Then today this article by Rana Dasgupta in The Guardian: "The demise of the nation state", as The Long Read. His analysis is more global and, to me, more convincing. He echos points that Ed Straw and I are currently writing about in a book due with Routledge in August this year. Dasgupta argues that:
"Since 1945, we have actively reduced our world political system to a dangerous mockery of what was designed by US president Woodrow Wilson and many others after the cataclysm of the first world war, and now we are facing the consequences. But we should not leap too quickly into renovation. This system has done far less to deliver human security and dignity than we imagine – in some ways, it has been a colossal failure – and there are good reasons why it is ageing so much more quickly than the empires it replaced"
and goes on to claim that there is no going back, no way of improving the 'current model':
"After so many decades of globalisation, economics and information have successfully grown beyond the authority of national governments. Today, the distribution of planetary wealth and resources is largely uncontested by any political mechanism............Without political innovation, global capital and technology will rule us without any kind of democratic consultation, as naturally and indubitably as the rising oceans."
We shall have to wait - but wait with active attention and personal action if his claims that:
"The libertarian dream – whereby antique bureaucracies succumb to pristine hi-tech corporate systems, which then take over the management of all life and resources – is a more likely vision for the future than any fantasy of a return to social democracy."
will come to pass. Resistance, in the Foucauldian sense can be harnessed on the back of the Cambridge Analytics and Facebook revelations together with growing critique of the antisocial power of black-box algorithms and hard AI. But this will require effort and greater solidarity - the very thing offered to the UK by membership of the EU.
From his convincing analysis comes the conclusion that:
"The three elements of the crisis described ... will only worsen. First, the existential breakdown of rich countries during the assault on national political power by global forces. Second, the volatility of the poorest countries and regions, now that the departure of cold war-era strongmen has revealed their true fragility. And third, the illegitimacy of an “international order” that has never aspired to any kind of “society of nations” governed by the rule of law."
I could not agree more with his conclusions that action on our part "is not a small endeavour: it will take the better part of this century. We do not know yet where it will lead. All we can lay out now is a set of directions." His suggested actions include:
- global financial regulation.
- global flexible democracy
- finding new conceptions of citizenship