Naturally, a recession mentality is different, being forged by deprivation rather than gluttony. And the culture it creates may well deliver more status for social duty than before, when those not lining their pockets were merely a bunch of suckers and losers. But for as long as the profit motive rules, politicians will be bent, and the public will have to judge as best they can.
Individuals now have more power of information than ever. The concept of counter-veillance is here, as seen in the G20 protests. And the steam train is no longer the fastest means of communication. So we do not need the same forms of political representation we did when most people still lived a days trainride from delivering a petition to anyone who could make a difference. We don't need the same form of delegated politician, we need more access to the decision-making process itself.
For the time being, we have the technology and the infrastructure to restore an element of the community camp-fire to politics and economics. And restore some of the trust between people which has now almost completely vanished. And save the planet a bit.
If that technology can put the first black man in the White House, it can surely help restore the balance in favour of those deserving community interests hitherto out-priced and out-lobbied from power by vast commercial interests. We are facing a deep ideological choice between the politics of the last 200 years, and a politics which can see us through the next 200 years.
As the socialist George Orwell said:
"I suggest that the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue."