The Twilight of the Nation-State (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Created on Monday, August 22, 2016, 15:59
At the moment, the influence of States in defining and solving global problems is more limited each day because they must reconcile the conflicting demands of their domestic world and, increasingly, the interests of large transnational corporations and the new global oligarchy. Despite this dysfunctional situation of the nation-state, there are international organizations that express the contradictions and conflicts of interest in States. This is the case of Greenpeace which is showing the way forward on the issue of the environment in an objective manner. There are also countless NGOs with different levels of influence that create channels for civic expression in the most diverse sectors of today’s global society.
The movements and protests in recent years against neoliberal policies and those policies whose impact transcends national borders, as was the case of the Conference of Davos, the Seattle Conference and the Paris Summit which express in a direct way the civic response of all people globally to the issue of the environment. Protest against the decline of the labour movement and dissatisfaction with declining wages are also being similarly expressed at national levels; this in addition to movements that assume a leadership role in the workplace and tackle abuse of children and women.
In today’s world there are many areas where one sees a process of re-capturing civic space by creating counterweights on a global scale. However, such progress is likely to be fragile without the reconstruction of a new kind of democracy. In that respect it will be necessary to transform current political life, moving it from the universe of showbiz and scandal to the sphere of debate, political dialogue and responsibility.
In recent decades the entire world has gone through a process of extreme media coverage of political activity that has been transformed into a commercial product for television, the press and publications, while the media is only used to manipulate public opinion. Simultaneously, political apparatuses and parties have become machines in the bid to conquer power and even providers of jobs with the professionalization of public mandates. Added to this professionalization of public work and media coverage of public life is the loss of vision and capacity in the political sphere and its growing partnership with the world of business.
Moreover, the collapse of real socialism and the new offensive of neoliberalism have led to a serious crisis of ideologies that has affected political life all around the world. The inability of the current political order to figure out the new reality and to meet the challenges of the new digital world has made it very difficult to formulate an alternative global politics that is different from the current unstable global politics and the inept day-to-day management of the economic and financial crisis that resurfaced in 2008, but that really originated with President Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Stiegall Act in November 1999, eliminating regulation of two forms of capital (speculative and savings) deposited in banks.
The most complicated part of the current global situation has been the growing symbiosis between the political world, senior management and the business world that has led to more misappropriations, corruption and breaches by public office holders and fraudulent use of corporate assets. The proliferation of scandals and prosecutions by the courts in these areas is a clear illustration of this global trend.
All this has led to the alienation of citizens from politics, ranging from a simple lack of interest in political issues to strong disgust, which results in a growing absenteeism from participation in electoral processes and the increased tendency towards professionalization and corruption in the political world. It is therefore urgent to clean up political life with the views and participation of citizens which at the moment can only occur within a global framework where the state and the citizen come together so they can successfully face the perplexing challenges of the new digital world.
Addendum: Like all human beings today we are caught up in this serious conflict of the decline of nation-states. It is not easy to perceive rationally that we are in the midst of a major global crisis let alone propose viable solutions. And this is despite the fact that it becomes visible when one looks at the serious domestic political situation facing most Western nations in terms of the continuity of the political operation of their governments.
From the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland and all European countries, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the nations of the Middle East with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Ukraine, plus all artificial nations created by the colonization process in Africa and Asia, they all cannot function because of the serious economic, financial, immigration and ethnic problems, as well as problems of terrorism and other ills caused by the obsolescence of the nation-state.