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« Brain to Brain, Over the Net | Main | Building (with) Nanofactories »

June 07, 2007

Comments

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George J. Killoran

This is an excellent forecast of things to come. I totally agree with your conclusion about the need for a world government. However I strongly believe a world government needs to take place soon to avert a dangerous nanotech arms race.

Brian Wang

I could see more solidification of the regional trade blocks and alliances. the asian (ASEAN, APEC) and american trade blocks (NAFTA, NATO) could drift toward more European Union like structures and institutions.

The big question would be how the international institutions deal with China and India. If China and India continue a powerful rise then how closely could China and India work together.

China seems likely to get into a trade block with Taiwan (if Ma gets elected next year) and then with ASEAN. Canada and Australia are talking to China.

China already has free trade agreements with Chile, Pakistan, Jordan and Thailand.
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-05/24/content_879397.htm

Various bilateral agreements
http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=7996

Countering these forces are protectionist efforts
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/capitalcommerce/070524/free_trade_under_siege.htm

The follow up on international agreements on things like Kyoto and WTO could allow for harmonizationization, reduced friction and coordination of efforts, but I do not see full sovereignty being given up.

John Acrinoe

I agree with most of the above, with the exception of any world government. I would imagine pockets of abundance and prosperity as well as areas of dysotopia and abuse.

With increasing personal power from many new enabling technologies, I can't imagine how a world government would be able to work. Diaspora of the dissatisfied seems highly probable as personal power increases the friction between opposing views, values, and cultures.

I might argue that the singularity is already creeping upon us. The vast portion of the populace has no idea, nor would they believe if told, of these IMHO very probable futures. As such, many already don't see the future coming.

Brian Wang

The layers
world/regional cooperation-agreements-standards - alliances
military cooperation

interpol

International organizations

Intergovernmentalism
power is possessed by the member states and decisions are made by unanimity. Independent appointees of the governments or elected representatives have solely advisory or implementational functions.

Supranationalism the EU has some limited supranationalism.

Federations

Universal postal union


The level of influence of some international organizations or of other powerful nations over another nation depends upon things like how much does a poorer nation need a World Bank handout.

For technology there are some standards and coordination around patents internationally.
There are cooperative research projects (nuclear fusion ITER, International space station, Human genome project, particle accelerators)

there is some cooperation on public health issues, WHO, etc...
http://www.who.int/csr/en/
International Health Regulations, IHR(2005)

nations - military, national medical, tech research, federal law enforcement

State-provinces

Local government


I do not see governments going beyond intergovernmentalism and treaty limited supranationalism. I think this can be perfectly functional to approximate the functioning states in a mutually beneficial federal union.

for nanotech- the international health regulations, public health coordination, narrow weapon agreements etc... seem like the framework that will be applied and modified for various issues related to nanotech.

Ted Stalets

Being an avid futurist, I always enjoy reading Mike Treder's blog. Towards the bottom of his post, I was pleased to read about his prediction concerning an emerging world government.

I too believe that a world-wide system of law is inevitable. Terrorism, global warming, and other world-wide concerns (rogue nanotechnology applications..) will join the world together as one.

There are two superpowers in the world today - the United States and Global Public Opinion... The 2nd is much, much more powerful than the first...

Ronald Reagan addressed the 42nd General Assembly of the United Nations, September 21, 1987, with these words... "In our obsession with the antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?"

I'm honored to be on the Board of Directors of a a truly idealistic organization - Vote World Government dot org. Vote World Government is a non-profit organization, based in Canada. Our website provides all humans 16 years of age and older with the ability to vote in a global referendum required to authorize a new, democratic world government. Our goal is 2 billion votes - which would represent a majority of adult humans on our planet.

It's an ambitious calling, but our organization believes that the time to start making the voice of the world's 2nd great superpower heard is now - especially with the help of today's great democratic tool - the Internet.

As Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher said, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

Please visit the website at www.VoteWorldGovernment.org - look over our referendum, and cast your vote "Yes" or "No".

I love the United States and am proud to be an American. But I am a resident of planet earth first, and of Nashville, Tennessee USA second.

Ted Stalets

Eric

What world-wide organization functions well? The United Nations is not at all effective. Resolutions that are not respected, let alone impactful.

I'm afraid you'll see the Have's vs. the Have-not's for a long while. Nanotech or MNT factories will help this a lot, but as other have said in other posts most of the world's problems today aren't beyond our ability to fix. The idea that anyone on the planet starves baffles me. However, it seems the bigger the organization, the less effective it is at actually solving a problem consistently. (Massive oversimplification and generalization warning!)

The more diverse we can keep politics and POWER the better chance we have at stability and representation of the minority. World government would likely consolidate power into the hands of a few, massive power...perhaps absolute power. Who is going to keep them accountable? The people...who have been unarmed and are kept docile and managed?? Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

What happens to a minority in dissent?

I could see a world where there isn't actually a formal centralized dominant government, but a centralized "currency" that is shared. Each independent group operates fairly free from the others and they will likely be independent of geography as well. I don't know how much longer nation-states will be critical entities, but it will likely be until we get nanofactories going...control of resources and production.

Rambling, but skeptical that an even bigger, more controlling government would be a good thing. How accurately and well do various interest groups in the USA feel they are represented? Throw in every cultural, racial, religious, intellectual, financial, etc. group on the entire planet and just how well would everyone's interests be represented?

What is the goal of good government?
Good representation or maximizing production or what?

John

A common currency is probably inevitable. It won't be easy to actually pull off though.

World government will never happen. The number of countries has been rising for some time and that trend appears likely to continue. Humans are too diverse for one government to make even a large minority happy at any given time. People will be less likely to accept policy from a world government even if a local government would have propagated the identical policy.

For purely numerical reasons, democracy is impossible on a global scale, as Eric notes. With the ready availability of information, people are going to want a voice in their government's affairs, and no world government can ever provide that. I'm skeptical that even the United States has 100 years left intact.

Eric

Another thought I had on this last night was that rather than a common currency being controlled by some central bank, etc. Perhaps it is the means of production, the desktop nanofactories that are distributed are controlled via the net with software... This could be the new universal currency.

Though I'm skeptical that material things will have as much value in the future as IP, ideas and designs. The Central Idea Bank in Geneva divies out the goods so people around the world can "print" them out.

Mike Treder, CRN

Eric, that idea sounds like it has a lot in common with the approach in CRN's paper on Safe Utilization of Advanced Nanotechnology.

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