Thursday, February 24, 2011

Failed states: most people live under governments failing to provide for their citizens

Throughout the world, most human beings live in failed states.

These states have failed to provide the basics for their citizens. These states have either chosen or allowed themselves to be structured in a way they cannot fulfill basic obligations.

In what ways are states failing to meet basic responsibilities?

Accountability. The nation-state system failed to hold the financial sector accountable for the near meltdown of the global economy. In the United States, no accountability has been meted for the fabrications that were part of the case to invade Iraq.

Services. We live in a world with a surplus of labor and a growing economy. Yet we are asked to accept diminished public services.

Rights. National governments often violate the rights of their citizens or others. In a particularly egregious example, the United States has order the execution of one of its citizens without bringing him to trial. See Confirmed: Obama authorizes assassination of U.S. citizen by Glenn Greenwald.

War. While the United Nations has successfully reduced the number of wars around the world, it has been less effective at restraining the Permanent members of the UN Security Council, especially the United States. Also, the United Nations has failed to get governments to shift government spending to expenditures that uplift the economy and its people. Much of this military spending serves not to protect from foreign attacks, but to provide a goon squad to keep the ruling clique of the failed state in power.

Money/taxes/debt. National governments have served to concentrate money in the hands of the few. Francis Fukuyama wrote:
The most dysfunctional societies in the developing world are those whose elites succeed either in legally exempting themselves from taxation, or in taking advantage of lax enforcement to evade them, thereby shifting the burden of public expenditure onto the rest of society.
Fukuyama noted that the United States has become like the dysfunctional developing world countries in this regard.

And with respect to debt, both at the individual level and at the national level, the middle class is expected to pay a chunk of their earnings to service debt. National governments increasingly serve as tax collectors for an economic elite who don't feel any obligation to the people taxed.

Knowledge/secrets. Governments keep secrets and manipulate information. This has always been the case. But to have a functioning democracy, there needs to be an independent media upholding the values of the country. The media in the United States has become the propaganda arm of the elites who own the debt and shirk their taxes.

What do we do about it?

That's what this blog is about.