It would be great if history had one of those triangular map kiosks that they used to have in shopping malls. They had nice simple diagrams, complete with a red dot with “You Are Here” next to it. That might make it easy to see where we are in the arc of events within history.
Right now, we could say that we are at the ending of several arcs. First, the postwar order which took over the West after 1945 seemed to end in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell, and was replaced with what we might call Fukuyama Eternal Present in the 1990s through the end of the Obama years.
Then, we might see that the diversity arc which began in 1965 with the Hart-Celler Act has come crashing down. Or that the great boom in entitlements, a product of the 60s as well, has died.
We might even see that the virtue arc, which began in the 1860s, has come to an end with the Ferguson Effect. Our faith in “being nice” as a way of ending the era of colonization has been replaced with a desire to go our own way, act in our own self-interest, and be captains of our own future.
A real cynic might say that democracy, which became the standard in the 1700s, has reached its endpoint, and this cynic would be right. Even more, the individualism — replacing larger orders like natural, divine, and logical — might have finally died after its 1500s birth.
Our red dot keeps bouncing right along as every system that we have tried since the kings smites pavement with its mouth open. Right now, we are in Late Stage Democracy which is attached to something called market socialism:
Following the failure of socialist central planning in the Soviet Union and Maoist China during the 20th century, many modern socialists adjusted to a high regulatory and redistributive system sometimes referred to as market socialism or democratic socialism.
The term gained popularity for describing the hybrid of all of the systems since the French Revolution, combining free markets and socialist-style entitlements, usually in the context of liberal democracy which is democracy plus civil rights, which gave rise to the term market socialism:
Market socialism, also called liberal socialism, economic system representing a compromise between socialist planning and free enterprise, in which enterprises are publicly owned but production and consumption are guided by market forces rather than by government planning. A form of market socialism was adopted in Yugoslavia in the 1960s in distinction to the centrally planned socialism of the Soviet Union. A similar development occurred in Hungary during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
You will also see it referred to as a “mixed economy,” since it combines aspects of both capitalism and socialism. Most of the First World now uses market socialist systems based on free markets with high taxes that go to entitlements, or direct payments or payments in-kind to citizens by governments:
Entitlement, generally, any government-provided or government-managed benefit or service to which some or all individuals are entitled by law…Among government-provided or government-managed entitlements in the United States, some have been means-tested (Medicaid, Aid to Families with Dependent Children [AFDC], and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps), while others have been available to most or all people independent of means (social security and Medicare).
In other words, after the Soviet Union fell, modern socialists incorporated capitalism into their plan, but used regulations and high taxes to make it an engine for socialism, instead of an opposition to socialism.
This completed the pattern that is modernity, which is not so much a time or a technological level as any civilization based on egalitarianism:
In this way, the surviving political systems of the last three centuries have been snowballed into one, creating a permanent end-state of humanity in which we all work to pay taxes to subsidize an underclass which hopes to overthrow us.
Market socialism makes this easy by integrating the market with socialist-style policies through regulations, requiring a total state government to be imposed on top of the organic markets, culture, and heritage institutions of a society.
Through this method, socialism takes over a society from within and makes itself an inseparable, transformative part. Who will vote for removal of benefits, when those who are voting have already paid the high prices and taxes for those benefits?
Instead, individualism reveals its end-stage. In the guise of freeing people from money, it has made them dependent on state money, and therefore they view others as merely competition, including their own children. A mean and greedy society results.
As humanity moves into the future, it will recognize market socialism and other intermediate stages such as democracy as mere antechambers to full Communism, itself merely a benevolent face on ruthless tyranny.