WORLD PUBLIC FORUM, RHODES , 2010-08-17
Paper by Come Carpentier de Gourdon
ALTERNATIVES FOR POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ORGANISATION
IN THE NEW CENTURY
With the relatively recent eclipse of the Socialist-Communist ideology and the ongoing structural crisis of Capitalism, mankind has left behind the theory of the "End of History" as defined by Francis Fukuyama (1992) in his paean for Liberal Globalised Democracy on the Anglo-Saxon model as the Summum Bonum.
Instead, we have entered an era of great doubt and uncertainty with regard to the political and economic systems which should be adopted, both at the national and international levels and a number of theories and practical models are competing for acceptance. Unsurprisingly, many of those formulas are inspired by current advances and achievements of science and technology in "frontier areas" but others hark back to ancient religious teachings and cultural traditions while others still try to create a blend of the old and the new for the future.
It is convenient, therefore to divide those politico-economic frameworks into three broad categories: the modernist or technocratic, the archaic (as distinct from the conservative because it is not always clear what one wants to conserve: sometimes it is the present at the expense of the legacies of the past) and the archaeo-futuristic.
All those three sorts of system or model claim to be pragmatic though they generally refer to an ideology in explicit or implicit terms. All state that they are grounded in or at least tailored to human nature even when they allege they are inspired by a divine message.
It should also be pointed out that the borders between those categories are not sharply defined as they appear to be. Indeed modernism and archaeo-futurism naturally overlap as much as the latter borrows from tradition but no traditional system, even a "fundamentalist" one can ignore scientific and economic developments completely in practice just as no modernist theory is devoid of inputs from cultural heritage with which, sooner or later it makes accommodations in order to become viable.
In the following we will make a rapid survey of some of the major, influential or innovative systems that are being implemented or proposed in various parts of the world, in the wake of the disintegration of global or super-capitalism (Robert Reich, 2007) that gradually took shape during the 20th centuries and which Bob Woodward calls Jungle Capitalism.