Take a look at this interesting graph that suggests how we could be living at the cusp of one of the biggest transition time that we are seeing in over many centuries:
With the coronavirus pandemic sending almost the entire world in a lockdown, the realisation that these times are ‘not normal’ has become pronounced, but if we look at the trends, it seems that this radical transitional phase was waiting to take place around this time.
The study of time cycles is non-linear and it needs intuition as much as empirical faculties. Financial analysts see the world from the lens of 2008 global financial crisis while political analysts benchmark their ideas to 1990s. It is intuitively difficult to comprehend the large-scale death and despair during 1929-1942 or the indigenous wisdom that existed before 1770s in Asia and Europe.
However, gradually it is becoming clear that we are now in a phase that will see a new world order emerge after the coronavirus crisis is over, or at least subsides.
We have seen how the most powerful politicians, businesses and policies of the last century are biting the dust across the globe. In the past five years, we are seeing how global trade, economics of John Maynard Keynes, crude oil prices, and WTO are crumbling. It seems the old order is giving way to a new world order, albeit through a painful transition process.
Let us look briefly at the history before we try to gaze into the future.
Culture gives way to modernity
There is a belief that the modern world started around 1770s with the American revolution and the industrial revolution. With it came the faith that the human intellect and labour can help us achieve just about everything. The belief served us well till about the turn of this decade.
It also led to widespread conviction that mechanization and modern rationality is somewhat superior to the lived human experience, or as I call it culture. Naturally people started to gradually sacrifice unique human sensibilities at the altar of industrialisation.
For example, we lost certain indigenous wisdom which could enable us to predict the timing and extent of rainfall in an area, the optimum nutrition required for a plant or usage of cow dung as organic manure, coolant, binder and disinfectant, etc.
The focus on labour and intellect in the industrial era led to withering away of core faculties that helped human beings survive for thousands of years. Politicians soon devised strategies to control the labour and the mind, which led to a decline in communitarian values and resilience, and led to mass migration to cities.
The Great Depression and the World War II led to loss of lives and livelihood. The wealthy world gave the starving world food and a red book.
Modernity gives way to modern slavery
The book, which pegged all of world’s problems to inequality, had a rather simple solution. It asked all disempowered people to unite and organize through one mammoth political organisation. As it is, the hungry people can do anything for food.
When you turn half of the world into industrial labourers and poor people uprooted from their land, they will fall for a promise of a better world no matter how impracticable it is. The philosophy of Leftism gained popular support and in no time became the guiding light of governments, politics, power brokers, academia, politics, economics, and historical narratives.
In poor countries like India, the ruling British distributed leftist books freely to the most hardened freedom fighters jailed in Andaman Cellular Jail as a means to absolve them from the sins of waging war against the Queen and to “educate” them.
In an ironic way, people were queuing up to surrender their personal and intellectual freedom to realise dreams of a revolution. This revolution was not limited just to bringing about radial political changes, but almost in every aspect of life.
Control by Leftists becomes entrenched
Mind control was just not enough. Leftists needed power, brute power, to effect large scale and rapid “development’’ for poor nations. For example, governments needed to be centralised so that they can give licences to only a favoured few, land holding needed to be reorganized to help “connected” business men to set up coal mines, oil wells, hazardous chemical factories and nuclear power plants, etc.
The biggest strength of the leftist system was that it could organically permeate into the prevailing status quo and ultimately influence their outcomes. Status-quo-ism as espoused through United Nations, NATO, ILO, WHO, etc. without addressing existing repression and imbalance, is a dangerous statecraft. Also, the leftist system favoured deterministic and empirical analysis over human values, sharing, compassion, cultural and indigenous sciences.
Even though communism as an authoritative political system collapsed and couldn’t survive beyond North Korea and China, the leftist ideas got entrenched almost everywhere, including in the USA, the supposed capitalist heaven.
Are we looking at Left losing its monopoly?
With the world now set to enter a new era, can we say that we are going to see a new world order where the Leftists are not going to have the same amount of control and power as they came to enjoy following the earlier cycles of change?
Leftists used to belittle anything traditional, conservative, cultural, indigenous, or spiritual. But of late, we have seen communities and nations realising that this blind disowning of their roots, of their culture, of their old ways, was nowhere as scientific and modern as it was made out to be.
The mere realisation that the millennia old tradition of “namaste” is safer than modern handshake during the pandemic is just a small example. Even before the pandemic, the world had seen rise of so-called right-wing political parties in various parts of the world.
People, including and especially at the lowest rung of economic hierarchy – who were supposed to be the main audience and foot soldiers to keep the bastion of Left strong – are realising that they have turned too much away from their core values of sharing, sustainable living and culture. Often, they see the elite “woke” class preaching and attacking the ideas they believe in. the class conflict has turned on its head of late.
I personally believe that the time is just right where finally the monopoly of the left can be overthrown, not necessarily though a bloody revolution that the left believes in, but due to the fact that we indeed are at the cusp of a civilisational change.
The non-left has to grab this opportunity. We have to delve into our own culture, tradition, indigenous, or spiritual wisdom to complement our 20th century intellectual faculties. If we do that, we might just make the new world order that is less fake and less exploitative.
The capitulation of this exploitative system started in 2016-2017, as one can see in the graph at the beginning of this article, and we will see a decisive turn in 2020-2021. The foundation of a new world is being laid now.