“Enough! Enough of the imbalances that is destroying our democracies, our planet, and ourselves,” that is the first sentence the Canadian management thinker Henry Mintzberg wrote in his new book “Rebalancing Society”.
He refers to our “unbalanced society”, where the relationship between public and private sector has become distorted. An overall dominating private sector has led to an overleveraged financial economy, increasing inequalities and resistant high unemployment rates. While corporations are laying-off employees in high numbers, we see at the same time all-time-high stock markets and CEOs of the very same corporations earning obscene high amounts of money.
This is undermining our democracies.
Well, Mintzberg is looking to the West, especially to the US.
However, this is just one part of the story.
A different Global Society is emerging
While the crisis has been unfolding in the West, the rest of the world has made much progress in moving together. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain 25 years ago we have been witnessing an unprecedented expansion of global value chains and spreading of a global knowledge and communication society. Remote regions have become part of an emerging global society and poverty has been reduced worldwide. Even a critical mass of Sub-Saharan African countries has joined.
And while the West was busy with its own problems, Asia’s and specifically China’s positive track record in economic development together with the crisis in the West has created another “emerging property”:
The state capitalistic system has replaced the liberal democratic nation state as role model for the global society.
Of course, this cannot be seen independently from Western, especially US-American, business thinking. In fact, it is the combination of state-capitalism – where the state is seen as an important actor in the otherwise corporate world (very different from Mintzberg’s hypotheses) – and shareholder value thinking – where the purpose of a business to make money is seen as an overall good for society – which is highly attractive for elites everywhere in the world .
Authoritarian regimes together with an oligarchic private ownership, patriarchic societies, the rule of elites instead of law, an oppressed civil society, and the like are in advance. A class of unprecedented rich rulers from China to Russia, from Saudi Arabia to Brazil, and from Nigeria to Angola has emerged.
Hence, the self-inflicted crisis of the West is also backfiring from the outside. Additionally to the direct impacts on the inside, the crisis is helping a different form of global society to emerge.
At stake are the basic institutions of the future global society, as democracy, free market economy, rule of law and a engaging civil society.