Owing to global and regional wars and revolutions in the last 100 years, the entire world has undergone far-reaching systemic political, social, economic and cultural changes that signal the waning influence of hegemonic elites on society and the evolution of ideology designed to preserve the status quo that never seems to catch up with the speed of societal change, because it looks to the past instead of the present and future.
The dynamics, which give birth to new elites and new ideology, rest with evolutionary or revolutionary change that culminates into catalytic events and radical transformation in the prevalent mode of thinking and behaving by dominant groups as a response to societal changes. Crises of varying types from political to social and economic as the world is currently facing serve as catalysts in re-evaluating obsolete national and international institutions and the existing value system on which they are based.
The hegemonic elites and their variation of 19th -century liberal ideology with modifications so they may fit into the 20th century world will be facing a challenge from the nascent Cyber-Eco Bourgeoisie (CEB) as the new elites of the 21st century . Ideas are born from the depths of human experience and become important to groups of people or society at large only if they reflect dearly held values and aspirations rooted in the human experience instead of dogma.
Once ideas are formalized and become part of an ideology and then adopted by elites interested in institutional conformity, ideas no longer reflect the original purpose of furthering the welfare of the people who embraced them to give their lives meaning and purpose. While ideas as ideology or dogma are useful to forge coalitions intended to preserve the status quo, the absence of authentically reflecting real experiences means the absence of systemic change that conflicts with ideology which invariably evolves into dogma by the hegemonic elites and their followers embracing and conforming by coercion or faith.
While the body of ideas (ideology) based on philosophy or religion from centuries ago seems perfectly sound intellectually, society’s rapid changes make ideologies obsolete and regressive. For example “democracy” as an ideology that has ancient Athenian roots has no relevance to modern-day Norway any more than modern day France, US, or any other country. By the same token, Norwegian, French, or American democracy of 100 years ago has no relevance to the present generation, except for that which the hegemonic elites in each of these countries choose to attribute to ideology in order to perpetuate the social order.
Hegemonic elites use ideology to preserve a system and prevent change within the system, change needed to best serve the needs of the vast majority of the population in the present and prepare for the future. Thus ideology rooted in the past invariably works against the present and necessarily reflects the past that hegemonic elites wish to preserve. Like science that always stays dynamic and its conclusions invariably incorporate Einstein’s caveat–”until further notice”–similarly social, economic, and political ideology to remain vibrant and alive in the present, to reflect changing conditions instead of the distant past must remain dynamic.
While science is indeed is possessed by the sense of universal causation as Einstein comments in The World as I See It , ideology must be rooted in scientific thought to be relevant in the present and look toward the future which is every whit as necessary and determined as the past . In short, if ideology is rooted in ontological (essential) criteria instead of empirical (historical), then it fails to look toward the future, and toward promoting progress which is both a scientific and socially ethical matter.
Modern political economy as articulated by ideology, rooted as Bertrand Russell pointed out in the Liberal theory of politics as a recurrent product of commerce, is used to justify an obsolete system that cyclical crises empirically demonstrate its decadence. Given this inescapable reality, the masses view traditional elites embracing an obsolete ideology with enormous popular skepticism–i.e. very recent public opinion polls indicate in the US 38% have confidence in business elites; the percentages are even lower in other countries. Crisis in confidence by those expected to conform to the ideology of the hegemonic elites necessarily provides an opening for the emergence of new elites. The CEB currently emerging will as previous elites formulate an ideology based on its own needs and aspirations, just as it will stand in opposition to ideologies of former elites standing in the way of systemic change.
Although CEB has emerged increasingly influential since the Clinton-Gore administration, the new US administration clearly represents CEB ideology and elites that are essentially technocratic, managerial, and part of the intelligentsia. Though Obama is the first president to be elected at least partly by CEB, and that may be indicative of ideological and political orientation of this group, it remains to be seen whether the broad coalition that includes the CEB will have any sustaining power to elect future presidents, and to formalize an ideology and move into the mainstream as I am confident it will in the next few decades.
As the new emerging elites, the CEB will in time demonstrate and propagate a strong sense of social responsibility and obligation because their ideology rests on furthering human progress through cyber-eco value system that incorporates the interests of all classes under a neo-corporatist model. Unlike the old elites that relied on nationalism while practicing internationalism in business, CEB will embrace internationalism and solidarity with people throughout the planet they see as one in a geo-centric order whose common interests are intertwined.
This will mean that global integration on a world scale would not proceed on a neo-colonial basis as it has in the 20th century, but on a more equitable geographic and social model. The core belief that symbiosis is the only rational and practical approach that benefits people and the planet will be the motivation of the masses to follow CEB elites that will embrace an internationalist cyber-eco ideology. To be effective in co-opting the masses and becoming mainstream the new CEB ideology will necessarily carry with it a new CEB ethos– a topic I will be addressing shortly in the final segment on CEB.