An obvious problem with world-scale economic and political reform proposals

Another proposal of major world reform in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and social and economic upheaval from Pablo at KiwiPolitico:  Thinking of a post-pandemic future

It’s quite long, but in short:

Returning to normal, at least if it is defined as the way things were before the pandemic hit, is a guarantee that the socioeconomic and political contradictions now laid bare will fester, accumulate and eventually explode. That is why the post-pandemic moment must be seen as a window of opportunity for comprehensive change rather than a resumption of what once as.

In order to avoid an explosive break with the past, the key to post-pandemic recovery lies in addressing the dual crises of governance and accumulation as the most important priorities even if short term economic and political remedies are offered (say, by removing Trump from office, turning to regional supply chains and re-committing international agencies to a rules-based international order). I cannot offer any specifics, but it seems to me that a move towards sustainable development based on restrained rates of profit and renewable resource extraction is a beginning. Given the resurgence of wildlife in urban and suburban areas and air and water cleansing during the lockdown, climate change mitigation efforts need to be wrapped into larger projects of environmental restoration in which a return to natural balance is given urgent attention.

These involve political reforms in which those who advocate for a return to the previous economic status quo are blocked from doing so. After all, there are many interests vested in the current global market framework and they will do everything in their power to resist and thwart meaningful change that undermines their positions and diminishes their bottom lines. The key is to find a consensus about reforming, if not an alternative to, the system as given, including the reconfiguration of incentive structures in order to promote broad adherence to the shift in the global model of accumulation.

It is time for economic and political architectural re-design on a world scale.

What Pablo and a bunch of others promoting world reform don’t seem to provide any ideas about is how to achieve this idealistic revolution.

There is nothing close to a world-scale power. There are many countries with governments ranging from various degrees of dictatorship and democracy. How on Earth do the revolutionaries and re-designers propose to get consensus on huge changes that will require huge shifts in wealth and power?  It will be hard enough doing anything like it in individual countries.

And to do it democratically rather than by dictat would require a lot of time and inevitable watering down of reforms – that’s what consensus making does,

Pablo should know that people usually don’t give up wealth and power easily even in individual nations. let alone come anywhere near close to anything resembling world-wide consensus.

“…political reforms in which those who advocate for a return to the previous economic status quo are blocked from doing so” sounds an odd sort of consensus building. It might be possible in North Korea, and possibly China and Russia, but I doubt it with the later two who have huge vested interests in the status quo.  And the United States can’t even work together well dealing with Covid-19 let alone reform their own failing political system.

I see another problem with using the pandemic disruption to launch into ‘world-scale reform – no matter how well meaning reforms may be, that would mean even greater disruption to ‘the status quo’, in other words to how all of us live our lives now.

There are already growing signs here in new Zealand and in other countries to reduce the disruption caused by action s to limit Covid. I don’t see any sign of a popular movement to make even more drastic and permanent changes.