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Understanding global politics Understanding global politics
by Akli Hadid
2016-09-20 11:27:42
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There are essentially three forms of political systems: tyrannies, oligarchies and democracies. Tyrannies are largely found in countries with vast rural areas where large families tend to rely on their tribe and clan for loyalty as well as on the tyrant to make sure their children are fed, clothed and kept warm.

globe01_400In large families with several children there can only be one breadwinner to feed several children. Relying on the clan is important because who knows, the sole breadwinner could pass away. This means the clan tends to have solidarity and hospitality, exchange favors and maintain harmony within the clan. Outsiders to the clan are viewed with suspicion, but the tyrant will almost have a clan-leader status among those he leads, as the leader is usually a man. Modern tyrants tend to provide modern schools and education systems, a system which tends to reward those who make it through the often difficult education system, as classrooms are often overcrowded and school supplies lacking. High achievers tend to be rewarded with government jobs or city jobs that tend to be the pride of the family.

When too many people move from the countryside to the cities, oligarchies tend to form. The leader tends to be weakened by overcrowded cities, tends to be very careful in his speeches. The leader will often use a language the masses only dabble with (Literary Arabic in Arab states, colonial languages in some states, or forms of the language that have not been used in decades or centuries in some states). People tend to give the benefit of the doubt when they don’t understand the speech. In oligarchies there are several businessmen who play a significant role in politics, and the three estates tend to be the military, business and politics. Often, businessmen start in the military or in politics, before retiring to start businesses. The business world is often opaque, so is the language used. Elections are sometimes held, parties tend to be confined to regional rather than national interests.

Democracies tend to have a conservative party and a liberal party. Working class or lower-middle class people with large families in rural or semi-rural areas have a strong tendency to vote for the conservative parties, while people who live in cities tend to identify with the liberal party. People who identify with the conservatives tend to come from large families with tight budgets where every extra tax is a burden, tend to marry early, believe in strong morals and family values and believe in protecting the free market. Liberals tend to come from smaller families, tend to marry late, tend to have children late, tend to be in jobs with fluctuating wages and tend to job-hop more and try their luck with better jobs.

Recessions tend to occur a few years after demographic shifts. Throughout the 1920s in the United States and Europe a growing number of readers subscribed to magazines that had stories on city life, which encouraged marrying late and having fewer children. That, along with highways, the Model T and railways connecting rural areas to urban areas led to a tendency to try one’s luck in the cities and have less children. That along with the losses during World War I meant that there were fewer children, and such demographic shifts tend to cause consumption to dwindle. Here’s an example to illustrate this point. A woman who marries in 1918 at the age of 18 and has several children until 1936 at the age of 36 will tend to be an active consumer all her adult life, until her last child reaches the age of about 13 or so in 1949, meaning 49 years of active consumption. A woman who marries in 1918 at age 30 and only has one child will only be an active consumer until her only child reaches about the age of 13 in 1931, and her consumer life will have its ups and downs. Put that on the macroeconomic level and you get the perspective.

Such demographic shifts happen in several rural areas where small shop keepers lament the fact that a few years back housewives would rush to their stop to shop for the children. Such demographic shifts tend to cause confusion. The latest demographic shift is when, with the advent of the internet in the late 1990s, a lot of the literature favored marrying late, having children late and building steady, growing careers leading to a major demographic shift, along with a boom in investments revolving transportation and perfected transportation networks. Tyrants and conservative parties have good reason to worry. Conservative parties have been catering to ambitious big business leaders and ambitious businessmen since, while tyrants have been increasingly allowing oligarchies and are trying to build larger cities. 

 


      
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Emanuel Paparella2016-09-20 14:03:04
One can well imagine Plato reading the above sociological piece in a newspaper at an Athens’ café with an internal smile and then go to the academy and later go and teach in the Academy, make copies on his Xerox copier and assign it for reading for the next lesson to his students to be followed by a discussion and a critique of the same. The next day, one of his most brilliant students, Aristotle, would volunteer to critique the piece and is given the podium.

One can also imagine Aristotle’s critique. It would probably go something like this: the problem with much sociological descriptions currently making the rounds nowadays, the so called positivistic modern times, such as the one assigned, is that they are very thorough in the analysis, observation and description of the empirical facts, and that is surely something we can all admire, but alas lack a follow-up judgment and prescription. In medical terms it’s like a doctor arriving at the correct diagnosis without following up with a prognosis. He has done half the job. What I mean by that is that those sociological descriptive analysis seem to lack an ethical judgment by which to compare the empirical facts against an ideal of what it means to be and to live as a human being in a polis among other humans, and then compare the various systems by which humans live, to determine which is the best for their nature. Today all systems are treated equally as worthy of equal observation. The sociologist just observes and describes, he has done his job, then the Machiavellian politician takes those facts and plays geo-political chess games (called strategic thinking) on the world’s chess board. It turns out to be a game by which to measure one’s cleverness. Nobody seems to bother asking what is the purpose of the game and whether or not it is worth playing.

One can also imagine Plato’s professorial retort. It’d go something like this: as usual, Aristotle, yours is an insightful critique. Tomorrow I’d like you to follow-up and compare the sociological approach you just described to my approach in The Republic.


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