Generally, when queried about intimacy, most people tend to think first about sexual contact and secondly about emotional and personal closeness. They also tend to imagine intimacy as a private affair, relegating intimate contact to private locations and circumstances such as the bedroom. Furthermore, judging by discussions in my workshops, many people consider intimacy to be a function of personal relationships. Seeking to expand beyond this common focus and context regarding intimacy, I have been considering a much broader view – the political/economic system in which we live, and which I believe impacts everyone’s level of intimacy.
Nearly all Western countries are governed as democracies and have a capitalist economic system; certainly this would describe the USA. Yet in the case of the US, what exactly does this mean, and what influence does this have on the intimacy habits of Americans. Historically, it seems to me, since the inception of this country there has existed a dynamic tension between the democratic political system and capitalism. For much of America’s history the relationship between democracy and capitalism has been very stable, and they have been somewhat of a check and balance dynamic for each other. However in the last two decades that has shifted, and capitalism has increasing dominated democracy...