a warrior, an intellectual, and a capitalist walk into a bar
In my last post, I presented Sarkar’s ideas about the world being made up of 4 types of people – warriors, intellectuals, capitalists and labourers. Sarkar goes on talk about the roles and ways that these four groups have dealt with their physical and social environment:
Warriors dominate their environment through the body. This is why they may gravitate towards careers in law enforcement, sports or the military.
Intellectuals seek to dominate their environment through the mind which often propels them towards careers in education, religion or communication through music and the arts.
Capitalists often dominate the environment itself, finding ways to commoditize it for the production of wealth.
Labourers are often dominated by their environment. Actually, history shows that labourers have been dominated by the other three groups, that is, until they revolt.
Revolution is the mechanism through which the social cycle shifts from one power to the next. For example, when capitalists move from innovation to commoditization, labourers begin to revolt. This worker’s revolution can bring societal transformation but quickly moves towards political anarchy and unrest. At this point the warriors step in. The warrior’s revolution stabilizes the situation but it doesn’t take long before their era expands too far and becomes overly centralized and stagnates culturally. When this begins to happen, the intellectuals start speaking up. The intellectual’s revolution questions and threatens the control that the warriors have over the people. This will once again shift the power of influence, but the pendulum always seems to swing toward an extreme that has ill effect. When intellectuals use their power to create a universe where knowledge is available to a select few, they soon become irrelevant in their ivory towers and the pragmatist takes over – the capitalist. Economic revolution leads society into an era of financial security and prosperity. Over time, the capitalists can be consumed in their own hunger for the acquisition of wealth often at the expense of the environment and the treatment of labourers. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. This moves along until people revolt and the cycle begins once again.
I’ve been thinking about this pattern and if it holds true to our most recent history here in the West over the past century. Thus, I asked you all a question in my last post. Who were the most influential people over the second half of the 2oth century? Two of my friends commented and I’d like to add my 2 cents to what they started.
1. 1940’s & 50’s
You said people like – Hitler, Senator M cCarthy, Emperor Mao of China and let me add President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Elvis (the father of this new rebel music called Rock & Roll). I would say that the defining events of that era were WW2, Hiroshima, and the beginning of the Cold War (the fear that there was a communist hiding behind every bush). Major inventions of the times were The Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb, radar, the jeep and ballistic missiles. Yes, the 1940’s & 50’s were dominated by warriors.
2. 1960’s & 70’s
Immediately, everyone thinks – Martin Luther King Jr., JFK, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy (all 4 assassinated for their ideas) and of course, the Beatles. This was the era of big ideas about anti-war, environmentalism, feminism, and civil rights, embodied in events like Woodstock, the Moon Landing, and an unprecedented wide-scale protest of the Vietnam War. Major inventions were the first PC, VCR, Microwave and the Pill. The Sixties is often called the “cultural decade.” Yes, the 1960’s & 70’s were dominated by intellectuals.
3. 1980’s & 90’s
You know where I’m going with this. This period saw the fall of communism, the revival of capitalism, the glamorization of the stock market, the opening of China to the global market, the migration of wealth and production to industrializing economies, the International Debt Crisis, Free Trade agreements, mass mobilization of capital markets, widespread proliferation of new media, the Internet, and the rise of the billionaire (from 13 to 99 in the U.S. alone). Iconic figures include Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, M. Gorbechev, Bill Clinton, and even the “material girl” herself Madonna. Yes, this was the era of the capitalists.
Then came 911..the first blow. Global economic crisis and government bail outs followed. Another warrior took centre stage as President Bush rode the wave of mass fear & paranoia right into a new age of global tension and conflict. The planet is in dire straits. New issues of civil rights and freedom have risen. I think we might be ready for another intellectual revolution. Maybe the 60’s are coming back on us. What do you think?
So, a warrior, an intellectual, and a capitalist walk into a bar… (you finish the rest)