02 April 2009

Sorry, but real social change requires the authority of the sovereign

The left keeps looking for clever, creative ways for getting around the incumbent power of the corporate interests. Tasch thinks we can get around corporate interests by re-building the financial markets. He may be right but it doesn't feel that way.

Right now the only vehicle for social change on this planet is the nation-state. If change is to come, it's going to have to come at some national level. It's not a matter of scale. The national level could, and likely should, in fact, be a small scale nation. Rather, it's a matter of sovereignty. It is the sovereign who defines the fundaments of the people's value system. It is the sovereign who makes the laws. These values and laws happen at the nation-state level.

It might be true that the market, with its global reach, has now superceded the nation-state. If so, perhaps solutions for building a political/economy that is restorative might be achievable through the devising of a different sort of well-meaning financial exchange. But if so, then it seems to us the scope of the exchange will need to go well beyond the definition of a transaction, a share, the investment objectives, etc. Somehow the entire super-structure of money and laws and military power really needs to be re-designed, and that takes us right back to the sovereignty that one can find these days only at the nation-state level.

Alternatively, one can imagine the day when failed states abound in the world, and one could devise plans to rehabilitate those failed states according to values that are more restorative than they are, at present.

How can restorative institutions defeat the resource curse and the strongman rule that comes of that curse? That's the deeper question, it seems.

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