An Overview on the Western Political Thought Shiva Kant Jha (the author of On the Loom of Time (see on www.shivakantjha.org)

Under the Western political thought power of the Government is derived from ‘contract’. The divine right to extract obedience of people yielded place to the idea that the political power to receive obedience emanated from some assumed contract between people and the sovereign. Hobbes held that the sovereign was not a party to the contract: hence he had no obligations to the people: he had only rights and powers. This led to the tyranny of the absolute rulers. Great advancement towards democracy was manifest in the ideas of Locke. He believed that the sovereign was himself a party to the contract: hence he was subject to the obligations which emanated from the contract. The objective to be pursued through the contract was to promote ‘public good’. Locke had great impact on the framers of the US Constitution. His doctrine ‘is limited by the view (implied rather than expressed) that those who have no property are not to be reckoned as citizens.’ Locke declares that: ‘The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent.’ The shared idea in the Western thinking as to ‘public good’ constituted the basic philosophy of capitalism. I have dealt with this issue in detail in Chapter 22 of this Memoir. The philosophy of Locke is still assertively present at the heart of the present-day neoliberal thinking.

But the neoliberal thinking of our days has fundamentally altered the Lockean perspective by altering the content and reach of ‘contract’ that justifies state powers, and determine the incidence of obligations on people and government. Now this neoliberal paradigm, that the West has passionately adopted over the recent years, contemplates a tripartite agreement involving three parities: the State represented by the government, the people of any political society, and the Big Business represented by the MNCs, the TNCs, and the mega rich creatures. This protocol contemplates a compliant government which can work Janus-faced: placating the common people with strong democratic pretensions; pandering to the interests of the corporatocracy by endearing the MNCs and the Rogue Finance. The people of a nation provide the structure of power whereon to ascend to wield power; the corporations and their mentors do many things to reap more and more profits without any moral, social, and national considerations. We see around us the evident trends driving our world towards the Hobbesian model of ‘contract’ that would lead to the tyranny of the exploitative and extractive tyranny of the corporations, and to the emergence of the senate of the foreign investors. This horrendous situation emerges when the government grant great powers to the Big Business, and functions as the facilitator of the interests for which the institutions of the Economic Realm work.

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