Global Governance

It is a common criticism of government, often posed by libertarians and anarchists alike, that any large concentration of power is inherently dangerous. The current UN, or the International Community, is obviously highly dysfunctional and limited in its possibility of intervention in "sovereign nation-States"… in order to stop human rights abuses, stop crime, provide essentials to those who are worse off, defend the rights of the child, etc.

If we were to envision future possibilities with an open mind, an obvious possibility is to create a world government that can actually do something, intervene (by treaty, force, etc.) in the affairs of individual states, and so on. However, one major concern (besides the huge problem of designing a fair global system to begin with, that can stay fair and reasonable over time), is precisely this problem of a huge concentration of power. An additional problem that comes to mind is that, just like any situation in which a large powerful government has to interact with a numerous citizenry, an artificial *duality* is created, a situation of "us vs. them", where the citizenry sees those in government is "the other", and those in government see the citizenry as "the other" (while, in reality, they are all just human beings… either trying to lead and manage common resources, or — sometimes unwillingly, or resigned to — being led). Recent abuses of shady governments, massive (unapproved by the citizenry) redistributions of wealth (think of the 'too big to fail' support that some governments have given to huge banks, insurance agencies and such, when they were about to collapse in recent years), and so on, only make citizens *less trustful* of governments… thus the increasing popularity of libertarianism and even anarchism as potential systems that we should experiment with (or at least take more seriously).

The situation becomes even more problematic if there are multiple levels of government. While it could be persuasively argued that large nations are more problematic than small ones (libertarians can often be found trying to advocate the creation of a world of many-many-more small nations, instead of the 195-or-so nations that we have today, of widely varying sizes — from the tiny, with thousands of citizens, to the massive, with over a billion, and covering huge chunks of the Earth's available land), and that we should try to break up our large nations… in any case, we are faced with difficult questions regarding privacy vs. transparency (and WHO has access to what information), which will become HUGE in the near future, as more pervasive and ubiquitous forms of surveillance (and sousveillance) become available, with the development of bugs (literally) which can spy on people, and even smaller particles that will do the same and will be invisible to the naked eye (maybe in the form of 'dust').

For some background on the concept of sousveillance, please take a look at Lifeboat Foundation's SecurityPreserver program, written by my colleague Philippe Van Nedervelde:

I have given some thought to this, and concluded that 2-way sousveillance (top-down and bottom-up) may be lacking, because of the artificial duality caused by our separation of humans in 2 basic groups (those working for a government, vs. national or Global Citizens)… and simply because more groups (than 2) doing the sousveilling, will ultimately make everyone more accountable, and thwart abuses.

In this line of thought, may I also recommend David Brin's "The Transparent Society", which I (Sergio Tarrero) am currently reading, and which I believe influenced PVN in his articulation of the SecurityPreserver. Also, a related reading (as far as global risk) you may want to take a look at, is the NanoShield program within the Lifeboat site.

The question is, of course… how to design an overarching authority or world government, and maybe a World Police, which should have the power to come into any nation-State (I guess, if this is ever achieved, nation-States should stop to be called fully "sovereign"), and right the wrongs… and make it safe, humane, loving, accountable, fair and just. Global referendums where (unlike in the UN, where many participants are simply representatives of autocratic governments, and don't properly represent the voice of their citizens in any way… this includes some permanent members of the Security Council, of course, such as China and Russia, the latter a 'fake democracy', or not a democracy, in practice…) every Global Citizen is properly represented sound like a good start. However, given the fact that most people in the world have been (/are) mis-educated with hosts of pre-scientific (/religious/etc.) lies, pure referendums seems hugely problematic.

A better alternative may be referendums limited to people who have passed certain tests (so that they can demonstrate their knowledge of the problems, their knowledge of scientific facts or 'consensual reality', their knowledge and will to use truly 'globalist' ethics, and so on). But this is, of course, a hard sell. Another possibility is that everyone with some minimal clue of the way the world works (via simple tests) can have 1 vote in such a referendum… but individuals who are particularly knowledgeable, wise, empathic and humane to have a much stronger voice than many of the "clueless" millions.

Please discuss.

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