What are the main signs that a society is rotting from within? These days everybody and his uncle talk about failed or failing states. This notion is mostly used to describe fated nation states of the periphery. On the other hand, hardly anyone talks about decaying states within the core countries of the system that might potentially lead to abrupt implosion or collapse. Many of the visibly failing/failed states of the world system have been, to a large extent, victims of outside aggressions, covert or overt. It is usually the core countries or their proxies that orchestrate destabilization in the periphery. Libya, Syria, Ukraine, etc. are only the most recent preys. By now perceptive observers of our world order recognize the systemic strategy of empire. What might not be very visible is the increased discordance from within the core nations that are unsettling the geopolitics of, not only the reigning hegemon, but also the collective empire!
Critics of modernity who have been arguing (for a long time) against the narcissist existence of modern wo(man) are now vindicated. Life in highly industrialized countries has become vacuous and unfulfilling, despite the abundance of material goods. By some estimate, mental illness now affects over a quarter of the US population! Opioid, alcoholism and many other addictions, not excluding Internet informatics, have resulted in a society that is preoccupied with the frivolous, while life and death issues are left only to the manipulative politicos. See Nader’s article next column. Incidentally, Ralph Nader, the well-known consumer advocate lost his grand niece on that faithful ET flight, which crashed a couple of months ago near Addis. A quite revolution in representative democracy is taking place in Europe and North America. Old parties are losing ground and new focused ones are coming to the fore. The decay of the west probably started in earnest in 1971, when all global money became fiat. The Bretton Woods agreement stipulated that an ounce of gold should be equivalent to USD 35 and freely convertible. All other currencies were pegged to the USD, hence by extension to gold! Since the demise of the Bretton Woods, all countries were allowed to create money out of thin air and results are now obvious. This is the evil that is behind almost all what ails the world system, including environmental destruction!
Those close to the money spigot became very wealthy without hardly any meaningful effort, while the working poor lost plenty of ground. Finacialization clearly favored the corrupt and facilitated a culture of decadence the world over. Unearned income that was conspicuously flaunted gradually instilled bitterness amongst the working poor. Today, the decadence that was borne of criminal accumulation is being challenged in all sorts of ways. In the West, the sheeple’s (human mass) resentment is still on the rise and the various parasitic activities of the elites are increasingly brought to question. Popular resistance, like that of the ‘yellow vests’ in France, might well be the precursor of things to come. Populism will not go away from the arena of political governance so long as criminality outshines justice and probity. Corrupt politicians in cahoots with criminal oligarchs have had it good, since the beginning of phony money (1971). What phony money does is erode the purchasing power of the currency. It dilutes the hard earned money of the working population, including genuine entrepreneurs, not parasitic businesspeople fastened to the money faucets of the banks! Inflation is the result of phony money and disproportionately affects working people. For example, Ethiopia’s polarization is not the result of excessive entrepreneurial achievements (rhetoric of learned idiots), rather, it is the result of parasitic accumulation, spearheaded by the politicos. Land, finance, government procurement, etc., etc., are all used to create a parasitic class of oligarchs associated with the ruling party!
We can say decadence is not all confined to the wealthy. Even in the poor countries of Africa, emulating the culture of the thieving oligarchs is considered chic! In the corrupt world of African business, human values are made to stand on their heads, so to speak. We are systemically encouraged to celebrate the ways of the degenerate oligarchs who also front for the thieving political goons. For instance, Ethiopia’s collective shared values are being eroded to facilitate the creation of a weak country without history, a sort of zombified state! The country has become a caricature of its former self. It is vices like corruption, manipulation, etc. that is holding the elites of the diverse ethnic groupings together. We admit; not all was hunky dory in the past, but there was a certain level of decency, decorum and deference that helped forge an increasingly cohesive nation. Today, justice and rule of law have been thrown out and the expediency of identity politics has taken over. It is vulgarity, ignorance and outright corruption under various guises that are honored. But all these will have consequences, sooner than later.
Make no mistake; there will be a widely coordinated effort to stabilize Ethiopia, with or without the ruling party. The broadly shared problems, burning issues so to speak, are not being addressed adequately. Injustice, corruption, the cul-de-sac politics of identity, etc. cannot secure harmony and peace in the country. Many have lost and continue to lose hope about the overall capacity of our learned elites to manage the complex affairs of the nation. There are far too many people victimized by mal-governance than beneficiaries, to sustain a disgraceful polity! On the other hand, the existing party seems to lack ideological conviction, strategic coherence or even mere determination to right the wrongs of the past. Instead, it is just drifting away from core issues, wasting precious time on skin deep frivolous sentiments that will not win the day at the end of the day. Political scorekeeping might have its purpose, but neglecting the core problematic will be futile to the ruling entity!
Why should people revere criminal accumulation? When the best are replaced with the worst, just because that is how the world order wants it, doesn’t mean it would be so! If such obvious anomalies are not addressed soon, things can easily go bad. Look at the Sudan and try to reflect what is going on. Who is leading the uprising in the Sudan? Take note; traditional political parties have been devalued across the world and for good reason. We reiterate; the built-in shortcomings of the Ethiopian system with its unprecedented corruption (in the history of the country) and resultant cultural degeneration, is too gross to bring Ethiopia’s diverse people closer (further) together. The lukewarm approach or reluctance to forcefully tackle the existing comprehensive mal-governance has taken away a great deal of goodwill from the current crop of policy makers. Time is running out on the status quo and this holds true all over the world. But like many affairs of humanity, it is those at the top that just don’t get it! As the German writer put it: “The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.” Wolfgang Goethe. Good day!