The Re-Concentration of Power

Given the most recent global events and trends, I’d posit that what is happening today is a great re-concentration of power into the hands of a new aristocracy.

Over the last few decades the neo-liberalism ideology has created the great undoing of the social changes won and shared from the ashes of WWII. A fairer and more equal society began to emerge and as Thomas Piketty’s work suggests we achieved this by the 1970s, but recent decades have seen that re-distribution of wealth and greater equality whittled away. The institutions that stood for the people and those that we owned by the people have been sold off and bought by the rich who have gone on to shape a system that benefits their extraction of wealth across the globe. Wealth has become more and more centralised in the hands of fewer and fewer people and what can only be described as a new aristocracy has emerged. An aristocracy who’s lifestyle is so distant from the everyday – the single parent, the minimum wage earner, the student – that they might as well be living in literal ivory towers amongst us.

Wealth is still subject to entropy as is everything in the universe and soon enough it will seek a way to find equilibrium. Some may steal the wealth others may move it, but it is never stable. It is inevitable that wealth will move, but we can create a circumstance where it happens more quickly. Education provides an opportunity to attack the ideas behind inequality, the methodology to create it and the system that allows it to happen.

I think that digital technology is part of that change too. The ability for digital technology to enhance the emergence of distributed network that enable individuals to connect provides a new medium for change. It’s what enabled the Arab Spring to occur because the technology removed the barriers that traditional institutions and culture has had put in place. It shifted the point of control in a way that changed and undermined the traditional power structures.

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4 thoughts on “The Re-Concentration of Power

  1. I used to believe the “wealth entropy” metaphor, but Picketty (and experience) say otherwise, right?

    Capital concentrates.

    Also, as far as “regular” folks go, I literally do not understand how people function, let alone prosper, without a high level of literacy and organizational skills. “Regular” folks have neither skill set, which means they are doomed to never have capital.

    • I think the systems that have been put in place do their best to stall entropy – but it is inevitable. It’s just extraordinarily slow and often multigenerational. I think if we could set up systems that sped up entropy – taxation on wealth (not income) being one of the primary tools – then we could get a better outcome, but I doubt in the current political climate anyone would.

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