layers of power
The financial crisis has surfaced issues about the future nature of government. On one hand, some argue that now is the time that power will seep up to global governance structures e.g. could the coordinated global policy response of the G20 summit become more formalised? At the other extreme there is talk of a new medievalism as power in a fractured world moves away from nation states towards cities and city states.
The future relationship between business and government is also blurred. The nature of the largely government-backed bailout of banks in the developed world has demonstrated how the top cadres of government and banking have become indistinguishable according to a former IMF Chief Economist. Whilst in the developed world such intervention has been tactical, some have pointed out that in emerging economies state capitalism is an explicit strategy.
Unrelated to the current crisis, two important trends about how institutions relate to consumers are emerging: one shaped by digital technology and the other by neuroscience. President Obama's viral and social networking strategy hinted at an era of Government 2.0 and crowdsourcing - will this be sustained and replicated elsewhere? Similarly, the burgeoning field on behavioural economics - marrying insights from neuroscience with traditional economics - means some believe it is possible for the state to frame decisions in such a way to nudge people to desirable outcomes: a move away from a Nanny State to an Avuncular State. These trends mapped onto the shifting sands created by the financial crisis mean the future of power remains uncertain.
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