Friday, January 14, 2011

Our National Governments..How "National" are they really?

Most people that have any objections to giving full power to EU and the European Parliament, are doing so because they trust more their National Governments and they do not want to lose their national sovereignty.

They believe that the people who run "Brussels" are a group of corrupt elite that want to take over their countries, in a authoritarian dictatorship. Or they simply do not like centralization, they believe that they will lose control over the issues that concern them and won't have direct say in the decisions that will affect their lives.

Though the issue of centralization is a valid one, many European nations are actually a federation and they deal with this issue effectively. It is actually nation states that lack behind like Greece, when all power and money is gathered in the capital. In the UK, Germany and Switzerland for example, they gave more power to the regional capitals and that is the way forward.

In a globalized world, no nation or government is actually independent or sovereign. All countries must follow the developments or suggestions of the Markets if they want to achieve prosperity. No country can exploit their natural resources without allowing the investors that follow the Markets' ratings to invest in the state! So how independent are we really?

I will remind you that Europe after two World Wars was totally destroyed, its economy was in tatters and it needed cash to kick-start production again. That money come from the Marshal Plan that was set up by USA! Millions of dollars were poured into the European economy and while it helped the Continent's recovery, it also made Europe attached to America until now. But as many of the plan's critics have said, it promoted corruption in the Governments that received lump sums of cash.

Did you think that Europe would receive that money for nothing? The Marshal Plan helped to transform Europe and its policies in almost everything, but it started the "Americanization" of the continent and most of the nations that got involved. Colonization ended because of American intervention and European economies became more open and globalized because it was a requirement in order for a country to be part of the plan.

That is why the Americans were keen to give as much money to as many countries in Europe, even to the eastern block and Asia. South Korea, Japan, Pakistan were also receivers of American money. No wonder they are to this day close allies of USA. The eastern European block rejected the Plan so they remained controlled by the Soviets.

So for all of you who believe that your government is ruling your country, have you ever wondered how can you change your country? Perhaps if you voted for the right politicians or political party in power, then change would come. But as we observe in some nations, governments come and go without bringing any change. Why is that?

Perhaps because these nations are “corrupt” and lack of any good politicians with a vision for their country. But everybody wants a prosperous country and a state that will provide. Everybody wants a secure future for him and his family; so why some states fail to do that?

Understandably different regions of the world have different values and culture. Their perceptions of the economy, trade, wealth and happiness are varied. There are different values for examples in Islamic countries than those in the West. But we see a variety of economic policies in the Western developed world too. 

Why some countries are doing better than others? The obvious reason would be because they follow different policies. The thing that I do not understand is why then the nations that lag behind, especially those in a multinational organization like the EU, do not take a page or two from each others books. 

Why the poorer weaker states do not copy some of the policies that made others so rich or successful? What politician would not want to make history and his government the one who changed a nation’s fate? 

We can say that the same rules can not be applied or be as successful everywhere. But certain policies could work everywhere. So why not adopt them and implement them? The problem is that change might be desired by many or needed, but unfortunately it brings loses for some people who will lose out of the established status quo. 

So while it would make sense to promote change in all levels in a society according to each state’s capabilities to become better and richer, our politicians fail us to deliver them. Politics sadly rely on lobbying. For each politician to find funds to support his or her political campaign, he or she must rely on “donations” from supporters. 

And that is where the problem starts. Elites exist within every nation that want to keep things as such. So they contribute to our political elite campaigns in order to gain favors and influence the policies that the future government is going to pursue. If these new "savior" policies that other countries have implemented are against the established elites' interests, then we see why they never get to become law.

As globalization is spreading and nations become ever interconnected, the elites of all nations become interconnected. Politics do not remain within the borders of one country. If any multinational corporation or bank can buy into another nation, then they can certainly influence the country’s politics.

They can come into an agreement with the local elites so that it will be beneficial for both of them: not necessarily for the people of that nation. So who is really governing our nations: us, our “national politicians,” or the foreign investors? 

Why are we so fiercely protecting our "national" governments, since they are not that national anymore. Once they have to implement policies that will please international investors, once they sign international treaties as part of the nation's membership in a international organization like the EU they are anything but.

Can we do anything about it? Well yes if you want to go back and stop Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus from discovering the Americas then I guess you could. Globalization and global trade started then and it can not be retracted. What we should be demanding though, if we have to give in to our governing elites' demands, is a globalization with our own terms and conditions. 

We should be forcing our governments to be more accountable, we should be demanding more transparency in our national politics and the European ones. We should become more active, vigilant and engaged citizens. If our national politicians are not that "national" anymore, as they are not the ones who truly or exclusively rule our countries, they should nevertheless represent our best interests to the ones who they deal and do business with. 

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