[governance] Parminder's exchange with Bertrand
Milton L Mueller
mueller at syr.edu
Tue Mar 2 03:24:55 EST 2010
just caught up with this. will try to answer soon.
From: Parminder [parminder at itforchange.net]
Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 7:15 AM
To: governance at lists.cpsr.org; Milton L Mueller
Cc: massit follea; Bertrand de La Chapelle
Subject: Re: [governance] Parminder's exchange with Bertrand
Milton L Mueller wrote:
> To tie this back to Parminder, based on his latest post I can see where we part ways as well as agree. Parminder has decided that people acting as political collectivities are inherently superior to people acting as private market actors or businesses.
No i dont think so. Both forms of action are legitimate and have their
value. who told you that i think so??
> Probably he is operating under the delusion that political/democratic processes are inherently guided by a public interest logic
They are supposed to be so guided. But they often are not, and therefore
the need for deepening democracy processes and those of transparency,
accountability, judicial scrutiny etc to make them work as closely as
possible towards public interest. But we cannot solve this problem by
junking political/ democratic processes, which is what many new age
enthusiasts of MS-ism try to do (not you, i know)
> whereas private market action is driven by private interest which is inherently opposed to public interest.
not so. It is not inherently opposed. Most often, within good frameworks
of social action, like competitive and well regulated markets, good laws
etc they promote, in fact constitute, larger public interest. So again
you are putting words in my mouth, pertaining to things I dont profess.
> I disagree. Politicians and political parties have self-interest and can exploit.
yes, they very often do. See the description above on strengthening
democratic systems to minimizing such abuses, without junking them.
> Competitive market processes can promote the public interest.
Competitive markets are indeed one of the primary social institutions to
promote public interest.
> I think people are people, and they need both political processes and economic maximizing processes to survive, and both serve as appropriate checks on each other.
Exactly so. Which is why I think that big business on global scale which
has no concomitant political process as 'appropriate check' badly
requires such checks, and this is one of the principal global political
issues facing us today. (Dont know why you say below that this is not a
real challenge.) Especially in the conditions with very fluid financial
flows and increasingly more 'open' and often forced trade agreements,
global business is easily able to play one national political regime
against the other and escape all possibilities of 'appropriate checks',
which makes this problem especially acute. Much more so for developing
> To me, democracy without liberalism is just mob rule, just as capitalism without law, rights and democracy is lousy.
Again agree whole-heatedly. But global capitalism is increasingly
without law and democracy to act as 'appropriate checks'. I know you
feel it much less in the US where much of global business is
incorporated and more sensitive to political checks. Such options are
increasingly closed for less powerful nations. Thus we need appropriate
democratic political arrangements at the global levels. And the
confusing talks of unclear concepts like MS-ism, without full social
analysis, serves the interests of big business by perpetuating the
political vacuums at the global levels.
> So while we agree strongly on extending democratic governance modes into the global arena we probably have radically different ideas about how to do it.
Ok, you tell me what is your idea on this. In which ways can global
capitalism and its increasing force be met with (what you called as )
'appropriate checks'? You can also suggest specific solutions in the
field of digital capitalism where IG is centrally implicated. I too am
ready to share my ideas. The we can decide whether we agree to not, and
to what extent.
> If you designate "neo-liberalism" as the main enemy I don't think you understand very well the real challenges of global governance.
Read my descriptions of increasing power of global capital and
decreasing political controls over it, and how it affects developing
countries' interest. Do you disagree with it. I presented that
formulation mostly developing your own assertions in your email. And
this is what I call as the challenge posed by neoliberalism to global
governance. What do you think are the real challenges, and why do you
think this is not a real challenge?
> However, getting back to Ostrom and collective governance, even if you extend democracy beyond the nation-state you still have to decide what is the relevant community for governance decisions. The people who are always yammering about how good and noble it is to be group-oriented or collective oriented, and ridiculing those of us who talk about the individual, always seem to forget that communities have boundaries, and some of the world's worst crimes come not from individuals attacking or exploiting each other, but from groups - states, ethnicities, religions, etc. - defining other groups as excluded and "the other." No individual, no private, profit-maximizing corporation, could ever produce anything like WW 2 and its national and ethnic carnage.
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