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World Government - for's and against's.

 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:06 pm    Post subject: World Government - for's and against's. Reply with quote

This probably isn't the right place for this question - but as it is essentially a political subject I'll leave it here unless Hashi or others decide that it is egregiously out of place.

Here's my question: are we reaching a stage of our history in terms of interconnectedness, climate crisis, global economics or indeed any other area you may think pertinent, where human condition and advancement would be furthered by the adoption of a single World Government to which all current nation states are answerable. While I am aware of the natural mistrust and suspicion we all hold in respect of such an idea, is it nevertheless not possible that at least some of our most pressing issues would be better served by the coherence of purpose and activity that such an institution would bring.

Does anyone I wonder, have anything to say in favour of a single World Government to which we all agree to be subject?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there'll more or less automatically end up being a world government once effective superorbital colonization/related happens. Only then it might be better to speak of a "planetary" government. Whether there will ever be only one government, over all humans, is a slightly different issue...

EDIT: Either the world government would emerge by force, or by consent. The former would be bad, the latter as difficult as solving the problems the world government would be meant to solve, maybe.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

World government by force? The idea is abhorrent, unimaginable, unthinkable! ..........And yet are we all not already governed by force - just by our own agreement. Is not this in essence the central plank of the 'social contract's: I concede a degree of freedom in order that you will alleviate to some degree the nastiness, brutishness and shortness that the anarchy of total freedom would bring?

In a world where given the chance, religious fundamentalism would impose mediaeval barbarity over great swathes of humanity, where tinpot dictators can hold the world to ransom by firing off nuclear missiles in whatsoever direction they choose, where we are incapable of making the critical changes of energy policy that could be essential for our very survival ...... well, is there not serious grounds for thinking that a dose of benign parental government of some of the more unruly children in the creche might not be beneficial?

Take energy provision as a case in point; I read on one occasion that the bulk of the worldwide energy demands could be met by solar capture in the Sahara dessert were but the political will and cooperation in place such as to make it happen. The world can work as one at the level above the political - we see it already in numerous places: the nation state with all its parochial concerns and petty grievances might be the final bar that we must overcome in order for us to really start achieving our potential.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it make sense to describe such a kind of society or civilization as a government, though?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to inquire as to whether, maybe, there is a certain "geographical limit" on the existence of a government. Let's say nations have to be what are governed. Then the world-government requires a world-nation, or even a worldwide nation-state so to speak. But is it possible for a nation to exist without being geographically set off against the existence of other nations? For in a sense, it seems, governments seem to depend on their geography, currently and throughout history, that is the relations they manage wouldn't have offices unless people were concerned with maintaining borders and internal perpendicular forces.

But let's waive this weird way of thinking about it for a second, sort of, and just imagine a neat political-thrilleresque scenario or whatever, the kind of thing that really gets into our heads when we worry about a world-government. So how is this regime constituted? Let's say it had an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. Then it would probably have a president, and if American history is any indicator, this could lead to some unusual circumstances. Only the thing would be the president wouldn't be in a position to wage unauthorized wars in foreign regions, for instance; in fact, the only war there could be would be civil war, from there on out. Now a lot of concentration-camp nightmare holocaust incidents or whatever usually take place during war, in foreign areas, and yeah of course there's always the issue of internal oppression more broadly (e.g. as in Khmer Rouge Cambodia) but the issue will end up having to be one where the regime in question has the military power to overwhelm any resistance in any part of the world.

Now, given that definition, though, it follows that the thing feared of a world-government is a thing that is already possible, namely that a supremely powerful military force would back up a regime's oppressive intentions, should they arise. The US, Russia, and China, to name the major risks, here, could do way worse to the world than build a new set of death camps, if they so choose. In fact, do you recall the reason the Nazis made those camps in the first place? Those weren't just the tired ol' konzentrationslager(sp.?) but the newfangled vernichtungslager. The problem had been, in the East, that the SS units tasked with murdering the Jews, were plentifully going mad, so to speak, from horror at what they were doing. Like, these people knew they were committing mass murder, knew it was wrong in their eyes, didn't want to do in some level, but found themselves willfully doing it so much, it drove some of them kinda crazy (or crazier, let's qualify). The gas van system didn't help enough with the problem, plus there was the corpse-disposal issue all throughout the occupied regions. So, voila, they come up with the idea of corpse factories, that is facilities designed explicitly for the purpose of turning large numbers of living human beings into corpses that can be mass-incinerated. It's a technical project, even; different methods of gassing are used, different rates, etc. The train system is brought into play. (Keep in mind how difficult it might be, in a global peacetime tyranny, to round up tens or hundreds of millions of people for mass extermination. Yet if it in death camps that such would be undertaken, such a rounding up would perforce have to take place to some extent.) Even so the whole thing is difficult and you still have to drag tons of bodies out of the chambers and to the crematoria, so there's still some psychological damage among the agents of the genocide (although they figured they could also use Jews who would be temporarily spared for the purpose of gathering the corpses, for the very task).

By contrast, a modern terror regime would be much more likely to just use mass destruction in general to express their drive towards fear and dominion in the population, if it was to be on the Nazi scale. For example, domestic nuclear state terror seems a vague possibility in Russia, I think. China is also ruled by a repressive system, and has a history of population loss that is staggering to read about. If America ever went completely ballistic, so to speak, it's also something that could happen over here. And the thing of it is, mass extermination via using nuclear weaponry on cities simultaneously solves the psychological and the corpse-disposal problems: one, as analysts have noted, it is easier for pilots to massacre people than it would be for soldiers because pilots often don't see the people they're killing at all (we can adjust this for nuclear-submarine crews or silo operators, of course, under the circumstances), and secondly nuclear explosions can supercremate a larger number of corpses at once than a conventional associated facility.

Now in the LEFT BEHIND books the world-government actually does use nuclear weapons on its own cities (e.g. Chicago(!)), so this is an image or hypothesis that has, indeed, been considered before, if by people who are hardly political scientists or of a similar enough stripe. That being said, it also could be that bioterror was used to selectively eliminate unwanted people, with the caveat being that if a large number of people were selected as unwanted, it would be possible for agents of the global regime to hunt them all down, across the Earth, and infect them. Or a regime might use control of food supplies to engineer famines, as has been said of various (mostly communist or European imperialist) systems in the past. Or so on and on.

Yet, to some extent, the terror and holocaust we would fear in such a case, especially under the shadow of what would seem to be an omnipresent state, is highly speculative. The mental or emotional nature of the transition to such a system might ill dispose the people of the Earth to the kind of mass ideological drives that very often or universally precede the singular genocides and similar campaigns that we subconsciously use in our comparison class for "threats posed by a global state." Moreover, technological transitions in general might even not just the abstract political playing field (as in the internal law of republics or democracies) but the physical capacity of people, such that it would be hard to physically endanger people such as to repress them in the first place.

Now, on the other hand, and this is interesting for me to realize, those who fear a world-government have for a premise something from which this can be inferred: that for there to be internally stable democracies or republics (or whatever) requires a plurality of nation-states/governments/the like, in which case different countries are not only mutually beneficially dependent for economics' sake in many cases, but even as concerns their very political-ontological substrate. That is, political respect for other countries becomes intrinsically bound up in respect for the existence of one's own country.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that post Mig; I'll try do do it justice in my response! Laughing

I think the first point to make is that if the fears of many environmental scientists were to be realised in the not to distant future, then World Government of one form or another would pretty much be forced on us simply in order for humanity to survive. This was the existential situation faced by the Brits at the outset of WWII and the then political parties shelved their differences to form a National government without delay; there is little reason to assume that in the event of a catastrophic climatic event [a 'tipping point' or whatever] or the like, that our existing governing bodies would not follow the same example.

That being said however, you raise the point of to what extent a nation can be said to exist in isolation - is a nation only a nation by virtue of the presence of other nations around it? I'm not sure this question could ever truly be answered unless/untill the situation itself were to pertain. So much would depend on the form and structure of the resultant 'world state' that it's status might be barely describable in terms of what had gone before .... but it might be well to remember that 'the nation state' and deeply entrenched nationalism is not something that humans have either evolved to live in or have by any means always been subject to in their thinking. The very idea of 'nationhood' is a relative late comer in the catalogue of human affairs - I think only really gaining traction after the period of imperialism, so in effect for only a few hundred years at most. Prior to this mankind's thinking was either much more parochial or much more inclusive or indeed [odd as it may seem] both simultaneously. So if we can strip away this latter 'onion skin' imposed upon us and go perhaps one level deeper, we come to 'culture' and ethnicity. Well, multiculturalism has been practised with greater and lesser degrees of success by many nations over the years, so we at least know that in theory it can be attempted, so would our [benign, we hope] World Government have perforce to attempt to shoe-horn us all into the same shaped box all of a piece; would not the 'osmosis' effect of free movement and global interconnectedness serve simply on it's own to achieve this homogeneity of thought and purpose in a relatively short order without the need for brute state intervention?

Also, while I fully understand the almost reflexive reaction of calling up mental imagery of concentration camps and gulags the moment the words 'World Government' are uttered [God knows - there are many reasons for doing so!], are we really always forced to view the subject through the historical prism of totalitarian dictatorship, mass exterminations and genocides; can there be no other approach? Is there not a grave risk of 'throwing thee baby out with the bathwater' if we do not try to get beyond the horrors of the C.20. and start to see the positive potential of collectivised human activity on a grand scale. In order for the much touted imminent tech revolution to 'do it's thing' for the greater benefit of all humanity, surely a higher level of coherence of purpose and activity across the board of world government is almost demanded.

The argument against Word Government, that it flies in the face of what we know is a basic human failing - what Hashi put so succinctly above as "we don't much like each other" - is a hard one to refute ..... but because it is hard does not seem to me a reason to put it beyond the table either for discussion or indeed in practice. No - we don't much like each other .... that is until we understand each other, or we need each other, or we just simply get to know each other. We are humans and we are smart in equal measure as being stupid. We can do what is needed when the chips are down and our similarities at the fundamental level far outstrip our differences. As the barriers of language and cultural difference are further eroded by increasing levels of interconnectedness these products of primitive and narrow-minded thinking will surely dissipate of their own volition; play Call of Duty online with any man as your partner for an hour and chances are that by the end of it he'll be your friend no matter what your President or Prime Minister would tell you!

Geography and politics have always gone hand in hand [hence the subject of geopolitics] and geography has always played a massive role in human affairs. It is no coincidence that India and China have had only one war in their entire history - a boarder skirmish lasting a few short months in the 1960's - and the Russians have fought one every 30 years on average since the Napoleonic era. The reasons can be summed up in a few words: The Himalaya and The North European Plain. As resources become ever more scarce and the demands more specific in nature, the potential for hostility will become ever greater if the uneven lottery of 'who is blessed with what' is not in some way ironed out, and this alone will sooner or later become another factor either pulling nations apart or [hopefully] pushing them together.

A final question as to what extent 'politics' and 'government' will actually have much of a role to play in the future. If global capitalism is truly to win the day as the predominant world order [perhaps by virtue of its pure superiority as a system as argued in Wright's Non-Zero], then will not much of the traditional role of government in providing for infrastructure, education and the like simply become redundant as Corporations move into provision of those areas upon which they are dependant in order to survive. Banal examples but for example, there isn't much point in producing books if no-one can read, no point in producing goods if you can't move them about, no point in having a tech department if no technicians are on hand to staff it. In a truly globally capitalist world, would not the role of a World Government be much smaller in terms of it's reach than the traditional government to which we are used? And would that not be a good thing? Who wants to go to war when they can play Call of Duty instead?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would we need a single world government? Is there something wrong with the way the world works now? If so, why would concentrating power into fewer hands fix those problems? Does anyone seriously think that a single bureaucracy could manage 1000s of different cultures, values, languages, religions that are currently in an unstable equilibrium?

The reason why we have nation states is that people naturally group themselves around common cultures and values. The nation states we have now represent the maximum size where such cohesion of values/culture can be achieved (with the present mix of people on the planet). Indeed, we're seeing those limits strained with the breakup of the EU and the infiltration of Middle Eastern culture/values into the West.

How could a single world government manage both theocracies and republics? Democracies and dictatorships? How the hell would that work?

People should be left alone to govern themselves. There is no benefit in a single world government that could possibly outweigh the negatives. Simple loss of efficiency alone would preclude it. But the diminishment of representation would be colossal.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good argument Z.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only viable form a one-world government would take would be one where one nation has such a technological advantage over every other nation that all other nations would have to submit out of fear of destruction; this advantage could take the form, as noted, of an orbital platform with the weapons pointing down.

Human nature being what it is, the person or group of people in charge of this one-world government would very quickly tilt the entire system in their favor, lining their pockets and doling out influence or authority in exchange for money and/or favors. You couldn't afford to even be suspected of being an enemy of these people, either--the second you don't lick their boots or toe their line they will consider you to be an enemy and will deal with you accordingly.

I am certain many people do want an all-powerful parental figure to watch over them, keep them safe, and provide for their needs. The rest of us would rather just get by on our own, thank you very much. We do not need to regress back to needing god-kings.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What was the idea behind the formation of The League of Nations if not as a supra-national authority to which all member nations agreed to defer? Was it a bad idea? Would anyone object to the UN being given more teeth so that it could act as 'the world's policeman'? Is it not possible that the nation state could become a severe handicap preventing us from advancing at a rate anything near our full potential? And heard my ears aright - "What's wrong with the world as it is"! ( Wink )
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I reached the age of 10 I remember believing that the United Nations was the one world government. Though hilariously false, that idealistic image still exists in my mind even today. A world government that functions similarly to the United States attempting to treat each state in its union as equally and equitably as possible. However the United States works today (for the most part) because the status quo for each state is generally acceptable to all parties (again for the most part). Factions in each state grumble from time to time about seceding from the union but realistically it is a remote possibility at best. For a system like what we have in the U.S. (which I believe is the most adaptable to a world populated by existing individual nations) to be applied globally, the member states would have to be just as agreeable to inclusion as the U.S. model and you don't have to look far to see that we are a very long way away from that being feasible. It can't even be realized in a limited form. How close are we to forming a single continent government in North America? Not very is the answer. Without using force, like the Soviet Union once did, there are very few nations that are willing to give up their autonomy for any reason. There are numerous trade pacts and defense pacts, etc between individual nations but I don't see a lot of progress in combining nations for mutual benefit. In fact I see the exact opposite. Unless there is a radical change in the beliefs and perceptions of the people and governments of existing nations around the world there will be no world government movement to talk about. We simply distrust each other far too much and it isn't without good reason. There exists some of the most radically divergent points of view between some countries that if they existed in the United States, for example, everyone in the state of Utah would be trying to murder everyone in the state of California on religious grounds. As a nation formed of individual states there does not exist a gulf quite so large and its that reason among many others that we are able to endure (for the most part) as a people. Were we a world nation, even with guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, there are some nations that currently cannot co-exist with other ones without an unfathomable amount of cultural change.

At present we don't need and should not be aspiring to a world government when the possibility of success is so minute as to be incalculable.

Check back in 100 years and I'll let you know if my opinion has changed.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's suppose we set up colonies on other planet(oid)s. Are those colonies going to just be extensions of the nations, from Earth, who established them? What happens if people settled on other planets independently of a national endeavor? If a whole planet turned into a nation, but there were several of these, would there be a world government per planet or not?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atomic, well said. The differences between nations is so much larger than the differences between states in the U.S., the idea that they could all be united like the U.S. is unthinkable. Driving from Texas to Louisiana is nothing at all like driving from Texas to Mexico.

MS, I image that colonies on other planets will be much like colonies on this planet, at first extensions of the nation which funded them, but then later independent entities. Except for the international space station, space exploration is mostly a nation-state activity.

However, perhaps corporations will set up their own colonies, like Space X. In fact, corporations might get large enough that they become the framework for global or international governance, much like the UMC in the Gap novels. While we don't have a world government now, we do have a global civilization, and it is largely because of private sector trade and private sector inventions (e.g. telecommunication, Internet, air travel, etc.) that has made us a global civilization.

We, the people, are developing a global civilization. This is a bottom-up organization, rather than a top-down bureaucracy. This is the power of nonzero-sum relationships, that it empowers people themselves to form something even larger than nation-states. If there is no need of a one world government to run something as complex as the global economy, then there is no need for it in other areas. The emerging global civilization--rising on the tide of a global economy--is the model of future planetary organization.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooooh, perfect segue time: how difficult would it be to enforce national borders on an interplanetary scale?

Air forces and navies are the predictable go-to comparison classes for a space-war branch of the armed forces. However, I think this is fairly shortsighted of a comparison to make. I have spent almost sixteen years trying to imagine how a universal war would actually be fought and the only thing that has made less-than-superficial sense (as in "well I need a war for this story, on that scale, so...") is that a lot of cannons would be involved.

Also, again, resource-scarcity seems like it wouldn't be a reliable motive for interplanetary conflicts. That would leave, as far as I can tell, ideology. Secular ideologies that have led to conflict seem to have ultimately hearkened back to resource issues (I'm thinking of the Nazi "lebensraum" scheme or Soviet economic theory). So what about religion? Let's say nanobot immortality was a thing: how appealing are religions that promise resurrection from the dead gonna be, when no one is dying anymore? Or how appealing is Buddhism's "no more suffering in nirvana" promise gonna be, when no one is suffering from disease or decay or whatnot? (In my story, there's a form of power that makes death possible regardless of technological advancement, but that power is not, so far as I can tell, real, so yeah.)
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
However, perhaps corporations will set up their own colonies, like Space X. In fact, corporations might get large enough that they become the framework for global or international governance, much like the UMC in the Gap novels. While we don't have a world government now, we do have a global civilization, and it is largely because of private sector trade and private sector inventions (e.g. telecommunication, Internet, air travel, etc.) that has made us a global civilization.
Though it was never really developed, that idea was one of the conceits of the old TV show Seaquest. I wish they'd delved deeper into that aspect of the world they'd constructed rather than making a family-friendly show.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Z may be coming close to it; a time coming in which a uniformly developed world civilisation developing from globalised technologies simply negates the need for any government as such at all. Government dies not by revolution or anarchy but by simple atrophy from having outlasted it's significance. In a society where you can have everything you have no need to appropriate anything.
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Hashi Lebwohl
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
Let's suppose we set up colonies on other planet(oid)s. Are those colonies going to just be extensions of the nations, from Earth, who established them? What happens if people settled on other planets independently of a national endeavor? If a whole planet turned into a nation, but there were several of these, would there be a world government per planet or not?


At first, colonies would conduct themselves as if they were extensions of the nation(s) which founded them. By the time the fifth generation of natives are born there, though, they will think of themselves as being "of" or "from" that planet and they will have no emotional ties to Earth whatsoever. At that point, they will declare independence if their situation allows them to do so (self-sufficiency dictates when or if this will occur--colonies which remain completely dependent upon Earth will never go independent).

Go watch Babylon 5 and focus on the stories featuring Number One and the Mars Colony. She (Number One) is a textbook example of how a leader rises and brings her people to independence via armed struggle.

*************

There is one circumstance which could result in having a truly one-world government on Earth, though--extraterrestrial beings coming here and making themselves known publicly. At that point, we have two choices: continue to be divided and thus eventually conquered or everyone put aside our differences in light of their visit. It doesn't matter whether they are hostile or not--history here proves that when civilization A and civilization B meet, whichever one is more technologically advanced is the winner. (Nothing against our First Nations here in North America but they existed in isolation and thus did not need the technological advances which people in Europe, Africa, and Asia did.)

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Mighara Sovmadhi
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imagine immigration reform with REAL aliens!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who controls the internet will control the world.
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