Western Ideologies up to World War II
The neo-liberal globalist society that came into being after fall of Soviet Union is now in deep crisis. Its economy is already in shatters and its international geopolitical arrangements are also tearing apart. Election results favoring Brexit and Trump in UK and USA respectively clearly show that neo-liberal order is getting challenges socially as well. US President Trump after coming to power has shown disinterest in neo-liberal economic credentials and geopolitical arrangements.
But President Trump is facing the tremendous backlash from the neo-liberal elites who are still important parts of the establishment. In the UK, the recent Parliamentary election result shows that common people are not that much against neo-liberal globalist agendas like allowing more immigrants. In France too, the victory of neo-liberal Macron against anti-neo-liberal La Pen is a sigh of relief for neo-liberals. At the same time, the defeat of all established ruling and opposition political parties in French Presidential election clearly points out people of France are not happy with the system. So from events of USA, UK and France, it can be said that grudges against the system are there, but these anti-system elements are still not united and highly promiscuous. To unite such promiscuous elements either a charismatic leader like Trump is required or we need to develop social engineering tools by studying the social dynamics thoroughly. Since New Silk Road is rising as a result of dying neo-liberal order, the former must start forming social tools to make the project successful. Else the social values of neo-liberalism will come into contradiction with rising infrastructure of New Silk Road.
Neo-liberal social values were shaped by various events of previous centuries. 16th and 17th centuries saw the rise of Protestant ethics which discarded anti-usury values of Christianity. West Europeans learned to trade and were making huge profits from new sea routes discovered by skipping Old Silk Road. Money chasing began to shape the values of West Europe. After the victory of Protestant ethics and huge profits started pouring in from non-West, grounds became ideal for Liberalism to flourish. The English Glorious Revolution, the American War of Independence and the French Revolution shaped modern liberalism. The right of the property owner and right to enjoy fruits of own labor became main ideology by the 18th century. This worldview pushes society to believe that rent seeking feudal establishments are preventing individuals from enjoying fruits of own labor and also violating property rights.
Electoral democracy became a political ideology against the rule of non-elected feudal establishments. Another philosophy that became associated with liberalism and democracy was nationalism. Since different feudal lords put different tax, the market remains fragmented. So to take the advantage of single tax based single market, the nationalism was conceptualized. Rather than many feudal lords seeking different taxes, one nation state must impose the single tax for the entire nation. Hence 18th century and 19th century saw many liberal democratic nationalist revolutions across Europe targeting the feudal establishments. With the collapse of feudal establishments and feudal social arrangements, huge resources and labor were released for investing in money making activities. The guaranty to enjoy one’s own labor gave the incentive to work harder. These along with looted resources from non-Western colonies helped the West to usher in an industrial revolution. Industrial capitalism was born. With the industrial revolution, the feudal class was replaced by factory owning capitalist class and banking class as the ruling class of the Western society.
Emergence of Socialism
By the mid-19th century, the contradiction between factory owner class and working class became primary. It is then that democratic nationalist liberalism got a tremendous challenge from socialist philosophies. Socialist philosopher Karl Marx showed that all production is done by working class and machines (which are again produced by working class). So factory owners and bankers are just enjoying fruits of others’ labor just like feudal. He further added that pursuit of profit by capitalist will lead to two outcomes:
Automation resulting in the wage rate failing to grow as much as profit,
Big ownership out-competing small ownership by reaping in economies of scale.