To have a functional democratic nation, the majority of citizens need to have skin in the game and be provided with opportunities for ownership, dignity and identity.
In our globalized world, the owner class has been financially selling out their nations’ citizens while simultaneously distracting them from this truth by inciting infighting via identity politics. This is an incredibly effective tactic since an infinite number of new targets will always be available, any singular group that grows too large can easily be further divided along new arbitrary lines, and most (if any) real changes that are implemented have no real effect on the owner class’ income. In many cases, the infighting and lack of unity only further drives down the participant’s wages and increases the owner class’ profits.
However, the owner class seems to be ignoring the fact that employing such tactics could result in a precipitous end to the very game that they currently enjoying playing.
What’s stopping your neighbors from infringing on your rights or taking your assets? Furthermore, what is stopping the government itself from doing the same? The answer is a rule of law that is enforced by a government of the people, by the people, for the people. A law that people collectively support since it protects their own rights and assets. However, these laws can quickly change when the majority of people feel that they no longer possess any significant rights or assets that require protection.
While the outsourcing of labor has allowed for record corporate profits, it has come at the expense of local well-paying jobs. To add insult to injury, much of these profits were not reinvested within the corporation’s own host nation, but instead in other developing nations where the financial returns were perceived to be larger. Additionally, the profits were also often used to buy back the company’s own stock. To add insult to injury, many foreigners who become wealthy through these investments, stash their earnings in Western real estate. This only further increases housing prices while decreasing local ownership in the market.
In addition to the ownership of tangible assets, there is also the stake that a person feels they have in their own future, their family’s future and the direction of their nation as a whole. If a person perceives that you have taken away their future, they will care less about dismantling the present.
While growing wealth inequality and a shrinking ownership class has historically been the primary factor for populous uprisings, higher standards of living have shifted more weight to the factors of identity and dignity. A person’s soul as well as their body requires feeding.
A strong unifying national identity is especially important in nations which are multi-ethnic or growing so through immigration. It is fine to revise a national narrative over time, however it’s incredibly dangerous to abruptly discard it entirety. This becomes even more troublesome with the simultaneous promotion of identity politics.
The national identity vacuum that is being created in Western nations is incredibly destabilizing. Without moderate alternatives, people will gravitate to extremes when in search for a tribe. They will be more likely to join movements of far right nationalists, neo-Marxists or religious fundamentalists. None of which is going to serve a nation well heading into the future.
People also will also be drawn towards movements that they feel will give them back a sense of dignity. These individuals have had their livelihoods, pride and sense of self-worth all taken from them by elites who tell them to shut up and check their privilege whenever they voice concern.
They no longer have the simple dignity derived from being a self-sufficient sovereign individual who can support themselves and a family while contributing to society. Nor are they allowed to take pride in their national heritage and feel part of something larger than themselves such as a nation state.
When people no longer feel that they have skin in the game, they will often stop playing the game and choose a new game altogether. A new game that normally begins by promising the players more chips and better positions on the board, and then proceeds to end dreadfully for everyone involved. Thus if democratic nations continue to strip their citizens of a sense of ownership, dignity and collective identity, they should not be surprised when some players choose to flip the board over entirely.