Left and right defined the 20th century. What's next?by prospect / March 22, 2007 / Leave a comment
Published in March 2007 issue of Prospect Magazine
E Fabio Arcangeli
Left/right will continue to exist, although with new meanings:
– left might come to mean dissatisfaction with unilateralism and empires in general, and assume a spiritual flavour, aiming to go beyond the shortcomings of modernity: secularisation and lack of values, empathy, and compassion.
– right might become an imperial and postmodern, realpolitik and fully secularised perspective; if so, there will be at least two rights: pro-US and pro-China one; during the century, the balance will shift between the two.
The major fault lines will be between the Ultra-Haves, the At-Risk-Haves and the Have-Nots, and alliances between them will vary greatly. The Ultra-Haves are Michael Lind’s Plutopians plus the Resource Barons and Crime Barons. The At-Risk-Haves are the middle classes everywhere, who resent the Ultras but will often side with them against the Have-Nots. They are at risk from low-cost competitors, environmental disruption, social disruption exacerbated by migration, and mounting competition for positional goods. The Have-Nots are split between the Mobile and the Stuck, the latter being incarcerated in estates, barrios, other kinds of ghettos. Mobile Have-Nots could form alliances with the At-Risk Haves; the Stuck are often forced into one-sided alliances with the criminal version of the Ultra-Haves.
The trend towards the embrace of modernity (pro-west, pro-science, pro-reason) will be severely tested for all factions by environmental crisis and resource competition. Mass modernisation has always fostered an irruption of pre-modern forces in new guises, offering either wholesale return to the past or an ideology that provides all mod cons plus tribal cohesion. This will be made more complex by the threat from eco-collapse. There…