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Conversely, the vast majority of people also display little interest or engagement in politics so long as they are materially ok and sometimes care little for those who are not ok and who they then perceive as being a threat to their material security on a win:lose basis.  It can be very hard to organise the disadvantaged even in support of their own vital interests, and even harder to organise support from those who feel they themselves are relatively ok.

For the wealthy engaging in politics can be a hobby or a pastime, a means of upward mobility, a career, or an insurance policy against "bad people" getting into power. Often they are wealthy because they have played the game well in their own interests.

So the general observation, that major political innovations come in response to catastrophic social failures holds true for both reasons - the dispossessed become more engaged and recognise their common interests in changing the system and the wealthy lose their grip in the social upheaval that follows.

Of course the trick, in a functioning democracy, is to provide mechanisms for ongoing non-violent change which reduce the risk of catastrophic failures and mass upheavals.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 05:56:33 AM EST
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