Originally published at: https://integrallife.com/beyond-the-nation-state-globalism-plutocracy-and-the-integral-world-federation/
Ken and Corey explore how today’s transnational challenges and realities may be hastening humanity’s eventual growth toward increasingly inclusive and global forms of governance, what government might look like at the level of the global holon, and how we might actually be able to get there from here.
Originally published at: https://integrallife.com/beyond-the-nation-state-globalism-plutocracy-and-the-integral-world-federation/
I plan to respond to this soon.
I’ve been interested in bioregionalism and it’s potential to help build a healthier global system.
At first glance it appears smaller than nationalism, as most bioregions contain smaller areas of land than the nations that contain them, but I think it’s bigger than nationalism within the human psyche, with a globally unifying underlying principle. If bioregionalism becomes the dominant form of cultural and political organization, then the focus on how the land shapes our minds and vice versa becomes a common thread among all bioregions. That thread builds the foundation for coordination among bioregions (assemblies, associations, coalitions, etc.) on a global level.
The folks that I know who are promoting bioregionalism, tend to focus on cultivating and highlighting the cultural identity of the bioregion as a way of unifying groups and individuals around the common ground (literal and figurative) that exists. That common ground forms the foundation of working together towards economic, social, and political structures and changes.
I like it because it offers a group identity that’s based on probable common experiences of individuals that come from living in and interacting with the bioregion’s features, with the understanding that the environmental features significantly influence the experience (rather than an adopted socialized identity and prescribed values which claim intrinsic superiority, as is common in nationalism). It seems like a necessary green component of an integral system (which replaces or supercedes nationalism). My instincts are saying that once this group/identity component is established, the individual/behavioral aspects will begin to be enacted. The cooperatives or corporations based on bioregional values and goals might coalesce and coordinate to compete with and even overrule corporate interests.
From my perspective, it fits the described requirements: resists corporate interests by prioritizing each bioregion’s environmental interests, supercedes the nation state through the creation of local and global cultural identities which fit better with an individual’s self-identity due to its basis on common personal experiences, and aligned with the interests of the constituent nation states because the nation state’s interests consist of the sum of bioregional interests that are contained within it.
Is anyone else familiar with bioregionalism? Is it possible that it’s a necessary component of retooling our social, economic, and political systems to be more integral?
When I watched the segment on Integral Politics and heard Ken discuss the need for a transnational global overseer of nation-states and their decision-making around market/economic issues, decisions that can have far-ranging deleterious side-effects, I resonated strongly with this.
To ground the idea of this need in a specific example that is just right around the corner, consider Brazil (again).
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes office in January. More than just a far-right nationalist or illiberal populist, he is an authoritarian and in the words of Noam Chomsky, “…the most malicious and vicious creature of the current range of pretty ugly characters that we see around the world.” (in interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now). Without even considering Bolsonaro’s racist, homophobic, and misogynistic views; or his affinity for military dictatorships, brutality and torture; and his vow to destroy/imprison his political opponents, Bolsonaro’s economic goals present “a potential disaster for the world.” (Chomsky)
He plans to open the Amazon to his agribusiness supporters, thus furthering the destruction of an ecological system that the entire world is dependent upon for helping with cleaning the air. Brazil being rich in natural resources, gold aplenty for example, Bolsonaro has also vowed to open the country to investors, which on the surface doesn’t sound like a totally bad idea, except as Chomsky states it, “…the stock market will be able to rob freely.” This is an example on the horizon of what was stated in the initiating post here, nationalism not curtailing plutocracy, but reinforcing it, ceding (governance) territory to plutocratic interests (in the case of Brazil, most likely to big agribusiness, big mining, big timber).
“Opening the Amazon to further exploitation will be another serious blow at the prospects of survival of organized human society.” (Chomsky)
And speaking of the survival of humans, Bolsonaro’s take on the indigenous people who live in the rainforest is that “they don’t deserve a square centimeter of land.” Some of these tribes are as small as a dozen people, still wearing G-strings and hunting with spears and bows and arrows.
The world builds monuments, parks, and museums to protect and study the ancient ruins and artifacts of humanity’s ancestral history, and yet, will we allow the sacrifice of these Amazonian tribal people, some still living at the magical stage of development? These people are first and foremost living flesh-and-blood humans, and they are also flesh-and-blood examples of humanity’s cultural history, and in my opinion, should be considered living world treasures to be protected. But Bolsonaro’s election suggests we can look forward to the “virtual genocide” of the indigenous population, according to Chomsky. While there are NGOs and advocacy groups trying to protect the Amazonian tribes, and while past Brazilian leadership has also presented challenges, advocacy groups haven’t encountered a Brazilian leader who is as antagonistic towards indigenous people as Bolsonara presents himself to be.
Everything in the manifest world is inter-connected, in my opinion, not just markets/economies, but ecological systems and people too. That there isn’t some kind of global body-politic that serves as overseer/regulator of the exchanges between nation-states, and between nations and corporate interests, and that turns a sharp eye to the effects of these exchanges on the Whole, seems not only unintelligent to me, but also immoral. The world needs a very smart, empowered, embodied Conscience as a global overseer/regulator might provide; we needed it yesterday.
While I do believe in evolutionary leaps in a positive direction, given the degradation of democracy throughout the world and the continuing sweep of far-right nationalism and anti-globalism, I’m not holding my breath on this one. But as Ken says, it’s important to keep it in mind as integralism moves forward. Without sacrificing attention on happenings in the USA, I think it’s important that we attune more and more to global issues, period.
I’d say that yes, the need for global governance to balance a globalized economy is a crying need. But I’d also say that we have been slowly evolving in that direction for much of the last century. The League of Nations after WWI didn’t get very far, but then the very horrors of the 30s and WWII gave the push for the creation of the United Nations in 1947, along with the Bretton Woods financial institutions. While there is indeed a lot to criticize in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization et. al., these are movements toward a world federation.
For the very reasons you cite in your post, Corey, I have been watching the European Union experiment with great interest. It is indeed a major push toward a next emergent level, transcending while including the sovereign nation-states of Europe. They are struggling with this but so far hanging on. I find it most interesting that the very part of the world that created the sovereign nation-state, i.e. western Europe, and then spread it all around the rest of the world via colonialism, is now making tentative steps toward transcending its own creation.
Let us remember that sovereign nation-states were the result of the 30 Years War in Europe; part of the crucible out of which the Modern world order arose out of the Medieval. We are now in the midst of a process that looks like it is pushing into the next phase. Which we all fondly hope and expect will be something second tier.
This is kind of rambling, but my general point is that the evolution of the next phase of governance has already begun, and indeed has been in progress for a while now. What the new world order in terms of governance might become, I have no idea, though; my interests and engagements lie mostly in the UL.
Any ideas from any of you LR quadrant savants? What might a second-tier, teal world governance look like?
Soon but I’m too tired tonight. Some very good replies here though. Blessings.
Ken’s view that there isn’t much inter-national cooperation somewhat misses the existence if bodies like the UN, EU, Pacific Alliance countries and the growing trend to free trade. I see how he observes recent Conservative governments with their emphasis on fiscal performance, competition and the idea of making money at any cost resulting in Countries leaving trade blocks to go their own way (Brexit) and raising new tariffs (US).
These examples show another fundamental difference between Left and Right. Right says we will pursue our own goals even if its at others’ expense, then when we have sufficient , or way more sufficient than we need, we will look to assist others where needed. Left says we will all progress together to achieve improved living, share ideas and resources.
The pendulum swings between left and right in truly democratic countries so that a kind of balance is maintained.
We see these traits playing out in Various Left and Right communities worldwide.
We also see leadership of government v business v people. The internet is giving people more power than it has ever had before. Influencing voting patterns, awareness and opinions through social media. While governments are resisting global carbon reduction targets, banks are limiting investments in coal based energy infrastructure. People are buying more electric powered transport. People are demanding democratic rule. Power brought by people and corporates are not limited by national borders.
This ultimately should influence bureaucrats to operate more neighbourly in their foreign relations. Think of their neighbours as neighbours rather than competitors or enemies. Work together with synergy rather than brinkmanship. We can evolve more efficiently together in peace than in conflict and destructive action.
Ervin Laszlo in Science and the Enchantment of the Cosmos postulates that any action promoting evolution is right and good whilst action hindering evolution is wrong or evil.
As awareness of Integral thinking increases throughout society, governments will begin to think more holistically and globally. We are a secret society whose mission it is to achieve this goal. We need a secret handshake, a logo, visual identity so we can recognise one another. Yes I’m kidding.
Here is where I wanted to share another idea.
A concern I have is the apparent adhoc way governments provide foreign aid to disadvantaged countries. There doesn’t appear to be much effort placed into benefit realisation.
Funds are spread wide and thin across many countries with little accountability for outcomes.
Australia has poured many millions of aid to our nearest neighbour Papua New Guinea which still suffers from political instability, poor infrastructure, poor governance and judiciary.
And the elephant in the room…corruption. In one sense money going to corrupt bureaucrats still gets into that economy at some point, so it is not wasted.
What if each country corralled a significant portion of its aid to one country over a period of years and made a concerted effort at benefit realiastion? What if it encouraged its citizens to support that one country with tourism, Established strong cultural and business ties with that country?
Call it a Buddy System.
What if every first world country helped one third world country in such a fashion? Imagine what could be achieved.
A couple of thoughts: simplistically, foreign aid is the poor people of rich countries giving to the rich people of poor countries. Unless the poor countries have an infrastructure that allows for foreign aid to help its development the money simply goes round and around the world’s rich.
As to the EU, Brexit has shown how fragile progress is. Anecdotally, the reason people in the UK voted to leave the EU was because they didn’t like unelected bodies telling them how to run their country. The governance of the EU and the economics of the EU needed change: Germany was fiscally doing to Greece and Portugal what the EU was set up to prevent. i.e. the autonomy retained by the individual states compounded by an unelected governing body allowed the powerful states to behave in a way that is contrary to the rational for the EU.
It would be great if we could solve the problem of a globalism that’s dominated by plutocratic interests by creating “a bigger, better, and far more effective globalism, one that can remain uncontaminated by corporate interests, and one that supersedes the nation state while also remaining aligned with the interests of its constituent nation states.”
But how can this "more effective globalism’ come into existence? To bring this to pass it’s necessary to go to the root of the problem and to create change starting from the bottom up. If there aren’t enough people who understand the problem and the necessity of the solution, I don’t see how it can come about.
I’ve been paying a lot of attention and giving a lot of thought to an aspect of reality that I believe even Ken Wilber and most integral thinkers are not seeing clearly.
No one has the ability to delve deeply into all aspects of reality, and we are immersed in a culture that has been manipulated by powerful people with colossal amounts of money. We have all been influenced by propaganda–no matter how intelligent, integral, and well informed we are.
A small number of very wealthy people who have libertarian, Ayn Randian, survival of the fittest worldviews have been using their money to change the culture and the laws to suit their goals of the accumulation of ever more wealth and power. Their strategists have developed long-term strategies to control the values of the public. Sophisticated propaganda campaigns are so well-funded that good ideas that go against the goals of these politically active plutocrats are successfully undermined and prevented from influencing enough people to be effective.
I don’t have time to go into more details, but here is a list of important resources that can enable people to see this aspect of reality more clearly:
Jane Mayer’s talks and books about dark money
“Trumping Democracy” (a documentary)
Article: Robert Mercer: The Big Data Billionaire Waging War on Mainstream Media" (theguardian.com)
Book: “Lies, Incorporated The World of Post-Truth Politics” by Ari Rabin-Havt and Media Matters
“The Reclusive Hedge Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency”
by Jane Mayer
“How the Koch Brothers Built the Most Powerful Rightwing Group You’ve never heard of” by Alexander Hertel-Fernandes, Caroline Tervo, Theda Skocpol
Books by Noam Chomsky: “Requiem for the American Dream” and “Manufacturing Consent”
I appreciate your summary of the development of global or at least transnational bodies - and I believe what’s needed to develop a better globalism, is to have enough leaders at 2nd tier to mature a 2nd tier world governance. Green is not enough as it fails to make proper room for nations governed by less matured leadership, and “when green attacks orange, amber wins”.
I suspect the European Union is the closest to a success beacause it aims to include similar nations with green leadership; but now it struggles when backlashes results in amber politicians increasing their influence. A successful global government is much harder as it needs to include - make room for - such a large variety of nations and elected politicians.
How to get to that tipping point, is challenging. The first step would be to see this happen in enough nations to provide enough leader resources for a global government - and I can’t see that has happened in any nation yet. Maybe a crisis could push things, e.g. a climate crisis that will demand global leadership.
To see how difficult this is, just take a look at Brexit. The Conservative party was ripping itself apart over membership of the EU , set up a referendum to deal with it, this nicely ripped the country apart. We don’t seem to be anywhere near the critical mass to have globalism at a level above orange.
Hey everyone, awesome conversation. I thought you might be interested to know that this was actually the topic for our latest episode of The Ken Show, which you can find here:
Thanks, Corey - I also need to complete the series on Integral Politics: read the piece but only found time for the first part on the Ken show
So how then do we provide the regulation necessary to prevent corporate exploitation of people as well as the larger environment? Clearly we need to move to some sort of transnational form of regulation which means that national governments need to surrender some their power to larger units. What is going to make this difficult is that it requires that citizens be willing to go beyond nationalism.
As is suggested by much of this discussion, integral thinking provides an excellent approach for moving beyond nationalism. However as is clear from recent disasters such as Trump and Brexit, the political situation in many liberal democracies is headed toward the past rather than the future.
One task we will need to address is that of helping people, many of whom were subjected to very poor educations, to understand better what is actually going on in their world. Given the ability of those with power and resources to use social media to manipulate voting behavior this becomes absolutely crucial.
Excellent episode of The Ken Show on this topic. I appreciated Ken’s straight-forwardness in pointing out that what is needed in order to have a ‘World Federation’ with a ‘regulator,’ is a majority of people worldwide who identify with globalism, and we are so very far from that. So as he says, and as we all hopefully know, it is crucially important to help people tune in to interiors and develop into higher stages/structures of consciousness. It always comes back to this.
I also appreciated his Aikido metaphor–that people move through stages in the martial arts, earning belts for different levels of attainment, and we don’t adjudicate or criticize that. Maybe he has, but I had never heard him use this kind of analogy before. I think it’s very potent in being able to help non-integralists who object to the notion of people being pegged as at different levels of attainment in consciousness. And I think that’s one thing that needs doing–finding ways to better explain and soften, so to speak, the reality of hierarchical growth and development through stages, particularly for greens.
So much in this conversation; it has stayed with me all week. Reading the NY Times Magazine article “From Arizona to Yemen: The Journey of an American Bomb” by Jeffrey E. Stern (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/magazine/war-yemen-american-bomb-strike.html), I was really feeling the need for a global regulator “cop.” Anyone who wants an education about the war in Yemen, this is an excellent article, long and wrenching, but to the point. The war in Yemen is not quite 4 years old, and yet, estimates are that 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died in that time from starvation, much of it due to the fact that humanitarian aid (food and medicines) have been blocked from entering the areas where there is dire need. The U.N. has been largely ineffective, and while there is now a ‘cease fire’ in place, why has it taken so long, and how long will it last?
There are plenty of positives in this episode of The Ken Show, including suggestions for how we can help people grow. Given that integralism, according to a recent post by Robb Smith, is a ‘niche community of about 10-20,000 people worldwide’ (paraphrased), it was heartening to hear that the all-important Renaissance was participated in by only about 1,000 people. I didn’t know that. So we’re a much bigger population than those Renaissancers, so there is hope…Even as I have been trying to look “at” rather than “through” my integralism of late, I am so grateful to and for everything and everyone Integral. Thank you bright and vital and loving community; you’re the best!
Hi Corey, For some reason I couldn’t access parts 2 & 3 so I don’t know if Ken gave any concrete examples of initiatives, eg. the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) campaign www.simpol.org, which are designed to do exactly what the two of you were talking about: i.e. how to transcend and yet include nation-states within a higher, cooperative form of global governance. Ken himself commented favourably on my new book, The Simpol Solution, as did Noam Chomsky, David Sloan Wilson, Ervin Laszlo and many others. My intention, here, is not to blow my own trumpet, but rather to ask: Shouldn’t Integral be moving on from its ‘safe place’ in the field of analysis to adding some intelligent discussion of practical, real-life initiatives, including their merits/de-merits?
Hello jbintegral, Just wanted to let you know that word is getting out and about around Simpol. I first became aware of it in Terry Patten’s book “A New Republic of the Heart,” and then heard about it again during the November 10 episode of The Ken Show on “Integral Politics: Its Essential Ingredients,” when KW and Corey talked about it in the context of addressing potential solutions to the many problems around globalization.
When I checked the simpol website, I saw that 6 politicians in the U.S. have signed on thus far…3 from the Green Party, 2 Libertarians, and 1 Republican. Interesting combo there… I take it the Simpol campaign in the U.S. is fairly young? It’s an interesting initiative for promoting global cooperation; I plan to look into it more.
Hey John, nice to hear from you. Ken actually did mention Simpol, though it was in our previous discussion, The Major and Minor Scales of Integral Politics. I can’t remember which section it was in – maybe the part about the Regulator? — but I think it was in the latter third of the discussion.
Thanks for doing what you do John, it is important work!
Glad to hear that LaWanna! Yes, our U.S. campaign has only just started and the mid-terms were our very first attempt to gather political support so we didn’t expect more than a handful of sign-ups. In most countries where we campaign in elections we find we get a good spread of support from across parties. Most support comes from the equivalents of your Greens, then Democrats, then Republicans. In some tightly contested seats here in the UK, we got ALL competing candidates to sign up, which is great. If you’re interested to get involved in the U.S. campaign, please contact our National Coordinator Jaki Scarcello email@example.com