Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Patron Saint of Lost Causes - Cause for Hope

Jude the ApostleImage via Wikipedia
[ Jude the Apostle: Patron Saint of Lost Causes ]

Very interesting article in the Economist Jan 28th 2010

Scarcity and globalisation
A needier era
The politics of global disruption, and how they may change

The 2010s, it is sometimes said, will be an age of scarcity. The warning signs of change are said to be the food-price spike of 2007-08, the bid by China and others to grab access to oil, iron ore and farmland and the global recession. The main problems of scarcity are water and food shortages, demographic change and state failure. How will that change politics?


[... A] report for the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington, DC, and the Centre on International Co-operation at New York University looks at international politics in an age of want.

[ "Confronting the Long Crisis of Globalization". By Alex Evans, Bruce Jones and David Steven. Brookings/CIC. ]


The authors say that what is needed is not merely institutional tinkering but a different frame of mind. Governments, they say, should think more in terms of reducing risk and increasing resilience to shocks than about boosting sovereign power. This is because they think power may not be the best way for states to defend themselves against a new kind of threat: the sort that comes not from other states but networks of states and non-state actors, or from the unintended consequences of global flows of finance, technology and so on.
 I liked the quote at the end very much:

Milton Friedman: "[Our] basic function [is] to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable."

With potential for securing a vibrant future being cast aside for so many short-term-thinking distractions and pathetic succour, to keep alive the key tools for the future is a heartening purpose.

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