Skip to main content

Topic: Finding the best system of government (Read 4234 times)

  • jax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
Finding the best system of government
End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?
Quote from: New Scientist

Yet there is a growing feeling among economists, political scientists and even national governments that the nation state is not necessarily the best scale on which to run our affairs. We must manage vital matters like food supply and climate on a global scale, yet national agendas repeatedly trump the global good. At a smaller scale, city and regional administrations often seem to serve people better than national governments.

How, then, should we organise ourselves? Is the nation state a natural, inevitable institution? Or is it a dangerous anachronism in a globalised world?

These are not normally scientific questions - but that is changing. Complexity theorists, social scientists and historians are addressing them using new techniques, and the answers are not always what you might expect. Far from timeless, the nation state is a recent phenomenon. And as complexity keeps rising, it is already mutating into novel political structures. Get set for neo-medievalism.

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #1
Or is it a dangerous anachronism in a globalised world?

There is no globalized world, what exists is a colonized world with diffuse and non identifiable centers of decision.
Culturally and economically colonized world that admits not one single expression of diversity and identity.
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?
Reply #2
To put context to it, from the same article, early agrarian societies:
Quote
One key point is that agrarian societies required little actual governing. Nine people in 10 were peasants who had to farm or starve, so were largely self-organising. Government intervened to take its cut, enforce basic criminal law and keep the peace within its undisputed territories. Otherwise its main role was to fight to keep those territories, or acquire more.

Even quite late on, rulers spent little time governing, says Osiander. In the 17th century Louis XIV of France had half a million troops fighting foreign wars but only 2000 keeping order at home. In the 18th century, the Dutch and Swiss needed no central government at all. Many eastern European immigrants arriving in the US in the 19th century could say what village they came from, but not what country: it didn't matter to them.

Before the modern era, says Breuilly, people defined themselves "vertically" by who their rulers were. There was little horizontal interaction between peasants beyond local markets. Whoever else the king ruled over, and whether those people were anything like oneself, was largely irrelevant. [...]

Such loose control, says Bar-Yam, meant pre-modern political units were only capable of scaling up a few simple actions such as growing food, fighting battles, collecting tribute and keeping order. Some, like the Roman Empire, did this on a very large scale. But complexity - the different actions society could collectively perform - was relatively low.

Complexity was limited by the energy a society could harness. For most of history that essentially meant human and animal labour. In the late Middle Ages, Europe harnessed more, especially water power. This boosted social complexity - trade increased, for example- requiring more government. A decentralised feudal system gave way to centralised monarchies with more power.

But these were still not nation states. Monarchies were defined by who ruled them, and rulers were defined by mutual recognition - or its converse, near-constant warfare. In Europe, however, as trade grew, monarchs discovered they could get more power from wealth than war.


Industrialisation brought changes:

Quote
Part of the reason was a pragmatic adaptation of the scale of political control required to run an industrial economy. Unlike farming, industry needs steel, coal and other resources which are not uniformly distributed, so many micro-states were no longer viable. Meanwhile, empires became unwieldy as they industrialised and needed more actual governing. So in 19th-century Europe, micro-states fused and empires split.

These new nation states were justified not merely as economically efficient, but as the fulfilment of their inhabitants' national destiny. A succession of historians has nonetheless concluded that it was the states that defined their respective nations, and not the other way around.

France, for example, was not the natural expression of a pre-existing French nation. At the revolution in 1789, half its residents did not speak French. In 1860, when Italy unified, only 2.5 per cent of residents regularly spoke standard Italian. Its leaders spoke French to each other. One famously said that, having created Italy, they now had to create Italians - a process many feel is still taking place.

Sociologist Siniša Maleševic of University College Dublin in Ireland believes that this "nation building" was a key step in the evolution of modern nation states. It required the creation of an ideology of nationalism that emotionally equated the nation with people's Dunbar circle of family and friends.

That in turn relied heavily on mass communication technologies. In an influential analysis, Benedict Anderson of Cornell University in New York described nations as "imagined" communities: they far outnumber our immediate circle and we will never meet them all, yet people will die for their nation as they would for their family.


The nation state turned into a measured success, but not automatically:

Quote
Moreover, people always have a sense of belonging to numerous different groups based on region, culture, background and more. "The claim that a person's identity and well-being is tied in a central way to the well-being of the national group is wrong as a simple matter of historical fact," says Slattery.

Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that the nation-state model fails so often: since 1960 there have been more than 180 civil wars worldwide.

Such conflicts are often blamed on ethnic or sectarian tensions. Failed states, such as Syria right now, are typically riven by violence along such lines. According to the idea that nation states should contain only one nation, such failures have often been blamed on the colonial legacy of bundling together many peoples within unnatural boundaries.

But for every Syria or Iraq there is a Singapore, Malaysia or Tanzania, getting along okay despite having several "national" groups. Immigrant states in Australia and the Americas, meanwhile, forged single nations out of massive initial diversity.

What makes the difference? It turns out that while ethnicity and language are important, what really matters is bureaucracy. This is clear in the varying fates of the independent states that emerged as Europe's overseas empires fell apart after the second world war.

According to the mythology of nationalism, all they needed was a territory, a flag, a national government and UN recognition. In fact what they really needed was complex bureaucracy.


But the nation state faces problem of scale, sometimes it is too big, sometimes not big enough, and sometimes it isn't appropriate to the needs,

Quote
"The future structure and exercise of political power will resemble the medieval model more than the Westphalian one," Zielonka says. "The latter is about concentration of power, sovereignty and clear-cut identity." Neo-medievalism, on the other hand, means overlapping authorities, divided sovereignty, multiple identities and governing institutions, and fuzzy borders.

Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, a former US assistant secretary of state, also sees hierarchies giving way to global networks primarily of experts and bureaucrats from nation states. For example, governments now work more through flexible networks such as the G7 (or 8, or 20) to manage global problems than through the UN hierarchy.

Ian Goldin, head of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, which analyses global problems, thinks such networks must emerge. He believes existing institutions such as UN agencies and the World Bank are structurally unable to deal with problems that emerge from global interrelatedness, such as economic instability, pandemics, climate change and cybersecurity - partly because they are hierarchies of member states which themselves cannot deal with these global problems. He quotes Slaughter: "Networked problems require a networked response."


So...
Quote
Where does this leave nation states? "They remain the main containers of power in the world," says Breuilly. And we need their power to maintain the personal security that has permitted human violence to decline to all-time lows.

Moreover, says Dani Rodrik of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, the very globalised economy that is allowing these networks to emerge needs something or somebody to write and enforce the rules. Nation states are currently the only entities powerful enough to do this.

Yet their limitations are clear, both in solving global problems and resolving local conflicts. One solution may be to pay more attention to the scale of government. Known as subsidiarity, this is a basic principle of the EU: the idea that government should act at the level where it is most effective, with local government for local problems and higher powers at higher scales. There is empirical evidence that it works: social and ecological systems can be better governed when their users self-organise than when they are run by outside leaders.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?
Reply #3

Quote
But for every Syria or Iraq there is a Singapore, Malaysia or Tanzania, getting along okay despite having several "national" groups. Immigrant states in Australia and the Americas, meanwhile, forged single nations out of massive initial diversity.

What makes the difference? It turns out that while ethnicity and language are important, what really matters is bureaucracy. This is clear in the varying fates of the independent states that emerged as Europe's overseas empires fell apart after the second world war.

According to the mythology of nationalism, all they needed was a territory, a flag, a national government and UN recognition. In fact what they really needed was complex bureaucracy.


What a stupid conclusion. The root of all problems is to think that there's one solution for all kinds of people. In reality, people have to grow into a sense of identity that enables the nation state, then nation state becomes possible. Until then, other solutions are more appropriate.

This bit is right:


Quote
Moreover, people always have a sense of belonging to numerous different groups based on region, culture, background and more. "The claim that a person's identity and well-being is tied in a central way to the well-being of the national group is wrong as a simple matter of historical fact," says Slattery.

Just like on a small island people fish rather than herd cows and on a huge intracontinental plain they herd cows rather than fish - and this is precisely the way it should be -, different kinds of people thrive under different forms of government. The correct way is to acknowledge what kind of identity the people have - territory, language(s), way(s) of life and traditions, level of reliance on authority versus networking and self-reliance, etc. and devise the government based on those factors. But who should do the devising so that it would be organical and not contrived? The people themselves, not some global-delusionist. This is why self-determination is a basic collective human right.

Therefore countries, not a global world order.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #4
Quote
In the 18th century, the Dutch and Swiss needed no central government at all.

Maybe I have to read the article (there's a paywall blocking it), but there was a thing called the Staten-Generaal... perhaps best known to the world through its namesake island in the Hudson river.* I assume they're referring to the so-called Stadtholderless Periods, but just because there was no semi-monarch holding the reins hardly means there was no (central) government. That being said, the 18th century was overall one of deindustrialization, but to conclude from that fact that there was less central government seems like putting the cart before the horse. And even if the Republic was indeed doing less governing at the federal level, all the individual state legislatures were still doing as much governing as always.

* It still exists of course, but in the form of our modern bicameral system.

  • Sparta
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #5
IMHO any non-utopia Systems .

that Practitionaly can govern some Nation Well  .

is a best Government system  for that Nation .



  • Barulheira
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #6
Nice subject.
We are wondering, right here, in the South: do we really need Brasilia at all?

  • Sparta
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #7
if it is discontinued then probably it is un-needed .

if for whatever reasons that continued , then perhaps it is needed .

  • rjhowie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #8
Very few places to loo at for inspiration these times I am afraid.

As long as I can enjoy my hobbies,rail simulator stuff, holiday and go out to eat and get by I could live in a sensible dictatorship with me of course as a concerned dictator for my people.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #9

Very few places to loo at for inspiration these times I am afraid.

What inspiration? Take the poo to the loo.

  • rjhowie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #10
Oh heavens, poo and loo such infantile words.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #11
Catholic Enlightened Monarchy is the answer to the thread's title.
No political parties of course, they don't represent either the Nation or the People.
A matter of attitude.

  • OakdaleFTL
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #12
Catholic Enlightened Monarchy is the answer to the thread's title.
Perhaps the Millennium prophesied would be a better goal? :) Is not patience a virtue?
The main problem with monarchy is and has always been succession... The ideal of familial inheritance has (you may have heard) not always worked out so well. Sure, one can expect a first-class education for the royal scions. But -- well, "a sow's ear" and all that (It is a silk purse that's wanted, isn't it? :) ).

The various demographic factors matter greatly, no? (Would you expect a Catholic Enlightened Monarchy to serve Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and England equally well?) You might as well expect Socialism to resurrect itself!
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #13
The main problem with monarchy is and has always been succession...

Monarchy has it's own mechanisms to solve that problem. Do you expect Prince Charles to become King? course not.
The various demographic factors matter greatly, no?

Yes, you're right., the best system of government only applies to Europe. Others must satisfy with less better systems... :)
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #14
The various demographic factors matter greatly, no? (Would you expect a Catholic Enlightened Monarchy to serve Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and England equally well?) You might as well expect Socialism to resurrect itself!

I don't know what a Catholic enlightened monarchy is, but it still sounds better than what Saudi Arabia has now. :right:

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #15

I don't know what a Catholic enlightened monarchy is, but it still sounds better than what Saudi Arabia has now. :right:

Maybe Catholic enlightened monarchy is like the Pope? There's nobody more Catholic and more monarchical than him, this much is sure. But the funny bit with the Pope is that the succession is strongly democratic/republican in style.

Perhaps there are historical examples of what you have in mind, Belfrager?

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #16
But the funny bit with the Pope is that the succession is strongly democratic/republican in style.

Well... in theory, he's chosen by God, not directly but intermediated by the college of Cardinals blessed in their decision by the Holy Spirit...

But no, I was not pretending the Holy Church to rule over earthly matters, to God what belongs to God, to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
I was referring to Lusitanian Integralism.
Quote
Integralismo Lusitano (Lusitanian Integralism) was a Portuguese integralist political movement, founded in Coimbra in 1914, that advocated traditionalism but not conservatism. It was against parliamentarism; instead, it favored decentralization, national syndicalism, the Roman Catholic Church, and the monarchy.

Integralism was a political theory developed by Charles Mauras and was seen as close to Fascism. The Portuguese interpretation is not due to the incorporation of Monarchy, Catholicism and decentralization. It was strongly against political parties and considered that professions are the representatives of the country, the "living body" of the nation near the King, the guarantee of the Nation's perpetuity.
All that in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit because we have the right to profess our sacred believes yesterday, today and forever.

Anyway no one cares about good solutions. Good solutions are against the plans.
  • Last Edit: 2014-11-02, 21:50:19 by Belfrager
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Finding the best system of government
Reply #17
Well America very nearly had a monarchial situation when they were having a chat in Philadelphia after their corporate Revolution. A European prince was suggested at one pint. As for the succession thing Oakdale you are not bad at such yourself. Two members of the Bush family and the plan was to have another Kennedy in the White House and maybe a third of he hadn't drowned someone. Oh and the Rockerfellers. On hindsight the US might have been better with that prince because what the country got was a joke.

When you see what happens in many republics they are a joke. A number of those who dissolved their Kings got into a right state. What the people got were people who wanted to be the boss and stuff rights.  Interestingly a couple of years back the tiny principality of Liechtenstein had a look at their monarchy and it was proposed that the Royal should have his power reduced and scrap the power he had and kill off his right to appoint and refuse a Bill.  However that one backfired when the Prince indicated he would remove his capital from the Principality and move. Instead a referendum supported the Monarch and so too did the parliament! I have a picture of my Monarch over the mantelpiece and upstairs a neat picture of King William Third who introducer a Bill of Rights which the US used as basis for over there. Pity it din't work out moind you but not King billy's fault!

My one sadness about Belfrager's land is them losing their king early in the 20th century.Shame but I am available.
"Quit you like men:be strong"