Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, November 25, 2016

Globalizing Bellamy (H3) (Final Essay) Part 1

 So here is my final essay, considering a lot of things that are going on in the world, this I think, is a good topic to cover.  This year has seen a lot of surprises on the world stage.  Brexit, and potential the most important of all, renewed Russian involvement in the Middle East and the fallout from the inevitable death of ISIS, which will send extremists flying to all corners of the world.  Planet Earth is really getting shook up.  In the post-Cold-War world we still aren’t sure what form this new world will take.  We are in a world of a rising Asia, a probably declining West, but overall an age of uncertainty.  Will things lead to war or peace, to prosperity, or decline; division, or globalization?
Globalization is an angel or a demon depending on who you ask. Although recent events like the Brexit, and tensions in the South China Sea have cast some doubt on the prospects of globalization.  In my opinion though it is not something that will be diverted by anything short of a climatic event on the scale of a world war, or an alien invasion, though an alien invasion might actually help it.  Never-the-less, whether it’s fast or slow it will happen and the question is what shape it will take.  There are many people who have speculated about what the post-globalization world will look like.  Someone who is not often looked at though is a lesser known American author and political thinker named Edward Bellamy, best known for two things, running for congress while in jail, and writing a novel called Looking Backward.
 Looking Backward is a novel about a man who falls asleep in the year 1887 and wakes up in AD 2000.  113 years later and 16 years ago.  The world he wakes up to find was not turn of the century America, but 21st century Boston.  He found an America that has become a utopia.  This happened through the creation of the Great Trust, by the nationalizing and unifying of the great corporations.  This, I think, is a sort of proto-globalizations.  An early model for the direction the world might actually go, put probably minus the utopia and the part about everyone retiring at the age of 45.  In fact, Bellamy wasn’t completely wrong with his vision of the year 2000, and we can already see the beginnings and the conditions for what might be Bellaminian globalization.  So let’s get down to business.  corporations and non-government bodies becoming massive and very powerful bodies to be precise.  In his time, Bellamy was thinking of companies like Standard Oil.  We don’t have Standard Oil anymore since Teddy Roosevelt took an offense to monopolies but we can take look at one of its modern equivalents, Exon-Mobile.  Exon-Mobile, so how rich is it?  Well how about we put it on a scale with the worlds countries. Let’s say on a scale of the top 100 most profitable countries and companies in the world.  Where do you think Exon Mobile falls?  It’s number 17.  It’s not even the company in front.  The fact that international corporations can and do hold more economic power than most countries is remarkable and frightening.  That number, of course, does transfer into political power to a degree though fortunately stays short of military power, for the moment.  This is for many people something to fear.  It is certainly something to be cautious about though I don’t think it’s something we need to be negative about as it can potentially bring about a lot of good, though I wouldn’t argue that it will directly.  The amount of power that corporations and other non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) have on the world stage today is unprecedented and is pushing the world toward a change.  “What are we going to do about these organization?”  is the question people are asking and that the world will eventually have to answer.  They currently are largely unregulated in what they do in international space because NGO’s in the shape they take today are a very recent phenomena and there are more and more of them every year.  To put it into perspective.  In 1956, the Union of International Organizations (UIA) had on its books, 973 NGOs, by the 1980’s there were more than 3000.  Today they have over 30,000 active International organizations registered with them. They are spreading like locust and we will have to deal with them sooner or later.  Of course, part of the problem is that we don’t really have any bodies powerful enough to do it.  The EU might be able to do something in Europe if it’s members agree, but as far as I know most other regional or international organizations of nations are pretty useless.  We could regulate them by treaty or convention but this is like putting a Band-Aid™ over the missing finger that is the real problem. 
This is another one of the problems of the modern world.  We do not live in a world of super powers anymore.  Not really.  It’s not like to Cold War where the USA or the USSR were the two big, end-all be-all powers.  One power can’t just do anything anymore and they have to work with others, or at least that’s where we are going.  This doesn’t make the problem better it makes it worse because now instead of one or two big nations pushing everyone around we have a lot of big nations stepping on each others toes and getting worked up about it.  As the recent Chinese refusal to accept a UN judgment about South China Sea jurisdictions has shown, we cannot cut on existing bodies to regulate and rain in these nations either.  Currently no international or regional body had the power to do this but I do not think this will be permanent.  I believe that the world is moving to a point where states will eventually surrender some of their sovereignty to a much large region or international entity that will have the power to enforce its rulings and bring member states into line.  We will call this body the Regional Authority (RA) for the purposes of discussion...

1 comment:

  1. "Looking Backward" was an amazing glimpse of a possible future world, from the desperate vantage of a 19th century idealist. It did indeed envision a globalist world, and its hard to imagine a sustainable future that doesn't reject sectarian nationalism and protectionism. On the other hand, it's also possible to envision a future in which locality and subsistence, not ever-expanding gnp, is key. We need a Bellamy (or two or three) to write a story showing how to combine the best elements of those competing visions. "World government" sounds ominous, but "World War" sounds worse.