A lecture at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
We have been in the midst of a fundamental and historic shift of how the economies around the world develop. With the collapse of communism, the centralized and state control model of the economy has also collapsed. Other socialist State models, i.e., Sweden, UK before Margaret Thatcher, have also collapsed. What we have now, however, imperfect it maybe, is the model of the “Free Market.”
This shift is occurring in parallel with two other sociopolitical expressions:
- Smaller government, though the last couple years this seems to have moderated quite a bit
- The need, indeed the demand by our society to provide assistance, protection, and distribution of economic benefits a “fair” way
What we are witnessing is a major shift on “how we can fulfill our expectations of a humanistic society” while we keep the state’s interventions and control power at minimum.
Before I deal with this question (shift) let me digress in to a bit of history . . . . After all, how can a Greek like myself discuss such matters without referring to HISTORY .
These great shifts of power are not without precedent. What is new is the rapidity of change that we are witnessing. When such major shifts of power occurred in the past, they had a great impact in the ways the society functioned. Examples:
- The emergence of secular values over religious values and authority during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Power centers changed. Princes of church gave way to princes of land, who, in turn, gave way to the chiefs of industrial, commercial and financial wealth.
- Societal institutions and the most firmly established organizations were forced to conform or disappear with the passage of time.These shifts took place not without sacrifice of then well established ways of life. Now, let’s get back to the question I posed earlier. Let me repeat it.