Constitutional monarchies are Darwinist adaptations of absolute monarchies.
No emperor relinquishes their absolutist privileges under normal conditions. And it was no different in England over the 17th Century, when the Glorious Revolution in 1688 finally defeated royalty in favor of the parliamentary bourgeois.
I always sustain the Glorious Revolution laid the institutional framework for the advance of the Industrial Revolution a few decades later, already in the 18th Century, right there in England. And, starting there, England would become the greatest Empire the world would ever know.
The English would rule territories throughout the planet, enforcing their culture, their politics, their trade agenda. They would be great maritime explorers, rulers in primitive lands, incomparable tradesmen, astute bankers, and traffickers of animals, humans, and drugs.
The English decline would start from the loss of the North American colonies still in the late-18th Century. But it would sharpen strongly with the terrible Great Wars in the 20th Century. The once imposing British Empire had become a harmless Commonwealth.
Young Elizabeth inherited the British monarch throne in 1953. And learned how to perform with accuracy the liturgy of the royal role, especially the art of not interfering as a leader with government decisions. The youth realized that being Queen transcended the throne and the crown, projecting her image and influence with the consistent support of media platforms. The Queen became popular, surviving countless economic, political, and reputation crises.
Amazing to imagine the Queen still popular in the current environment of institutional disgrace, where practically all 20th-Century hierarchical constructs are in check for a more fluid, self-centered and sensitive society. In any case, the Queen remained relevant and active in different contexts over her 70-year reign. Thank Elizabeth.
The expression ‘monarch’ already appears today dusty in the throne and staff. Nothing more dissonant from the contemporary environment intent on the ephemeral, on trial, on restlessness, on the bland. So it happens with the remaining European royal houses: old uniforms, irrelevant heraldry. Princesses, earls, and countesses reduced to celebrities on gossip blogs and to characters for hire at fundraisers for social projects.
The incomparable monarch Queen Elizabeth II, in turn, built herself as a one-of-a-kind. Probably less for genetic privilege; more for strength of character. She truly knew how to be royal. Deserving of all pomp and circumstance. She kept her institutional authority even far from the medieval symbology that rendered kings and queens nearly divine for their entourage.
Evaluating her performance is a complex task. Not always are economic performance indicators very aggregated and systemic. Neither are political and social indicators. In any case, Elizabeth was excellent maintaining herself as Queen. And that per se means a lot. In the English popular imaginary, even in the face of the rotation or inaptitude of so many Prime Ministers of the Parliament, there was the fearless and impeccable Queen as a reference in leadership for England herself and for the remaining nations.
Monarchs – in certain way, also dictators, and even elected presidents – see the world through distorted lenses that insist on attributing their powers on behalf of the general well-being of all in the nation. In practice, the underlying agenda concerns their very family’s perpetuity in the royal throne. And both agendas may walk hand-in-hand, but not necessarily. Therefore, the Queen acted diligently on behalf of public agendas with a positive potential impact on her subjects’ daily lives, but she certainly also chose paths that furthered the interests of her extended family.
Yet, no-one lasts forever... And hereditary succession is always a problem, a lottery. It is never possible to ensure transition to successors who are apt to the roles and their responsibilities. Elizabeth was not lucky in this regard. And the Monarchy is already at risk of collapsing for lack of support in the near future. In practice, its eventual demise will probably make no difference in the socioeconomic and even political trajectory for the English.
Strong Elizabeth passed away this morning. The Queen will always be eternal.
Daniel Augusto Motta é Managing Partner e CEO da BMI Blue Management Institute. Doutor em Economia pela USP, Mestre em Economia pela FGV-EAESP e Bacharel em Economia pela USP. É Alumni OPM Harvard Business School. Atua também como Managing Partner da corporate venture capital WhiteFox sediada em San Francisco (EUA), como Senior Tupinambá Maverick na content tech Bossa.etc e com Membro do Conselho de Administração da Afferolab. Também atua como Diretor de Planejamento Estratégico da UNIBES e Membro do Conselho Deliberativo do MASP. Foi Membro-Fundador da Sociedade Brasileira de Finanças. Foi Professor nos MBAs da Fundação Dom Cabral, Insper, FGV, ESPM e PUC-SP. É autor de diversos artigos publicados por Valor Econômico, EXAME, VocêSA e Folha de São Paulo, e também tem três artigos publicados pela Harvard Business Review Brasil. É autor dos livros best-sellers A Liderança Essencial, Anthesis e Data Insights.