‘CREATIVE DESTRUCTION’ : The EVOLUTION of Mauritian politics

The term “creative destruction” may sound like an oxymoron but does exist and its concept was first referred to by Karl Marx. It was then used in a pejorative manner to refer to the systematic destruction and reconfiguration of previous economic orders by capitalism and its apparent mode of devaluing existing wealth (through economic crises or war) to clear the ground for the creation of new wealth. However the concept was eventually reprised by another ‘éminence grise’ in the economic domain, namely Joseph Schumpeter who assimilated the notion of creative destruction to “the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, destroying the old one and creating a new one”, or in two words ‘disruptive innovation’.
It would be interesting to draw a parallel with the current state of politics in Mauritius. We are in the midst of an electoral campaign and it is obvious that there are two main blocks consisting of so called ‘mainstream’ parties which, for the majority, have been around since more than two decades. Despite having youth wings, most of the mainstream parties are led by the same players who were here decades ago, drawing the country ever so closer to a full-fledged gerontocracy.
However the first tremors of creative destruction may have been felt with the mushrooming of new political parties coming forth with new ideas (new by Mauritian standards, that is) such as curtailment of prime-ministerial / presidential tenure for any elected individual, participative democracy, strengthened accountability etc. These new innovative ideas can be compared to intellectual seeds being sown in the minds of the electorate and which will sooner or later germinate and be reflected in the ‘Vox Populi’.
In addition, a certain air of dissonance with mainstream parties seems to crowd the ether.  Examples are rife in the press of political candidates being questioned bluntly or chased outright by their constituents. Apart from the usual so called ‘die-hards’ (tous blocs confondus), many of whom have probably not retained sovereignty over their own mind and have outsourced the process of critical thinking to their cherished leaders,  there seems to be a general discontent  in the electorate. This feeling is fueled by the blatant display of Orwellian ‘doublethink’ by political leaders who forge unlikely alliances, glorify yesterday’s adversaries, change allegiances ‘au gré du vent’ and accuse their contradictors of committing - to use another Orwellian term - ‘thought-crimes’.
While we are it, it is also interesting to draw a parallel of the fate of mainstream parties with observations made by Sir John Bagot Glubb in his book ‘The fate of Empires and search for survival’. The book posits that all great empires have invariably known six ages, namely the ages of pioneers, conquests, commerce, affluence, intellect and decadence. The age of decadence, in Glubb’s words, is typified by “the corruption of the habits of the members of the community by the enjoyment of too much money and too much power for too long a period. The result has been to make them selfish and idle. A community of selfish and idle people declines, internal quarrels develop in the division of its dwindling wealth, and pessimism follows, which some of them endeavour to drown in sensuality or frivolity. In their own surroundings, they are unable to redirect their thoughts and their energies in new channels”. Replace the word ‘community’ with ‘political party’ and history may suddenly start to look like present by reference to some of our mainstream parties.