracing back to Social Darwinist philosophies of the late 19th century.

    More than anything else, I say we are suffering from a massive failure of our educational system. The fact that large numbers of citizens can actually believe that these nonsensical, harmful theories are worthy goals for America to aspire to implement, even in the face of evidence of the direct harm those policies will do to the people’s own interests, is damning evidence of this failure. Until that is addressed, it doesn’t really matter what we try to offer.

    We don’t need “something else” to offer. We need to find a more effective way to offer what we already do. We also need a citizenry that recognizes why we exist as a nation and as a society, what “society” means and why it is important to have one. From that basic understanding and acceptance of the concept, I think progressivism naturally occurs.

    • DWBartoo says:

      What, precisely doth constitute a truly civil society?

      The first requirement is an actual rule of law.

      And then, there MUST be a certain number of things which EVERYONE agrees are important and necessary, for the individual AND for the collective …

      Among them, if a society is to survive long-term, are the inherent rights of the members of a society to protect themselves from the “accumulated” concentration of wealth and power.

      And, on this wee orb, this paradise, life ought to be considered more valuable than money.

      Society, btw, is simply how individual people within a “society” treat other individual people within that “society” (which behaviors are permitted or “rewarded” and which are not … what “games” are played with economics and the law, capital punishment and warfare … those games that people play, even if they would have themselves believe that Dog wrote the “rules” or has HIS Unseen Hand watching over the “market”).

      Yes, we ALL already know what is needful, necessary, and humanly just, don’t we, liberalrob?


    • darms says:

      IMHO two major flaws in the US constitution are the senate & the electoral college. Yes I know quite well why they are in there but these days they are used for strongly anti-democratic purposes. We need a unicameral legislature and direct election of the president.

      • emptywheel says:

        Yeah, there are definitely changes to make.

        I think I should have titled this post, “US has given up on democracy and capitalism is failing as an ideology.”

        Cause I’m actually a fan of democracy, even if our govt has abandoned it.

  8. newz4all says:

    “The truth is, I believe that there will very well be violence in the streets in America,” she says. “And I think the only thing we can do to stop it is by creating employment. Social unrest comes from people who can’t take care of themselves. If we become a populace of the permanently unemployed, and Wall Street keeps going up, and multinational corporations keep making money, but Americans are unable to work and take care of their families, there is going to be social unrest.”

  9. selise says:

    i don’t think capitalism is the same thing as “free markets.”

    i also don’t think the chinese have taken our jobs (as in, “Maybe that’s because they’ve taken the jobs of the poorer Americans who lost theirs to globalization”).

    capitalism can’t function with so-called free markets and it is our own employment policies (or rather, unemployment policies) that require a buffer stock of the unemployed and a blood sucking rentier class that are the primary cause of high unemployment here. the answers are in our own hands — i blame our political and economic elite, not the chinese.

    jmo, but these points are really important to discuss if we are going to be able to consider both the policy space available and the real world implications of the policies we choose to advocate.

    • selise says:

      fwiw, here is a bit from an article by galbraith and mosler in 2006 (my bold):

      Finally, do imports cost American jobs? Yes they do, and those hurt by expanding trade should get help. But any failure to replace jobs lost to trade with better jobs is also entirely domestic. It lies in our failure to fund the new jobs we need for Americans willing and able to work. These can be private or public: that’s a political choice. The US needs up-dated infrastructure, public spaces, cultural centers open and affordable to all; it needs better schools and the possibility for ordinary working people to live decent lives while working shorter hours; it needs stronger prevention and better preparation for disasters like Hurricane Katrina. China’s willingness to furnish toys and TVs and cell phones at low cost makes it easier, not harder, to meet all of these needs. And if we fail to rise to that challenge, we have only ourselves to blame.


      p.s. jmo, but i think it looks like we’ve abandoned both capitalism and democracy.

  10. mzchief says:

    An interesting statement from “Who Are the Real Victims of a U.S. Dollar Crash?” (by Justice Litle, Editorial Director, Taipan Publishing Group, Monday, 11 April 2011):

    But the fallout would be far tougher than that. A $USD crash would also kill off a major export customer of China’s — and possibly wreck China’s economy overnight.

    Why? Because many Chinese exporters operate on razor-thin profit margins. This is a function of China pushing for economic expansion as aggressively as possible. In the past, Chinese export operators have said on record that if China’s currency rose even as much as 1%, that small shift could not only eat their profits, but put them out of business.

    So if the $USD crashed, China would have to keep its own dollar-pegged currency from rising too much in order to protect its highly fragile export industry. But the only way to do this — to keep the China currency peg intact — would be in buying $USD in great size and quantity as it plummets. Such action would be EXTREMELY inflationary for China’s already overheated economy — enough so to melt it.

    The bottom line is this: To a very real extent, the major victims of a U.S. dollar crash reside outside the United States. Brazil would not sail through. China would not sail through. In fact, both would have terrifying experiences as the $USD plummeted. The economies of both, and competitive advantages of both, would be in real danger of being wrecked. And this is true of many E.M. economies. Brazil and China are just large-scale examples.

    OT– “Steering Wheel Falls Off – 2011 Chevy Cruze” (uploaded Mar 15, 2011).

  11. JohnJ says:

    It is one thing to dream about making changes. NOTHING can happen until we take back our ability to choose our own leaders.

    Before we started electing governments, the alternative was to kill the old despot and hope that the next leader despot got the message. For a while there we actually did that with paper ballots every 2 or 4 years.

    There is no Democracy without working elections.

  12. ekunin says:

    Let me suggest utopia, a classless, moneyless society as capitalism’s alternative. Impossible you say given the nature of human nature. We so dislike ourselves as a mass, some do anything to distinguish themselves. We think competition superior to cooperation when it’s obviously not. We do not open FDL up to community control because the powers that be don’t want community control. They want to remain powers that be. As it is FDL sees itself as a liberal, progressive site which bans people for bad behavior. That’s oxy-moronic.

    If you want change, start here.

  13. jdmckay0 says:

    FAITH in the free market is at a low in the world’s biggest free-market economy. In 2010, 59% of Americans asked by GlobeScan, a polling firm, agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that the free market was the best system for the world’s future. This has fallen sharply from 80% when the question was first asked in 2002. And among poorer Americans under $20,000, faith in capitalism fell from 76% to 44% in just one year. [my emphasis]

    IMO, that in itself, is not all that revealing.

    Most Americans have not a clue… none, what has changed since year 2k in the functioning of US economy, the relationship of US currency to that economy, or worst of all (IMO)… precisely… precisely the mechanisms by which currency, and even more so, assets (homes, savings, intelligent & purposeful direction of human resources (eg: work)) has been diverted, and lied about.

    Consider the most basic tenets of capitalism:
    a) that it (money… capital) will flow to where it’s most needed.
    b) that “market efficiencies” will produce the most efficacious
    organization of human endeavor to identify & solve needs/problems (etc.)

    WRT a)… especially under Bush Years, where the wheels of federal gov (all of it… all) were handed to a small handful of crooks, capital stopped flowing to anything that was needed. Rather, capital was “captured” in the process of it’s flow, and directed to crooks that stole it… that not only returned no value, but destroyed it.

    I’ve said over and over, but the fact remains: how many people can articulate an anatomy of our “financial crisis”?

    That demand for high “return on capital” displaced, entirely, the flow of that capital to needs, while the needs grew in scope. And this damming & redirection of capital flow, to fullfill the invisible 1%’s desires for “more” w/-0- regard for the other 99%… more people are less equipped with knowledge, resources, much less even an attempt to disseminate relevant information wrt what “needs” really are…

    Our US economy is no longer capitalistic. We’ve lied (been lied to) about the doings of just about everything that makes it go (or not go). Our currency has become, fundamentally, dishonest… another clean break from tenets of capitalism.

    In essence, AFAIC, the US economy is a mirage of spreadsheet data, concocted by people collecting %’s from the currency flow they are handed, who manipulate this data based on criteria which has no relevance whatsoever to any semblance of reality.


    Americans are completely, totally, in saturating fashion… misinformed wrt to the realities which confront them. They are deceived by these efforts, even as the critical mass of corroding influences gains momentum unimpeded.

    Sheep being led to the slaughter.

    ThinkProgress had this up yesterday (4/11):

    New ChamberLeaks Presentation Emerges, Details More Plans To Sabotage Liberals

    WRT another HB Gary “proposal” to “The Chamber” (which Marcy has previously documented), was this:

    One of the emails now processed correctly reveals yet another proposal, created by HBGary Federal executive Aaron Barr, and forwarded to the other security firms. Although it appears not to have been completed, the last slide in the presentation lists tactics — labeled “Discredit, Confuse, Shame, Combat, Infiltrate, Fracture” — to “mitigate [sic] effect of adversarial groups while seeking litigation.”

    My reaction is, well… but of course. This intent (my bold) has been in evidence, working it’s will in saturating fashion, aided and abetted by BushCo (and now BO maintaining continuity)… I mean, sheesh, why is this news? It’s been in full evidence through .COM meltdown, 2k election recount fraud, then Enron, then SEC’s utter ambivalence to TYCO/WORLDCOM etc., the utter ignoring of thoughtful consideration of outsourcing consequences, then off the books Iraq massive mis-allocation of every resource we have, then 5+ years of massive… massive takings from mortgage bond fraud which further shifted underlying value of homes from citizens to WS while our titans of finance said “who could have known”…

    And now, while all this bankrupting and lies is catching up to us, the “shit hitting the fan”, all of the same ass holes who led us here… the “social conservatives” and (mostly) republican yahoos who demeaned and obstructed any accounting of all that stuff, much less corrections… who called anybody questioning those efforts “Anti American” and such…

    These same guys are now clamoring and (it seems) winning (directing fed gov actions) with more of the same nonsense that got us here, while completely forgetting everything that got us here.

    Education is being further eroded. Less resources for more people to do worthwhile things, much less identify rapidly growing needs. More ignorance, more concentrated influence to ensure that ignorance perpetuates, and more/bigger/black holes sucking everything into them while unidentified…

    This is not capitalism. This, in no way, resembles what America has done economically under previous eras called “capitalism”. No resemblance whatsoever.

    This US economy, it’s functioning in every sense… utter nonsense. Complete, utter, nonsense. It’s like Satan defining God.

    But consider this: by a count of 67% to 59%, more people in China believe in the power of free markets right now than in the US. The communists like capitalism better than the capitalists themselves! (Maybe that’s because they’ve taken the jobs of the poorer Americans who lost theirs to globalization).

    I’ve been to China a lot… around 20 mos. on mainland in last dozen years. I’ve spent a lot of time on several of their most productive University campuses. I have a small group who have grown increasingly more sophisticated relationships w/Chinese hi-tech, manufactured materials suppliers… because for our small volume, US equivalents would not even talk to us.

    China is passing us by at light speed, despite what western press has to say. Their Universities are plowing their own way, and doing what ours used to do.

    China has plenty of fat industrial oligarchs, their own JP Morgans. But what they also have is an increasingly cutting edge educated class, with government policies promoting application of that knowledge to real world problems in efficient, ingenious, and effective manifestations into their society.

    Their infrastructure is being intelligently developed. Here, BO’s latest capitulation, among other things, eliminates the already faint allocation of taxpayer investment towards what, at best, was meager show projects. China is eclipsing these efforts by orders of magnitude.

    “Communist” is used by our ass hole “values” leadership to contextualize based on decades old notions, without any effort whatsoever to comprehend in real time, where China’s many times self-eclipsing evolution has taken them.

    Prediction: given unimpeded, growing critical mass of US implosion, without regard to reality, our currency will be abandoned by US citizens. The agreements… legal, social, “market based” by which we all are born into and participate by birthright… they have been abrogated beyond recognition. At some point, the forced impoverishment of people by continued participation in this utterly corrupt agreement… folks will find other ways.

    I think, sooner rather then later, the laws of unintended consequences will manifest.

    We live in a world with far more people with demands for dwindling resources. Most of the rest of the world is at least making effort to use available knowledge to meet these realities. We, the United States of America, are not only denying these hard-as-a-rock realities, but increasingly setting us on a path guaranteed to produce not only shortages of them (even the basics: energy, water, basic health care), but ensuring we continue to consume more of them while returning less value.

    At this point, I really don’t think we have any political solutions here whatsoever. Our laws don’t fit the circumstances whatsoever, in fact the same crooks who pulled this thing off have also gotten our legal system working as their advocate. We have only a small handful of political leaders who have even a semblance of grasp on things, left mostly to try and combat the onslaught of this tsunami of corruption washing over them.

    I think, if we are to have a meaningful and effective reorganization which effectively charts a prosperous path, it’s going to come from as yet unforeseen sources/people/organizations.

  14. juliania says:

    In answer to your question, what comes next after democracy and capitalism as an ideology, I would suggest the answer has to be earthcare.

    PBS ran a piece a few days back about some island nation (sorry, don’t remember which)whose enlightened government was strictly monitoring the sea to the extent of limiting the kinds of nets which could be used, policing the area in favor of sustainability. Admittedly a pollyanna approach on a large scale but perhaps after the collapse of capitalism it will even be feasible here.

    The thing was that human energies are being wasted in back and forth greed struggles while the ground on which we all stand deteriorates appreciably day by day. My own efforts are presently going into the green things I grow, indoors and out, as I can only see progress in those terms. I’ve given up voting. When I look at my past record it is like my record picking winners in the Kentucky Derby – dismal. The great freeing thing about that is I now know I’m not a reliable voter – I can’t see the one perfect candidate for looking. So, better to go out there and move some mulch over for the worms to feed on, get a bit of oxegen up into the atmosphere.

    Earth care. The new ideology. And it better work.

  15. bobschacht says:

    Thanks for this thought-provoking essay. Several points:
    The first point is Ben Franklin’s– can we, the people, keep this Republic that our founding fathers created? or will we be content, as the ancient Romans were, with bread and circuses? What Franklin knew was that even a perfect system would fail if the people grew lazy and lethargic (in political terms).

    My second point is that where we are headed was prophesied by George Orwell in his novel “1984” and Aldous Huxley in Brave New World: Corporatism, dressed up as democracy, but manipulated by a corporate oligarchy. However, they both failed to foresee Globalization, which transcends boundaries. It is true that some regionalism will prevail for a generation or two: the Euro-American-Australian corporate oligarchy, and an Oriental corporate oligarchy in Asia, for example, are emerging. Maybe another in South America led by Brazil. In between them are, and will be, “failed states” that will be the scene of proxy battles between these regional powers. Especially important right now is the Indo-Pakistan rivalry which is presently fertile ground for the major regional rivalries that are emerging.

    Bob in AZ