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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Stiglitz on the failure of nations (and globalisation)

Nicely depressing piece for the start of the year.

“As in previous years, the fundamental problem haunting the global economy in 2013 remained a lack of global aggregate demand. This does not mean, of course, that there is an absence of real needs — for infrastructure, to take one example… But the global private financial system seems incapable of recycling the world’s surpluses to meet these needs. And prevailing ideology prevents us from thinking about alternative arrangements.

“We have a global market economy that is not working. We have unmet needs and underutilized resources. The system is not delivering benefits for large segments of our societies. And the prospect of significant improvement in 2014 — or in the foreseeable future — seems unrealistic. At both the national and global levels, political systems seem incapable of introducing the reforms that might create prospects for a brighter future

Emphasis mine.


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  3. This is indeed a major topic of our time. My thesis:
    * The people have been disorganized by consumerism-individualism, so churches, political parties and trade unions no longer exist as mass entities, therefore cannot meaningfully contest political abuses.
    * Standards of living, though declining, are still very high by historical standards and perfectly tolerable.
    So politico-economic elites are pretty much free to engorge themselves with more money (inequality) and power (NSA, GCHQ; ECB), with minimal response from the apathetic, uninterested, unconscious, only vaguely discontented masses. (If you’ve got a home, clothes, foods, Internet and a flat-screen TV, what exactly is the problem?)

    Pretty depressing stuff for the sincere democrat who is overly invested in Western regimes’ (more-or-less exaggerated) claims of political legitimacy. Questions: Will the abuses will get so bad that this leads to a reaction (as after 1929)? Will new democratic possibilities (notably via the Internet: transparency, self-education, decentralized society…) be taken advantage of?

    Final note: There are definitely no global solutions, there can only be an juxtaposition of national solutions. In fact, for most of today’s problems it is not that the Nation-State is powerless (although this is constantly cited as an excuse for inaction), but that national authorities do not have any interest in tackling these problems.

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