The western world needs to consider why our culture lacks worldwide appeal. We consider some ideas.
The western world has progressed from tribalism through to the current “free market” which is an evolved form of capitalism. Capitalism, of course, required the creation of economic value. This economic value is essentially the profit after labour and other costs have been deducted from the sale price. Economic value is necessary whether one is a fan of capitalism or one is a Marxist. For fans of capitalism, the economic value is ‘rightly’ owned by the capitalist making him or her very rich. For the Marxist, the economic value is ‘stolen’ by the capitalist and is rightly the property of the workers. This is where the Marxist axiom “all property is theft” comes from.
The process of capitalism required as we have said before the development of the legal concepts of contract, choice and consent. Over two hundred years or more these legal concepts have taken on a ‘social character’ and are widely understood in the western world to underpin all social rights, equalities and freedoms including women’s rights, rights to ones sexuality and our different types of democracy. However, within the context of capitalism whether one agrees with the way value is distributed or not our freedoms were underpinned by a moral system that created value via production of goods for sale. This productive context has been replaced with the largely amoral ‘free market’ which sells product but doesn’t produce it.
So here is the crux of the problem. The western world has become dependent not on production to create value but by debt to create consumption. The whole thing is geared through various markets which drive the industrialisation of activities from marriage to education to pornography. Some people get very rich as actual production goes on in low wage economies whilst indigenous workers get low wages or welfare for servicing the ‘consumption economy’.
With debt driving consumption and consumption driving the free market the planet is put under increasing strain. There is no balance to this system. Debt based money is easy to come by as the price of assets like housing underpin the debt which then drives the consumption. It will fail again and spectacularly. That is the number one reason why many non-western countries dislike our western culture. They can see it is unsustainable.
Reason number two that there is a widespread dislike of the western world is that the ‘free market’ turns everyone into a tradable commodity. No longer an employee within an economic context based on work and production but a consumer to either consume or be consumed or both. This disassociation makes people lose their humanity and engage in activities that would in any more traditional society be seen as shameful, illegal or immodest.
We used the phrase ‘secularphobia’ to describe the fear of western culture by more traditional people of faith. This secular phobia is really a fear of the free market and its drive to expand consumption with debt. If we don’t find a way to stop the relentless drive for debt based growth our culture of freedom based on contract, choice and consent will end with the inevitable collapse of the free market. With that collapse will end the economic necessity for contract choice and consent will also end and we could find those who perhaps find our culture has no appeal will have the last laugh. What will happen to our western values then. We and we mean the vast majority of middle class, lower middle and working class people could end up being pauperised with a new political elite acting as overlord in a system that owes more to feudalism than democracy. A bit like China today!