There will be a next political and economic leap forward

Why should it be surprising that systems and processes created 50-70 years ago no longer work or command broad popular support? An international order created in a cauldron of Cold War and unresolved global colonialism has broken down in a completely different world? You don’t say!

Processes of democracy have remained largely stagnant since a period before internet, computing — or even legal participation by most of humanity. Many of its elements have hardly been modernized in many of the world’s “leading” democracies since before even all adult White men had the right to vote, let alone everyone else.

Many if not most of the major parties or their clear predecessors in the northern industrialized democracies (including those in the United States) were launched/became serious or were significantly reforged a little over 100 years ago. Of those centennial parties, few have undergone serious, radical transformation since then, even after two world wars and the end of the Cold War. They may have moderated or moved toward a midpoint, or they may have consolidated toward the wings, but they are largely still organized along century-old ideological axes.

In the span of 50 years, virtually all the global conditions and realities have changed. Virtually none of the governing, formal organizing, or official economic systems have.

History isn’t “finished” or “completed.” It didn’t end in 1965. It just keeps evolving, constantly. Why would you expect to see fewer radical changes in the global situation in the coming century (or quarter-century) than in the last century (or quarter-century)? If anything, they seem likely to grow more frequent.

Why are there so many people in positions of power or the media who seem stunned and confused that there is widespread public dissatisfaction in stagnant and unresponsive institutions at a national, supranational, and global level when they were devised 50, 70, 100, or more than 200 years ago and have barely been revised since? Why are they writing it all off as the misinformed whining of ignorant masses, after spending decades preaching about the wonders of democracy and public participation in self-governance?

There is no “permanent” order of things unchained from time, place, or circumstance. There’s no “inevitable” course of political and economic development. Why are we collectively so unwilling to begin to consider the next evolution of the two?

Bill Humphrey

About Bill Humphrey

Bill Humphrey is the primary host of WVUD's Arsenal For Democracy talk radio show and a local elected official. Follow him @BillHumphreyMA on twitter.
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