"The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx," says the report. The thesis is based on a growing gap between the middle classes and the super-rich on one hand and an urban under-class threatening social order: "The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest". Marxism could also be revived, it says, because of global inequality. An increased trend towards moral relativism and pragmatic values will encourage people to seek the "sanctuary provided by more rigid belief systems, including religious orthodoxy and doctrinaire political ideologies, such as popularism and Marxism". British Ministry of Defence Report on the futureDavid Seaton's News Links
After reading the quote from the British MOD report, read Harold Meyerson's well documented article from the Washington Post and then ask yourself how long it will be before the service workers, whose work makes life possible organize and strike and how long before the middle classes, whose only capital is their knowledge of information systems rebel and join them too.
Knowledge workers are today's true, world-proletariat, without whose labor nothing functions. The post-industrial knowledge worker is truly within the contemporary system in the same way that the industrial worker was within his or her system. It could be called the "vanguard" or "aristocracy"of the service sector whose problems Meyerson outlines. When the knowledge workers and the service workers join forces the world will change like a nuclear chain reaction. Therefore we can expect that the system as it is will make a herculean effort to keep this from happening. Traditionally the tools for preventing unions of such revolutionary potential from forming have been xenophobia, nationalism, religious manias and war. All of them are on today's menu.
Only organization at the grass roots level: unions, workers, students, Internet, micro-financing and NGOs and constant dialog and sharing of information can keep those sinister forces from derailing or co-opting this movement. DS
Harold Meyerson: A Dream Short-Circuited - Washington Post
Abstract: An analysis of Internal Revenue Service data from 2005 that became available showed that the bottom 90 percent of Americans made less money that year than they had in 2004. According to a study by economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, total reported income in the United States increased by 9 percent in 2005 over its level in 2004. All of that increase, however, came from the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, and the wealthiest 1 percent experienced an increase of 14 percent. Among the remaining 90 percent, income actually decreased by 0.6 percent. And 2005, let us remember, wasn't a year of economic downturn. The American economy was humming along. It was only the American people who weren't doing very well. What all this amounts to is a triumph of corporate and financial power, and of the conservative economics that shores it up. Once upon a time, American prosperity actually benefited Americans. From 1947 through 1973, productivity in the U.S. rose by 104 percent, and median family income rose by an identical 104 percent. Those were also the only years of real union power in the United States, years in which one-quarter of the workforce, and in some years one-third, was unionized. Apparently, this level of worker power and mass prosperity proved intolerable to our financial elite and their political flunkies. Since the '70s, American business has generally done its damnedest to keep its workers down. Employers routinely opted to pay the negligible penalties for violating the National Labor Relations Act rather than permit its employees to join unions. In 1969, according the National Labor Relations Board, the number of employees who'd suffered illegal retaliation for exercising their right to join or maintain a union was just over 6,000; by 2005, that number had risen to 31,358. According to a study out this January from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, fully one in five activists on unionization campaigns are illegally fired. And as worker power declines, so do living standards. Secure retirement pensions are history; employer-provided health benefits are going fast. To all of this, conservatives offer no remedy whatever save to make things worse. Employer-provided pensions collapsing? Let's gut Social Security, too. Health insurance tottering? By all means, let's preserve our private, for-profit system, which currently fails to cover 47 million of our fellow Americans. All income increases going only to the rich? Let's switch to a flat tax (Rudy Giuliani's most recent brainstorm), which further shifts the tax burden from the upwardly mobile rich to the downwardly-mobile everyone else. READ IT ALL