How do we create something new for the globe? (6/52)

Illustration by Susanne Gold/ text by Ted Ganten

We have outlined some of the major challenges of mankind and the planet. We extrapolated the presence into the future to foresee roughly the upcoming developments. How can we tackle them?

National States

One of the concepts that we need to rethink – and in some cases the root of the problem itself – are nations. As long as these entities vie for the attention of capital and corporations and compete with each other, in a world where information is always available from everywhere, there can be no meaningful limits to profit-making and conflict. As long as the national states want to distance themselves from each other in their supposed pride, and even have to do so to justify their rather young and randomized existence, it will be difficult to develop uniform ethical standards as required for the new technologies. As long as resources belong to the state that happened to be created there in the last few hundred years or even decades, and not to humanity, there will be cause for conflict. As long as humanity is educated not to be a “we” but a “we and the others” through state education systems, we cannot get to common ground. The nations – as we know it – has become an obstacle and even dangerous. At the very least, in my view, it is negligent to trust that essentially meaningful concepts such as the common good economy will be implemented in nation states across the board and around the world in the near future. In any case, such concepts need a global tailwind.

United Nations

The UN – once designed to secure world peace – has become to some degree a technocratic monster. Certainly, the forum and its organs make a valuable contribution to international understanding. The UN’s “sustainable development goals” are a good example. However, decisive impulses for a new world order and for securing world peace are lacking. Perhaps this can no longer be expected from such an established partner. After all, more than a hundred nation states must agree on changes. Even in the Security Council, the right of veto is a trump card that is often used. Of course, I do not want to diminish the success and importance of the UN. However, as an association of nations, it has an inherent weakness in times when nations themselves are causing some of the problems. For one, because they compete for the favor of industry to fulfill their mission of creating and securing prosperity for the population – or in some less fortunate states: for the ruling class. On the other hand, because nations have an intrinsic interest in a strong national feeling and orientate education and news accordingly. Since the UN is made up of nations, it is unlikely that working towards the abolition or at least relativizing the importance of nations would really receive support. Thus, alliances of states reach their limits when the crisis is not so severe that only a single solution to save all is possible. All in all, the world community is still too well off to expect any strong new initiatives from this side. Waiting for the Third World War to be over before transnational alliances get seriously moving again does not seem to be a desirable alternative.

The new Plan

I therefore propose a new way. A counterweight to the national states and established international bodies, all of which are based on difficult intergovernmental treaty negotiations. Something agile, a construct that may have changed the world more in the last two centuries than most nations and interstate structures. A form of organization that is dedicated to a defined goal and is capable of combining forces towards this goal: An association under private law! Really? Yes, exactly, something like the sports club around the corner … and the corporations.

The following pages establish a social, planet-spanning, new design. First the goals of such an association are defined and ethical guidelines are drafted. Finally, the differentiating factor to a sports club and a commercial corporation is the goal of such an organization. For this purpose, some basic ethical assumptions have to be made and unpleasantly questions to be answered.

The new Ethics

The future scenarios outlined above do not allow us to stick to outdated rules. The new goals and ethical rules are summarized as “Terraism”. For the conversion of the Terraismus into the reality the idea is to set up an internationally active, non-profit association in such a way that it makes nations, their borders and legislation less important. In addition to natural persons, members can also be societies, foundations, other non-profit associations and even national states. The ideas are in many parts new and not perfect. But ideas have to be born in order to be tested and develop.

Over the next weeks will drill down into these topics. Finally, there will be a “down-to-earth” concept for structure, the way of working and the content for such an association.

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