Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Because obviously I'm freaking the fuck out:
The modern nation-state is in a secular decline, made inevitable by the rise of a global market system. Even developed nations, like the US, are not immune to this process. The decline is at first gradual and then accelerates until it reaches a final end-point: a hollow state. The hollow state has the trappings of a modern nation-state ("leaders", membership in international organizations, regulations, laws, and a bureaucracy) but it lacks any of the legitimacy, services, and control of its historical counter-part. It is merely a shell that has some influence over the spoils of the economy. The real power rests in the hands of corporations and criminal/guerrilla groups that vie with each other for control of sectors of wealth production. For the individual living within this state, life goes on, but it is debased in a myriad of ways.
The shift from a marginally functional nation-state in manageable decline to a hollow state often comes suddenly, through a financial crisis. This crisis typically has the following features:
Corporations and connected individuals systematically loot the nation-state of financial assets and natural resources through a series of insider/no cost deals. These deals are made to "save" the nation's economy or financial system from collapse.
Once the full measure of the crisis is known, the nation-state's currency falls precipitously, it's debt becomes expensive, and it is forced to submit to international oversight/rules.
The services the state provides rapidly evaporate as its bureaucracy is starved for cash/financing. This opens up a window for the corruption of government employees unused to deprivation.