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Tord Steiro
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I think it is in the last section you nail it. What if the existence of large-scale manufacturing, in itself, is seen as a challenge to the elites? Wile large-scale manufacturing certainly produces economies of scale, technological progress, and innovation capacity, it also produces large groups of people who can communicate and organise at low costs due to their proximity to each other. Unions are dangerous for elite, and perhaps it is better to avoid the large-scale manufacturing altogether? Is it possible that the threat of democratisation forces elites to restrict their investments in manufacturing? Looking to China would perhaps lead us to dismiss such an idea, but really, could it be one fo the drivers for the de-industrialisation? Regarding democracy, reduction of transaction costs in communications, information sharing, and organisation, appears to ahve been a key feature for any succesful social movement. Factories provide that, because large amounts of workers work and live close to each other and share some identities. In the absence of factories, what will fill the void? Are we now dependent on middle-class kids to pick up that thread on facebook? What will societies look like then?
Thanks for an interesting compendium. To some extent, I have always had a liking for Acemoglu's argument that the election of the AKP government distributed power in new ways, opening up opportunities for masses of people. That is democratisation. At the same time, I always found it pitiful that when the AKP took on the army - aomething it would have to do at one point or the other - it did so by a sham case rather than accusing army officers of crimes they certainly did committ. Against kurds and other minorities, and against political opponents in times of coups and others. The reasons for that are obvious, fo course, but still pitiful. Now, the tide certainly turned at some point. Erdogan and Gulen fell out. Perhaps more importantly, Erdogan fell out with many of his western supporters as well as the Turkish intelligentsia. The process that started externally on the Mavi Marmara, culminated with riots in Istanbul and other cities. But the fact that Erdogan, or Gulen for that matter, are of no more democratic nature than the army, does not necessarily spell disaster for democracy in Turkey. With three competing powerhouses, the AKP, the army, and the Gulenist, and a street that has again woken up, the scenario that Turkish politics will again be dominated by one force does not look nearly as realistic as it once did. It seems like Erdogan can not outmaneuvre the Gulenists without the tacit support of the army, and it appearsm for an outsider, that any government must be careful not to provoke the street and the liberals too much, lest they may be toppled by popular protest. The breaking of the army's power has certainly been a gamechanger, and 350+ officers and their families paid a price for that, but it might just as well have lead to an improvement in Turkey's road to democracy.
Isn't some of the problem here that, police brutality, seem to be the only thing that actually unites the crowds? I am in no sense an expert on Turkey, however, as far as I have understood, the crowds consists of (at least) the following fractions: 1. Environmentalists 2. Ataturk supporters 3. Secular right-wing fascists 4. Moderate leftists, the occupy movement, and the labour movement 5. Violent left-wing, communists and anarchists 6. Kurdish youth movements 7. Classic liberals 8. Anti-prohibitionists 9. Disillusioned young people from Erdogans urban core (as different from the rural core). That's a pretty weird coalition if you ask me, but if they stick together until Erdogan is back - and then some - I think we can count on his political career to be in severe danger. Although that may not spill over on the political clout of neither the AK party, nor the Gulen movement.
Dani, I think you are correct about the likeliness of the twp options, and I find it most unfortunate. I am actually quite shocked about how little the EU and its leaders have done to avoid this. the solutions were all there, all the time. However, the flawed democracy in Brussels got hijacked by vested interests who, at the end of the day, had no interest in extending political cooperation and finding real solutions for ordinary Europeans. Elite influence has proved disastrous in both the EU and in the US, however, in different ways.
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Nov 8, 2011