Since the time of ancient Greek Cycle theory, history has taught us that if the Alphas become too dominant, too bullying or too self-serving, leaving too great a proportion of the pack excluded, disenfranchised or simply left hungry then things tend to turn very ugly.
Recent thinking has tended to view such occurrences as being almost exclusively within the domain of under-developed or still developing democratic systems rather than in open or seemingly functional democracies in which the opportunities exist for the majority to regularly exercise their rights to representation.
Such complacency can be dangerous. Germany is today the epitome of pragmatic stability but a generation, some of whom are still alive today, witnessed the aftermath of World War I when the establishment of a Soviet regime in Berlin seemed likelier than not as Germans descended into a class struggle that fell only marginally short of full scale civil war.
The dissatisfaction that was unleashed was exacerbated by hyperinflation which neither a national hero nor a socialistic government could prevent leading to the overthrow of the democratic machinery of state by fascism - although as Martin Wolf has pointed out in the FT, it was only when the concerted foreign powers imposed austerity that Hitler was able to seize power.
At that same time, the Alpha-dog battle for global supremacy was actually being fought in the economic war zone of the new world rather than the bloody trenches of Europe: no-one knew whether it would be the USA or Argentina which would dominate the future. Whilst that argument might seem ridiculous to us now, the outcome was largely shaped by Argentina’s retreat into government by self-interested despotic military regimes which restricted the economic potential of the educated population and resource rich country. Meanwhile in America, the democratic system sustained despite scares such as the attempted Du Pont coup attempt to overthrow the government.
As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried,” especially, in conjunction with its close relative, capitalism. However, participation of the masses in the selection of government is the most sustainable way of allowing individuals to achieve their creative, productive and economic potential.
To that end, notwithstanding that we do not have a single political bone in the entire MBMG body, we were heartened by the recent European election results which we had both hoped for and expected. The inevitability with which the French electorate rejected the morally bankrupt policies of le Napoleon Sarkozy and the desperation which drove the Greek people to extremes of both right and left should surprise no-one. Greece, the cradle of democracy spent the 20th century seemingly in perpetual default under a series of authoritarian junta before being subjected to an inept government imposed upon it by the joint will of the ECB and Goldman Sachs.
The markets have not taken this change so well - after all it threatens to destroy their ability to continue indefinitely extending and pretending. Our concerns are rather different than those of the market.
Despite his rhetoric or the assurances of Chancellor Merkel, we doubt whether Monsieur Hollande will have the fortitude to implement the necessary transfer of wealth, which his election celebrations seemed promise, back from the German elite to the EuroZone rank and file.
We are also not sure that the Greek protest vote will release enough adequately focused pent-up frustration to prevent a serious blow-up sometime down the track. Nor is this just a specifically Greek, GIPSI (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain or Italy) or even European problem.
Globally, the last three decades has witnessed a transfer of wealth to too small a minority who are not spending enough. This has left an embittered and angry majority whose voices need to be heard if we are to escape a protracted national, regional or global conflict. Both democracy and capitalism will almost certainly survive but how badly will they be damaged? How bloody will be the resolution of current day imbalances?
The one thing that capitalism needs right now is the injection of a modicum of socialism - a transfer mechanism to get us back to a more balanced global socio-economy where a much larger portion of the population is spending and borrowing (within capabilities) again. Without it, fascist or communist regimes may well be at each other’s throats again. The next step is nations staring at each other down the barrels of millions of guns and this being seen as the only alternative.
Au revoir, M. Le Petit and good riddance! Let’s just hope that Francois Hollande is not just too little, too late. But do not hold your breath!