Are we truly living in the 21st century? Well, the device you are reading this article on may be cutting edge. However, the country you are living in is still stuck in the 19th century. According to a recent article in the Economic Times by the Chairman and MD of Mastek, there is a clear need for governments to adapt themselves in tandem with the new global environment.
Governments in their current form have seen failures across the globe. The US could not control its corporations, and ended up spending trillions in bailout money. Greece failed in maintaining fiscal discipline, forcing its lenders to lighten half of its debt burden. Totalitarian regimes like the former USSR also failed miserably. Closer to home, India has also failed on multiple counts. It has not been able to control stubborn inflation for months on end, pinching its poor. Its public sector companies like Air India and BSNL/MTNL are just a drain on public finances. Policy reform has stalled, and infrastructure in the country is crumbling. Various entities especially in the power and energy sector are bleeding losses and crying for reforms.
Clearly there are a few things wrong with the current system of operations. Governments have overstepped their boundaries by bailing out companies for their wrongdoings. Public administration has become overly centralised. Thirdly, decisions which concern the whole world, especially with regards to climate change, financial regulation, etc. are too important to be the subject of consensus between individual nations.
New age governments need to be small and nimble. They have to be able to take multiple forms and be capable of quick decision-making. World forums should decide on issues concerning the health of the planet such as the environment, global warming, etc. Laws for taxation and trade should be simpler and more globally aligned assisting cross border trade. Having a global Federal Reserve may also help matters and replace country specific monetary policies. Interest rates could also be market driven and based on demand and supply for credit.
While it will be very difficult to have a complete shakedown of the current system, questioning the status quo is necessary. This will help create dialogue between governments and the citizens they govern. The recent anti-corruption movement was a case study in the power of the people to try and effect change within the system. Sustainable policies with regards to climate change, agriculture, etc. are also necessary else the planet may be headed towards disaster.