1. Nobody is Driving the Bus
Globalization has arrived with a bang. The last 20 years have brought acute awareness of the need for at least some regulation on global issues, such as the GFC, atmospheric pollution, and the internet. Add to that emerging needs for global regulation in areas such as water distribution between countries and control of contagious diseases, and it becomes clear that some kind of world governance, if not world government, would be desireable.
While there are some international bodies that partially deal with some of these issues, there is, at the end of the day, nobody in charge. The United Nations, established following the Second World War, was designed to promote global security. It does this, and many other good things. But it was not intended as a process for global governance. It simply does not have the structure for such purpose (see ‘About’ on this site).
People may disagree as to whether any body, person or politic, should be in charge. But make no mistake about this: nobody is in charge.
So, in addition to sweating over who will win our next local election, perhaps, in our capacity as global citizens, we should start to focus a little more on how to deal with the vacuum in global governance.
2. Nobody is Learning How to Drive it
There are 7 billion people in the world, and millions of educational institutions. Several thousand higher education institutions teach Political Science and Sociology. Yet, very little study has undertaken on the principles to be applied to successfully govern billions of people with diverse interests in different stages of cultural development.
The lack of study in this area probably evolves from the fact this is relatively new need. So, it is a new science. But if we have the ability and enterprise to build skyscrapers, or a Large Hadron Collider, we surely can jointly build a body for competent global regulation of global issues.
3. It may not matter
Whether or not there should be a world government, as such, might be a moot point. The countries in the world with the most power are the five permanent members of the Security Council. They have a distinct lack of interest in diluting their own power. A world government would, by definition, dilute their power. This renders a world government extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Perhaps that doesn’t matter, we might think. There are, after all, plenty of multilateral and international agreements of all kinds to keep a check on things. Aren’t there?
4. Or does it?
So, is there a need for the people of the world to work toward – if not a world government – any kind of global governance at all? On scrutiny, of course there is! The tragedy of the commons is being played out before our very eyes. Too many are taking more than their share, because they can. Too many are acting in their own interest, in the knowledge – reckless indifference? – of the fact that their actions threaten the welfare of others and, in some cases, all of us as global citizens.
For example, at least 65% of people in all published surveys have opposed fracking in their area, or generally. And yet history may well show that fracking, aside from causing local environmental concerns, was the technology that extended the hydrocarbon economy far enough to cause a global climate tipping point. If asked, how many of the people of the world would really want to take this risk? The point is that there are no mechanisms to prevent these kinds of risks being taken by the few.
5. All is not lost
One way around this dilemma, as has recently become apparent, is to harness the power of people via social campaigning on the internet. Like fire fighters with wet blankets, people today are starting to apply these emerging methods of action to more and more situations of global collective interest. Basically, these sites represent people putting out spot fires while they wait for stronger global governance structures to arrive, as they inevitably will.
Social media campaign sites have proven they can be effective vehicles in causing decision makers to do what is right by the majority of people, not just themselves (see ‘About’ on this site) .
6. What can you do?
In our capacity as global citizens, there is no point in us blaming anybody for the way things are. Or waiting for a world government to come along. What we have got, is what we have got.
Working with the tools they have, people are learning to use the social media campaign in more and more situations. People are learning how to vote for ideas and actions, rather than people. They understand that these votes are not binding. But they also understand that these techniques are often working.
The social media campaign sites can grow from being a collective that acts like a small NGO, that is one of many levers controlling international affairs, to something more like a large NGO, doing just that.
By participating in the social media campaigns that interest you, you are picking up a wet blanket and helping put out the fires. And this is needed, while we wait for effective institutions for global governance.