Thu, 05 Jan 2017 03:14:00 +0000
The very fact that more and more populists are getting integrated into the political elite all around the world is a sign that a new global economic and financial crisis is round the corner. Apparently, this is not the reason why the crisis is coming. This is just an indicator telling us just that.
Yet, this is not about Western Europe alone. Over the last few years, populism has become the world’s most popular political trend. But the question is, can we talk about one and the same phenomenon with common roots or can we say that the so-called global populism is nothing but fiction?
Populists have always come into power during crisis times in the political system as well as the society and economy. When the old school politicians cannot offer the people a distinct way out of the crisis, and plain folks are feeling scared and disoriented, when they don’t know what’s really going on, this is the time when populists start enjoying popularity.
Experts say that even though populism is a pretty old phenomenon, the contemporary form of populism has several distinctive features.
Peculiarities of today’s crises
Up until approximately in the 1960-1970s, all the major crises resulting in populists coming into power boiled down to the conflict between 2 major systems of values – the pre-industrial and industrial value systems.
The pre-industrial system of values and relations derives from an economy based on a relatively undeveloped level of commodity production. This means that the production level is low and is designed to serve purely domestic needs. The focus on redistribution rather than external trade. It’s clear that within such an environment the ultimate value is something the very redistribution of goods is based on, which is the ruler’s will.
As for the industrial system, it can boast decent production, and that’s why it’s superior to the pre-industrial counterpart. This means that the economy produces way more that it can consume and therefore has to export the goods and use some of the export revenues to cover the producers’ needs. This implies a network of close ties between trade partners. For those ties to work both ends and to be mutually beneficial for the participants, each of them needs guarantees. In this case, the ultimate guarantee is the private ownership right.
Simply put, instead of a vertical hierarchy distributing the goods, we get an environment rich in horizontal ties between equal private owners. The environment naturally tends to go international.
Those 2 systems have been competing ever since they both came into existence. Moreover, within each of them, there is a fight going on to get the power and resources. That was enough to trigger major conflicts resulting in severe crises. Since mid the 1900s, a third system has been trying to come into play and dominate. This is the so-called post-industrial system of values, which emerged as the result of the increasing share of intellectual products in the global production value.
The thing is, intellectual products have a bunch of specific features preventing them from being included in the industrial system of values and trade relations.
By standing out form the crowd, the system creates a whole new ultimate value, which is the right for creative and intellectual self-expression. There is the same clash for resources going on within the 3rd system.
The whole point is, the world has got more complicated since there are 3 rivals instead of 2. This leads us to believe that understanding and predicting global processes, which used to be rather complicated, has now become even more complicated and less predictable than ever.
That’s why, amid the absence of clear and reasonable theories, most people out there get disoriented, including those who consider themselves as politicians or economists. At the same time, most of those experts keep on living with the old mindset and outlook, which is why they are basically unable to make decent decisions within a new environment and reality.
The economic and political picture of today’s world is in crisis. The picture describes the isolated elements of the system and therefore cannot present a complete view of what’s really going on. At the same time, the level of globalization in each and every field of human activities has gone beyond expectation. This only escalated the situation, turning everything into a permanent global economic, political, and management crisis. In its turn, the crisis resulted in permanent public discontent, promoting higher and higher demand for populism.
All of the mentioned systems of values are systemic, which means they penetrate each and every field, including politics, economy, etc. This means that each for them is trying to swallow the entire world. Since none of them can co-exist with the others, this is a tough fight going one at each level.
Experts say, that the humanity is now living the last couple of decades before facing a global crisis of values. A war for new values is coming. The war will end with one of the 3 systems dominating. No one can definitely tell which one is going to win the war. But one thing is sure, the humanity is on the verge of a new era and a new world.
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