Global Guerrillas, Sept. 2008. When I read this back then, I thought they were maybe too alarmist and gloomy. But events unfortunately are showing their Hollow State thesis to be valid.
The modern nation-state is in a secular decline, made inevitable by the rise of a global market system. Even developed nations, like the US, are not immune to this process. The decline is at first gradual and then accelerates until it reaches a final end-point: a hollow state.
The shift from a marginally functional nation-state in manageable decline to a hollow state often comes suddenly, through a financial crisis. This crisis typically has the following features:
- Corporations and connected individuals systematically loot the nation-state of financial assets and natural resources through a series of insider/no cost deals. These deals are made to “save” the nation’s economy or financial system from collapse.
- Once the full measure of the crisis is known, the nation-state’s currency falls precipitously, it’s debt becomes expensive, and it is forced to submit to international oversight/rules.
- The services the state provides rapidly evaporate as its bureaucracy is starved for cash/financing. This opens up a window for the corruption of government employees unused to deprivation.
The response of the federal government to both Hurricane Katrina and the current BP oil leak has been feeble and inept. This isn’t about Republican vs. Democrat, it’s about a government in decline increasingly unable to provide for its citizenry even as it is looted by corporate and criminal elites.