The History, its changes and evolution of societies is marked by a tension between conservation and change (S. Aguilar). The evolution of a being or a society is the change that happens in one concrete state to a different and new concrete state. The change is the result of the tension between the forces that want to preserve what exists and the forces that want to change what exists.
Typically, conservation forces are represented by the power, by dominators, the establishment, by the standard, and the few that concentrate. Also, the forces of change usually come represented and represent the majority, the demos (those who work with their hands, the people), those who want the power structure that favors them, those who do not conform, those who want more, or what is really here. Scientifically, the above is not correct or orthodox, because really these two inertias that make up this dynamic between conservation and change, no have face or identity, are two social processes.
Let’s stop here. Sometimes, after a moment of change and social advancement or increased rights for most, this state of conquest, becomes the primordial state, the being of things,the reality of the world at that particular time. The last period has been like that, what has been called ‘the golden age of capitalism’ (E. Hobsbawm), where after the comprehensive Welfare State, endowed with rights and greater welfare for the vast majority (leaving aside criticism that can be made to the welfare state itself), and even in a few moments and usually very brief history there have been social justice for the majority, the forces of change have been at that time which typically represent the conservation, in an attempt to return to what it was, but even conservative forces of change.
The last episode of this kind began in the 70s, where from different processes, the forces of change were at this conservative moment, wanting to go back, depriving the working class, the majority, which had conquered the ancient forces of change. the visible faces of this process were as you know, Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the United States. That change process started there (also with its own History) and today we continue in this particular inertia within the History.
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, a relationship that changed History (photo AP)
Before that, we lived in a world of big thinkers alive today (A. Domènech and others) have defined as a post-fascist world where after the horror of European fascism (sadly lasted more in Spain) and two large wars and before the crack of 29, was the inertia for change and this time in favor of the majority. Declaration of Human Rights (1948) was created, after the Welfare state, with a logic of rights and greater well-being and freedom for all, where there was a controlled capitalism, regulated, more unionism, organization and class consciousness. The market was regulated and the notion of human brotherhood and community were an increasingly questionable value, by the power and by the people. A time when economic policy for example U.S. in the 50s, with Eisenhower (not wanting in any case idealize political policy mentioned), the highest incomes of $400,000 had a tax rate of 91%, yes, yes redistribution of 91% of the federation of states, incredible today, there was a time, the world at least economically, it worked well. Interestingly, data like this surprise us today, and only happened 60 years ago and it seems to be a world that never existed. But back came the forces of change, this time to dispossess us, to privatize, to accumulate and capitalism ‘gold’ was becoming fierce, cannibalistic capitalism.
Today we live within that inertia. The tension never ceases, but clearly, now, the balance is in the hands of pulling the dynamics of History that most do not move forward and be slaves to capital and private and this time on a global level, breaking all the borders, the whole capitalist world or not is engulfed by this ‘runaway train’ (Hobsbawm again) that is contemporary Capitalism.
One could also say that the dynamics of history is a class struggle, said hated and loved Marx, but to put it in a less ‘controversy’ way, a struggle between oligarchy (power of the few and those who hold power and property and not depends on anyone else to live, or rather the work of many) and democracy (rule by many, all of which work with their hands). The moments of triumph of democracy, the will of the people and benefiting the people, have been few and brief compared to the oligarchy that has dominated. Today we live in oligarchy degenerate to a true plutocracy (Ancient Greek, ploutos ‘wealth’ and kratos ‘government’) the power has the power itself, in an inertia of accumulation by dispossession (D. Harvey), financial power controls, politics obeys and society suffers.
But there is a crucial difference between the other times and now. Today individuals from what are called advanced societies and those that are not, we are, or we can be and despite the redundancy, very advanced level of ideas, we have a lot of knowledge, and we are aware or ought to have of all this (come of what has been called the knowledge society), or at least have a past to which we can turn to remember and learn. We have taken something that had been ours, it was not discussed, it was agreed and signed the Declaration of Human Rights, which is the best or not (not go to rating) is what we have for the moment, and starting with the first article and the more encompassing ‘all persons have the right to be born free and equal’, even in societies where there are no cultural resistance to understand it as true, and every last one of them, not assume and are vilified by this dirty, obese and corrupt system of power.
The tension is served, the process of open exchange, the result depends on who pull more and stronger rope that tightens the dynamic between conservation and change, but we can’t forget, we are more and in the end out our existence that is at stake. Have recourse to history, it offers a lot to learn.