Given the income inequality among human beings and the geographical inequity of resource distribution, experience has accumulated over the centuries that a growing intensification of the division of labor results in a significant rise in productivity and provides an understanding of the human tendency to cooperation and association. With the possibility of free movement of capital, labor and products around the world the equalization of comparative cost provides a new level of global cooperation among humans resulting in the equalization tendency of wages and prices. It is thus seen that humans cooperate because it serves their own interests and they adjust themselves to the needs of society for that productive collaboration and is postulated that such cooperation lets all participants attain their own goals.
Shared Belief System
Political science scholars have concluded that a society based on a market orientation leads to a greater middle income status and that in turn leads over the long term to liberal democracy. Leadership in a liberal democracy involves negotiation, compromise and accommodation. For the past 200 years democracy and capitalism went together, but increasingly the delays and frustrations experienced in western democracy are working against the entrepreneurial spirit and the friendliness toward business as a means of economic development. But leadership for those who believe in a shared belief system is quite different. It insists in developing a practical set of shared beliefs which suits the times and is not ideologically driven. It looks for best practices and systems and implements them through a system based on the current set of shared beliefs. It tends to represent all levels of society and the dominant beliefs of that society over a period of time. The ideal of such a state is “harmony” where all people adhere to a particular set of beliefs including moral codes of behavior and works toward eliminating conflicts. In this system the population naturally has confidence in their leaders.
Just as Maslow developed a scale for individual satisfaction on a growing ladder of needs from food, shelter to higher aspirations of self-actualization, so also nations have risen along the same lines from means based endeavors including employment and education to more ends based projects such as an increasing consensus on human values and society building. In a mass society this society building will take place on a global scale to reflect the increasing shared values and interests arising from concern about life’s meaning empowering people to pursue the global common good such as the environment, nuclear proliferation, financial stability, terrorism and other transnational concerns. Eventually there will be a global society inevitably leading to a global state with many of the features of today’s single nation. In a future global situation where most of Maslow’s basic needs are met in the world population, then one will see the steady rise of global institutions as a result of a increasing humanitarian sharing of common values and interests.
For this to occur there will need to be more progress on balancing individual rights with societal rights leading this development largely by moral suasion rather than imposing institutional frameworks that do not have global legitimacy. As this progresses there will be a need for compromises on the one side with highly individualized undertakings most evident in western society and on the eastern society side with authoritarian and religious practices. The long held perception that an overreaching societal emphasis on advancing individual rights and benefits will lead to healthier quality-of-life conditions has been supplanted by advanced societies such as the Scandinavian and South-East Asia countries. There the individual is personally responsible to get an education, to work hard, to take responsibility for family, to look after property and to participate in civic activity, which have been demonstrated to provide the highest individual and societal outcomes.
When one speaks of individual rights, such as freedom of speech and religion then these rights should fit in a global context and have a universal design and governance; while communal activities and local affairs such as education and housing are more appropriately governed at a local or neighborhood level. Indeed it has long been a principle that decision making about community concerns are more appropriately made a the lowest level of analysis at the local level and only those concerns that are more universal in nature should be made at a cosmopolitan level.
Decline of Nation State
There will need to be a new approach to global problem solving that involves cooperation among nations, the extensive involvement of the private sector and the active participation of the non-governmental sector. If a more unified global economy is the goal, then a more unified global society must be assured. Jeffery D. Sachs in a recent book “Common Wealth” advocates new forms of governance suggesting that “national governments are too small to address global economic, demographic and environmental threats, and yet too big to preserve cultural diversity and traditions, which are found at the local level” (Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2008, Common Wealth, Economics for a Crowded Planet, New York, The Penguin Press, P.332).
Politics is quickly becoming global. Many nations, for example, were quite vague about their environmental policy over the past few years yet now that larger nations are becoming quite definitive on environmental concerns and seem to have a strong will to do something about it, then the reluctant nations have decided that they will strengthen their policy. It was the same with financial stimulus; most nations were not considering anything significant to stimulate the economy until the G20 decided that globally there would be a need by member states to stimulate to keep the global financial crisis from sinking into a global recession. Most nations quickly developed a policy. Increasingly most of the major policy decisions will arise from a global context, and nation states will fade in their importance and power and eventually be replaced by the influence of citizens in a rapidly growing city state.
Many nations are too big to be directly accountable for the provision of services, more properly the domain of local governments. These local communities have a governance structure more attuned to local cultural, social and economic requirements related to local economic development, education, health, personal security and leisure. But many of the more urgent public services require governance larger than the traditional nation-states. Thus regional and global governance organizations will develop and expand their mandates to handle these larger situations involving monetary policy, climate change, terrorism and trade. New methods of direct democracy will be necessary to provide legitimacy to these global governing institutions, to enhance compliance for policy direction and to provide the required funding for initiatives. With the advent of social media among almost all the peoples of the world the infrastructure is now available to provide this direct democracy by way of video links for active participatory debate on key issues, the provision of significant background data to enhance debate and the recording of voting procedures by both the individual citizens and the selection of elected parliamentary individuals to such global organizations.