1. Democracy as a means to facilitate profit-maximization

In 1905, the French State passed a law, which, while guaranteeing the freedom of conscience and religious practice, put an end to any state financing of Churches. This is fundamental. In a democracy, an unelected special interest group should certainly have the right to participate openly in societal debates and voice its opinions, but must remain fully separate, so that public interests do not become equated with those of a small cabal. In France, the secular State had emerged in opposition to the Catholic Church, from which it had wrenched power through a protracted fight. Hence, more than any other nation, it was aware of the issues involving the integration of religious authorities within the State structure. However this awareness did not extend to the profit-oriented private sector.

In effect modern democracies emerged once they became congenial for the shift from merchant to financial capitalism, which a perspective of profit-maximization is bound to lead to unless checked. By that time, the path towards the concentration of wealth had been assured by patent laws, but the land-based perspective of monarchies and oligarchies had become an obstacle for the abstraction of the economy. The emergence of democracies based on majority rule had as much, if not more, to do with capitalist requirements than with idealistic concerns. Democracies pervaded with too great a degree of ignorance and based on universal suffrage are the most congenial political system for any amorphous largely faceless minority with oligarchic aims, unaccountable to any authority, whether that of a monarch, or that of the people. It can in total impunity yield far greater power and enjoy far more wealth than would be possible for monarchs, feudal lords, or dictators. For unlike them, it can do so through a partnership with public structures, elected and administrative, and through manipulation, with the support of a significant part of the people, by keeping not the spirit but the skeleton of democracy – a semblance of freedom. Indeed, from the very beginning propaganda was used to send an entire generation to be butchered on battlefields for the sake of profit-making. No attempt to stop the senseless killing was successful; pacifists were derided and even imprisoned; but at the demand of industry, the Briey basin in the East of France, right in the middle of the region where war was raging, was left in peace for the duration of the conflict.

Thus from the inception of democracies in the last century, public policies profoundly affecting the lives of each and every citizen, justified as being the wishes of the majority embodied in its elected representatives, have in effect all too often been made for the sake of private profit-oriented interests. The latter are not however wedded to democracy. Whenever and wherever forces have threatened their continuation, they have contrived more favourable totalitarian regimes.[1]

The Third Reich is well-known for its social engineering in order to instil in people the notion of a society based on what it considered racial characteristics.[2] For this, psychology was professionalized and systematically applied.[3] In the first place, the establishment of a repressive regime, was aided by the beginning alienation, accelerated by Taylor’s doctrine reducing workers to machines or at least making the comparison of workers and machines an acceptable subject of serious discussion.

 

  1. Preparata, G. C. Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America made the Third Reich. Oxford: OUP. 2005.
  2. Steber, M. and B. Gotto. (Eds). Visions of Community in Nazi Germany: Social engineering & private lives. Oxford: OUP. 2014.
  3. Geuter, W. 1992. The Professionalization of Psychology in Nazi Germany. Trans: Richard J. Holmes. Cambridge: Cambridge Universiy Press.