Western Ideologies in Post World War II Era
Post World War II
So it can be said that as liberalism fell into crisis by early 20th century, communism spread in non-western countries, social democracy rose in western countries victorious in World War I and fascism-national socialism grew in western countries which lost in World War I. After an end of Second World War, the fascists-national socialists were defeated, colonial order broke down, communism started spreading in erstwhile non-west colonies and Western countries accepted a social democrat-Keynesian form of demand management.
Soviet Union proved by winning in World War II that its planned economy with state-directed resource allocation is a better model for rapid industrialization. Most of the non-western erstwhile colonies and semi-colonies (now called Third World) start building their nations on Soviet model i.e. priority on state-financed heavy industries. Soviet-led communist block and USA led capitalist (with social-democratic credentials) block started an era of cold war. To stop the spread of communism in non-western countries, USA led West started viewing development (i.e. raising per capita income) an important agenda. To raise per capita income, the growth of a country’s total income must exceed that of its total population. Hence, along with raising total income lowering the growth of population became an important agenda for West. A separate philosophy of development paradigm coming. Lowering child mortality rate, empowering women, improving literacy rate, improving access to modern health care, etc. became part of development agenda in the Third World.
While before WW II, the West relied on gunboat diplomacy and white man’s burden theory to put down non-west, after WW II it started claiming itself as developed (high per capita income), electoral democratic, place of freedom of choice, etc. to win over non-west from communism. In the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, communism was having upper hand. All non-western countries were busy industrializing themselves on the Soviet model, capitalist West itself was watching strong working class unions and state based demand management and communist countries were showing great success in rapid industrialization, full employment, the rapid rise in health-education parameters. All the Universities and academic institutions were watching growth communist ideologues across the world including the west. This period also watched highest global growth rate in entire human history.
Era of Post-Modernism
During 1950s-60s some important change took place that changed the entire course of history. Women took up outdoor jobs in capitalist West, Japan and communist East Europe and Russia. Total Fertility Rate in these countries fell down to below replacement rate during the 1970s. The women started becoming an important voice in the society. It is then that post-modernist philosopher Foucault claimed that just like working class gets exploited by the capitalist class, working class husbands exploit their homemaker wives. It is also during this time, that Euro-centrism theories of philosophers like Edward Said got momentum. Instead of criticizing the profit motivated dynamics of capitalism that communists usually do, Euro-centrists ended up attacking the privileges and psyche of white men in general. Thus attack shifted from ruling class of West to general common white men. Projecting white worker husbands as exploiters proved to be a great success for ruling class of the West. By drawing in more women into the labor market, working class bargaining power was considerably reduced. Working class based communist philosophy was greatly overshadowed by post-modernist feminism and marginalized identities in the western Universities.
Financial Capitalism & Globalisation
Time is now ripe for bankers to come up with the idea that state is not necessary for demand creation. Debt can create demand infinitely. Debt can inflate asset prices and profit can be made from asset trading (finance). Finance became more important than production in western capitalism. Western capitalism turned into financial capitalism from industrial capitalism. Thus the West especially the USA started specializing in finance while manufacturing industries were exported to cheap labor based non-west that includes both Third World and communist countries. Hence, non-west countries got a ready-made supply of capital and technology from West and they started to adapt this new globalization model leaving Soviet model aside. Many communist countries were impressed by this new model and in the 1980s the entire communist planned economy collapsed. This finally led to the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991.
It must be noted that communist planned economy showed rapid industrialization that ensures strong defense, high-quality education, health care for all but fails to produce consumerist goods and other daily necessities. In the initial years, people gave defense-education-health more importance. But after they are in place, people naturally attached more importance in consumer goods. Hence, a generation that came after three decades found salvation in western consumerism. Moreover, globalization model gave an alternative choice to the people of communist countries which many of them wanted to grasp.
With the end of Soviet Union, a new globalization system came into being in all fields of life. And to justify this system a new ideology came and that is neo-liberalism. On the one hand, fall of communism was cherished as survival of the fittest, on the other hand, debt-based demand management started to raise an unsustainable consumerist life. Working class unity was massacred but social-democrat parties continued to survive. As there is no longer working class to bargain for more state intervention or state ownership in the economy, social-democrats started to give state doles to different post-modernist defined marginalized identities of the society.
Western world became De-industrialized and often stagnant. But thanks to low birth rate and debt, western commoners failed to understand the problems. Feminism made family most important battleground against exploitation and family as an institution start falling apart in the west. The working place became more without any workers’ rights with no one to give a fight. Low birth rate and debt made easy lives for an entire generation who fail to think beyond individualist hedonism. The electoral democracy of West became segmented into two parts who will always agree on the above-mentioned points. This is how political correctness also emerged. Workers’ rights must take a back bench, women’s rights must be taken to the level that low birth rate and breakdown of the family is ensured, de-industrialisation of the West must never be questioned, a debt-based consumerist way of life must be entertained.
Feminism made family most important battleground against exploitation and family as an institution start falling apart in the west. The working place became more without any workers’ rights with no one to give a fight. Low birth rate and debt made easy lives for an entire generation who fail to think beyond individualist hedonism. The electoral democracy of West became segmented into two parts who will always agree on the above-mentioned points. This is how political correctness also emerged. Workers’ rights must take a back bench, women’s rights must be taken to the level that low birth rate and breakdown of the family is ensured, de-industrialisation of the West must never be questioned, a debt-based consumerist way of life must be entertained.
Third world countries with western technologies and capital start to raise their per capita income. There also grew a middle class with a great attraction to the western neo-liberal way of life. Non-governmental organizations with western aids sprang up to entertain feminism, rights of marginalized identities, etc. in non-western countries too. These social elements act as pressure groups to lead non-west according to western philosophy.
Emergence of Globalism
Just like to facilitate trade and commerce under single tax rules and the single market, nation state was conceptualized against many feudal estates in 18th and 19th centuries, globalism was conceptualized by bankers-corporate to take advantage of the entire global market. They now feel in 21st century nation state is becoming a hindrance to their easy trade and commerce and for earning a profit. Thus they want less engagement of nation state and often conceptualized global governance in different fields like UNO’s manifesto, global central bank, global currency, etc. Though these are still not in a position to be used, elites across the world are definitely dreaming of some form of globalism.
To be continued
Finally how the West created an unsustainable global economic system. In the next part, we will discuss how different counter ideologies are taking shape and how can we mold them under one united manifesto.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.