Mokre sanje liberalcev o nepotrebnosti nacionalne države in državne regulacije ter njihovo veselje nad bledenjem nacionalne države v dobi globalizacije so avtodestruktivne. Kot lepo pravi Dani Rodrik v zadnji kolumni, je kapitalizem brez močne nacionalne države mrtev. Kajti le močna nacionalna država mu daje dovolj trden okvir za njegovo delovanje in obstoj. Trg potrebuje pravila, potrebuje vladavino prava in spoštovanje pogodb, potrebuje infrastrukturo, potrebuje redistribucijo in potrebuje trden makroekonomski okvir prek fiskalne in monetarne politike. Na nadnacionaknem nivoju globalnih inštitucij, ki bi lahko prevzeli vlogo nacionalne države, ni. In prav slabljenje moči nacionalne države v dobi ekstenzivne globalizacije je privedlo do zloma socialne in družbene stabilnosti ter naplavilo desničarski populizem.
Stvari smo privedli prek roba vzdržnosti. Bodisi smo dovolili, da se trg razširi prek lastne sposobnosti uravnavanja, bodisi smo sprejeli univerzalna, globalna pravila, ki ubijajo nujno potrebno raznolikost v poteh in načinih razvoja. Potreben je povratek nazaj k močnejši vlogi nacionalnih držav, če želimo ohraniti globalizacijo in sam kapitalizem.
Markets need regulatory and legitimising institutions to thrive – consumer-safety rules, bank regulations, central banks, social insurance and so on. When it comes to providing the arrangements that markets rely on, the nation-state remains the only effective actor, the only game in town. Our elites’ and technocrats’ obsession with globalism weakens citizenship where it is most needed – at home – and makes it more difficult to achieve economic prosperity, financial stability, social inclusion and other desirable objectives. As we’ve all seen, elite globalism also opens political paths for Right-wing populists to hijack patriotism for destructive ends.
Historically, the nation-state has been closely associated with economic, social and political progress. It has curbed internecine violence, expanded networks of solidarity beyond the local, spurred mass markets and industrialisation, enabled the mobilisation of human and financial resources, and fostered the spread of representative political institutions. Failed nation-states usually bring economic decline and civil war. Among intellectuals, the nation-state’s fall from grace is in part a consequence of its achievements. For residents of stable and prosperous countries, the nation-state’s vital role has become easy to overlook.
A principled defence of the nation-state would start from the proposition that markets require rules. Markets are not self-creating, self-regulating, self-stabilising or self-legitimising, so they depend on non-market institutions. Anything beyond a simple exchange between neighbours requires investments in transportation, communications and logistics; enforcement of contracts, provision of information, and prevention of cheating; a stable and reliable medium of exchange; arrangements to bring distributional outcomes into conformity with social norms; and so on. Behind every functioning, sustainable market stands a wide range of institutions providing critical functions of regulation, redistribution, monetary and fiscal stability, and conflict management. These institutional functions have so far been provided largely by the nation-state.
Throughout the postwar period, not only did this not impede the development of global markets, it facilitated it in many ways. The guiding philosophy behind the Bretton Woods regime, which governed the world economy until the 1970s, was that nations – not only the advanced nations but also the newly independent ones – needed the policy space within which they could manage their economies and protect their social contracts. Capital controls, restricting the free flow of finance between countries, were viewed as an inherent element of the global financial system. Trade liberalisation remained limited to manufactured goods and to industrialised nations; when imports of textiles and clothing from low-cost countries threatened domestic social bargains by causing job losses in affected industries and regions, these, too, were carved out as special regimes.
Yet the postwar years saw historic growth in trade and investment, in no small part because Bretton Woods encouraged healthy domestic policy environments. Economic globalisation relied on the rules maintained by the major trading and financial centres. National monetary systems, central banks and financial regulatory practices served as cornerstones of financial globalisation. Domestic political bargains, more than GATT rules, sustained the openness that came to prevail. Prosperous communities within nation-states – major urban centres, suburbs and technology hubs – thrived precisely because they could rely on the institutional infrastructure established by national governments.
A truly global economy, in which economic activity is unmoored from its national base, would necessitate transnational rule-making institutions that match the global scale and scope of markets. But there are no such institutions.
Vir: Dani Rodrik, AEON