The direction of history
The direction of history is towards a single integrated world order. This is sometimes called the New World Order. The world is becoming one 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 paves the way for a closer integration of governments.
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.
The need for global cooperation
Global issues such as climate change, human rights, international crime and the financial markets require international agreement and cooperation. The Old World Order is based on the sovereignty of nation states, which means that there is no higher authority than the nation state. All nation states are equally sovereign and the power of a nation state is restricted by the treaties it signed voluntarily.
Nation states are increasingly under pressure to conform to global standards in fields like law, financial behaviour, environmental policy and justice, because the actions of one nation affect other nations. But who decides about these issues? Is it the global elite? And would an informed citizenry decide otherwise? The global elite may believe we need a global government but the unification of the world might have happened anyway.
The New World Order is sometimes seen as a new form of feudalism. The share of the wealthy of the global wealth has increased in recent decades. Nation states are losing their grip on large corporations and billionaires. There is no global government, or alternatively, there are no sufficiently binding international treaties, so that nation states end up competing with each other to please large corporations and billionaires.
In the United States this is the most visible as politicians need funds for their political campaigns. These funds are often provided by wealthy individuals and corporations in exchange for influence. The US Constitution stresses individual freedom and property rights. The inital intent was not to have democracy as the elite feared that ordinary people might vote for taking their wealth to distribute it amongst themselves.
The greed and corruption in high places remains unchallenged as long as there is no effective counter balance. Members of the elite come together in secret meetings like the Bilderberg Conferences. For example, the European Union and the euro were discussed at those conferences before they were introduced. Conspiracy theorists believe that the European Union and the euro were contrived at those meetings.
Nation states, democracy and globalism
The economist Dani Rodrik believes that you can’t have nation states, democracy and far-reaching globalisation all at the same time. You can only pick two of these three options. The way forward may be to have democratic nations join in binding social and economic treaties. Democratic nations may need to become each other’s peers in order to guarantee certain basic social and economic conditions in every nation.
The European Union attempted to create such a cooperation. Over time it became a problematic construct. Yet the European Union is a bold experiment that can provide valuable information as to how a closer integration of democratic nations works out in practise. It shows what kind of problems arise and what the solutions there might be. But the European Union only has a future with the consent of its citizens.
See also: Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.