This “transnational elite … composed of international businessmen, scholars, professional men, and public officials”, as Brzezinski describes them, have transcended and consciously evolved beyond traditional loyalties and prejudices, and would consider themselves the vanguard of a new enlightened age of capitalism. Brzezinski laments that most of humanity does not yet share the vision of the “elite”, writing:
The new global consciousness, however, is only beginning to become an influential force. It still lacks identity, cohesion, and focus. Much of humanity—indeed, the majority of humanity—still neither shares nor is prepared to support it.
Over pages 31 to 33 of Between Two Ages Brzezinski considers the dialectical progression of human consciousness towards internationalism, starting with the spiritual universalism of the Church, through to the secularization of this universal outlook with the rise of (liberal) nationalism and the French and American Revolutions, to Marxism which further internationalized and de-sacralized man’s consciousness, to the present state of “global consciousness” heralded by this “elite”. Brzezinski explains the process. It is worth quoting at length:
With nationalism, the distinction between the inner contemplative man, concerned with his relationship to God, and the external man, concerned with shaping his environment, became blurred. Nationalism as an ideology was more activist; man’s relations to man were objectivized externally by legal norms and were not dependent, as was man’s relation to God, on personal conscience; yet at the same time the definition of man as a “national” was based largely on abstract, historically determined, and highly emotional criteria. This outlook involved considerable vagueness and even irrationality when used as a conceptual framework within which relations between nations and developments within nations might be understood. Nationalism only partially increased men’s self-awareness; it mobilized them actively but failed to challenge their critical faculties; it was more a mass vehicle for human passion and fantasizing than a conceptual framework that made it possible to dissect and then deliberately reassemble our reality.
That is why Marxism represents a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision. Marxism is simultaneously a victory of the external, active man over the inner, passive man and a victory of reason over belief: it stresses man’s capacity to shape his material destiny—finite and defined as man’s only reality—and it postulates the absolute capacity of man to truly understand his reality as a point of departure for his active endeavors to shape it. To a greater extent than any previous mode of political thinking, Marxism puts a premium on the systematic and rigorous examination of material reality and on guides to action derived from that examination.
Though it may be argued that this intellectually rigorous method was eventually subverted by its strong component of dogmatic belief, Marxism did expand popular self-awareness by awakening the masses to an intense preoccupation with social equality and by providing them with both a historical and a moral justification for insisting upon it. More than that, Marxism represented in its time the most advanced and systematic method for analyzing the dynamic of social development, for categorizing it, and for extrapolating from it certain principles concerning social behavior.
…In this sense, Marxism has served as a mechanism of human “progress,” even if its practice has often fallen short of its ideals.
…Moreover, Marxism has decisively contributed to the political institutionalization and systematization of the deliberate effort to define the nature of our era and of man’s relationship to history at any given stage in that history.
Here Brzezinski is very clear as to the dialectical nature of Marxism as a “further creative and vital state” in a world historical process leading towards a new “technecratic age.”
Capitalism and Revolution
The assumption that Big Business would universally look with horror and dread upon the triumph of socialism is incorrect. As indicated by the opening quotation from H. G. Wells, certain capitalists saw in socialism and even Bolshevism a means of creating a more ordered environment in which to do business. Wells was referring at the time to the presence in Russia of Frank A. Vanderlip, chairman of the National City Bank, New York, representing a US business consortium.
A similar view was more recently expressed by Richard J. Barnet and Ronald E. Muller, who in their study of the multinational corporations, based on interviews with corporate executives, stated: “…Indeed, as one corporate strategist told us, socialism, far from being ‘the end of the world’, is a ‘big help’ because it ensures ‘stability’ over large areas of the world.” To be sure, this is not the view of all corporate strategists, but there is a certain faction of international capitalism that sees socialism as a control mechanism, among other factors.
As for specific examples, the obvious place to first consider would be with the most tumultuous of the modern revolutions, those that took place in Russia. Big Business would with good reason regarded Czarist Russia as an anachronism in the 20th century, a land of religious superstition, with a mass of uneducated peasants, ruled by an autocracy that was tradition-bound and surrounded by advisers, many of whom were adverse to modernization and industrialization. Hence when the Czar was overthrown with the March Revolution, the response of Wall Street, London, and other financial capitals was enthusiastic in seeing the possibilities of Russia at last being opened to large-scale foreign commerce.
The groundwork for revolution in Russia had been laid during the Russo-Japanese war when American journalist George Kennan was funded by Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Co., New York, to propagandize Russian POWs in the Japanese internment camps. Kennan was to claim that 50,000 revolutionary cadres had been recruited by this method, when a dozen years later he was celebrating the March Revolution:
“The movement was financed by a New York banker you all know and love”, he said, referring to Mr. Schiff, “and soon we received a ton and a half of Russian revolutionary propaganda. At the end of the war 50,000 Russian officers and men went back to their country ardent revolutionists. The Friends of Russian Freedom had sowed 50,000 seeds of liberty in 100 Russian regiments. I do not know how many of these officers and men were in the Petrograd fortress last week, but we do know what part the army took in the revolution.” Then was read a telegram from Jacob H. Schiff, part of which is as follows: “Will you say for me to those present at tonight’s meeting how deeply I regret my inability to celebrate with the Friends of Russian Freedom the actual reward of what we had hoped and striven for these long years.”