September 8, 2004

ONE MARKET UNDER GOD (via Mike Daley):

The Market State President (Gregory Scoblete, 09/08/2004, Tech Central Station)

One of the most intriguing aspects of President Bush's convention acceptance speech last week was his rhetorical embrace of the Market State, a concept fleshed out by Phillip Bobbitt, a former director of intelligence in the National Security Administration under President Clinton, in his opus The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History.

Through the course of 800-plus pages, Bobbitt sketches out the history of state evolution -- from Princely States to the Nation State -- arguing that both external threats and the domestic quest for legitimacy shape the relationship between government and the governed. He argues that with the passing of the Long War (defined as the period beginning with World War I and ending with the dissolution of the Soviet Union) we are now in a transitional period from the Nation States that dominated the 20th century to the Market State that looks to define the 21st.

The Nation State was defined and legitimated, in part, by its ability to ensure the material well being of its citizens. In contrast, the Market State earns its legitimacy by providing the opportunity to its citizens to advance their own well being. The Nation State is characterized by top-down, government centric solutions like the welfare state, that make absolute guarantees about the material outcome of its charges. The Market State simply says: we'll guarantee a set of basic tools and an open playing field, but after that, you're on your own to make of it what you will.

Bush embraced this transition to the Market State.

A few articles recently have mentioned that the Bush team recognizes a real thirst in voters this year for a detailed agenda and concrete ideas. They're running an ad, here in NH anyway, that lists something like twelve different proposals the President is running on. It's way more prosaic than any ad you'll have seen in recent presidential cycles. Best of all, when he wins he'll have won the mandate for a significant second term that even the great Ronald Reagan did not have the courage to run on.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 8, 2004 2:16 PM

Bush is trying to pre-empt the victory Of America's would be Gracchi by helping the (remaining) freemen defend (and want to defend) their liberty. A bold move to be prayed for. Failure will reduce us to living in a minimum security federal pen.

Posted by: luciferous at September 8, 2004 2:41 PM

Mr. Scoblete, a little deeper in the article, writes that the Nation State guaranteed our welfare by redirecting wealth among different population segments.
However, that doesn't seem to have worked out really well. After forty years of the Great Society, the poor remain with us, (albeit at what to the world at large are unrecognizably high living standards), having squandered the wealth flowing their way from those more talented at production.

The only people starving in 21st century America are addicts, insane, or minors, so I guess that's progress, of a minimal sort.


Cheer up mate, it's not that bad, really.
America will handily survive President Kerry, should such an ill event come to pass.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 8, 2004 3:06 PM

Hasn't W proven that "mandate" is a fiction and there is only winning and losing?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 8, 2004 3:37 PM


But he won on a platform which he was then able to enact. Reagan had votes, but no plan.

Posted by: oj at September 8, 2004 4:28 PM

Sure. What matters is winning while having a plan. Although 4 years of Reagan napping beats 4 years of Mondale doing anything at all.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 8, 2004 4:38 PM


So true. I don't think someone allocates the number of executive orders a president can sign based on percentage of vote.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 8, 2004 5:34 PM

The Democrats tried to in 2000, remember? They (Dashle & co.) claimed that Bush couldn't do anything until he won the next election.
I fell in love with Dubya when he said, "Too bad, I'm the President."

Posted by: ray at September 8, 2004 7:19 PM