CAMBRIDGE, UK, 17 November, 2006 - Almost exactly a year separated the passing of Peter Drucker and Robert Friedman. Is this indeed the passing of a generation, and who will pick up the baton in the relay? Like in music I see a desert of sorts in terms of future-think (why will old rocks stars like the Stones or Eagles not go away? Because there's no-one else to capture our imagination!).

I think that we're on the backside of a historical peak in social, political and economical wealth and variety that happened about when us late baby-boomers were born fifty years ago. I call now the post-modern era, who knows what post-erity will call it? The way I see it (and I must thank Noam Chomsky who I email at times and helped me out), is that the malaise represented by Vietnam and the oil embargo - the post-Kennedy / Wilson era when US and UK liberals lost their way - never quite went away. I think that Kennedy and Wilson showed how far could go the Nanny-state, that is, state-driven forms of socialism or governments with social programs and intervention in business. Problem was, when even the post WWII peak of wealth couldn't sustain such regimes, they simply went away just like Communism did. Except that no-one heard that door creak close, when the other door slammed shut in the fall of the Berlin wall. The Thatcher / Reagan era appeared to have shown the Neo-cons that capitalism had finally won, but has it really? What credibility have Blair and Bush left today, for example? Thus, is the alternative to socialism indeed better? Only time will tell if concentrating the wealth among the rich at the expense of the poor will serve society well...

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That is why my favorite expression is: welcome back to the new Middle Ages - I see us sliding back in the next millennium, all the way back to where we came from a millennium ago, after the fall of the Roman Empire. I fear that our inability to deal with Islam (its political derivative as distinct from the religion, same as Soviet communism is far from the original ideal), is only a symptom of Democracy's inability to cope with diversity - or more to the point, democracy in privileged nations. Furthermore, the emergence of the new Russia and China may be more at risk than India: Will they emerge as a superpowers with sound democracies? They're evolving so rapidly on a historic scale, that democratic processes may not have the time to develop like they did in Western Europe and North America over past centuries. I likewise fear that the Middle-East will never achieve democracy, and thus the politics of oil will slip into the hands of undemocratic entities.

A litmus test may be the fate of Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia that appear to offer alternatives to Capitalism (Chile was stopped over 30 years ago). But then again, I don't know if that evolved around the true emersion of socialism as a natural political process? Too much of it appears to center around Lula, Castro, Chavez and Morales, respectively, and I see a cult of personality much like in Russia or the Middle-East. And personalities like kings and emperors can be toppled in an instant. Democracy may take a while to build up, but spreading the political process among a wide popular base is exactly what makes it sustainable. I tell my young daughter the politics is much like business: