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Global issues - governanceViews: 569
Jan 22, 2010 3:00 amGlobal issues - governance#

Ken Hilving
I have concerns about any global government, especially the idea of a STRONG global government. I am surprised that anyone unhappy with the U.S. foreign involvement or with China's dealings with Tibet, or with a transnational Muslim movement, or with the former U.S.S.R., or the former British Empire would support such an idea.

Yet we do have global issues dealing with humanity and the survival of many of us.

The issue of climate change and human impact on the environment is an example.

Let me toss up an idea for everyone to bat around.

A critical failure of proposed international treaties has been a failure to first establish a measurable baseline. To maintain that baseline is a combination of reduction by those whose per capita contribution exceeds it, and a limit on growth of per capita contribution on those below it. That per capita amount should know no borders, and an increase in population has to come with an associated reduction in per capita amount.

(An individual anywhere in the world is no less important or more important than any other individual. This sets a level playing field for all of us.)

In effect, this creates a global solution based on individuals at whatever level of individual responsibility their local culture dictates.

(I have no interest in debating the individual versus group role/value. I will respect whatever you or your culture determine is right for you, and ask you to do the same for me.)

Now if you want to continue with national borders and add population control to sustainability, use current population by nation in setting national baselines. Increases in national populations will require citizens in those nations to reduce their per capita amounts. Decreases in national populations will likewise allow a growth in the per capita amount for their citizens.

(It is not my role to tell you how to procreate, or not. As long as you are willing to take responsibility for your approach, to reap the benefits or bear the hardships, its your decision.)

How each nation approaches solutions is left to each nation. Failure to meet the per capita limits is met with international assistance if requested. Such requests do result in some loss of independence. After all, they are turning their problem into "our" problem. If they appear to have a working solution but need funds, funds are the correct approach. If not, a working solution should be provided or cooperatively sought.

(Ignorance is corrected with knowledge, and we may not collectively have that knowledge. We can work to find it, though, if we are all willing.)

Some nations may choose to ignore their cap. The answer is international economic isolation - play fair or play with yourself. Nations that don't support such sanctions find themselves isolated as well. This is something any and every nation can choose to do today. Of course, those who are adamant about solving global issues will also adjust their own polluting to offset those who won't. It is only a short term adjustment.

(I don't believe it is my right to tell others how to live, but it is my right to choose who I will deal with.)

Since science does not have all the answers, the formula is reviewed and updated at no less than five year intervals. Transparently.

No global governance is necessary. Local cultures are respected. Benefits in innovation, cultural changes, or individual actions are reaped directly by those innovating, changing, and acting. Solutions occur at the point of the problem, by those closest to the particular problem.

In addition to a transparent review and revision of the baseline, the "global" organization also acts as a resource library of solutions and activists.

The trading of "credits" is by no means restricted with this. It is simply another potential approach in a host of local, regional, national, and international approaches possible. The objective is the driver, not the method.

I think this addresses my concern with global governance, addresses the issue of agenda based science, and takes a cooperative approach to common problems.

Private Reply to Ken Hilving

Jan 22, 2010 3:17 amre: Global issues - governance#

Thomas Holford
Ken Hilving sayeth:

> No global governance is necessary. Local cultures are respected. Benefits in innovation, cultural changes, or individual actions are reaped directly by those innovating, changing, and acting. Solutions occur at the point of the problem, by those closest to the particular problem.

Enough said. It's not clear why any additional rumination or embellishment is needed.

T. Holford

Private Reply to Thomas Holford

Jan 23, 2010 3:37 amre: Global issues - governance#

Ken -- your position sounds fair and noble in principle -- but in ignoring the reality of global power relations, I suspect you are unwittingly supporting the very powers that currently hold sway. Economic isolation as a sanction for ‘not playing fair’ is an illusion bordering on the hypocritical when the international community (or its leading forces) are so desperate for the resources of those poor players that they incessantly resort to very non-isolationist ‘regime change’ tricks to control them. No matter how much they might be ‘justified’ on moral grounds -- but then what would be effective and justified as ‘economic isolation’ against the biggest bullies on the block when they don't 'play fair' -- for example one who ‘in the defense of democracy (or capitalism)’ maintains an uncertifiable number (3-digit? or more?) of military bases all over the world? Or an ‘emerging’ bully who finally has learned the capitalist propaganda well enough to beat the existing bully at his own game?

The answer that no ‘world governance system is needed’ is patently inadequate. The dangers of such a system are real and should be taken seriously -- but they are pretty much the same as the dangers associated with the existing and emerging bullies de facto usurping that role. And the question of how to deal with those dangers is what should be addressed -- it is desperately in need of better answers.

Private Reply to abbeboulah

Jan 24, 2010 5:52 pmre: re: Global issues - governance#

Ken Hilving
So what do you suggest as an alternative? Since a bully uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker, how will creating a stronger or more powerful world government correct or prevent this? Perhaps there is an element of large group dynamics and government that I am unaware of? Something unique versus people to people interaction?

Private Reply to Ken Hilving

Jan 24, 2010 8:31 pmre: re: re: Global issues - governance#

I do not claim to have any practical, ready-to-be applied panacea for this question. I do have some hunches about the general direction in which answers might be found, but I think that a significantly greater fraction of the resources now devoted to weapons development and research aimed at increasing the efficiency of government and business propaganda (advertising) needs to be applied to this problem.

About my hunches:

One main task would be the better control of power where it is still needed as the means of making institutions and governance entities work effectively. While the traditional control has been through either the rule system in a hierarchy (which leaves the question open about the top guy in the hierarchy), time limits on the power position, and balance of power arrangements. Most of these controls work (and apply the sanctions aiming at compliance) after the fact -- which in this age is arguably ‘too late’.

So is it possible to invent arrangements whereby the resources (money, communication) to implement power activities are ‘released’ and made available to the person ‘holding’ or being given power only if and to the extent the activity is compatible with the rules and agreements established for that position? A very low-level technology example would be the device that does not let a driver start a car engine when it senses that the driver is under the influence. Which might be expanded to including a sensor in that device for the applicable speed limits etc. on the road, deactivating the ‘license’ upon too many violations. The point here being that the ‘government control’ of detecting and sanctioning violations -- now the expensive, cumbersome and often dangerous highway police force which also is not immune to temptations of power abuse, would no longer be necessary (for this particular problem). I think it might be possible to apply the underlying principle here to the problem of control of power.

Another approach for this would be to recognize power as a human ‘need’ of sorts -- and then, like most other needs, having people pay for the satisfaction of that need; the payment would be scaled to the possible severity of consequences of flawed, misguided (stupid), only self-serving, or criminal abuse of the power ‘license’. The currency for this might be discussed -- consider your ‘five currencies’ (I thing we could add some) that might be used as the ‘damage deposits’ for this.

The other aspect for this has to do with the application of sanctions for the violation of agreements such as abstaining from the application of military or economic force in negotiating mutual trade or other kinds of arrangements (I have suggested before that cooperative planning requires such agreements simply because application of force or coercion logically does not contribute to the quality and mutual acceptability of plans, the acceptance of which relies, or should rely, on the merit of the arguments exchanged that explore, assert, and seek to strengthen the claims of plausibility and desirability of the plan features).

Ideally, the application of such sanctions should be ‘automatic’ (just like the deactivation of drunk driver’s ignition) and triggered by the very attempt at violation. This is not as outrageously utopian a concept as it may seem. Among older approximation arrangements was the exchange of hostages among societies verging on war: the sneaky attack by one side would trigger the execution of the others’ hostages. Which of course should be ‘high value’ ones -- the son of the other side’s ruler, for example. Would it be possible to exchange, as guarantees of compliance, the main switches for the other side’s military communication system on the respectively other president’s desk, linked to the sensors of initiated attacks? Or switching off all the TV soap opera and sports channels (which could trigger an immediate revolution in the afflicted country)? Joke aside -- the grim joke of the MAD system that for all its madness may be credited for having kept the cold war from going hot for decades, was based on a similar principle. Is it not possible to invent less lethal and mad but still effective versions? As means to guarantee adherence to mutual non-coercive agreements among the many parties and entities in the world, if we can’t find an good solution for problem A above, to keep a world ‘policeman’ governance entity from abusing the power that it would have to have to prevent the biggest bullies from riding roughshod over weaker countries: to keep such a government from itself becoming a bully?

As I said, I don’t claim to have perfect ready-made answers. But I think we desperately need to start working on developing them. The problem applies to military conflicts, to trade agreements, to financial markets, to environmental sustainability, all interactions between contirs. I concur with the people who worry about a world government: currently I don’t see effective guarantees against it becoming a bully. The EC, well-intentioned as it is (or was) has been doing fine in avoiding force among its members, but the bullying-by-bureaucracy has become very counterproductive and is turning many former supporters against it. However, as far as I can see, nobody has any good, convincing answers for what to do instead.

Private Reply to abbeboulah

Jan 25, 2010 4:37 amre: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

Ken Hilving
It sounds like a real challenge.

Perhaps it will help to look across other domains where a single solution has had unintended consequences. Here are some examples where both great good and great harm have resulted:
- single genetic crops
- Microsoft
- electric utility approach
- water utility approach
- internal combustion engine
- sewage utility approach
- faith based government
- IP communications
- government led "wars" on social issues

Private Reply to Ken Hilving

Jan 27, 2010 10:47 pmre: re: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

I have thought about your reply for a while because I am not quite sure what you are saying here. Of course I agree that the problems I listed are challenging; of course I agree that single solutions to any complex social problems tend to have unintended undesirable side-effects even when they are successful in their prime intent.

What I tried -- or thought I tried -- to do, in addition to pinpoint some major problems that in my opinion would affect both alternative attitudes towards the issue of your thread -- global governance, was to point out some principles that might help us develop better solutions. While I don't think these qualify in any way as solutions yet, it sounds as if you see these suggestions already as 'single' solutions about which one should harbor the concerns you state. What are your reasons for this assessment?

I also don't think that any new approaches (to the problem of controlling power, or that of sanctions for violating agreements aimed at guaranteeing nonviolent cooperative problem-solving or planning) that we might be able to develop based on those principles could ever r e p l a c e other traditional means of dealing with these issues (and thereby become 'single solutions'). They would just complement existing instruments. And I don't think there is any argument that the current tools we have aren't doing the job well enough yet.

Or, if the comment is a form of suggesting that my ideas about this are based on a faulty view of the problem: 'wrong question' (a possibility I am not denying) I would be very interested in your reasons for such an interpretation -- and, of course, in what you instead think is the 'right' question? Because I can't believe that you seriously advocate either of the two attitudes, of supporting a world government (without adequate controls), or opposing it, which I see as essentially meaning 'doing nothing' but which arguably means leaving the current bullies to fight out their efforts to usurping global control behind the scenes and pulling the strings of the remaining smaller governments -- with even fewer controls.

Private Reply to abbeboulah

Jan 29, 2010 4:38 pmre: re: re: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

Ken Hilving
Thor - I am a pessimist about our ability to devise a system and implement controls that we won't be able to work around. I am a pessimist about our ability to keep our bullying nature out of governance on any scale.

Someday we may evolve to a point where our better traits overcome the poorer side of human nature.

Governance seems to include power. The greater the governance, the greater the power. I don't want to face a bully with the power global governance would provide him.

But do press forward. I sincerely hope you can successfully conceive a workable global governance system that trumps human nature. I cannot. I have enough trouble with my own nature, even with full control over who I am. :-)

Private Reply to Ken Hilving

Jan 29, 2010 6:34 pmre: re: re: re: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

Thomas Holford
Ken Hilving sayeth:

> Someday we may evolve to a point where our better traits overcome the poorer side of human nature.

> Governance seems to include power. The greater the governance, the greater the power. I don't want to face a bully with the power global governance would provide him.

Interestingly, this echoes the analysis in Thomas Sowell's book, "A Conflict of Visions".

Sowell argues that the policy and political conflicts arise from the clash of two incompatible visions of human nature.

I believe that Sowell uses the terms "contrained" and "unconstrained" in referring to the two visions.

The "liberal/progressive" vision is that humans are perfectable, and given the right amount of tinkering, humans can ultimately achieve an ideal society.

The "conservative/traditionalist/Calvinist" vision is that humans are irretrievably flawed, and attempts to achieve perfection for humans or for human institutions are ultimately doomed to fail. The most prudent thing for humans to do is to PREVENT the amassing of power by one or a few individuals, or by massive institutions, like governments.

Private Reply to Thomas Holford

Jan 31, 2010 4:02 amre: re: re: re: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

I sincerely respect anybody’s reluctance to tackle this problem; it speaks of a commendable sense of realism. And, having raised the issue, of having learned something about its intractability. I am a little disappointed at the reaction of declining to discuss the few suggestions I made as a basis for potential innovation on this; (it should be a delight for critical, skeptical spirits to point out their flaws?) I was hoping that people more skilled and inclined at researching the web for what other options have been suggested, would contribute some useful material. (I am thus grateful for Thomas Holford’s reference to Sowell’s book, for example.) So before we close out this thread for lack of whatever is needed to carry on, I would like to point out a few things:

First, the specter of ‘global government’ -- in the guise of some enhanced version of the UN or an EU model -- is indeed worrisome, but also a bit of a red herring. In resisting (or expressing our concerns about) such developments, are we losing sight of the fact that ‘beneath the radar screen’ so to speak, there are several systems or entities vying for global control already busily at work, that do not operate along the established conventions of national governance and organization -- and therefore the UN etc? The global financial system, the oil cartels, the international drug, terror and crime networks are examples; many people would argue that some of these already are influencing or controlling much of what even the most powerful nations are doing. So the question is whether the deserved skepticism towards big powerful entities ought to be extended to those as well - perhaps even more urgently so? Keep in mind that most of the concepts of 'controlling' or restraining some of those that are bandied about imply a greater force to do the controlling -- and that greater force would NOT be deserving of the same skepticism?

Secondly: the recommendation to focus on PREVENTING entities from accumulating power is definitely one valid contribution, one item in a package of responses to the problem, and one deserving of detailed scrutiny for how it can be impemented. However, if it is recommended as the ONLY or main response in a situation where there already are several entities well endowed with power, and apparently intent on consolidating it, does this position amount to an unintended or deliberate toleration, endorsement or even support of those efforts? And discourage the much needed efforts to begin constraining those before they do become global?

Private Reply to abbeboulah

Jan 31, 2010 3:37 pmre: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

Joseph Lynders
" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "


Probably the most effective step in any world governance would be to re-establish the obvious but lost truth that it is OK and even best to do the right thing in every case.

Probably the second most effective step in any world governance would be to re-establish the obvious but lost truth that the one to be governed first is your own self by your own self.

Have a good IDea today,

01/31/10 Joseph F. Lynders FTg/M/?

Private Reply to Joseph Lynders

Feb 01, 2010 5:13 amre: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: Global issues - governance#

Ken Hilving
I don't know that Joseph had this in mind, but with exception of the order I think he has touched on the answer.

The first step is to govern yourself. This is necessary, I believe, to reach the next step.

The second step is to recognize that doing the right thing in every case is OK and even best.

The third step is to act on that knowledge.

These three steps are perhaps why global governance remains elusive? As long as some individuals govern themselves, believe that doing the right thing is OK and even the best approach in every case, and then act on this knowledge, then the power required for global governance is never achieved.

Even though there is no consensus on what the right thing is, individuals acting on their own on their own belief of what the right thing is have blocked every attempt at global governance. Every empire has fallen. Every culture has changed. Every religion has failed to become the sole common belief.

We can argue about why in every instance. Internal failings, external pressures, natural disasters, and so on have all played a role. Yet it might be that in fact there is a natural law behind the failures, and the rise of new attempts.

If ever we were to achieve such a commonality, such an inclusive and all encompassing sameness, would we find ourselves incredibly vulnerable to some single threat we might cease to exist? Is our inability at total union the very strength that keeps humanity going?

Private Reply to Ken Hilving

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