The sustainable borders of the state
Economic crises have historically set the stage for the reconfiguration of the economic borders of the state. Current concerns focus on debt and associated intergenerational issues, such as pensions, infrastructure, and the environment. The sustainable state is designed to put in place a framework for integrating these intergenerational issues, alongside the traditional focus on macroeconomic policy, static market failures, and transfers. The building blocks include the accounting framework and, in particular, a national balance sheet setting out assets and liabilities, and providing for capital maintenance over time. To support these assets and to provide for sufficient investment, the sustainable state requires an appropriate level of savings, and institutions to translate these savings into investments. Two components are: the deployment of regulatory asset bases to underpin long-term sunk and fixed costs, given the time inconsistency problem in government's commitments; and the development of financial intermediaries such as an infrastructure bank. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.