The final three Levels are oriented to improving the quality of .
This Level orients attention to hardship of members of the society and the need to be protective and care specially for the citizenry (as distinct from foreigners).
This Level enables dispassionate analysis in a multiplicity of ways, dependent upon the availability of good information.
This Level focuses on the need to face up to underlying forces and uncontrollable trends affecting commerce and prosperity in society.
The most intense kinship orientation will occur when society is a single ethnic group with a single language and unifying religion: a true nation. However, in all societies governments recognize the universal desire of their people to be protected. There is also the popular urge to maintain and improve standards of living in the home society, regardless of conditions in other societies viewed as alien.
The people identify strongly with their society, and so should their governments—most do. Nations are often referred to as the «fatherland», «motherland» or «homeland», all of which are kinship terms. Political leaders are known to deliberately project themselves as parental figures. Even when they do not, they are often perceived and labelled as such by the populace.
People have a love of tradition, a pride in their country and a distrust of outsiders. Distress in a society easily activates kinship demands—people wish for help and guidance, and more: they want special attention and resources to relieve their woes. As a result, kinship-centred principles provide the most immediate psychosocial influence on L4-interventions.
Global flows of capital and capable people mean that other nations are often seen as competitors. Certain industries may become strategically significant for security or economic reasons, and governments want to nurture and protect these. When this happens, two kinship-centred phenomena emerge:
See more on what determines political choices.
The government’s aim is to handle fears inherent in difficult times, and foster the energies needed to make stressful or risky economic choices.
Certainly, nothing much can be achieved in a society when people are depressed, apathetic or riven with guilt and shame.
Commonly-used kinship techniques include:
● appeals to national pride
● morale-boosting speeches,
● denunciation of foreigners,
● finding scapegoats in alien groups or alien behaviours.
Although the urge to advance domestic interests is powerful, such a drive, and any intervention flowing from it, is unlikely to be beneficial to society unless it is both informed and realistic. This takes us to the final two Levels.
Socio-economic change is continuous and that provides a demand for up-to-date knowledge. Information and analyses are particularly important given that popularly-desired interventions commonly cause harm.
Governments must set up independent statistical agencies that produce figures on a range of relevant economic and social indicators. These then allow officials, businesses and academics to track and analyse performance within society.
Henry HazlittEconomics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (1946) correctly noted that, “the whole of economics can be reduced to one lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate, but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups …”
Analyses deal with the past. Economic forecasts are typically correct when unimportant and incorrect when a sea-change or disaster strikes. But the reasons for these errors are rarely understood and acknowledged—which is why they keep repeating.
Hard facts and narrow theories do not capture the deep forces that shape the world’s economies and precipitate discontinuities. Discontinuities are the norm, while continuity is usually the emotional and academic preference.
Intelligent predictions require a broad scope of attention, lateral thinking, penetrating insight, historical understanding and an awareness of what is happening to local and global industries. In addition, a feel for public opinion and attitudes of powerful people is required. This takes us to the next and final Level …
Governments cannot fully stem the economic consequences of social forces and events, but they can identify them, pay attention to them, see potentials in them and envision futures so as to design interventions that flow with forces (rather than attempt to deny them or fight them) .
Economic activity is also affected by largely uncontrollable and apparently non-economic things to which governments must, by and large, submit.
● Natural disasters
● Climate extremes
● Social mood
● Man-made catastrophes
● Demographic trends
● Technological innovation
● Global turmoil
● Social conflicts.
All too often, when governments are helpless or responses seem to demand too much of people, officials look the other way.
This sort of realism is non-ideological and non-political. Implicit within reality-centredness is the recognition that in the realm of psychosocial reality: what people think has primacy over supposed objective facts.
There is no higher Level. Nor is there a more comprehensive requirement on governments with regard to economic interventions.
Continue to the next section on politico-economic choices and forces. The main dilemmas for governments will be identified, and the interactions amongst these levels will be mapped.