Wednesday, June 29, 2011


(Right, Somalia.... why didn't I think of that?)

Ok, so the video is amusing. And in fact, the beaches of Somalia can be amazingly beautiful, as we'll see later on. But the real challenge of Governance still remains - and indeed, the ultimate legacy of Regan / Thatcherism may be that the notion that Government is problem, not the solution (and, inter alia, taxes are bad / evil).

In my view, this is deeply unhelpful, especially in states which are facing crises. And there's plenty of them to go around. Consider the debt crises in Greece and Ireland - or indeed the widespread public sector strikes in the UK tomorrow, let alone the US Congress playing chicken with the debt ceiling. And this is before we look at places with "imperfect" governments - anywhere from Afghanistan, where the Central Bank Governor fled in fear of his life after investigating the looting of Kabul Bank, to Angola, where a resource boom has created one of the world's most unequal societies.

Governance - fundamentally, the competence of the government combined with the consent of the governed, is critical to long term economic growth and social stability. Massively unequal countries tend to have revolutions, as do kleptocratic ones - just ask Tunisians or Yemenis. But the solution is not less government or more government: it is better governance, fuelled by representative, responsive institutions, in which corruption in particular is not tolerated.

(One of Somalia's beautiful beaches. Attracts surfers and tank-spotters.)

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