Self-centeredness is clearly a problem, and most of all in the USA. But I’m not convinced that greed is the primary reason the West is in its terminal phase. That seems (to me, at least) far more fundamentally based on what Plato identified more than 2,500 years ago: democracies will always fall to a demagogue simply because a significant percentage of the population isn’t bright enough to discern between simple-minded “solutions” and the real requirements imposed by complex reality. Trump doesn’t need to promise more to the drooling howling mobs who eagerly throng to his rallies because he gives them what they really want: enemies. Brexit likewise was predicated on “no more foreigners” and “taking back control” (code for “no more foreigners”). Orban, PiS, AfD, Le Pen’s party, and all the other populist movements are primarily based on demonizing minorities and foreigners, not on promising ever-more OLED screens and larger automobiles.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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