23 September 2021

How valid are 20thC ideologies today?

How valid are 20thC ideologies today?  + 21st century ideologies


Short title: 20thC ideologies today


Topic by Clara/Lawrence


Essay by Lawrence


It is said* that the twentieth century is the century of ideologies. The twentieth century also happened to be the century with mass media and mass communication such as television, radio, printed media, the cinema, and so on.


It is not surprising that the history of the 20thC reflects the spread of ideologies and ideas starting with the Russian revolution in 1917 and the creation of the European Union. But what is an ideology?


Rather than suggesting that an ideology moves as a single fixed unit amongst generations, a certain degree of evolution always takes place to the ideas that constitute the ideology. A lot of this change is probably due to technology changes and development.


In effect ideologies are a collection of ideas usually concerning the economy, political structure and maybe social interaction. Ideologies are in a way a language meme structure that engages the emotions and rational of people. Except of course, those who propose and formulate the ideology do not necessarily have equitable intentions. Take the example the Russian revolution communism and later Stalin’s one man show.


This Russian communism had nothing to do with owning the means of production, but more about vengeance against anyone who disagreed with the revolution leaders and the aristocracy; nothing to do with sharing resources. The so called communist ideology was anything but communist. For one thing controlling the means of production and creating social equality is not necessarily an ideology that destroys human rights and human freedoms, including freedom of speech. However, human rights and freedom of speech are completely incompatible with dictatorship and oppression.


So is communism valid for the 21st century? Well when we actually implement communism as an ideology we would know whether it is valid or not. In the meantime we do have some very successful ideologies that came to fruition in the 20thCentury. The most successful is the mixed economy model ideology otherwise known as some form of socialism. But ideologies are a language beast, and thus socialism is a taboo word. However, consider these questions: how many countries have a privatised army? How many countries have a privatised Parliament or Congress? QED


The mixed economy model will certainly continue to be a valid model for the 21st century. Another successful model is the cooperative model, although strictly speaking this ideology goes back centuries. The cooperative model is first and foremost a model to share (own) the means of production of an enterprise and to share the profits amongst the members of the coop. This is very common in agrarian communities for example collectives of olive growers, vignerons (wine grape growers) and so on.


A very successful example of a cooperative is the Mondragon Corporation in Spain which is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives. An example of taking the cooperative model a step further is the kibbutz model of a cooperative which includes the wellbeing of the community and not just a source of income.


An obnoxious ideology that flourished in the first half of the 20th century is fascism which mainly developed in Italy, Spain and Germany. The ideology of extreme nationalism is no different from the dictatorships that pretend to be a communist paradise. Again, respect of human rights and free speech are not incompatible with nationalism and loyalty to one’s country. But human rights and free speech are incompatible with dictatorships and oppressive forms of governments. Fascism has nothing to do with loyalty to one’s country or nationalism. This ideology is not valid, but I suspect we’ll inherit it like one inherits a nasty disease.


It might be argued that the successor of the Fascist ideology in the late 20th century is Neoliberalism with the zeal to remove state participation, eliminate price controls, control of the economy through privatization and austerity and so on. The then British Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher, was instrumental in introducing some neoliberal ideas in the then EEC and the now EU; especially on privatisation of utilities and austerity policies imposed on member countries. The reason why electricity companies cannot be nationalized today is because of such neoliberal ideas. But it will take a courageous government to take over the electricity utilities on the grounds of national security.


Indeed post the creation of the European Union (European Economic Community in the 20thC) it is not incompatible for a citizen of one country in the EU to demonstrate national sentiment or loyalty to one’s adopted country as a result of the Freedom of Movement right. Thus the ideology of the European Union is a brave effort to move from 20thC and even 19thC national states and treaty alliances to something that might even resemble a cooperative.


The EU model is certainly a valid model for the 21st Century but it is not perfect. As an ideology the EU members speak of European Citizenship but it like being called a fairy princess at Disney World; but the language is nice anyway. And of course the EU has one of the freest financial markets in the world but then forget that famous American political slogan against the British: no taxation without representation. People from an EU country who settle in other EU country are till now taxed by the national governments but are not given a vote to elect MPs to the national parliament. But at least these expats have the opportunity to support two teams in the world cup thus doubling their chances of supporting the winning team.


*see the various articles on the internet for example Wikipedia





21st century ideologies

 Topic by Sara

This new topic by Sara will now be incorporated in last week’s topic:


How valid are 20thC ideologies today? – Essay by Lawrence



As I suggested in my previous essay, ideologies evolve and even mutate: after all ideologies are nothing but ideas in human brains. So many ideologies that take root in the 21st century might have their origin in the 20th century or beyond.


The most important ideology in the 21st century will be the European Union. As we know today, leaving the EU is not a realist option for a large stable economy. Ironically, racism and globalisation just do not mix.


The main challenge for the EU in the short to medium term is to separate the citizen (EU citizen) from their national citizenship when living or working in the EU. Today and into the future, the most important asset of a company and a country are the brains of their people. It is not the laboratories that make vaccines in the space of a short time, but scientists and their training and experience. People are the national assets and as we know people must be free to associate with others and gain experience.


The EU is very good at protecting their nation members both within the union and outside the union, but still hopeless at protecting EU citizen away from their national country. The EU ought to protect individuals and their rights both from threats within the EU and pressures from outside. This ought to be a concern since it is evident that human political and economic rights will be the targets of 21st extreme ideologies.


Big money will want fewer labour rights on the pretence of creating employment; but employment is not the major cost in any enterprise. But employment is a necessary condition for production in the first place; someone still has to design that robot! And people are always a soft touch for financial bullies and opportunists.


Finally, today the clamour is about climate change, but this problem is not going away until the major polluters control themselves: basically China, USA and the destruction of natural forests.



Best Lawrence


Best and take care






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