04 November 2007

Intelligence and the Market State

Unclassified CIA Report;

The Nation-State's Changing Role
Intelligence and the "Market State"
Gregory F. Treverton

"The most powerful driver of both the international system and of intelligence's role is not new, and its effects will play out only gradually. But its direction is a momentous change. It is the transition from the world of the "territorial state" to that of the "market state."

"...the primary drivers of international politics are economic, yet our habits of thought and our institutions remain powerfully conditioned by the Cold War's focus on interstate relations and the balance of power. The era of the "territorial state" is passing away, and probably has been for a century. "

"Intelligence's next steps will be sharing its wares with NGOs, and then with private individuals and companies. Now, the sharing of information with firms is episodic, mostly driven by particular abuses in international commerce or by specific threats from foreign intelligence services. The CIA debriefs business people who have had travel or contacts of interest, but that process is pretty haphazard. Intelligence analysts sometimes share notes with Wall Street counterparts, but, again, doing so is unusual. Indeed, intelligence agencies ask private think-tanks like RAND to do projects on international economic topics precisely because RAND analysts have easier entrée to the World Bank and IMF, let alone private bankers.

In the long-run world of the market state, the US Government's comparative advantage will be less its ability to compel than its opportunity to convene. The government exists, with taxpayers funding lights and secretaries. It is a logical convener, and it may be that private institutions would cooperate with or through it in ways they would not directly with competitors.

Shell and Exxon might share information with or through the US Government, at least for some purposes, that both would be reluctant to share directly with each other. The NGOs that helped us frame the estimate on humanitarian emergencies overcame their skepticism about intelligence mostly because they welcomed that someone, anyone, was paying attention to their issue. But it also may have been easier to attend a meeting called by a neutral convener than by one of their number. (The limits to this sharing are also present. Shell apparently uses US intelligence as a test of its own corporate security; the operative question is: can NSA break into this Shell communications system?)"

(So if the intelligence agencies of democratic national states are unable to penetrate the unelected global corporations of the Market State - they become useless.
And if the data-mining and customer profiling of internet users and their habits and opinions fall in the hands of a private market state corporation, they would sell this information to the highest bidder, who could just as well be a dictatorship hunting down dissidents, another private intel corporation as a national intel agency in a democracy*)

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