The western world has morphed from a capitalist hegemony into a so-called free market. The transition began after World War two and culminated we believe in the final collapse of capitalism in the 1980’s. The legacy of the West’s capitalist past remains its economic and legal vestiges of contract, choice and consent which whilst granting freedoms also, underpin the growth through debt obsessed ‘free market, the new hegemony of the free world. This debt based free market is the basis for the West’s managed decline. A sad declining world where we are not alienated from our human essence by the capitalist means of production, that went east decades ago, but by our personal obsessions be they consumption, sex or dreams of celebrity. Whilst this is alienation, Marx would have recognised few of the symptoms and none of the cause.
Young people on the continent riot with flags that proclaim “we are fucking angry”. But we don’t really understand what they are angry about. They seem troubled by what they call Capitalism but whilst now gone this system gave them the free market, freedom and democracy and the right to be a woman and equal to a man or gay or transgendered and free. Arguably the West’s hegemonic structures such as the IMF, governments and banking system etc ensure that there is a ready supply of largely valueless wealth to slosh around the globe ensuring that the decline of the West will be almost imperceptible to the naked eye so no need to panic and riot.
The bankers and the elite will, of course, take a generous slice of this valueless debt based wealth and will ensure their survival in some middle eastern kingdom once the global system finally forecloses on the western world’s largesse. At that point, it will be time to riot but it will be too late all the freedoms the rioting youth currently enjoy will be gone and a morality which is coherent with crisis and shortages and anger will replace them, something like fascism or Sharia perhaps.
The rioting youth need to understand that the basic factors that underpin our so called western values are economic not just social of theological. The engine of the economy drives values which over time take on a social character and become’culture’. Once the economic fundamentals are gone, in our case capitalism has gone and the free market is bankrupt and will be going so, the rights and freedoms those systems offer will go too. Unless we seek to understand where they come from and preserve them.
It is no good rioting when you have freedom and your belly is full and you are the beneficiary of a system you claim to hate, a system which puts the individual in the west above the rest. Change the system peacefully or as Marx would have said ‘raise your consciousness’ and don’t wait too long to do it. You might end up rioting for your life or find yourself being treated like a woman or man as defined by someone else.
So if the Islamic paradigm is twisting in the wind all over the middle east, (except in Saudi where money keeps it going) and the West is facing nemesis for its debt based hubris what will a new paradigm look like. Well, quite simply we should live a life of modesty and self-restraint largely unimpeded by an expensive state or exploitation by one group over another. There must be a recognition nay celebration that in post-capitalist times our capitalist legacy has given us freedoms no other culture has had or currently enjoys to the extent we do, and that to preserve our freedoms we must preserve capitalism’s core values and not out of greed or stupidity seek to destroy them.