World Government

The scope and intensity of governments have clearly increased over the centuries, as have the size of firms.  We’ve had some near global empires in the last few centuries, some serious attempts at world domination, and we now coordinate more via the United Nations and international treaties.

So it seems to me quite likely that we will soon try a stronger world government.  And since a world government has no outside threats, it could more easily preserve itself, even if harmful.  So we risk locking in a harmful world government, little interested in improving that situation.

On the other hand, we expect a world government to suffer especially from the empire bias, more than most other organizations.  So a world government may well over-reach, promising more than it can deliver, and making people visibly worse off.  In addition, since nations today often feel unified in response to outside threats, a world government will induce less loyalty and more local complaints, the seriousness of which it is likely to underestimate.

So not only is the world likely to try a world government soon, that experiment is also likely to end badly, with many folks vowing “never again.”  As I said yesterday:

Whether a world governments will be worth its empire costs depends on how serious and frequent are [global coordination] problems, and on how much better we learn to structure large organizations to avoid the empire bias.

Those who think a world government would be worth its cost in the long run should probably not be that eager for its first experiment to start soon; they should instead work to improve our mechanisms of governance, to make an efficient world government actually be feasible.  A later better effort has a better chance of lasting.

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  • Dave

    The scope and intensity of governments have clearly increased over the centuries, as have the size of firms.

    Well, no. Both the Roman and British empires encompassed greater portions of the (known) world’s populations than any current government. Hell, the French empire probably covered more of the known world’s population than any current government. As for firms, there’s not a corporation in existence that encompasses even 1% of the world’s economic activity. The big old dinosaurs got broken up twenty years ago.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      I’m not going to repeat every point in every post. Just yesterday I said:

      While ancient empires sometimes covered wide areas, they didn’t get much involved in most activities, as long as tribute was paid. Similarly, most ancient businesses were small scale.

      • michael vassar

        A statement which clearly doesn’t apply to the point about old megacorporations like Standard Oil or AT&T.

        It also doesn’t apply to Rome, which imposed a very particular model for civilization throughout a vast empire, build huge infrastructure projects and entertainment complexes, and managed a welfare state with many hundreds of thousands if not millions of people on the dole.

        Finally, it clearly doesn’t apply to the Church, which was in some respects Romes successor as an ancient empire.

    • http://gondwanaland.com/mlog/ Mike Linksvayer

      I don’t know why share of known world population or economic activity is a relevant metric for comparing [dis]economy of scale. Probably something between # of subjects or employees and adjusted revenue. Could the administration of Rome cope with the demands on any major modern state (regardless of whether you think the modern state should be doing so much, doing so much is quite a feat) or the administration of a mid 20th century industrial giant cope with running any major corporation of today?

      At a glance it looks to me like companies are still getting bigger. GM peaked at around 350k employees. There are lots of companies now that are bigger, and Wal-Mart has over 2m employees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_by_revenue

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_empires is also interesting. Only the British Empire has impressive numbers relative to current states.

  • http://lorenzo-thinkingoutaloud.blogspot.com/ Lorenzo

    Given the importance of competitive jurisdictions in the development of vaguely decent governments, a world government strikes me as inherently a very bad idea. (One of the few times I agree with Kant,)

    • Robert Koslover

      I agree with you, Lorenzo. Even the remote possibility of a “World Government” (i.e., one government over this planet) is yet another reason to work toward colonization of other worlds as soon as technologically feasible. Man’s greatest enemy is, after all, himself. The farther we can separate our societies from one another, the better.

  • Pingback: Overcoming Bias : World Government « Noya Khobor

  • quanticle

    And since a world government has no outside threats, it could more easily preserve itself, even if harmful.

    I’m not so sure about that. Sure, a world government wouldn’t have any outside threats, but it would be ruling over a population nearly an order of magnitude larger than any successful government today. I mean, look at the Chinese government right now – they’re having trouble suppressing unrest in the countryside, and they’re ruling a relatively small area and population compared with any potential world government. Any potential repressive world government may just face so much unrest that it is unable to hold on to its territory, no matter how much it invests in its military or internal security forces.

    • http://www.hopeanon.typepad.com Hopefully Anonymous

      Actually I think China shows the administrative feasibility of a world government (I’m not saying it’s a good idea). There’s not much diference in scale between China or India, and the world.Governing 1 billion people seems mindboggling to me, but then so does governing 300 million people, which the USA does decently, it seems to me.

      I think the evidence is world government is possible, but there are very reasonable lack of compartmentalization concerns about global administration. I’m skeptical that we sacrifice much economy of scale with a megaregional sovereignty system instead, with about 10 regional sovereign entities throughout the globe.

      • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

        There’s not much diference in scale between China or India, and the world
        What? That seems a pretty big case of scale-insensitivity. Almost piraha-like.

  • John Maxwell IV

    I don’t see any path from what we’ve got now to world government. The European Union becomes the Eurasian Union? I doubt it. The UN starts deliberating over national highways? Not seeing it. I think this is how a lot of old-time future predictions went wrong: not everything that sounds plausible when you first think of it actually has a plausible way in which it could happen.

    Also, inefficiencies from a world government’s empire bias might well be outweighed by reduced need to maintain armed forces, which apparently consume something like one sixth of the US national budget.

    • Robert Wiblin

      Yeah, I’m not seeing the process by which world government will start.

    • Ryan

      Yeah I agree, there would have to be some major events for a true world government to be created, not just a defacto world order which we already have to some extent.

      Its exactly the problem you mention, the military investment and capabilities among nations are far too uneven.

  • http://williambswift.blogspot.com/ billswift

    The best news I’ve seen recently is China’s sticking it to the Copenhagen talks.

  • mitchell porter

    Robin: “the world [is] likely to try a world government soon”

    In the usual sense of the word, the only people I see agitating for a world government right now are Islamic extremists who think they can get a new caliphate.

    However, there are two other models of world government available. One is the legalistic one: the ICJ, the WTO, and so forth. National sovereignties tied down like Gulliver by the red tape of globalist bureaucrats. The other is the crypto-imperial one: the great powers deal among themselves and keep everyone else in line via carrot and stick.

    I think the world we have is already a combination of these two other models and I don’t see that changing while human beings are still in charge.

  • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

    Guys, since I talked about an increase “over the last few centuries” that is the implied timescale over which I’m forecasting a future increase. I’m not saying there’s a big movement afoot at the moment.

    To those who express knee-jerk opposition, shouldn’t your opposition to a world government be conditional on how much progress we make in governance innovation, or on how bad are the global coordination problems we face?

    Mitchell, yes we have several models of world government and it isn’t clear which one will dominate.

    • ERIC

      Technology has made plenty of things possible that were once impossible. We’re better off for it. Could be the same for global governance, who knows. Maybe the more important issue is what Robin alluded to: coordination. Maybe some issues are left to local govts and others are raised to the world stage. I think this is now the case given how many governing bodies there are out there. It would be impossible for most without an in depth understanding to even begin to comment on what is actually being done, and by who.

      Most people who have been around for a while talk about how “simple” things used to be. It will be a big change when they let go of control and (I’ll admit my bias here) hand things over to those more youthful who (pretending or not) think they “get it” (how the world “works”). This will be a good thing because to me one of the biggest issues are those of the inter-generational ilk.

      I think the interesting thing to consider is that as innovation/technology gives more people freedom, there will be a race to contain/limit it by those who fear a change in status.

      Underlying this all is man’s constant and eternal struggle for power. It will be some show that’s for sure!

  • ERIC

    Robin,

    Do you see the world learning from the problems/costs imposed on countries who joined the EU, which could lead to a shunning of world government? (I know that still doesn’t mean that it couldn’t or wouldn’t be imposed on the world anyhow, in a time of “crisis” of course.)

    Given that I’m in my mid-20’s, I tend to view the world as being heavily dominated by people in their 50-60’s still. Do you think that a large generational shift in the ruling class will have any effect on the types of institutions that people/voters would want or demand?

    My thinking is that I can always imagine a possible future where people want more freedom given how much apparent freedom they have grown up with thanks to the internet. (Think about how much freedom cars gave earlier generations as well.) All things considered, people in developed societies have never been more free and had access to more (our standard of living is soaring and this is obviously good because more is simply naturally available, i.e. choices = freedom, to some degree…lets just leave the “paradox of choice” out of the argument for now!).

    How do you view the envision the functioning of laws that are on the books vs. what is actually enforced with respect to world government and the level of freedom people could expect?

  • ERIC

    Quick edit…

    How do you view the envision the functioning of laws that are on the books vs. what is actually enforced with respect to world government and the level of freedom people could expect?

  • Matt Nikkel

    “Whether a world governments will be worth its empire costs depends on how serious and frequent are [global coordination] problems, and on how much better we learn to structure large organizations to avoid the empire bias.”

    I can think of at least one other benefit to a stronger global government that belongs in this equation, the monopolization of nuclear weapons by such a body. When there’s only one government with nuclear weapons and nobody to throw them at, it seriously diminishes the likelihood of their use on a large scale, almost completely eliminating one of the primary threats to our civilization’s continued existence.

    • ERIC

      Is the threat of nuclear war (or accidental detonation even) greater now or during the cold war?

      Not sure how you would evaluate that risk. If you listen to the politicians/media it seems like we should all be “worried” about Iran, North Korea, Pakistan…but is that a legitimate and serious concern when compared to Russia in the past?

      What would stop a rogue terrorist group from opposing the world government if they got their hands on a nuke? (You just know some people would hate a world govt! Some probably think we have one already!) This could be a larger threat than experienced in the past when it was just between countries/govts. Is this not the real threat now, that of small terrorist groups rebelling?

    • Robert Koslover

      Yes, nuclear war would seem less likely in such a world. However, I fear that the risk of genocide could greatly increase. Both the USSR and China held rigid authority over their domains. And with that authority, Stalin and Mao variously slaughtered and deliberately starved tens of millions, all without resorting to war at all (let alone a nuclear war). We should be strongly wary of any world in which well-intentioned organizational structures could potentially enable similar monsters to acquire unlimited, planet-wide control.
      1. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” — John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton.
      2. “Put not your trust in princes…” – Psalms 146.

      • ERIC

        I agree that genocide could be a bigger risk/fear. I also agree we should be wary: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. But do you think that without the threat of nuclear retaliation and more open borders that countries are more willing to get involved in others business? With less fear of international reprisal there could be an increase in international hand-slapping and self-policing among nations (just a thought).

        Aren’t things generally getting better? Here I’m reminded of Steven Pinker’s “Why Is There Peace?”

    • quanticle

      When there’s only one government with nuclear weapons and nobody to throw them at, it seriously diminishes the likelihood of their use on a large scale, almost completely eliminating one of the primary threats to our civilization’s continued existence.

      There may be only one government with nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no one for it to throw them at. If a government is sufficiently despotic, wouldn’t it use nuclear weapons (or the threat of a nuclear strike) to put down an insurrection?

      • Jeffrey Soreff

        Thanks for the “put down an insurrection” point. A slightly different take on this is just to note that civil wars are reasonably common. Presumably a world government (in any form that includes control over armed forces) is going to start out with the existing stockpile of nuclear arms. A civil war within such an entity (if it fissions 🙂 approximately symmetrically) is a conflict between nuclear-armed parts. Also, if this world government had absorbed all other states, such a civil war couldn’t use allied states as buffers the way the US and USSR did – the conflict would be directly between nuclear entities for the first shot.

      • Matt Nikkel

        If a government is sufficiently despotic, wouldn’t it use nuclear weapons (or the threat of a nuclear strike) to put down an insurrection?

        Perhaps, and I should also note that a World government does not remove the threat of the use of nuclear weapons by extremist groups who can mange to get their hands on them.

        But while both events would result in a massive loss of life, neither poses the threat of essentially ending civilization as we know it, as a war between two or more nations with large nuclear stockpiles is conceivably capable of doing. Note that I did not say a world government would end nuclear war, only large scale nuclear war.,

      • Jeffrey Soreff

        Matt Nikkel: Why would a world government eliminate the threat of large scale nuclear war? As I noted on Dec 29th, a civil war in such a government would be between nuclear-armed belligerents from the first shot – and if the split is not very asymmetrical, between large nuclear belligerents.

  • michael vassar

    Two attempts in the early 20th century had MANY people saying ‘never again’ so if a world government IS on the table soon then we can conclude that such assertions don’t carry much weight beyond a single lifetime. The claim that the phrase “soon” was applied to “in the next few centuries”, when made by someone anticipating ems and consequent acceleration in GDP growth that will make 2100 far more alien than hunter gatherer times, well, it doesn’t sound too credible.

    It seems to me that there have been a few polities which essentially controlled the entire world which was of any interest to them. Japan and China during isolationist periods, are the most obvious, but surely some other islands as well.

    Finally, it seems to me that the empirical data doesn’t much support the hypothesis that larger polities are more or less efficient than smaller ones, though it does seem to support the idea that larger corporations are less efficient. I wonder why. Casually, data also seems to support the claim (made by no-one but myself as far as I know) that there is a “sour spot” in size for polities with standard modern institutions. Polities with populations in the 10M-20M range (Greece and Portugal for example) seem less economically sound.

    Also, Mitchell Porter seconded.

    • fubar

      re: michael vassar
      December 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

      | Finally, it seems to me that the empirical data doesn’t much support
      | the hypothesis that larger polities are more or less efficient than
      | smaller ones, though it does seem to support the idea that larger
      | corporations are less efficient. I wonder why.

      http://www.businessweek.com/chapter/christensen.htm

      The Innovator’s Dilemma
      When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
      By Clayton M. Christensen
      ISBN: 0-87584-585-1

      excerpt:

      “But the problem established firms seem unable to confront successfully is that of downward vision and mobility, in terms of the trajectory map. Finding new applications and markets for these new products seems to be a capability that each of these firms exhibited once, upon entry, and then apparently lost. It was as if the leading firms were held captive by their customers, enabling attacking entrant firms to topple the incumbent industry leaders each time a disruptive technology emerged. Why this happened, and is still happening, is the subject of the next chapter. ”

      additional background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology

      Critique: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1628049,00.asp

      My personal (non-expert) opinion is that large corporations become inefficient because they do not have cultures that incentivize waste prevention (maintain robust internal criticism/accountability). At some point, the creativity and drive of the founders of the business is lost to bureaucratic groupthink. Instead of hiring risky, edgy characters, the impersonal nature of the HR department kicks in, and “safe” people, with standardized, certified educations from equally risk-averse, status-quo supporting colleges and universities are hired instead. “Mavericks” are marginalized unless they somehow support the conformist bureaucratic logic of “large institutional” status quo.

      I guess the public sector, born of large political organization (the governing classes) is by nature insulated from creativity (or any other “threat” to its groupthink), so it is always inefficient, no matter the scale? In most cases, any public sector worker that tries to increase efficiency will be ruthlessly attacked for daring to question the status quo. Dysfunctional/sociopathic personality types tend to rise up in public sector “management”, and they excel at controlling and punishing any nonconformists that examine assumptions, critique management “vision” fads, or dare to speak of the original concept of civil service: duty to a higher, common purpose.

      All purpose in public sector organization management culture has been reduced to faking the ideas and methods of Corporatist plutocracy so as to justify bloated salaries: endless, pointless exercises in social networking (as opposed to actual competence in business processes).

      Bye!

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      Michael, we have strong reasons to expect larger integrated markets to be more efficient. Since larger nations have those, but aren’t overall more efficient, I conclude that their governments are substantially less efficient.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/chadrector/ Chad Rector

    In one sense we already have world government, via the UN and other specialized bodies like the WHO and so on. International governing bodies are already more bureaucratized than the pre-Civil War U.S. federal government.

    The question Robin is asking could be phrased as a contracting problem, per Williamson: will world governance be through loose, arms-length contracts subject to frequent and low-cost renegotiation, or will it be through deeper, federal-type organizations?

    Shameless plug: my political science book Federations http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801475244 uses the contracting metaphor. Several others in political science have also made recent contributions relevant to this discussion (example: Cooley and Spruyt http://www.amazon.com/Contracting-States-Sovereign-Transfers-International/dp/0691137242 ). One think we think we are learning is that the importance of the policy issue for peoples’ welfare does not make as much of a difference as contracting problems like relationship-specific investments and risks of opportunism in governance. Most of the cases in my book are historical, but I spend a couple pages in the conclusion applying the theory to federal world government and conclude that none of the issues currently on the agenda (climate, terror, trade) have the characteristics that can induce federation as an equilibrium. So, so forseeable world federal union.

    There is lots of literature on federalism suggesting that competition between layers of government can resolve some of the inefficiencies people are pointing to; just as the federal and state governments compete over education policy in the U.S. It’s not obvious that this kind of inter-layer competition couldn’t mitigate some of the inefficiencies of a world government to the point where the efficiency gains from scale might outweigh the losses.

    • http://timtyler.org/ Tim Tyler

      I figure we will see a major union of the world’s currencies, languages, and standards (including plugs & sockets, banking, taxation, patents, charities, etc) plausibly by mid-century. How extensive it is may depend on factors such as how interested China is in playing with the rest of the world – which is not trivial to predict.

      Such a union may not eliminate national boundaries for purposes such as restricting migration.

  • http://timtyler.org/ Tim Tyler

    That all seems rather negative. What about all the good things a world government could do for humanity?

    • Robert Koslover

      Though Robin may criticize my “axiomatic libertarianism” here, I suggest that the single most valuable thing that any world-level government could do would be to keep out of the way of a free society!

      • http://timtyler.org/ Tim Tyler

        A world government could coordinate efforts to eliminate terrorists, execute geoengineering plans, and defend against incoming meteorites. It could prevent much duplicated effort, facilitate trade and cooperation, help defuse conflicts, and help manage global resource management and waste disposal. Are such benefits unclear? Surely they deserve a mention!

    • Robert Koslover

      ‘… Surely they deserve mention!”
      Indeed they do, and I agree with you, Tim, that some of those could be valuable benefits of a sufficiently-benevolent and competent world government. But I also just happen to believe that any world government with the power to do that would risk becoming enormously more dangerous to humanity than if it merely kept out of the way. Your opinion may be different, and that’s perfectly fine. But personally, I fear man-made tyrannies far more than natural meteors, the weather, potentially-less efficient uses of resources, etc. Human history is, after all, chock-full of ghastly (no joke) oppressive tyrannies, punctuated by rare bursts of freedom. We should endeavor to bestow the latter upon our children.

      • ERIC

        I agree with Robert here. It all comes down to could and competent. I wouldn’t bet on it happening though! What if, God forbid, you disagreed with what 51% of the people on earth wanted world govt to be (assuming here that each had a fair and equal chance to vote)? Wouldn’t be a very nice place to be. What other choices would you have? We currently have a wide range of diversity among countries (becoming less so?) but sadly it is very hard to actually choose what you want (i.e. move).

        I find it highly unlikely that a world govt could satisfy and serve more people better than a local govt would (but that’s just my speculation). In order to do so I can imagine that it would have to have such vague and general policies (no?) as to render it functionally useless. But then we know based on the past that the polices are never really unclear in action, are they?

  • Yvain

    Since the time nation-states existed concretely enough to record how many there are, the number has always been increasing and not decreasing. Successful secessions are a dime a dozen, but mergers between two states that are both members of the world community are almost unheard of except in the very special situation where the two were separated by the vagaries of the Cold War (ie East and West Germany, North and South Vietnam). If you want us to believe the number of countries is on a downward trend, you need to provide at least one example or dataset.

    This seems like Generalization from Fictional Evidence. Sci-fi movies have the Great African Empire fighting the Asian Union or something, so most people imagine that’s how the future looks. I’m sure the European Union didn’t hurt, even though it recently passed a treaty that was a dilution of a dilution of a dilution of an agreement that was pretty de-fanged to begin with.

    And the Inevitably Evil World Empire is another Generalization from Fictional Evidence (starting with the Book of Revelations, ending at Star Wars). Four of the greatest empires the world has known – Persia, Rome, Britain, America – were all among its more enlightened nations. The real viciousness comes out of places like Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Burma, precisely the kind of places you’d want to create a world empire to prevent.

    More weak evidence: the current governments closest to world empiredom – the UN and the EU – are also some of the “nicest”. Their failure modes are corruption and bureaucracy, not dictatorship.

    Think also of status quo bias. If someone gave me the opportunity to create a world empire tomorrow, I’d say yes. Sure, there’s a small chance it would become dictatorial – but that’s ignoring that without a world empire we know a lot of the world is dictatorial and we know tens of millions of people die every decade in wars and rebellions. The situation is a lot like James Miller’s mosquitoes – it’s easy to gain status by looking wise and cautious, but the current situation is so bad (for other people, people who aren’t newsworthy or easily noticed) that it may be more than worth the risks.

    Also, this may be the least contrarian post ever made on this blog. You’re expressing an opinion 95% of people would agree with. Who are you and what have you done with Robin Hanson?!

    • http://timtyler.org/ Tim Tyler

      For unification, perhaps see:

      http://www.towardsunity.org/emerging.phtml

    • Nick Tarleton

      Since the time nation-states existed concretely enough to record how many there are, the number has always been increasing and not decreasing. Successful secessions are a dime a dozen, but mergers between two states that are both members of the world community are almost unheard of except in the very special situation where the two were separated by the vagaries of the Cold War (ie East and West Germany, North and South Vietnam). If you want us to believe the number of countries is on a downward trend, you need to provide at least one example or dataset.

      Why restrict to “since the time nation-states existed”? Over all stateful history, the trend seems clear.

      Most successful secessions I can think of were from colonial empires, or followed such secessions; other breakups don’t seem to be notably more frequent than mergers.

  • Nick Tarleton

    (in the last 2-3 centuries, that is)

    • Nick Tarleton

      (aargh, that’s meant to modify this comment)

  • http://timtyler.org/ Tim Tyler

    Here are my two theories about why this post is so down:

    * Robin seems to be a DOOM enthusiast. The world must be at risk for heroes to be able to save it – or to signal to others how much they care about saving their associates. So, he sees a potential for future disasters (such as an evil totalitarian state) more than most.

    * The potential for universal cooperation would undo the competitive ideas that much western economics is based on. It would mean that much of what people learn in economics classes is no longer applicable. Robin does not seem to favour that.

  • fubar

    re: DOOM vs. UTOPIA vs. SOMETHING(s) ELSE

    Utopians, perhaps having a sense of doom about doom, are probably as guilty of hero complexes as the doomsters? lol.

    Anyways ……

    Classic liberalism is necessary, but in a postmodern world, not sufficient.

    (its truths should be honored, and the major problems that come from utopians abandoning those truths {the cause of doom} should be seen realistically.)

    Postmodernism, having deconstructed the absolutisms and “spiritual flatland” that results from modernism, and replaced it it with pluralism and relativism, fell into deep narcissism and nihilism (inquisitorial political correctness, intolerance in the name of tolerance, etc.).

    Non-postmoderns (traditionalists, libertrians, conservatives), horrified at the prospect of being pushed into a cultural abyss of selfishness and meaninglessness (or new age mystical mush), supported reactionary counter movements, such as neoconservatism. Which created other problems.

    The “strict daddy” paradigm of conservatism was “at war” with the “nurturing mommy” paradigm of postmodernism (the PC/Left).

    In the chaos and “psychic fragmentation” (Vlaclav Havel) that resulted, the old moral order of modernism started disintegrating, and social institutions began to be unable, or unwilling, to fight off the tendency toward dysfunctionality (corruption, incompetence).

    Corporatism’s swift rise (which is premised on a soulless form of “power” {greed/ego} that flows from reducing all categories of human meaning into “money”) is a function of the paradigm regression that set in as a result of the state of chaos.

    http://attackthesystem.com/free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/

    So, expect a lot of nastiness to continue between the two “paradigms” as each paradigm’s failures continue to deepen, and are blamed on the “other side’s” opposition. Already whole media industries are based on the lies and distraction from common purpose that flows out of the resulting hyperpartisanship.

    As “transformative” movements continue to grow, a nasty shadow will follow them that will require “healing”. As Professor Bernie Neville has stated, a study of the psychological archetypes in ancient greek mythology reveals that Hermes, the God of transformation, was also a slippery character (“trickster” – the god of lies and deception).

    If a paradigm based on “something other” develops that is better, meaning that it can address the “coherence needs” of a globalizing, but psychically fragmented world, then it seems reasonable that a reform movement that transcends existing national boundries (and existing cultural/paradigm boundries) would naturally tend to reorient toward global “loyalties”.

    One example of how people are thinking about “something better” is the transpartisan politics movement, which was partly inspired by the integral thought movement (Jean Gebser, Sri Aurobindo, Clare Graves, Ken Wilber).

    Integralism honors the truths of the preceeding paradigms, while transcending thier limitations and psychic baggage. It proposes that the fragmented elements of human consciousness be “healed” and be seen as parts of a larger whole.

    Obviously, if holistic/integral culture can find pragmatic solutions to problems like ecology, poverty and warfare, the basis for thinking that national and cultural and paradigmatic “divisions” are the source of “bad stuff” will increase.

    Bye!

  • fubar

    more on dysfunctional organizational culture:

    Bernie Neville:

    teaching: http://www.cejournal.org/GRD/neville.htm

    corporations: http://www.gebser.org/publications/IntegrativeExplorationFiles/Neville.Structures.pdf

    exerpt:

    Sampson uses the Jungian term shadow to refer to the unacknowledged totalitarianism of the company in this instance. At the personal level, the Jungian shadow contains all the aspects of our personality that do not fit in with our self–image. Jung means this to include the positive aspects (such as creativity and altruism) that we are not able to acknowledge in ourselves, as well as the negative aspects, but in popular usage the shadow is often identified with the negative. The shadow is experienced collectively as well as personally.

    The seventies and eighties saw the rise on a global scale of another
    narrative, that of economic rationalism. Once again we found a story
    about the world presented as a universal truth. The self–evident truth
    this time was the centrality of the unregulated marketplace as the final
    arbiter of values. We saw an economic theory being turned into an
    unchallengeable truth that was applicable in every field, including
    human relationships, health, education and welfare. Where
    organizations adopted this view of the world or had it forced on them we saw market value taking the place of all other ways of valuing, not only in the organization’s relation to its products and processes but also in its relation to its people.
    . . .

    Many corporations have a dominant narrative, a dominant fantasy, but it is balanced by other complementary narratives. In earlier, simpler societies individuals and organizations could conduct their lives within a single narrative. That option no longer seems to be available. When leaders or their magicians try to impose a single story and image on an organization, they are more likely to generate confusion and demoralisation than constructive energy.
    . . .

    What we can now observe is the confusion of corporations
    inhabiting a world where there is a growing sense that the political,
    environmental, social, economic and health problems that the late
    modern–industrial age was so confident of solving are not only too
    complex to solve but too complex even to think about. It is in this state of confusion and instability that Gebser sought for signs that a new way of experiencing and dealing with the world might be evolving.
    . . .

  • http://www.worldgovernment.org Garry Davis

    Amazing!
    Marshall McCluhan wrote that “The media is the message.” All the above comments originate ON PLANET EARTH! Every one came from a human being BORN ONTO THE PLANET! Simply using cyberspace to communicate is to recognize the fundamental UNITY OF THE SPECIES.
    Inter-national wars called “World Wars” started 96 years ago. (I was in the 2nd as a B-17 bomber pilot.) But as of August 6, 1945, war went from relative to absolute. Einstein said “if we don’t eliminate war, war will eliminate us.” THE BIG US! Nations fight war BECAUSE THERE’S NO LAW TO STOP THEM. Those of you who argue against a world government have no answer to how to prevent a final holocaust. Ever hear of human rights? Of morality, reason, wisdom, understanding, commonsense? The humans whirling around the planet every 90 minutes at 11,000 mph in the space station see THE WHOLE APPLE, A “VERTICAL” VISION. Everything I have read here is “horizontal,” the old “we-and-they” philosophy of conquerors. GET REAL AND SURVIVE!