All that our so-called democratic system of government has done for us in the last hundred years or so is to consolidate a system of bribery whereby the two main political parties vie with each other in giving benefits . . . to this or that sector of the electorate in order to seek votes at the next Election. Government — of whatever party — is only marginally interested in discussing what are the best strategies for the country at any one time because its main concern is how to keep in power.
What has happened in the last hundred years is that the most educated minds of the young no longer go into politics or join the civil service, but are recruited by multinational corporations with global interests or become employed — often self-employed — in one specialised niche or another. The result is that we have a system of government that cannot possibly be described on paper because it is too complex. It is, in fact, a system of ever-changing specialised power-groups, each having lesser or greater influence on the important decisions — that is, economic decisions — that are taken at crucial instants of time.
The irony of the whole situation is that, in any advanced country today, we are now as close to real human nature as we have ever been since we left hunter-gathering. Rank ordering is taking place. This is not the sort of rigid inherited rank-ordering as exemplified by, say, the Hindu caste system of India, but something that is much more flexible — albeit still with many anomalies and unfairnesses caused by our unequal education system which does not give opportunities to all with appropriate sets of genes for current circumstances. But even that is now being sorted out by one advanced country or another. Talent from any class is much too important to waste in a critically competititve world.
Even so, as Richard Herrnstein pointed out 20 years ago in the Bell Curve, the more egalitarian we make the earliest education of children, the more stratified the adult world becomes. Which is what we all are, within our own hunter-gatherer groups, and between our groups, anyway. So, in a way, what is happening today is entirely natural and what is ultimately to be expected, but hitherto restrained by the enormously disparate power systems of civilizations as existed in empires and nation-states. The whole world is now becoming one hunter-gathering estate with competing specialized groups within it.
An alien observer, knowing our genetic make-up and the primitive instincts that impel us — and which we cannot possibly contradict — is probably sending an encouraging report back to his sponsors, The Coming of Age on Earth.
[P.S. Actually, in uploading this post I’m informed that this is my 500th blog. So perhaps this is a suitably optimistic one. I’ve proceeded from being a pessimistic 30 year-old to becoming an optimistic 80 year-old. If this blog proceeds to 1,000 posts I hesitate to think what my mental attitude will be then — but, hopefully, still positive.]