Monday, 22 August 2011

The global nomenklatura

From Wikipedia

One rather obvious global trend is the growth of transnational institutions based on international treaties. Not necessarily a bad thing in principle I suppose, but where does democratic accountability come in?

There is a clear trend towards the establishment of a bureaucratic elite or global nomenklatura as more and more people are required to run, maintain and expand a huge raft of transnational institutions. We may reasonably assume they will be ambitious people not averse to international travel, luxury accommodation, a spot of sightseeing and a few agreeable meetings or conferences with coffee, lunch and an evening meal thrown it. Nice work if you can get it, but how are their activities controlled? No point relying on politicians, because far too many senior politicians intend to join in the fun once the voters find them out.

The institutions involved in this pin-striped growth industry are too numerous to list, but the EU, IMF, UN and all their numerous progeny are those I first think of. There are many, many more, but what do they do and is there anything wrong with it?

Well yes there is something wrong with it – a rather glaring absence of democratic control. There is also something more subtle too – a problem with language and logic. Because these activities are international and in some cases global, there is no common language to describe what is going on. I have used the term global nomenklatura but without commonplace terms, these things are not the subject of extended public debate except on a piecemeal, bungle by bungle, scandal by scandal basis.

So are there conspiracies going on, are there less than transparent activities likely to affect our lives? Well some people such as blogger James Higham who also blogs at 4liberty have published plenty of material to suggest there are. He often tackles difficult issues such as Common Purpose, an educational charity deeply embedded within the UK nomenklatura. Difficult issues? Yes – social trends have made some issues difficult to discuss without risking at least a raised eyebrow or the damaging conspiracy-theory label. But the global nomenklatura are presumably trained somewhere.

There is an entirely obvious conspiratorial logic to the global nomenklatura, the operational logic of transnational bodies without democratic controls. The logic requires powerful people with agendas to push, influence to wield and staff to instill with the right attitude. People who quite naturally seek to expand their remit by the very nature of what they do, because who could possibly demand less international co-operation? So they push for bigger and bigger budgets and more and more staff simply because we can't have too much international co-operation can we?

So conspiracy, or whatever else we wish to call it, lies deep within the logic of the process. We need not use the bogey word conspiracy of course, but we don’t have too many others that quite fit the bill and conspiracy is a genuine feature of human life however much we wish it wasn't. Adam Smith nailed it over two centuries ago.

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Adam Smith (1723 - 1790)

The trade of the global nomenklatura is no different and the prices they levy can be eye-watering, the antics of the IPCC being a good example. The EEC evolved into the EU largely because of a lack of national political control over EEC officials, over their policies and ambitions. Expansion was an organic process, the nature of the beast. There is no mystery about it, other than the rather formidable mystery of how we are now supposed to rein in the global nomenklatura before they rein us in.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Well yes there is something wrong with it – a rather glaring absence of democratic control.