In sum, what prompts the dire need for a substantial and thorough reorganization of economic and social life in the Western world are the remaining traces and vestiges of a dwindling five-hundred-year period of world history that has been defined by European colonialism and a hegemonic discourse which is now in the midst of a transition into a complex, paradoxical, and uncertain postmodern context and era. As a result, international society is in the midst of a departure from this five-hundred-year period of history. And with a departure from this five-hundred-year period of history comes a gradual departure from the underlying discourse or social paradigm which shaped this five-hundred-year period of world history, along with a departure from its anthropocentrism, artificiality, and superficiality.
Also, as history has shown, while the subtraction of colonial and hegemonic policies leads to regional and international equilibrium and peace, the imposition of colonial and hegemonic policies leads to chaos and disarray in the international system. And as the social scientist Thomas Kuhn wrote, changes and reforms in the underlying paradigm of a conventional discourse and system – with the underlying paradigm in our case being Western cultural and economic hegemony – are prompted when a crisis occurs. In our case, the crisis which has struck the conventional discourse and system and in turn has pierced into the underlying social paradigm of our conventional discourse and system is both environmental and psychological in essence.
Capitalism is arguably the core organizing principle of Western cultural, economic, and political life, as well as the core principle of Western colonial and hegemonic discourse. In turn, capitalism is defined by the accumulation of capital by one exclusive, narrow, and specific class of people at the expense of all other classes of people. It then follows from this fact that our environmental and psychological crisis is deeply intertwined with the abusive, extractive, and exploitative accumulation of capital by one very exclusive and small group of people at the expense of everyone else.
It follows that European colonialism has both a corporate dimension and a cultural dimension to its basic discourse and social paradigm of extraction, exploitation, domination, and hegemony. And as Tavis Smiley and Cornel West wrote:
“The fact that one percent of the nation’s richest individuals [now controls 56 percent] of the country’s wealth is a stunning revelation in the wake of a recession. But, through the lens of history, we see the institutionalized precedent of greed meticulously entangled in this nation’s very fabric. In fact, one could argue that America was a corporation before it was a country.”
And in terms of the corporate dimension of Western colonialism, the legendary Noam Chomsky said:
“Throughout history, the structures of government have tended to coalesce around other forms of power – in modern times, primarily around economic power. So, when you have national economies, you get national states. We now have an international economy and we’re moving towards an international state – which means, finally, an international executive.”
“As you’d expect, this whole structure of decision-making answers basically to the transnational corporations, international banks, etc. It’s also an effective blow against democracy. All these structures (IMF, World Bank, NAFTA, GATT, G-7, EU, etc.) raise decision making to the executive level, leaving what’s called a “democratic deficit” – parliaments and populations with less influence.”
In terms of where ordinary people and workers stand vis-à-vis this novel international state, Chomsky said:
“[Not only do parliaments and people have less influence], but the general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know. One result is a kind of alienation from institutions. People feel that nothing works for them. Sure it doesn’t. They don’t even know what’s going on at that remote and secret level of decision making. That’s a real success in the long-term task of depriving formal democratic structures of any substance.”
I will deliver some concluding remarks and thoughts on the “professional managerial class” and its remote and secretive feudal overlords in an upcoming blog post.