Friday, 21 June 2019

E Editorial

The world is changing rapidly

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While the Armenian public is finally trying to understand what happened in our country last year, and specifically, to find “the ears of Soros and international imperialism” in removing our native “patriotic oligarchy” from power, the Western world was overwhelmed by increasing waves of popular protests. There is not a single day without marches and meetings taking place in some European country. The wave has already reached Africa and Latin America. And what is remarkable, each protest movement has its own theme. "Yellow vests" in France are protesting against tax domination, residents of Milan are protesting against racism, the youth of Belgium and Germany are against the inaction of elites on the issue of global warming. The Spaniards are protesting against Catalan self-determination, the British are preparing to protest against Brexit, etc., etc. Everyone had something to boil over, but more and more often universal demands for the resignation of governments began to appear. Most likely, this is what we will see very soon quite everywhere.

The reason for this, according to many researchers, is the erosion of social cohesion in Western societies. We are witnessing the growing rebellion against the elites. Well-to-do societies show dissatisfaction with the established order and its injustice. The elites are looking for excuses for their actions. It is no coincidence that many Western countries began to cultivate patriotism in their societies. Apparently, only in this they see the possibility of counteracting the erosion of the cohesion of societies. But this is hardly the way the society can be consolidated. The problems of societies in the 21st century are apparently much deeper. In the conditions of the rapid acceleration of social processes and the expansion of the rights of citizens, the principles of the organization of societies that are customary to date are subject to metamorphosis.

The key contradiction of the liberal-democratic state order is an economy free from the dictates of the state, which increasingly leads to the polarization of people's incomes and the gap between society and the elites. The majority loses opportunities to prosperity, while retaining the holy right of liberal democracy to form state power through free elections. As a result, liberal governments are losing confidence and power as a result of free elections. Such is the paradox. And the socialists coming to replace them strengthen the dictates of the economy, raise taxes and the level of social costs, thereby lowering the efficiency of the economy. As a result, in many cases, societies become impoverished. Nobody has yet been able to resolve this key contradiction. A situation arises, often referred to as “equality in poverty.” Regimes lose influence on such a society and remain powerless.

A typical example is the now politically split Venezuela. The impoverishment of this country, associated with its oil economy by many - according to the formula "oil is Venezuela’s curse." Apparently, the notorious thesis about "the plunder of countries by world powers" is meant. But, the unprecedented progress of the oil countries of the Middle East refutes this thesis. These monarchies found effective ways to use oil revenues and built cities in the 21st century, setting an example of development for the whole world. At the same time, they demonstrated great ability to solve social problems of their societies. It is the latter circumstance that allows these regimes to maintain internal stability in their countries.

What is the secret of the progressive development of many countries and the impoverishment of others? There is no definite answer yet. But it can be noted that development is observed where there is no key contradiction of the liberal-democratic structure of the country - where the ruling regimes created the conditions for a free economy, but are guaranteed from the political dictates of society. And, on the contrary, impoverishment is observed where ideological regimes are set that stifle a free economy.

And where a free economy gives an unprecedented development, but the threat of the dictates of society (change of regimes through free elections) remains, we are currently observing the accumulation of the energy of a social explosion, which only manifested itself now. That is what is happening in Western societies.

The world is changing radically. Hopelessly outdated political institutions are powerless to prevent anything ...

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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