Saturday, June 11, 2016

An End of Power? The Weakening of the Transnational Ruling Class

From:  Truthout 

Saturday, 11 June 2016 00:00 
 By Cynthia Kaufman, Truthout | Book Review 

A demonstration against pension cuts in front of the the parliament building in Athens, Greece, Jan. 8, 2016. National elections have became less significant as they once had been as mechanisms for deciding how a group of people chose to live -- a problem seen in action in Greece. (Angelos Tzortzinis / The New York Times)A demonstration against pension cuts in front of the the parliament building in Athens, Greece, January 8, 2016. National elections have became less significant as they once had been as mechanisms for deciding how a group of people chose to live -- a problem seen in action in Greece. (Angelos Tzortzinis / The New York Times)


We are entering a period where the social structures and mechanisms that have channeled and controlled power for the past few hundred years are shifting radically. In The End of Power, Venezuelan politician and former director of the World Bank, Moisés Naím, describes some serious ways in which the systems we have lived under for the past 50 years are becoming deeply unstable. In Europe and in the US, the political parties that have ruled nations since the end of World War II are crumbling before our eyes; dominant military forces are increasingly challenged by and unable to control small non-state actors; and small new companies are emerging with incredibly rapidity while older ones, once seen as the bedrocks of capitalism, sometimes crumble overnight.

The End of Power
Naím argues that three deep social transformations have undermined old barriers to new forces gaining power. He calls these transformations more, mobility and mentality. The fact that there are many more of us than there used to be has led to systems of control being overwhelmed. There are more people in the world, who are generally living longer and doing better than in past times. This is leading people all around the world to have rising expectations. "When people are more numerous and living fuller lives, they become more difficult to regimen and control," he writes.

With mobility, cultures are being disrupted by mass migration. Where in prior years there was a pervasive problem of "brain drain," as educated people left countries of the global South and took their expensive educations with them, increasingly there is a "brain circulation," where those people are returning to their countries of origin and bringing with them new ideas and access to capital. Ideals of how it is possible to live circulate freely, and information about possible solutions to problems also circulate with increasing freedom and speed. With the mentality revolution, people all around the world, and especially young people, are thinking for themselves and questioning the traditional expectations of their societies.     MORE