Streams

The Global Race to Reinvent the State

Monday, June 09, 2014

Flags Flags (Copyright: Jeanette Dietl/Shutterstock)

Our current crisis in government is a radical transition in the history of the nation-state. The West has always led these modern revolutions in government, but in this revolution, the Western government is in danger of being left behind, argue John Micklethwait, editor in chief of The Economist, and Adrian Wooldridge, The Economist’s management editor. They point out that the West’s debt load is unsustainable and that the toxic side effects of rapid developing world growth are adding to the bill. Micklethwait and Wooldridge’s book The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State examines the scope of the crisis and points forward to our future. They argue that countries’ success depends on their ability to reinvent the state, and that much of the West—particularly the United States—is failing badly in its task.

Guests:

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Comments [20]

Chuck from United States

China is succeeding now for the same reason that the US succeeded in the 1880s. You have a vast number of poorly paid, hard working people with no rights at all being beaten into further submission by a small cadre of industrial leaders and the government, and a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

Jun. 20 2014 04:32 PM
Michael Beckett from Yorkshire, UK, EU.

So only transmogrification of civil governance and monetary policy is required, but that's a Herculean task 2.0!

Jun. 19 2014 08:13 PM
Kathleen Migliore-Newton from Brooklyn

Sophia is right. Finnish schools are not privatized and they probably don't spend money on ipads for students.


Swedish Experiment in Privatizing Schools Floundering
by dianeravitch
Scholars such as Henry Levin have earlier warned that the Swedish experiment in privatization is promoting greater social segregation and not improving education.

Reader Chiara Duggan adds this recent Reuters article, with her comment on the failure of market-based reform. Will anyone tell Arne Duncan or will he continue to follow the guidance of (Sir) Michael Barber of Pearson?

Jun. 09 2014 03:03 PM
Charles from Manhattan

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was signed into law by President Clinton the same year Mayor Giuliani started his first term.
It included Federal Assault Weapons Ban, it put 100,000 additional police officers on the streets, crime prevention programs for our youth - Midnight Basketball. Clinton increased state and local assistance over 500 percent over six years.

During the first six of the Clinton Presidency, crime had dropped nation wide to its lowest level in a quarter of a century and violent crime rates have fallen more than 21 percent since 1993.

Commissioner Bratton made NYPD adopt CompStat in 94 and implemented broken windows theory. Crime dropped and he fas fired by Giuliani in 96.

Giuliani took the credit for Clinton and Bratton's policies but ducked all his failures - His police commissioner went to prison, he had a affair with a city employee, had another affair in public but was given a "circle of privacy" by the press. He failed to create a emergency disaster plan while building the NYC OEM "secret bunker" on the 23 floor of one of his election campaign contributors buildings WTC 7 across the street from the WTC towers, it was destroyed. He failed to get the repeaters working even though he had 6 years to do so and there is more, much more.

Jun. 09 2014 02:29 PM

What annoys me most about the speech of British intellectuals is that what they do is turn every action into a noun phrase.

Jun. 09 2014 01:59 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison, NJ

Two actually:

@jgarbuz: America is a country of the pension funds, by the lawyers for the international corporations. The people were dismissed as irrelevant by the time the TV screen dots winked out after Ford pardoned Nixon. You sound like a 1950's elementary school civics textbook. Emma Goldman was much more correct: if voting mattered it would be illegal. Your soapbox is way to shabby to convince even the most wide eyed RFD patriot. The conversation today was not about big or small government, it was about the complete oligarchic sidelining of American bureaucracy by special interests that couldn't give a hoot about anyone's liberty except the Koch brothers.

@Micklethwait:

The general project of your opinions is welcome, but it rests on more than one implausible premise. Much of Europe and Singapore can better tinker with their public weal and woe because they have timocratic or oligarchic cultures (Lutheranism and Buddhism come to mind in the former) seeking to differentiate themselves both from Stalinist collectivism and American "pretense" democracy covering extensive national socialism. All of these are aided by their relatively homogenous racial and linquistic plebiscites and their relatively small populations. Leonard's question regarding whether their size makes a difference was on point. The examples you gave are more appropriate to city/states like New York City than to a monstrous pastiche of overlapping jurisdictions and hugely powerful special interests that is the United States. The legal status of Corporations as legal persons with respect to rights, but shrouded in limited liability as regards responsibility and liability means that the supposed government by the sheeple in the USA is doomed before the onslaught of unrecognized sedition in the form of huge aggregations of capital. John Adams warned against it, Jackson deplored it, Abe Lincoln promoted it (railroads) and the Reconstruction Supreme Court elevated the Corporation above the Constitution to allow a perverse interpretation of the Equal Protection clause to undo emancipation in favor of Jim Crow. You are on the right track despite your rather middle-brow humanist philosophy, but are woefully ignorant of the entrenchment of real power in the USA, just as Jgarbuz from Queens above is almost incomprehensibly unaware of just how little liberty there really is in the US of A regardless of the operation of the so-called gubmint.

Jun. 09 2014 01:55 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Amy

Liberal Lindsey created the crime problem, and Giuliani cured it. I started life in NYC in the tenements in 1949, growing up in the Housing Projects, had a business in Brownsville, lived in Flatbush and Queens too.

Two other factors that brought crime down were (1) the Million Man march, and (2) the introduction of workfare instead of simple welfare. But mainly it was Giuliani time that ended the crime wave that was New York City from '67-1993.

Jun. 09 2014 12:48 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Crime in NYC began to drop before Mayor Giuliani, during the Dinkins adminstration.

Jun. 09 2014 12:43 PM
sophia

This book should have been published before the crash. People were more willing to buy this bs before the brilliance and innovation of Wall Street was exposed as a scam.

We have the most expensive healthcare in the world precisely because it's privatized. Privatization of essential services = wasting money on middle-men.

Jun. 09 2014 12:35 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

That totalitarian regimes have often done great works is nothing new. We can go back to the bloody Assyrians as just one example. The Mongols produced a great empire too at one time, but look what they did. Mussolini was admired for making the trains run on time, and Hitler for the autobahns. Yes, authoritarian regimes can exhibit great works, from the pyramids on down, but in the end they crumble. In the end, its the freedom of the individual that matters most. That is what true democracy is all about - liberty for the individual.

Jun. 09 2014 12:31 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

By nature, "true" Americans DISTRUST GOVERNMENT and that is GOOD! We are not Britain, and do not have a history of rulers who rule thanks to their "blue blood" and because they are inherently better people. WE THE PEOPLE are our own rulers, in theory, and therefore we do not trust ourselves either, because we are rulers too.

All of these Brits coming over here to tell us we must tax ourselves more or whatever have to understand why we, unlike Canada, broke away. Right or wrong, America has its own philosophy about guns and taxes and the rights of individuals and it will probably remain unique and different. Or at least I hope so. We must never trade liberty for false security and short term gains.

Jun. 09 2014 12:25 PM
sophia

The right has been bashing the Scan/Nordic countries for decades, and now that those are the countries in best standing after 30 years of right-wing control elsewhere, suddenly their success is because Sweden slightly lowered it's taxes/ privatized it's schools?

I guess promoting traditionally right-wing countries has finally gotten just too embarrassing.

Jun. 09 2014 12:24 PM
Jessie from way uptown

aren't you leaving out that quite unquestionably, and very actively, destroying the earth to serve the "social good" of having ever more money... is not actually a social good??

Jun. 09 2014 12:19 PM
sophia

The authors pick the few areas where a particular govt has shifted right, and gives that all the credit.

The Finns certainly haven't privatized their schools, and their schools are at the top.

Jun. 09 2014 12:19 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The most revolutionary concept in the history of government was "government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people." The idea that the people should elect their rulers ,and that those rulers can only rule for a limited period of time. That they are actually servants of the people, not potentates or rulers over them.

In the Bible the Israelites being oppressed by the Philistines come to Samuel the Judge to demand he appoint a king to unite the tribes against the Philistines. He warned them that a king would tax them dearly, take their daughters and their oxen, etc., but they insisted and so God tells Samuel to let them have their way. He appoints Tall Saul, who like Washington was a head taller than the average Israelite at the time, but in the end he fails to fully carry out Samuel's (i.e. God's) orders to the letter and has to make way to the Davidic dynasty.

But the point is, that the people for the purpose of security were willing to give away power to a ruler, and this is always the danger. That the people will trade liberty for security.

Jun. 09 2014 12:17 PM
tom from Astoria

Isn't China becoming a leader in world economics largely because government owned businesses can out perform Western companies because we are strictly private. Example: Right now a Chinese company has won a huge contract to rebuild the weatside highway in lower manhattan -- because the Chinese government provided the bonds to back the project -- allowing them to put in a lower bid.

Jun. 09 2014 12:17 PM
sophia

Have the authors never heard of the Military Industrial Complex?

What the right actually wants in practice is to shift govt spending in ways which only benefit the wealthy, and they've largely succeeded.

Jun. 09 2014 12:17 PM
tom from Astoria

Isn't China becoming a leader in world economics largely because government owned businesses can out perform Western companies because we are strictly private. Example: Right now a Chinese company has won a huge contract to rebuild the weatside highway in lower manhattan -- because the Chinese government provided the bonds to back the project -- allowing them to put in a lower bid.

Jun. 09 2014 12:17 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The most revolutionary concept in the history of government was "government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people." The idea that the people should elect their rulers ,and that those rulers can only rule for a limited period of time. That they are actually servants of the people, not potentates or rulers over them.

In the Bible the Israelites being oppressed by the Philistines come to Samuel the Judge to demand he appoint a king to unite the tribes against the Philistines. He warned them that a king would tax them dearly, take their daughters and their oxen, etc., but they insisted and so God tells Samuel to let them have their way. He appoints Tall Saul, who like Washington was a head taller than the average Israelite at the time, but in the end he fails to fully carry out Samuel's (i.e. God's) orders to the letter and has to make way to the Davidic dynasty.

But the point is, that the people for the purpose of security were willing to give away power to a ruler, and this is always the danger. That the people will trade liberty for security.

Jun. 09 2014 12:16 PM
David

Here's a different solution to the State.

State or Private-Law Society
http://mises.org/daily/5270

Jun. 09 2014 12:55 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.