The direction of history
We are heading towards a single integrated world order, sometimes called the New World Order. Humanity is converging in three major ways, intellectually, economically and politically. The spread of religions and ideologies made it possible to unify different peoples under the same set of ideas. Trade and money enabled the cooperation between strangers all over the globe. And the increased cooperation between nation states is paving the way for a closer integration of governments.1
The world is now run by a global elite of business people, politicians, bureaucrats, engineers, journalists, scientists, opinion makers, writers and artists. No matter where they live, whether it is New York, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Dubai or Cape Town, these people increasingly have the same interests, the same viewpoints about the world, the same culture, and increasingly live similar lifestyles. The individuals in these elites have more in common with each other than with their fellow countrymen.1
The need for global cooperation
Global issues such as climate change, human rights, international crime and financial markets require international agreement and cooperation. The Old World Order was based on the sovereignty of nation states, which means that, at least in theory, there was no higher authority than the nation state. All nation states were equally sovereign, at least in theory. Their power was restricted only by the treaties they signed.
Nowadays nation states are increasingly under pressure to conform to global standards as actions of one nation affect other nations as well. The global elite makes decisions on these issues. The elite believes that it acts to the benefit of mankind and that we need more international cooperation or even a global government. This is reflected in the words of the British politician Denis Healey, who had been involved in Bilderberg Conferences in which members of the elite gathered in secrecy. He told the Guardian:
To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.2
It is hard to get a clear picture of the influence of meetings like Bilderberg. It seems that these gatherings influence the political agenda. For instance the European Union has been discussed at Bilderberg and it may well be that these meetings helped to create the European Union by making the elite agree on the agenda. As Europe had just been ravaged by two world wars, it probably seemed a good plan.
How much global government we need is a matter of debate. The more power is concentrated, the more pervasive the corruption will be. On the other hand, many important issues are of a global nature and require international cooperation. The only way out is to make people agree on what needs to be done and how differences must be settled. That reduces the for a centralised bureaucracy telling us what to do.
Neoliberalism or neofeudalism?
The share of the wealthy of global wealth and income has increased in recent decades. A 2017 report from Oxfam points out that the world’s eight wealthiest people own as much as the poorest 50%.3 Until now there is no global government or binding international treaties so nation states end up competing to please large corporations and billionaires.
In the 1970s the situation in Western Europe and the United States was different. Most people were part of the middle class. Since then a growing divide between the rich and the poor emerged. This coincided with the rise of neoliberalism, which is the idea that more should be left to the markets and that governments shouldn’t interfere.
The ideology of neoliberalism emerged in the 1970s when the ruling class was in trouble. The economy was stagnating. Unions had a lot of power. Businesses were struggling because of the competition of low-wage countries. The elite then started to promote freedom of the markets, privatisation, entrepreneurial spirit and individual liberty. The power of labour was curtailed and wealth inequality began to increase.4
Good paying jobs were moved to low wage countries because of international competition. People in emerging economies like China and India saw their living standards increase but in the West many people had to work for lower wages. On the other hand, many products became cheaper. The rise of populism in Europe and the United States is a consequence of a loss of security and perspective.
Politicians come and go but many officials remain within the governmental institutions for a longer period of time. Most of these people aren’t democratically elected. Often they are technocrats who believe to work interest of the country. They may obstruct decisions made by democratically elected officials. That may not always be bad as technocrats tend to have better knowledge of the field they are working in than politicians.
The deep state also consists of interest groups that have captured the government to profiteer at the expense of the taxpayers. One can think of lobbyist groups and think tanks who represent interests that live off government contracts or benefit from favourable legislation, for instance the Military Industrial Complex. These people work covertly via social networks to influence politicians and other officials.
Some people claim the elite has a secret plan to create a New World Order where ordinary humans will be mere serfs. Rather than seeing the emerging oligarchy as a result of social and economic developments, they believe it was deliberately planned. This plan is believed to be worked out in secretive meetings like Bilderberg.
Corruption in politics can be so pervasive that people seek refuge in conspiracy theories. In the United States politicians need to fund their campaigns. They often accept money from large corporations and wealthy individuals so that they represent their wealthy donors rather than the people electing them.
Conspiracy theorists tend to mischaracterize facts and intentions in order to spin them into their narrative. On the other hand, traditional media sometimes ignore their journalistic duties by under reporting issues that can threaten the social order. With the advent of internet and social media, everyone can start a website and become a source of information and opinion. And so traditional media are losing their grip on the public.
A better political system
There are different views on how the power of the elite can be curtailed. The proposed solutions are often to let the government curtail the power of the elite or a reduction of government power so that the elite can’t abuse the government for their own aims. As revolutions bring new elites to power, most people will not benefit from revolution.
A socialist revolution might scare investors so that capital leaves the country. A reduction in government might leave people in need without support. Direct democracy as is practised in Switzerland might be a good way of improving decision-making in politics and reduce the power of the elite without a violent revolution.
Natural Economic Order
History sometimes takes unexpected turns. In 1916 Silvio Gesell published his book The Natural Economic Order in which he proposed a tax on money. His ideas stand at the cradle of Natural Money. His book was first published in German in 1916. It was named “Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung”, which can be abbreviated to NWO. If Natural Money is to become the money of the future, this would be a peculiar coincidence. There may be a secret plan for a New World Order the elite is unaware of.
Gesell was inspired by natural selection like many of his contemporaries. He viewed competition as beneficial to mankind. Effort and talent instead of money and privilege should determine one’s economic rewards. This was a common belief amongst liberals around 1900. Interest was seen as a reward for doing nothing. People living from interest didn’t supply their talents to society. Gesell realised that the Natural Economic Order will not arise spontaneously as it requires choosing money that allows for negative interest rates. In the preface of The Natural Economic Order he wrote:
The prosperity of mankind, as of all living beings, depends in the main upon whether selection takes place under natural laws. But these laws demand competition. […] Only then shall we be justified in hoping that humanity may in time shake off the burden of inferior individuals imposed upon it by thousands of years of unnatural selection – selection vitiated by money and privileges.5
Interest rates have gone down in recent decades and may go negative in the future because it will be increasingly hard for capital to make risk-free returns. After 100 years we may be at the doorstep of the revolution Gesell saw coming.
1. Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.
2. Who pulls the strings? (part 3). The Guardian (2001). [link]
3. Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world. Oxfam (2017). [link]
4. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. David Harvey. Oxford University Press (2005).
5. The Natural Economic Order. Silvio Gesell (1916). [link]