Tuesday , June 18 2019
Home / LewRockwell / A Quiet Revolution Is Brewing

A Quiet Revolution Is Brewing

Summary:
Politics as practiced in a bygone era of stability no longer offers any solutions to these profound disruptions. I recently read a fascinating history of the social, political and economic context of the American Revolution: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood. What is particularly striking is the critical role played by rapid social changes in the mid-1700s. Conventional histories focus on the political context, but more important were the changes in family and social relations, and the social impact of the economy moving from quasi-feudal forms of patronage that were ultimately personal relationships to impersonal market forces. It was these social changes that nurtured the revolutionary zeal of the average

Topics:
Charles Hugh Smith considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Tyler Durden writes In Unprecedented Attack, Trump Accuses Draghi Of Manipulating Euro 

Tyler Durden writes Facebook Introduces New “Libra” Digital Currency With Landmark White Paper

Tyler Durden writes Trump: “I Think I Know” Who Was Behind 9/11 Attacks

Tyler Durden writes Euro, Bund Yields Slide, Stocks Rebound As Draghi Clears Way For More Stimulus

Politics as practiced in a bygone era of stability no longer offers any solutions to these profound disruptions.

I recently read a fascinating history of the social, political and economic context of the American Revolution: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood.

What is particularly striking is the critical role played by rapid social changes in the mid-1700s. Conventional histories focus on the political context, but more important were the changes in family and social relations, and the social impact of the economy moving from quasi-feudal forms of patronage that were ultimately personal relationships to impersonal market forces.

It was these social changes that nurtured the revolutionary zeal of the average (non-elite) male citizen.

Boiled down to its essence, Americans came to appreciate the precariousness of their prosperity, and this led to a deep split in the populace. Between 30% and 40% of the populace remained loyal to the British Crown/King, and these Loyalists reckoned it a political and economic disaster to separate from the “Mother Country.”

The majority felt the exact opposite: their prosperity and liberties were all too easily snatched away by a Parliament and/or a Monarch who had little to no regard for their prosperity or liberties.

The precariousness of the relatively widely distributed prosperity and political liberties drove average people into an all-or-nothing choice: there was no middle ground, and the bitterness of the divide was life-changing. Benjamin Franklin, for example, completely cut off his eldest son when the son remained a Loyalist, despite the decades of affectionate intimacy they’d shared.

Such prosperity and liberties that existed were reserved for Caucasian males, of course; women had the right to divorce and own property but no political suffrage, and slaves had no rights unless they were freed by their owners.

The social changes in the family and economy Wood describes are of especially keen interest, as they mirror the present era in so many ways. Parents in the 1760s were admonished to treat their children as individuals and to use reason rather than punishment. Parental authority was thus reduced from rigid authoritarianism to a much more nuanced and difficult process of nurturing and guidance–a process familiar to every parent today.

The economy was changing rapidly as well, as the lines of authority that were once personal became market-contractual. Where small farmers in the early 1700s sold their harvests to upper-class planters or merchants (i.e. the gentry), by mid-century Scottish trading houses were buying small farmers’ harvests directly, requiring written contracts rather than personal trust.

Small farmers made more money, and the landed gentry lost power over the flow of goods.

This disruption of traditional authority stretched from the home to the marketplace and ultimately to the British Crown and Parliament, which saw the rebellious colonists as wayward children who deserved a good lashing to set them straight.

All of which brings us to the present, when once again profound social, political and economic forces are changing the nation in ways that are difficult to understand in real time. Traditional authority is weakening, and traditional markets are being disrupted, leaving most participants far more financially precarious than they were a few decades ago.

To take one important example: where owning a home once meant counting in slow and steady appreciation of home equity, in today’s bubble-and-bust economy, timing is everything: poor timing can trigger the loss of one’s down payment and equity, and to capture that equity requires selling at the top.

Charles Hugh Smith
Charles Hugh Smith is an American writer and blogger. He is the chief writer for the site "Of Two Minds". Started in 2005, this site has been listed No. 7 in CNBC's top alternative financial sites. His commentary is featured on a number of sites including: Zerohedge.com., The American Conservative and Peak Prosperity. He graduated from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Honolulu. Charles Hugh Smith currently resides in Berkeley, California and Hilo, Hawaii.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *