Is social democratic organisation the only way an elected government can maintain their legitimacy against intrusion from non-state movements?
An aspect of globalisation is over-lapping sovereignty. For instance legislation from a nation-state to ban spam and gambling is futile. Data and money are globalised. They cannot be controlled effectively by a nation-state.
Weak-states find similar problems in their borders. Under Turchin's
model of cliodynamics, new egalitarian movements of collective action coalesce and form in areas of weak state control.
We see this through Hamas and Hezbollah; both of which established their civil governance legitimacy by providing social services and order before being involved in a political push for government.
For instance Hamas
Hamas, running for the first time in national elections, vowed to fight corruption and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. While it moderated its stance toward Israel, not mentioning its goal of destroying the Jewish state in its official platform, the movement says it won't give up its arms.
Along with its fight against Israel, Hamas has built its popularity over the past two decades by providing health services and social welfare programs that weren't available from the Palestinian Authority and international refugee organizations.
In the case of Hezbollah they rival the Lebanese Government in employment
The outskirts of Beirut are known as the dahiya , Arabic for "suburbs." It has come to mean the poor, dense and sometimes dangerous maze of slums that is also Hezbollah-land. Its dirty alleys are crammed with concrete-block shanties.
Gnarled masses of wire run from one building to the next, illegally tapping into electrical, phone and television lines. While lights burn brightly in trendy downtown Beirut, the dahiya is often eerily dark because of sporadic electricity.
Hezbollah has become an enterprise in the dahiya, often outperforming the state. It runs a major hospital as well as schools, discount pharmacies, groceries and an orphanage.
It runs a garbage service and a reconstruction program for homes damaged during Israel's invasion. It supports families of the young men it sent off to their deaths.
Altogether, it benefits an estimated 250,000 Lebanese and is the country's second-largest employer.
The Islamic militia which now controls Mogadishu followed a similar path. Their governance became more palatable through their application of health services, law and order prior to taking over the capital.
Lee made the comment
that in many of these places Islam's dependence on sharia as part of the religion makes it easier to establish cohesive order.
This same drama will play out time and again. Whichever group proves best at bringing civil order will first win the hearts and minds of the people. Once these hearts and minds are won long enough to come to power, all that needs to be done is maintain civil order relative to the expectations of the people.
It appears that the nation-state has to maintain not only civil-order but services in a homogeneous manner. Any heterogeneity in that coverage allows for discontent to arise, or in the case of chronic absence of social services, a socially based non-state competitor to arise.
Hamas and Hezbollah are examples of this. While they have radical ideologies, they also invest socially and locally to ensure popular support. In the absence of elections to legitimise them, this becomes their sovereign base.
Australia is on the neo-liberal side of liberal democracy. It is a low taxing state by world standards and has a fairly libertarian approach to most issues - outside of nation-state authority.
Australia sucks in approximately 30% of the nation's production as taxes and then spits it back out. The federal government is the largest economic entity in the country which makes many companies and industries dependent on the government to remain viable.
Australia is a welfare-state, or aspirational-state as a I called it recently
. Australia invests heavily in education, health, services, infrastructure, etc. In the name of re-election and monopoly on legitimacy, there is no area that it will refuse to act as an agent for voters.
But the reach of those services are not always homogeneous and leave vacuous pockets. Especially in areas that have existing authority structures that can challenge the nation-state's structure.
The recent tensions in Wadeye, Noerthern Territory
which arose explain this. From an article by Jack Waterford in the Canberra Times
There's no real work, or prospect of any, the health and education system is a shambles, housing is appalling, and the cost of delivering services is phenomenal. The communities are artificial anyway, composed of different and antagonistic groups, and there is a lot of drunkenness, fighting, domestic violence, trauma, suicide, imprisonment, apathy and despair.
No civil order, no services, lack of dignified social mobility; so why hasn't an Aboriginal group popped up like Hamas or Hezbollah has to provide local social services?
The conditions being described are similar to Palestine or Southern Lebanon. Canberra and Darwin is probably fortunate that what can be called Aboriginal religion is not unified, and lacks a seductive radical strand as Islam does.
From images I saw in the SMH and ABC, the Aboriginal kids causing disorder dressed in the stereotypical American 'gangsta' fashion, rather than traditional Aboriginal tribal identification or radical indiginous movements.
Aboriginal culture certainly has a cultural/tribal equivalent of sharia law. If order and social services remain chronic, it is possible that an Aboriginal movement will arise in these vacuums to perform the functions Canberra and Darwin will not.
Then again the cliodynamic answer would be that no movement has arisen as the Aboriginal people have low Asabiya, and lack the social cohesion for unified collective action.
Liberal democracy only appears sustainable if it adopts a welfare-state approach to order and social services. This brings into question the libertarian belief that commercial services will fill the vacuums where the state leaves.
As is seen in the Middle East, collective groups bound by religion have replaced the nation-state as the main supplier of order and social services such as health.
The smallest of the liberal democracies are the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. They tax the least but still spend heavily on areas such as health and welfare. The US spent nearly 650 billion USD on health and welfare
This was the single biggest expenditure by the US federal government, greater than defence and debt servicing. This figure does not include the money that the American states, counties and towns spend on health and welfare.
The US, despite being the most libertarian of the liberal democracies has a public health system. The government and industry does not survive without those subsidies.
As this graph shows
], the US is one of the highest public providers per capita amongst nations.
It should be noted from that graph that most nations spend between $1000 and $2200 USD per capita on public health. There is rough consensus on government involvement in health services.
The equilibria for a nation-state to remain an unchallenged political entity is somewhere between 30% and 50% GDP taxation, most of which goes to providing order, civil and social services. That seems to be the cost to ensure a universal approach to services that stops non-state social and collective competitors from arising.
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.