“…basic responsibility of government is to maximise welfare of citizens, not an abstract concept of global good”

Brilliant description of what’s happened to the elite advocates of the benefits of globalisation (note to self: tag under ‘Political Trilemma‘) from Larry Summers in the FT:

The mainstream approach starts with a combination of rational argument and inflated rhetoric about the economic consequences of international integration. Studies are produced about the jobs created by trade agreements, the benefits of immigration and the costs of restrictions.

In most cases the overall economic merits are clear. But there is a kind of Gresham’s Law of advocacy whereby bolder claims drive out more prudent ones. Over time this has caught up with the advocates of integration. [Emphasis added]

The willingness of people to be intimidated by experts into supporting cosmopolitan outcomes appears for the moment to have been exhausted.

And here’s the nasty little paradox that’s at the heart of Ireland’s difficulties in coping with the Apple Tax story:

A new approach has to start from the idea that the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good. People also want to feel that they are shaping the societies in which they live.

It may be inevitable that impersonal forces of technology and changing global economic circumstances have profound effects, but it adds insult to injury when governments reach agreements that further cede control to international tribunals.

This is especially the case when, for reasons of law or practicality, corporations have disproportionate influence in shaping global agreements.

Enter Trump, Brexit, iScotland, Corbyn and Le Pen and dozens of other plans to repatriate power to the state or present sub-state.

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  • Zig70

    I’d add to this that folk feel empowered to make a difference via social media. Corbyn’s rise is more to do with activism than spin. From what I see Ireland is lacking the same channels like change.org and 38degrees that give the seductive feeling that your actions had some affect on the wider society.

  • mickfealty

    I sort of agree. But I don’t think matters will change until such agency offers people a genuine opportunity to shape the future rather than just make passive voice complaint.

  • Declan Doyle

    Not so, online debates are getting plenty of exposure. From facebook to Journal.ie; hundreds of thousands of Irish people are finding new avenues in order to access the truth. Its the only hope the left have of getting their message out past a corrupt and elitest media regime. It is having such an effect that we now regularly have indobots such as harris and o’hanlon complaining about them.

  • Abucs

    I would say the basic responsibility of government is to realise that it facilitates the community to organise a better society. Community organisation is best facilitated when not controlled and owned by the government.

    I would say a basic responsibility of government is to realise it can do much more harm than good and its role is to liberate and protect its citizens, not direct them.