Salient to Investors:

Pankaj Mishra writes:

The proliferation of street protests around the world seems to have nothing in common. But why all now? The most common claim is that they are fueled by the rising expectations of a middle class demanding clean, transparent governance, but what kind of democracy is being improved?

For too long, elections, legislatures, etc have been confused with democracy and not surprisingly fail to satisfy people who have come to identify their governments with business elites, and with “business-friendly” policies rather than public services.

Mass democracy and capitalism are antagonists in the age of globalization. The demands and needs of the majority cannot be fulfilled by the assurances of private wealth-creation. GDP growth rates have not made up for poor infrastructure, education and health care, and inequality.

Trickle-down has repeatedly failed to materialize. Having given up on redistribution, the state was supposed to create equality of opportunity, but this has not happened fast enough, if at all. Individuals feel buffeted by national and transnational economic forces and mobile labor and capital have eroded the power of national governments to create an equitable society.

The belief that corporations and government work together to screw the broad middle class has become widespread – the few grow very rich while education, health, security are privatized to an unusual degree.

Tocqueville warned against the overly centralized democracy that leads to selfish and politically apathetic individualism, which has become the rule rather than the exception in our time as policy making was entrusted to technocratic elites.

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