Political Systems in the 21st Century
en:Crisis (Marxian) gives a synoptic view of how various Marxist tendencies view the cyclic evolution of what it has given the names "Capitalism", "the bourgeois social order", etc. In this page I am trying to work out my understanding of how the real forces evident in the real world might play themselves out in the current century.
At this point, nowhere on the planet have new forms of social aggregation begun to replace the official ones although the means for this to happen are now for the first time in place. As the linked article above states, the primary factors are the consciousness of the political actors and the objective forces of historical development. It is my expectation that by the end of the century these will have completely superseded the existing structures, probably a lot sooner so that consistent with the trend of the last few centuries, the late 20th century will seem more antiquated to the late 21st than the late 19th did to the former. The late 19th versus the late 18th is where the pace slows, i.e. before the industrial revolution and the great changes in the material relations of production which it initiated and which are now reaching their ultimate conclusion.
The en:Financial crisis of 2007-2010 vividly shows the hallmarks of a late crisis of the existing world order. The essence of that order is that all social activity, governance, etc,, is driven by and has as its purpose private accumulation. Thus nothing which seriously challenges this order can get much attention, resources, etc., or if it does these efforts are generally ineffectual. Pollution driven climate change and health care being the classical but by no means sole examples. Problems which require a transnational and essentially social basis will continue to be poorly addressed because society is explicitly organized to do so.
In particular, the overall process (of late triumphalist capitalism) has certain aspects which can be expected to lead to more and more severe crises until there is some fundamental restructuring of society on a global basis. On the one hand Capitalism drives to ever greater levels of productivity and efficiency with the narrow confines of its (often mismanaged) production for the consumer culture upon which it has become dependent. If it were able to produce consumers whom it was able to pay the high wages needed for demand corresponding to ever increasing production it would be able to sustain itself indefinitely. This seemed to be possible after the last great conjuncture resolved in the last phase of the Second Thirty Years Wars because of social polices that lead to a massive increase in the production of just such consumers up to and including the induction of chinese workers in global production. However this process has reached its limits and the classic signs of converging crises and panics are evident as various forces are moving into their revolutionary correlation.
The current order is, for the reason stated in the previous ¶ completely incapable of sustaining itself and will almost certainly be in a protracted period of crisis while various ineffective reforms are tried and the fundamental problem advances.
Outside of the United States and a large block of right wing nations, socialist parties and ideas have been a current in political discourse for at least two or three generations. In the United States however, it is ironic that popular consciousness of socialism is being driven by a revived red-baiting by the most backward right wing elements. There was a thriving socialist movement in the US which more or less withered at the beginning of the cold war and has, until now, been generally considered non-existent. This isn't accurate, there are socialist parties in the US but a mass movement in that direction is unlikely to find its outlet in those channels.