Are we ready for a revolution?

Are the major western economies on the edge of some form of social revolution? In the US Bernie Sanders was calling for one. In the latest French election, Mélenchon believed in a people revolution.

Let's look at the French revolution

In 1780, France had major economical difficulties due to the conflict in America and the 7 years war.  The taxation burden was laid on the middle class and poor whilst the nobles paid no taxes. Society was changing. Rational thinking progressed versus traditionalism and the established methods. This meant that the King and church lost most of the respect they once automatically received. Nobility failed to understand that they should share the economical burden and rejected all attempts to reform. These were the corner stones of the bloody French revolution.

This sounds quite familiar…

Lets compare the social, economic and political situation to now

In 2017, the world is still marred with class inequality. The rich are still getting richer and the poor poorer. The taxation burden is placed on the working class whilst the rich and multinationals enjoy the benefits of minimal taxes coupled with massive governmental subsidies for development. World wide, confidence in the political class is at it’s lowest due to the inability and unwillingness to counter the excesses of corporatocracy.  Wars are raging against fundamentalism and terrorism whilst nature is becoming more unexpected. Massive humanitarian migrations are starting due to rising water levels and wars. Governments are not or ill prepared.  Politicians are failing to understand the gravity of the situation and reform accordingly. Short-term eligibility and populism take center stage at the cost of long-term stability.

Will we soon experience a new revolution?

The basics for a revolution

Revolutions need a few more basic items:

The means to assemble and get organised behind a movement. This is becoming increasingly easy with modern day communication, social media and transport. The Arab spring is a good example of how quickly a revolution and protest can spread with devastating consequences. 
The willingness of a majority to revolt. This is happens when people feel they have more to gain then loose.
In Europe and the USA, it’s unlikely that a majority is now in a state of willingness. However, we may be approaching it fast as the working poor have become an accepted phenomenon in major economies like Germany and the US to support economic development. 

Global tax rates

*Figures are from the OECD database (

There are further issues with the economic situation that could bring the people closer to a state of willingness.

Corporate profits are at the highest level ever whilst corporate taxes are at it’s lowest. There has been more then 100% increase in corporate profits over the last 14 years and corporate taxes have been reduced by 20% over the same period. These types of statistics appear unfair and aggravate perceptions. 
Average OECD country wage rise is stagnant at 4.35% over the last 10 years. This represents an average pay increase of 0.54% each year. In the UK wages have actually dropped by 2.56% over the same period.
These are simple numbers that are compounded by the geo-political issues with regards to migrations, terrorism, rising water levels, fake news and a discordant global community.

Politicians are focused on short-term success rather then long term planning. Globally all countries have entered in a competition with each other as to who can attract the most multinationals through tax incentives and lowering the cost of human resources. This is directly at the expense of the workers.

The signs of a potential revolution are nearing

Isolationism or protectionism will only aggravate the current problem. Competition is impossible with low cost labour countries in a free global environment. The only way to stop this trend is for countries to act globally and support each other rather then compete. The global market place should have global taxation rates on the global players. This would benefit everyone directly. Maybe a way to achieve this is for political parties to become global or at least, as a start sign, a pact of global taxations for multinationals.

Date created: 21/06/2017       Date modified: 07/09/2021
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