Journal: Taming the Informal Shadow Government

Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice

Chuck Spinney
Chuck Spinney

What do the MICC, the Collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the Financial Meltdown Have in Common?

I strongly recommend that readers study carefully the attached article by Janine Wedel.  She analyzes the emergence of self-organizing government – industry networks in the post communist states and then compares these structures to the very similar emergence of crony capitalism in the US.

My only quibble with her stunning analysis is that she may not reach back far enough in time to uncover the antecedents of this phenomenon.  The structure she describes is very similar — indeed, I would say almost identical — to the emergent properties of the competing and cooperating “clan-based” informal networks of the Military -Industrial – Congressional Complex (MICC) in the United States during forty years in the hot petri dish of the Cold War, and perhaps those of its “distorted mirror” in the Soviet Union as well.  A penchant for

  • shared ideology, authoritarianism, and indoctrination in powerful belief systems to maintain a common outlook;
  • secrecy, lack of accountability, and control of public information, including including that produced by the press;
  • privatization, including the practice of using contractors to displace government's management duties and obligations;
  • crony capitalism lubricated by the revolving door between government and industry;
  • and a structure of policy-legitimating government advisory boards made up of industry representatives, among other things,
  • etc.,
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