Monday, February 05, 2007

Sidestepping the State

The Financial Times ponders if the perception that government leadership is increasingly the home of the uninspired and uninspiring, may actually reflect a pattern of change based in the type of people willing to engage in public service.

US public sector faces talent drain: “Students don’t see the government as a place you can make a difference,” she said. “The common perception is that if you go into the private sector, you’re an economic entrepreneur, if you go into the non-profit sector you’re a social entrepreneur, but if you go into government, you’re a bureaucrat.”

Red State takes the musings and runs with the idea that the best and the brightest are still making choices about how to change the world, but while the economic entrepreneurs still head for the private sector, the social entrepreneurs are consciously abandoning traditional public life to take action in non-governmental organizations.

Brain Drain: It's not the case that today's graduates are more self-centered than those of the Sixties and Seventies. Business careers are not the only destination for success-oriented young people. Increasingly, they're attracted also to the non-profit (foundation, think-tank and NGO) sector. Our bright young people are still looking for ways to change the world. But they perceive now that government is no longer the place to do it, if indeed it ever was.

In long term historical perspective, the enduring lesson of Viet Nam may be that elected government can be effectively manipulated by well organized propaganda movements. The combination of message, media and legitimate financial entities to solicit and spend tax exempt cash gets results. Why get swallowed by the beast when the beast can be directed from the outside?

TCS Daily goes a step further in commenting on the trend away from traditional nation state authority. Special interest groups can easily transcend jurisdictional borders.

My Own Private Foreign Policy: In his recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Philip C. Bobbitt, a constitutional law professor and former U.S. National Security Council staffer, described how the traditional nation-state structure of the world is giving way to the "market-state," the self-organizing global networks and associations that now make the world function.

The ease with which people, money and ideas now roam the planet is a fertile environment where “a stateless, borderless, decentralized network operating without geographic, bureaucratic, or even legal constrains” can thrive, “completely untethered from state control, being both self-financed and self-directed”. Especially when fueled by ample flows of that sweet, sweet gift money.