What I have done here is a macro-historic analysis, and subsequent rearrangement of the political spectrum to better explain the observations.
The various "left/right" and multi-dimensional political spectrums all have the weakness of being rather arbitrary, prone to cultural/ideological bias, and lack usefulness in explaining socioeconomic phenomenon and forecasting movements. If theories explaining human societies are not grounded in our biological reality as hunter-gatherers evolved from the Paleolithic, how do we know they are not just whimsical theorizing with no basis in reality? Theories should explain the observations, which this new theory does, at least at the macro-level.
The other problem with the typical “left vs right” spectrum is that it actually does have usefulness, but more for presenting a false binary to a population, in order to divide them into ideological sub-populations. A macro-review of history, including a dive into the prior century, shows this binary thinking has been used 1) internally, to divide societies (divide and conquer technique), and 2) externally, to divide competing societies (drive nationalism and collectivism against “those guys”). While this is useful in achieving the goal, my theory is interested in explaining why that goal is, by illuminating the reoccurring macro-pattern.
Perpetual Authoritarianism Growth Model (PAGM)
My reorganization describes a natural progression from small individualist hunter gatherer societies -to- massive authoritarian industrial-technological societies, a progression which can be observed across the last 10,000 years (from hunter-gatherer, to agricultural, to industrial, to technological). The steps along the way are various socioeconomic forms (i.e. interrelated ideologies, and economic models) which achieve that economic progression. I've named this the "Perpetual Authoritarianism Growth Model" (PAGM), which is perhaps a bit long and cumbersome, but I think descriptive of the underlying trend.
My model challenges the implied binary claim that "it's either left or right" with a flood of historic data that shows even across relatively short spans of time; the outcome is consistently a movement from small individualism to large collectivism/authoritarianism, regardless of the left/right “choice.”
Example: AMERICA (400+ years): traditionalist native peoples > conservative settlers > libertarian founders > 20th century liberalism > authoritarian corporatism > postmodernist anarchy.
Notes on diagram: we could flip this and call it a steady progression from "left-to-right" instead. But if when viewed at the macro-level, "left" and "right" are just ideological tactics to achieve the same end, the distinction loses relevance. The progression moves in one direction into perpetuity, with social and technological "progress" ever decreasing freedom and human dignity, relative to the environment in which we evolved. At the far left "soft-wall" there are arranged vertically various authoritarian forms, and I make no real "left vs right" distinction between these. The reason I have structured it right-to-left is because over time an industrial-technological society "wants" to progress, and so it tends to favor various progressive ideologies (the "left") over conservative/traditional ones (the "right"), as conservatism by its nature cautions against overly-rapid progress.
THE NATURAL SOCIETAL PROGRESSION FROM SMALL-INDIVIDUALISM, TO BIG-AUTHORITARIAN
Traditional societies are our beginning—for three million years homo genus lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Everything starts here, and we need to understand this base state, before we can understand what comes next.
Hunter-gatherer societies of the Paleolithic were small nomadic bands—a group of family units traveling together, commonly around 20 individuals, or more rarely a large tribe of 100. We have data on this time period from both archaeology and modern hunter-gatherers, as well as observations on the behavior of modern humans who clearly work more efficiently in small groups (e.g. Price's Law, etc). Order in these small bands was brought by the tribal leader, and by the males and elders of each family unit. We will call this bottom-up order. There was little top-down order, as this was pre-town (thus no state). During this period there was not much specialization, as each family had to be broadly competent in order to survive. We could perhaps define this period as "peak independence"—no town, no state, the individual family units made their own decisions and lived/died by those choices.
Note: as we continue with this review of societal forms, remember this first one was a three million year period. It is the environment to which many of our adaptations formed, adaptations which define our species, and which are now permanently written into our biology. For some perspective—towns have only been around for 10K years (0.3% of our history), and modern industrial society not much more than 100 years (0.003%).
Farmer societies of the Neolithic came next—these societies are defined by the formation of towns, switch to agriculture, and the development of specialization. With this came innovation, efficiencies, rapidly growing resources, and rapidly expanding populations to consume those resources, which in turn drove more innovation (because larger populations have more IQ outliers, which are put to work solving the problems caused by prior technological progress). This feedback loop, which began with the dawn of the Neolithic, has continued for 10,000 years (note this loop is the key to understanding why these sociological forms exist; the forms serve the loop, which is set in nature and can not be modified nor paused).
And with this societal progression necessarily came an increase in order, and an unavoidable decrease in independence. Townies have to sit at the grain wheel all day, grinding away, or their society collapses. Most people don't want to do that, and so the town must develop rules, and rules must be enforced. Society decisions must be made at the top, which individual townies can not control, but must abide (or be cast out). There could still exist much rugged individualism here (relative to later forms), but this was an increase in order from the prior hunter-gatherer minimal-structure societies.
Example: American Indians. The American Indians were Paleolithic people who migrated from Eurasia. They settled North America some 10K+ years ago. At some point these hunter-gatherer tribes morphed into small-scale agrarian tribes, while also retaining some hunter-gatherer behaviors. Note I'm using North America as the main example throughout, but there are better examples of this farmer stage in Neolithic Europe.
Conservatism is our base state in the post hunter-gatherer world. Conservative societies come about naturally, and are seen all over the world prior to the industrial revolution, and are maintained for awhile post-industrialization. Order in conservative societies is largely enforced bottom-up; from males, elders, as well as with passed down religions and philosophies. Examples of bottom-up structure include Christianity in the West, and Confucianism and Taoism in the East. All the major "books of wisdom" are essentially the same root conservatism—precautions passed down thru the ages, a guide book for how to self-police and thus avoid trouble, which minimizes the need for state-policing.
Notice this stage occurs across time and geography, in every society. The best-fit explanation with the fewest assumptions is that this form works by way of evolutionary adaptations; mechanisms we evolved in the Paleolithic for how we organize larger-sized tribes. Perhaps these adaptations were even further shaped in the relatively short Neolithic period (religion piggybacking on prior tribal adaptations?). But what's clear, is that these adaptations only works up to a certain size limit, because we did not evolve in tribes of 300 million (to manage those tribes we needed to invent forms of top-down authoritarianism, discussed later).
All around the world, "third-world" societies have the same conservative traits; patriarchal order (strong family units, important father roles, mothers maintaining "the cave" and growing strong children, and respect for elders) and shared religiosity or philosophy. At this stage governments tend not to be well-structured enough to impose sufficient top-down order, the order naturally comes bottom-up. And even in recently industrialized societies (e.g. South Korea) the bottom-up order of conservatism persists as the dominant form of order, for awhile.
Example: American settlers. The European settlers came some 400 years ago. Perhaps a somewhat self-selected bunch, departing a more oppressive order, seeking to turn the clock back and return to individualism and freedom. They brought with them a bottom-up order consisting of shared religious values, strong family units, and local tribal leaders (e.g. the sherif, mayor, and minister). There was no well-formed state where they were going, and so this natural order was all they had. There were smaller more traditionalist groups (e.g. Amish), and larger more structured conservative groups. But by this stage things are progressing toward more order, from the lower-order native societies, who get replaced (a common theme, if you do not progress, you are eliminated/swallowed).
Libertarian societies are what comes with the realization that individual liberties must be lost, in order to form a larger and more powerful group. Conservative societies don't spend a lot of time pontificating and posturing about their "freedoms," because they don't feel those freedoms have been lost. But as freedoms are lost, so begins the obsession with regaining them. During this stage you also see top-down (state) propaganda, to the effect that these lost freedoms still exist (but if they did, you wouldn't need the propaganda), or stressing the importance of protecting the remaining freedoms.
Perhaps this stage is a bit different for Eastern societies, and my use of the term "libertarianism" is too culturally specific. In the East the phase is more about preserving local communalism, as that is their shared value, not individualism. But both individualism and local-communalism are lost with time, to top-down order.
Example: United States founding. The founders clearly realized that by forming a federal government, some individualism would be lost, which is why they spent so much time building in protections to save what freedoms would remain. Yet with time many of those protections have failed, and my model forecasts more will. In reality, a society must subordinate individualism, in order to increase its efficiency, in order to grow, and hold order across its increased span. Libertarians of the 21st century dream of a society that is long gone, and can never be regained, or that perhaps never was—however most people accept that time has moved on, and that top-down order is necessary.
Liberal societies acknowledge that individualism and freedoms are largely gone, and instead make a show of displaying inferior substitutes. You see this play out as “look at my hair blue, and wild beliefs, I’m an individual!” This need arrises from the internal realization that one lacks autonomy; there are many substantive choices that they may no longer make (as the system now dictates those), but they can still make cosmetic choices. During this stage you also see government/corporate propaganda, which encourages desperate "individualism." But these substitutes are false equivalences for the real freedoms people crave—people biologically crave a reversal of this progression, back to prior stages where they experienced a feeling of personal power over their own lives—and no substitute offered by industrial-technological society can resolve this discord.
The discord is due to a growing "evolutionary environment gap," which is defined as the difference between our current environment, and the past environment to which we are still best adapted (see hunter-gatherer section above).
Example: United States 20th century. During this period conservatism (which could also be called classical liberalism) was lost to modern liberalism. This new form of liberalism, which is still very much in fashion, is obsessed with "freeing people." It appeals to so many people, because people DO NOT feel free. Yet instead of making them more free, modern liberalism removes yet more freedoms. During this period there is a massive increase in the size of the economy, matched by a massive increase in the size of the state.
Authoritarian societies were the innovation which solved homo sapiens' growth-obstacle; how to maintain order across massive groups (e.g., US 300 million, and CN 1.4 billion), given that we have no evolved biological mechanism to do so. These societies are an acknowledgement of reality—that individualism and freedoms must not only be subordinated, but aggressively crushed—collectives must be formed in order to accelerate economic growth and dominate other tribes, or else be dominated. These societies have great efficiency and often great economic success (e.g. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China, and Corporatist United States), but it comes at a horrible cost to individualism and local-communities—which experience unjust laws, burdensome bureaucracy, state monitoring, totalitarian ideologies, smashed traditionalism, banned conservatism, burned history, and police state physical enforcement.
Note that I'm not making a distinction between "left" communism or "right" fascism, as is normally attempted, as I do not see that as useful in explaining the macro-trend. The following five authoritarian socioeconomic forms are just various ways of tightly structuring the society given various circumstances that were present last century. Each form had an attached ideology, to sell it to the masses. The purpose of these forms is to create a well-oiled productive machine, to outcompete neighboring tribes (or at least keep up), in order to survive. These forms are actually very similar in their tactics and results.
1. Maoist China—Maoism and its origins (1910-1970s) sought the "total destruction of the traditions and values of the past" (Chen Duxiu, 1915). The push came from a small elite who grew tired of confucianism and conservatism holding back "progress." Maoism became fiercely nationalistic (nationalism is an allegiance to the state over one's self, it binds the tribe), and fused with Marxism (used as an intellectual opposition to Western capitalist domination, i.e. "left vs right" to divide the global tribes). Maoism pushed women into the workforce, "enable every woman who can work to take her place on the labour front, under the principle of equal pay for equal work," (Mao, 1955) which was a common tactic in the 20th century to ignite economic growth. Maoism was economically speaking rough going, but eventually successful. Movements such "the Great Leap Forward" (1960) helped progress the society from agrarian to industrial by way of agricultural collectivization. The 1966 "Cultural Revolution" destroyed cultural artifacts and traditional religions, anything not related to allegiance to the party was subordinated, in order to push society forward to the next phase (current Socialist/Corporatist China, discussed later). All along the way, local-order and individualism were sacrificed, to move the societal machine forward at a faster rate (to keep up with the West).
2. Stalinist Russia—Stalinism (1920-1950) was a means of implementing rapid industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture. It was driven by the awareness that Russia was falling behind other industrializing societies (the West and China). Small villages, and thus traditional life, were overrun in the drive for urbanization. Stalinism pursued its economic goals single-mindedly using state authoritarianism and the promotion of class conflict, to get upper-middle class capitalists and individual farmers to fall in line with the collectivization. The Great Purge (1930s) dealt with opposition using political repression, police surveillance, and Gulags. Ideologically there was religious-like characteristic to Stalin's modified-Marxism, and as with other authoritarian forms the underlying ideology did not actually make intellectual sense. The ideology took whatever shape necessary to achieve the plan—rapid industrialization without regard for externalities inflicted on the masses.
3. Nazi Germany—Nazism (1935-1945) consolidated power, and formed an authoritarian state (outright totalitarianism). It responded to the Great Depression (originating in the United States in 1929) using both top-down planning and free markets, and addressed mass unemployment with military industrial sector and infrastructure spending. Nazism of course engaged in territorial expansionism, and was fiercely nationalist (ethno-tribalism to both subordinate the individual and unify the tribe against internal/external enemies). Opposition to the movement was suppressed using fear, imprisonment, and execution (note traditional religions where a major target, the churches). Instead of adding women to the workforce to increase production, Hitler pursued a patriarchal strategy (anti-feminism), removing women from the workforce in order to decrease the high unemployment level. Women were instead encouraged to grow larger families (increase the tribe's core racial group). Nazism addressed bad economic times by aggressively pushing the society "forward." It pursued its economic goal single-mindedly while shrugging off costs to individuals, and was successful in ending economic instability and mass unemployment. The period is full of incredible industrial advances and efficient production techniques.
The distinction people attempt to make with Nazism is by analyzing the movements marketing materials, and slightly different tactics (sure, it emphasized biological tribalism, instead of Marxist social-class tribalism). But like the other authoritarian socioeconomic forms it emerged as an answer to an economic threat. The tactics served the same overall strategy of top-down control and nationalism/collectivism...and achieved the same result of rapid economic progress.
4. Socialist/Corporatist China—post-Mao, modern China (1970-present) switched to a pragmatic hybrid model which included opening up to the world and embracing market forces, while also retaining socialist elements in the ideology and economic system. For example, the massive state-owned enterprises (SOEs) use a mixture of private and state ownership/control, and are actually quite similar to the large US corporations. The difference is—the state retains more control for long-term society planning (which industries will be developed and how), in an effort to outcompete the short-termism of US corporatism. The state also dictates many other things (e.g. one-child policy, restrictions on freedom of religion, etc.) and rigidly controls mass media (again not actually that different from the US corporate media oligopoly). Economically speaking this hybrid model has been wildly successful, though many personal freedoms have been sacrificed. China finds itself in an economic arms race—it competes with the US to see who can grow their economy the fastest (which is also an arms race on subordination of the individual)—and the loser potentially becomes economically and culturally swallowed by the other (notice this is the same story as last century).
5. Corporatist United States—American corporatism (1970-present) is an incredibly complex and highly sophisticated legal-financial structure which began in the 1970s, and accelerated in the 1980s, as a way to economically collectivize (i.e. create massive oligopolies). While still posing as capitalism, the movement is by design a collection of work-arounds for the generally accepted "laws" of that economic system, in order to grow the industrial-technological society faster than free market, symmetric risk-return capitalism would have allowed. Economic efficiencies under this model come from growing massive legal entities, using increasingly narrow programming—just maximize profits, no matter the cost. These corporate oligopolies are essentially state-sponsored enterprises (similar to China's SOEs), in that they are entirely fabrications of the law (e.g. corporate personhood), and are granted all their rights (including special rights) by the state. Like Maoism, American corporatism collaborated with government to collectivize agriculture, and push women into the workforce to accelerate industrial society growth ("freeing women" from oppressive traditionalism and conservatism).
The costs to individual have been massive and methodical—the corporate-government state controls culture top-down via the mass media oligopoly, which has engaged in social engineering and fear-based tactics to essentially outlaw or keep quiet all opposition (conservatism, traditionalism, libertarianism, patriarchal natural order, and religion). Any opposition is branded "racist, sexist, and literally nazi" and can be silenced using control of the communication network (e.g. the traditional-media and tech-media oligopolies and monopolies) or by roaming gangs (Antifa). The costs to society are too many to list, see instead this thorough paper on corporatism. Corporatism has been economically speaking, wildly successful—explosive GDP growth, explosive profits, and many technological advancements. But the individual's best interests are not only subordinated, but actively cannibalized, for the maximization of profit. And top-down control penetrates the individual's public and private lives. The result of all this has been an increase in dissatisfaction, depression, apathy, and a growing demand for revolution.
Authoritarian society commonalities—notice these movements tend to arise from an economic motivation; an economic trigger event (e.g. 1929 depression hits the world, 1935 German unemployment, 2008 global recession), or a growing external risk such as the industrialization of neighboring tribes (e.g. 1920s Russia falling behind, US threatened by growing China), combined with a failure of the prior order to deliver solutions. The new movement then rallies the tribe using various ideologies which generate nationalism and collectivism. The growing social order serves to bring about economic order (e.g. economic collectivism and growth of the state for centralized planning). Along the way the movement silences opposition voices (often individualists, free-thinkers, conservatives, traditionalists, small-scale capitalists, and the religious). In its single-minded goal, the movement often achieves "success," while ignoring rather brutal externalities to the people, yet the victims of these externalities often praise the movement (e.g. Americans praise the fruits of corporatism, Chinese/Russians praise Stalinism/Marxism, only Nazism is almost universally condemned).
Also notice the actual stories (Marxism, Nazism, Corporatism, etc) don't actually make intellectual sense. It's all a bunch of ideological/economic-voodoo (e.g. trickle-down economics, the workers seizing ownership the means of production, etc.). These stories are reinterpreted, re-spun, and made to fit current circumstances. The stories are so flexible, that they really have no meaning. So why spend time analyzing irrational stories which are used to control the masses? These left/right "distinctions" do NOT enlighten us on the underlying forces driving socioeconomic events, and thus are of little use in forecasting such events...for that we need to understand the root driver(s).
Example: United States late 20th century. As already discussed above, America transitioned from the Liberalism stage, to Corporatism. By the turn of the century the country could be viewed as being under the rule of a massive corporate-government state (top-down order). Economic growth exploded, but with that came soul-crushing externalities.
ANARCHY; THE BEGINNING AND END
Under this macro-historic way of looking at things, anarchy breaks out at both ends of the progression.
In the beginning with hunter/gatherer societies, if you don't have at least have a bit of tribal order (e.g. a strong chief or family unit), then chaos breaks out and you end up with roaming individuals (lone wolfs). Anarchy can be a transitory phase with the loss of a leader, a tribal war, a natural disaster, or other disruptive event.
Anarchy can also break out at the end of massive authoritarian societies. This could happen during a collapse event—as a leading-authoritarian society (see the soft wall on the left of the diagram) goes too far and fails, chaos breaks out, and the society lands back at a prior stage such as conservatism (from which it rebuilds and begins the march leftward again, eventually achieving a new "peak authoritarianism" N-decades later). Or anarchy could manifest itself during a "purge event" where the a current authoritarian order is shed, only to make way for a new authoritarian order (e.i. vertical movement from Maoist China to Socialist/Corporatist China).
Example: United States late 21st century. By the beginning of the century, and accelerating in the 10s, chaos emerged with spread of postmodernism. This is perhaps a more extreme version of liberalism—a way for the masses deny reality, and create their own subjective reality, in order to feel some amount of control over their own lives. Also, like with the ideologies of the prior century, there are clear lines tracing the spread of postmodernism back to the state and institutions (corporations and universities), it's not just a bottom-up phenomenon.
REBIRTH, AND REPEAT...INTO PERPETUITY
But anarchy is a transitory phase. When a massive authoritarian society collapses under the weight of its own "success," order is restored in the form of traditionalism and/or conservatism...and the process quickly begins again. To date no setback has knocked us back to Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, and even if some future catastrophic event did, this model says we would quickly rebuild and resume the progression.
There appears to be no way to stop this cycle, as human societies naturally complete—it’s survival of the fittest. Societies that follow the wisdom of holding on to their traditional ways of life and bottom-up order, or otherwise fail to move from "right to left" as fast as other societies, get dominated by the larger more efficient authoritarian monoliths (e.g. American Indians, or the many societies subjugated by the Roman, British and American empires).
The root driver of this progression toward larger more-authoritarian forms is not a battle between "the left and right," it is homo sapiens' unstoppable biologically-written programming to invent, and to push society "forward" thru various growth stages (hunter-gatherer, agricultural, industrial, technological, and beyond), so as not to be outcompeted by neighboring tribes. And beyond a certain society size threshold, top-down order is required.
Also there is logically no end-point, no "peak authoritarianism" that is achieved, and held. As long as humanity survives, it does what it is biologically programmed to do and grows outward, and as long as it grows outward, consolidation and top-down order must increase. The logical future-state is a global authoritarian world-government, or something like described in the novel 1984 (e.g. "the party" which holds a single authoritarian form forever, by controlling communication, and thus preventing revolution).
Note that we presently see the above mentioned logical future-state already manifesting. American corporatism is a self-propagating form that naturally expands globally (MNCs)—progressivists champion the disintegration of national sovereignty, while conservatives try to hold back this "globalism," and warn of the further damage to individualism that would likely come with a global state—but using this model we see what has historically resulted, and I would not expect this trend to stop.
THE MODEL, MATHEMATICALLY
We can look at any society's gross domestic product (GDP), and view its growth rate GDP[gr]. Essentially what my model is saying, is that there is also an "authoritarianism growth rate" A[gr], which correlates with the GDP[gr], as there is mechanically no way to grow a society significantly without also increasing top-down order. The model also says that during times when the society attempts to rapidly grow (often due to some perceived threat), there is a disproportionately large increase in A(gr), in order to kick GDP[gr] into action. Also, new order tends to be "sticky"—while the authoritarianism may drop from a transitory peak, the order post-peak tends to be greater than the order pre-peak—if order were not sticky, neither would be the economic growth attained by that order.
Note: this is a rather simplistic mathematical relationship, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. I could probably do more work here, and create a more detailed formula explaining the phenomenon. However I do think this macro-formula is the correct starting place for future exploration.
Macro-analyses do not explain every micro-observation, as there are too many variables in nature to explain everything with such a simple linear progression theory. The theory DOES NOT say you can't have authoritarian small tribes (you can), and it DOES NOT say small-form authoritarianism is always negative (see Singapore). But it DOES say you can't have a massive tribe without authoritarianism, and it DOES say this large-form authoritarianism tends to be negative (because it is completely different from our evolutionary environment). And finally, it DOES imply that smaller tribes may be able to enjoy more freedoms and contentment, so long as they are not overrun/enslaved by larger tribes (see small European countries, and small Asian countries such as South Korea, which are linked to large-authoritarian societies, but still retain some level autonomy).
This is version 1.0, and I may develop further. Email me if you have thoughts!