OVER A CENTURY AGO it was Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who said, in the opening lines to the Communist Manifesto, that a spectre was haunting the ruling order of Europe - the spectre of communism. Within months of its publication in 1848, revolutions broke out across Europe.
While the two men were hailed - or stared at suspiciously - for possessing supposedly prophetic powers, neither men knew that 1848 would prove to be a historic year. But rather than confining themselves to a safe intellectual and political bubble - the failure of today's Commentariat - Marx and Engels spent a lot of time actually talking to discontented workers. They knew then that something was up.
While Marx and Engels baited the ruling classes for their fear of revolution and the prospect of socialism, in 2016 many ordinary folk are scared of the uncertain and insecure future that capitalism only seems capable of providing.
This was something that no less than the Governor of the Bank of England chose to concern himself with in a speech at a Liverpool university this week. Echoing the words of Marx and Engels, Mark Carney raised the spectre of revolution when he warned the ruling elites that they risked the prospect of people "turning their backs" on capitalism if it continued to enrich the few at the expense of the many.
He said that in many advanced countries there were "staggering wealth inequalities" and that globalisation was "..associated with low wages, insecure employment, stateless corporations and striking inequalities."
Carney's warning to the one percent was stark - they had to act promptly "to ensure people do not lose faith in the current system." He continued that there was a growing sense of “isolation and detachment” among people who felt they had been left behind and that it could not be continued to be ignored.
This is not the first time that Carney has warned of a backlash against capitalism. In 2014 he warned that "capitalism loses its sense of moderation when the belief in the power of the market enters the realm of faith.”
Carney has been campaigning for what he describes as an 'inclusive capitalism'. This is a political project launched in 2011 by a neoconservative British think tank . Among other things, It opposes 'light touch regulation' and advocates such policies as stronger controls on financial markets. It also seeks to build "a sense of vocation and responsibility ” among business leaders.
It is little more than an attempt to rehabilitate a failed economic system that enriches the few at the expense of the many.
But what Carney is also expressing is a fear among the ruling elites that the increasing impoverishment and disenfranchisement of large swathes of the world's population - caused by decades of 'politics as usual'' - threatens their continued rule. There is a growing anxiety among the one percent that if they don't 'up their game' they face the prospect of populist revolutions and the installation of governments that will depart from the free market narrative.
More than a century after Marx and Engels made their famous observation, the spectre of revolution continues to haunt the ruling elites of the world.