Some of us have felt for a very long time that democracy, like the Mongols, simply arrived with such excellent timing that its success far outpaces its capabilities. In particular, liberal democracy arrived in the West just as the industrial revolution was getting off its unsteady feet and starting to run.
This has made it nearly impossible to oppose liberal democracy. Not only does it have all the appearance of good like Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham, but it also seemed to be succeeding. The numbers kept going up as did the power, and when enemies like those evil Nazis arose, we could beat them back with our industrial might, much as the Russians crushed them with excess population.
However, signs point to a slowing of this “bubble” existing between implementing democracy and seeing the failure of its intent. The industrial wealth-blast may have been temporary and, under assault from Leftist behavior, it could be further sliding into oblivion.
The most worrisome sign is that productivity has slowed:
There’s general agreement about the factors that improve productivity. Investment in machinery and equipment increases production levels and quality. Education and training improve worker skills. New products, technologies, organizational structures and work arrangements – in other words, innovation – raise efficiency. A healthy climate for entrepreneurship and competition encourages the creation of faster, smarter businesses.
Unfortunately, there’s also general agreement that productivity gains are flatlining. In advanced economies, productivity growth has fallen below 1 percent annually, significantly lower than the 3 to 4 percent common in postwar decades and even less than the 2 to 2.5 percent of the last decades of the 20th century. Similar trend lines are beginning to appear in developing nations.
An alternate theory goes thus: once we were a vital people with a strong culture. Then we adopted liberalism. Technology, which increases over time by its very nature, brought great wealth which enabled Leftists to implement many of their plans because previous plans “seemed” to have succeeded.
Degradation came not swiftly but slowly. People became less competent and more likely to rely on social cues for their thinking and government for their life-plans. Equality programs forced the workforce to swell and social order to dissolve. Over time, people became more helpless as they came to depend on government and society more, and simultaneously saw the futility of resisting the crowd.
By the second half of the twentieth century, people lived in existential misery. Life was a hamster wheel and any acts of significance or beauty were ground down and replaced with the angry mass culture of the proletariat crowd. Good people were ignored, while the criminal but flattering were advanced. All public figures were idiots.
Without hope of goodness, the Western people basically collapsed. At this point, the Leftists brought in new people who were less prone to existential despair or really, existential thoughts at all. They just did what they always did, and people assumed that with the right laws and education, these people would become exactly like the old ones.
Then the computer boom hit. Everything got more efficient, it seemed. But starting in the late 2000s, it became clear that this too had stalled. For every productivity increase, we added more nonsense and made people more miserable. The talented dropped out, leaving only those who were happy with the hamster wheel.
Now productivity is dead. The reason why is that the talent that built the West is either loafing through entry-level jobs or living in a van down by the river. The people who could not have built the West are in the positions of power and influence, and their decision-making ability is mediocre at best.
The immense gains in education and skills over the last 50 years may not be repeatable.
What we refer to as education and skills have failed to demonstrate their utility. We have educated more people to be computer programmers, but few of them can write effective code, so it is constantly glitching and breaking. Many of these skills add nothing to the economy, but keep people employed in jobs that are legislative or civil rights creations.
In the meantime, people have the lowest sense of commitment to their national economies of any time. Where once there was loyalty, now there is an adversarial relationship: the nation is that which threatens to get one fired for the wrong opinions, and enforces endless taxes, delays, red tape and other soul-killing tedium upon the citizen. Not surprisingly, people want to see their nations — represented by government, media and academia — destroyed.
The experts, who are themselves incompetents who advanced because they drove out the sane, will come up with many clever reasons for this drop in productivity, but none of these will have any relation to reality. Instead, the decline will continue until all the smart people are living in shacks in the country and the cities survive only on taxes.
Even worse, the idea of the economy may be fundamentally dead:
Even if productivity growth could be revived, it’s not clear those gains would have as much of an impact on living standards as in the past. Simply being able to make more stuff isn’t terribly helpful in an era of excess capacity and also weak aggregate demand. Many innovations actually eliminate jobs and depress wages. They allow a few creators to capture large benefits but don’t aid the majority of the population.
When populations have nothing in common, behavior falls to the lowest common denominator. That means that relatively few things are done in any significant number, and everything else falls off the scale. This means that a few large companies will dominate most of the economy, and everyone else will work in a support role which will be eliminated eventually by standardization.
Without Leftism, this would not have happened. Society would have structure and a balanced economy not based on consumerism. More activities would occur, at a higher level of pursuit of quality of experience, which would mean a proliferation of local companies instead of large corporations. And with fewer regulations and lawsuits, companies could make decent money without having to make cheap products sold at a high cost.
It seems that the wealth bubble was short and, thanks to Leftism, we have squandered it. This is always what happens when the mob is given the power of leadership. It chooses the things that make it feel good, and these generally consist of reality-denial. Then, after a bubble before those consequences arrive, the end comes swiftly.