Economic Crisis, Political Turmoil, Consent of the Governed


All governments depend on the consent of the governed. That’s what we learned in high school, so it must be true.


We’ll see how that works in the real world of the 21st Century. Does the consent of the governed matter, in the global economy? Or in a world with imaginary national boundaries, do governments depend more on the consent of multinational corporations?


The political and social consequences of the Great Recession are beginning to manifest, but the results are unpredictable. For background, see World Economic Crisis Phase II, Political and Social Upheaval.


In North Africa and the Middle East, massive street protests oppose long-established regimes. It looks to me like mob rule. The mobs appear to have power to topple dictators, but mobs cannot control the establishment of a new order. As the dictators fall, power can be seized by opportunists, regardless of character, ability, or ideology.


In the U.S., Wisconsin and other states are attempting to impose budget austerity and blunt the power of the public-worker unions. It looks like rule by legislative majority. But legislating is a messy business in the U.S. Power in a state is divided between the governor and the legislature, which is itself fractured into two houses.


In the example of Wisconsin, Republicans have control of state government following the 2010 election. The rowdy opposition by Democrats and unions will almost surely prove ineffective. The legislative majority will have its way. But under democracy as it has evolved in the U.S., does the legislative majority represent the people, or do the legislators represent corporations and special interests that bankroll their election campaigns? In a modern democracy, power can be purchased by opportunists.


Today’s national election in Ireland may provide a first reliable reading on the consent of the governed in the 21st Century.  You can listen to and read a PBS report here.


Ireland, you may recall, was one of the first European economies to be staggered by the bursting of world financial and housing bubbles. The Irish voters will probably pass judgment on the austerity measures taken in Ireland, and on the bailout efforts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.


Irish turnout is reported at 70 percent. The ruling party is expected to be ousted, but it will take about two days to count the votes.


There are so many other economic shoes waiting to drop. The debt problems of Europe, England, America, and Japan remain awesome and unresolved. We still have the possibility of default, or a chain of defaults in Europe, and among states in the U.S.


You want far-out scenarios regarding the consent of the governed? Consider the breakup of one or more major political structures.


If the USSR could break up, it could happen in the European Union, or even in the U.S.  The stability of Pakistan is not guaranteed. And speaking of stability, what about Saudi Arabia?


I could muddle on, wondering about the price of gold, or airline tickets, or $5 gas. But I just confuse myself more with every line I write. I must be watching too much Cable TV News.

See also,  You Say You Want a Revolution?

— John Hayden

2 thoughts on “Economic Crisis, Political Turmoil, Consent of the Governed

  1. Well you have muddled very well here in your explanation John.. And as one who lives in England things are far from stable anywhere in the world… The ordinary man and woman in the street are now questioning WHY is it Tax Payers who work hard have had to Bail out the Banks, who now are paying themselves HUGE bonuses once again.. Well did they ever stop? one as to ask? ..
    But this has resulted in withdrawal of funding from central Government to local authorities such as local Councils.. Which has led to insurmountable cutbacks in public services..
    People are WAKING up to being ‘Governed’ and they are beginning to see the divide.. This is all it Takes ..As soon as the Eruption in Libya happened the price of Oil from the Brents Oil fields jumped up significantly .. .
    The stock markets take a Dive.. And well we all know who has been buying up all the Gold reserves..
    The Dollar/ Pound is I feel set to take a huge Crash.. and this crisis in Libya may well start something no one can finish.. But the economy has been in dire straits for a while now but they have just been printing their way out to the mess.. So it will have to come crashing down sooner or later..
    What people want to be aware of is that the common people are beginning to suss the mechanics behind the powers that be.. and the common people are saying enough is enough..
    This is only the beginning of the many changes I feel that are about to encompass the world… And Chaos will reign for a while …
    But as in a recent message I posted, There has to be turmoil , for you cannot plant a new crop and sow new seed unless you first turn over the ground and remove that which no longer is needed.. and weed out that which is no longer desired .. We cannot always expect to enjoy the harvest, unless we first tend the soil.. and put in the effort and plant the new seeds we all wish to flourish..
    Sorry I didn’t intend to go on.. .. Dreamwalker


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