Power and responsibility
So much of how the world works, and so much of what seems wrong right now, seems to be the separation ad interplay of power and responsibility.
The biggest example is the banking sector and financial services taking over the role of investment in industry. This means that the power to lend, and to decide where investment funds should be directed, has been transferred more or less completely to private institutions motivated solely by profit.
But the responsibility has not transferred. The responsibility for investment policy and for the industrial direction of the country remains with the government. They have, however, through deregulation and a refusal to enforce even the few rules that remain, allowed all power through which they could exercise their responsibility to be appropriated by private companies and individuals. For their profit, not ours.
It’s one of the reasons why I feel the fundamentals of the current localism and privatisation initiatives in the UK are so flawed. Having given away the power to direct or fund the future, or at least allowed others to take it without argument or legal intervention, the government now find itself with many huge problems on its plate for which it bears responsibility, yet has no power to resolve.
Through this lens, the coalition, and other governments across the world, start to look less evil and more floundering, desperately out of their depth. They know they have thrown away the levers that would normally have solved this particlar set of problems, and yet they lack the legal means and political will to ask for them back.