Cyber-Eco Bourgeoisie: Part II

Posted on | juli 31, 2011 | No Comments

After 60 years of upward social mobility in the second half of the 20th century and the Internet Revolution (a continuation of the Industrial and not a deviation from it), there is an overly educated population for which there are not enough jobs, let alone careers, to absorb an increasingly larger surplus of cyber-eco-bourgeoisie; at least not enough that pay in accordance with the candidates’ educational level or allow the individual to live the glamorized advertised bourgeois lifestyle commensurate with the ideal of a meritocracy.

US Department of Labor statistics reveal that a college graduate today will change an average of seven careers in a lifetime (not jobs but careers!). As China, India, Russia and Brazil develop rapidly in the next 50 years, there will be diminished career opportunities for the cyber-eco bourgeoisie in the advanced countries and necessitating mobility. This type of career mobility entails much greater geographic mobility within nations and globally.

In the absence of sufficient career opportunities, more and more college graduates already live at home with their parents or with bachelor friends, they postpone marriage and family, and they are in perpetual search for career that reflects their education, training, and ambitions. This trend has been widely reflected in western popular culture–motion pictures, TV, web, books, magazines, etc. The gap between the reality of a society that offers fewer opportunities for the educated elites and an overly educated population unable to fulfill its career and personal lifestyle goals will be the cause of increased social conflict in the future.

Alhough there is a great possibility that the revolution in biotechnology, environmental/food sciences, and hologram-cyber technology among other areas like energy will create opportunities, the question is whether science and technology innovation will be sufficient to absorb the cyber-eco bourgeoisie and prevent the institutional challenge they will pose to society in the years ahead.

Unlike 20th-century revolutions whose constituency was the worker and peasant against the entrenched middle class comfortable in its Lockean liberalism and entitlement mentality, the 21st-century revolution will be carried out by an overly educated, semi-employed-career-seeking, environmentally conscious, increasingly radicalized cyberspace-eco middle class that believes the gap between its aspirations and marketplace realities will not close in the absence of political change. Unlike working-class people who have maintained the medieval mindset that they must work to earn a plate of food otherwise they are unworthy to breathe the same air as the upper classes, the cyber-eco bourgeoisie like their 18th-century counterparts believe society needs them, but institutions, especially political regimes as currently constituted, preclude upward mobility and opportunities for integration into the mainstream.

The current economic crisis and others to follow in the 21st century will only exacerbate the aforementioned gap between the reality of career opportunities and expectations for the cyber-eco bourgeoisie. This trend is already evident across the developed and semi-developed countries. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece are candidates for this phenomenon, but the cyber-eco bourgeoisie in Germany, England, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, S. Korea, and the Scandinavian countries have shown signs that they will not rule out the path of insurrection; and insurrections are more contagious than viruses in the age of the web.

The US is temporarily euphoric from the Obama effect that promises to resurrect the American Dream (the belief that upward social mobility is still possible), or at least not deny the opportunity for social mobility to all aspirants equally! But if the new administration and those after it do not deliver something more tangible like well-paying jobs as a first step, and realistic prospects for careers as an ultimate goal, American cyber-eco bourgeois youths and middle-aged unemployed professionals will not be far behind their European and East Asian counterparts in demanding the closing of the social gap.

And this is because the individual’s identity as defined under the capitalist regime is inexorably linked with career, money, and possessions, to which the cyber-eco bourgeoisie add an eco-value system and lifestyle. The emergence of the cyber-eco bourgeoisie does not mean the end of finance capitalism and its replacement with a new mode of production, thus it does not entail social discontinuity in the classic sense as took place when capitalism replaced the feudal/manorial economy.

However, it does mean the reconfiguration of the political economy which has been increasingly moving toward state-directed capitalism and global quasi-management through international financial organizations and consortiums. Such institutional reconfiguration will result in the dominant socio-cultural influence of the cyber-eco bourgeoisie and the reshaping of institutions to reflect the social change, while finance capitalism will continue with increased state support and intervention.

Just as the mercantile bourgeoisie remained an integral part of the social order after industrial capitalism triumphed, and the same occurred with the industrial bourgeoisie once finance capitalism consolidated as the backbone of the economy, similarly the cyber-eco bourgeoisie will become the social group dominant in molding institutions. This does not mean the emergence of the cyber-eco bourgeoisie in the developed countries entails the end of the comprador bourgeoisie in the underdeveloped areas, any more than it would mean the end of lumpen-proletariat that is more than likely to be increasing in the 21st century along with the “informal” economy, especially in the underdeveloped and semi-developed countries.

While the 21st-century cyber-eco bourgeois revolution is a certainty in the absence of evolutionary institutional change, it is difficult to predict how it will impact institutions in each country under local political, economic, and social conditions. But it is certain that unless the asymmetrical relationship is effaced between the high expectations of the cyber-eco bourgeoisie and dim prospects for realizing career, upward mobility and bourgeois lifestyle, society can expect challenges within the perimeters of existing regimes as well as bourgeois-led mass movements that workers will follow to express their own grievances and aspirations.

Because the cyber-eco bourgeoisie identifies (or soon will do so) societal interest with itself, just as their middle class counterparts of the 18th century, it would either have to be co-opted as their fathers were co-opted after the Vietnam War to become the yuppies of the 1980 and 1990s, or they will force the system to accommodate their interests so they become the class sharing in the privileges of traditional elites.
From conservative to liberal and varieties of socialist political parties that are remnants of 19th-century ideologies and 20th-century political movements, it is difficult to see how accurately, if indeed at all, they reflect the interests of the cyber-eco bourgeoisie.

It is entirely possible that in the early 21st century at least a segment of cyber-eco bourgeoisie could mobilize under some type of a “fascist” movement that could very well become a regime, just as the petit bourgeoisie of the interwar era supported varieties of Fascist and authoritarian-type movements and regimes. In fact the neo-corporatist trends in a number of countries including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, US, UK, and Germany to mention the most notable examples, lend themselves to such possibilities, especially under the convergence of a political, economic, and social crises coinciding with a major foreign policy challenge.

However, it is much more likely that cyber-eco bourgeoisie will become increasingly radicalized and may adopt variations of Socialist paths. In the absence of systemic change in the mode of production in the next 100 years, the majority of the new middle class will either be absorbed or evolve into established parties that will eventually form regimes in the most progressive countries where there is a large social base of cyber-eco bourgeoisie.

AUTHOR: Jon Kofas
E-MAIL: jonkofas [at]


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