To paraphrase Jung, “It is the revolt of the powerless, the insatiable greed of the have-nots, and they are likely to gravitate toward powerful collective ideologies, mass movements, and institutions.”
A friend is currently taking a leadership class at her workplace and interestingly, someone fairly high up in her organization, way above her, is also attending. He proudly boasted of being a Capitalist and made statements typical of that worldview, such as, “If people are not happy what they are doing then I believe they should go where they will be happy. I want them to be happy.” In other words, if people disagree with the way he is overworking them (and she said he is definitely doing that) they can go to hell. Classic.
In the 20th century the three main ideologies in play were Communism, Fascism, and Capitalism. Communists had been scheming throughout most of the 19th century in response to the misery generated by the industrial revolution. The essential question concerning the human condition for millennia has been inequality, and at the turn of the last century, the Russian Revolution, the long awaited rising up of the worker, came about. The previous systems of aristocracies warring on each other, compounded by religious persecutions, had inevitably culminated in this anarchy brought on by industrial excesses. The resultant reordering of governments began near the end of the 18th century with the relatively successful American Revolution and disappointing French Revolution. The ancient Greek ideas of Democracy and Roman ideas of Republic were revived and codified in new declarations.
Communism was based on doing away with the question of inequality by doing away with inequality itself. Communism addressed property and this resulted in a totalitarianism whose main feature was poverty, famine, and concentration camps. Such camps, unknown to most people today, had been recently invented by the British to end the Boer War. Fascism was next and addressed race, or blood, as the measure of Darwinian inequality and this resulted in a totalitarianism whose main feature was genocide and extermination camps. Capitalism, which had run rampant by way of robber barons through most of the 19th century, was put on a leash in the U.S. after the 1929 crash by socialist forces, and this resulted in what has been described as “imbedded liberalism.” And then came the second World War.
The salient feature of Capitalism is, of course, greed. Or, instead of just naming that deadly sin, the code word “freedom” is often substituted. After World War Two the resulting Keynesian hybrid of a Capitalism carefully regulated by the state made America great. Communism was the great atheist enemy and the horrors of Fascism made these ideologies anathema but, unfortunately, Capitalism in its purest unrestrained Darwinian form, is now again dominant- and may destroy the planet.
The Robber Barons have returned but the industrial revolution is now running in reverse with jobs disappearing due to artificial intelligence replacing the minimal human oversight and basic hands-on required for automated systems. The industrial revolution grew by leaps and bounds in the immense market that was the world and now there is no more immensity to exploit. The only “resource” left to exploit is humanity itself.
The cult of Neoliberalism is a pernicious cult because it so blatantly makes money the god of this world. Everything must be made to turn a profit. The only commodity left to exploit becomes human labor in a kind of relational cannibalism. Populations must eventually be turned as close as possible back into those slaves that built the ancient world. Today, the day Trump was acquitted and Spartacus died, has shown the politicians to be true worshipers of Mammon. There is no longer any doubt.
There will be no second space age as long as there is a dollar to be made by NOT expanding humankind into the solar system. Future generations may mark this day as the one far more infamous than any in the 20th century.