The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

For the public good

I’m not all that enthralled by the notion of the nation-state. As an expression of an ethnic group and all that implies, it is an anachronism which should eventually join the divine right of kings on the scrapheap of history.

However, such states are here, they exist, so, what should they do? What is proper policy for a nation state?

The public good. That is what the nation-state must serve. Not just some utilitarian idea of the greatest good for the greatest number, though that’s part of it. The aspirations of the nation state should be to in some real and tangible sense, make things better in a lasting and sustainable manner for all people and for the earth, as stewards.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” proposed a hierarchy of needs from the most basic humans needs to the more advanced, which depend upon the forgoing.

Maslow’s hierarchy is: physiological needs, safety needs, social belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

So a good government, first and foremost, must see to the physiological well-being of the people. This means housing, clothing, health care and energy.

Second, safety. This means public safety, environmental and workplace regulation in the public interest, and defense. Actual defense, not occupying other countries or using force to implement regime change.

Third, social belonging. If you are going to have a just nation, then there must be a true sense of “one people.” Including everyone. Also, open borders and acceptance of refugees and migrants with open arms.

Esteem, treat everyone as of value and of worth. Let them make their own choices.

And self-actualization. The key to this is free education, and also a robust economy welcoming to co-ops and startups with strong protections insuring transparency and interdicting monopoly power. Regulation of “natural monopolies” through common carrier, public interest, and environmental legislation. Self-management and workplace democracy, with unions playing a key role in the transition from industrial capitalism to post-industrial social democracy.

So yes, nation-states, do those things. The people have spoken. :p

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy


30 September, 2017 Posted by | government, Maslow, nation, nation-state, politics, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment