We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

World citizenship and world passport

Globalization can be better structured through reward of world citizenship upon completion of qualified technical and scientific institutes. This creates cadres for international infrastructure management and aspirations to join such cadres.

Currently, it appears that the next step in globalization will be transnational government owned corporations in energy, transport, and various other very capital intensive production. This stage would naturally evolve from the current system of transnational and mostly private financial-corporate rule that is heavily subsidized by state governments. The deepening of the global crisis (yes it is still there) will be responded to via eventual large scale re-industrialization in the northern hemisphere. This will require government assistance in every stage of the process from providing demand to ensuring rapid heavily regulated implementation. The current Western corporate system of fully privatizing the profits and semi socializing the costs will thus transform into one where costs are fully socialized and profits are semi privatized. The Gazprom structure of half the profits going to fund the state is the minimum starting point for similar Government Transnationals (lets call them transgovcorps) in railroads, large ships, nuclear reactors, etc. Barring very rapid collapse of major bond and stock markets (accompanied by mass social in instability), shareholders will only allow states to take control of the majors via this gradualist approach. I've already roughly outlined why pushing for anything like this becomes increasingly necessary in decades to come.

Even transnational finance may go public via merger of development banks and/or cooperation of sovereign wealth funds. Recent decision of BRICS to start a joint development bank and even US president pushing for one is early indication of this tendency. Public control of financing and capital provision for large and long term projects may seem absurd given existing oligarchic power dynamic but there appears to be an elite shift towards it. The death of Margaret Thatcher was very revealing with many key perception forming media outlets calling the current crisis the result of Thatcherist neoliberalism.

Under these conditions (and the threat of globalization stalling and melting into revived regionalisms), reviving globalization with transgovcorp entities operated by a growing body of world citizenry makes functionalist sense. Some observers may say that it makes more sense for "soft" transgovcorp structures to arise first. For example, through merger of already unprofitable enterprises of US postal service with German, French, Russian, and Japanese postal services. However it makes even more sense to start with heavy industry that requires constant cross border professional human capital flows. This is due to such capital intensive projects allowing official government sanctioned global workforce to emerge. A professional yet non-elite "world worker" and "world citizenship" starts a certain chain reaction of functionalist solidarity that can complement UN action. Barriers to human migration are the most persistent roadblocks to further peaceful planetary consolidation (or at least such political consolidation within the Northern Hemisphere where most of the war reduction benefits from such action would be located anyway). World citizenship as applied and rewarded to actual technical personnel does substantially more for international cooperation than current cultural and elite top down efforts. The natural sphere where to start growing a body of world citizens is resource exploitation of the arctic circle, creating intra and interregional high speed transport links, and various (often profitable!) efforts to fight climate change via terraforming deserts, bolstering coastal areas, etc. The neo-feudal menace of current transnational corporations can be flipped on its head without deconstructing them substantially. With challenges of exponential technological change in the background, we need to work with what we have. Engineering and science are even more cosmopolitan ways of communicating than food, music, and film.

The title of "world citizen" does not have to be a cliche and functionally meaningless hippy catchword for a well traveled and globally minded person. Neither does it have to be a description for a member of an exclusive informal club of most interconnected and powerful planetary elites. Making world citizen into an increasingly functional and institutionalized title that is awarded can create a sort of transparent and democratically controlled meritocratic bridge (or human buffer) between bottom up globalist efforts and top down globalist efforts. Lets not yet speak of them being a safety buffer between the haves and have nots in the more distant future.

Previously I have discussed a number of tendencies already present which could accelerate globalization in the future: universal themes for global cinema rooted in biological needs rather than cultural archetypes, international police reform, and expansion of UN extraterritorial areas like heritage sites. World passport as a reward rather than as a right goes the furthest.

World passport and world citizenship tackles a number of key issues:

1) It counters mass technologically induced social fragmentation via creating solidarity and an anchor of stability for diverse societies and subsocieties within them.

2) Tapping into inquisitive restlessness and international travel of Western youth to guide them towards contact with planetary infrastructure creation and to provide them with larger sense of purpose beyond sensory experience.

3) Controls immigration by providing a guiding channeling framework for migratory flows of educated non-Westerners

4) Augments tangible soft power of United Nations (if citizenship is extension of UN or if there is cooperation with it).  People will associate blue helmets with not just guns, food, medicine, and blankets but with transport, energy, airplanes, and actual permanent arrival of progress and civilization. UN acquires greater legitimacy by seeing an emergence of a parallel virtual "country without a country".

5) Help build an infrastructural global community of technocrats as a future hedge and counterweight to financial, lawyer, and merchant technocrats thus... (see 6)

6) Takes a step towards eventual UN owned infrastructure such as UN power grid and certain other future utility functions (I'll get to futuristic provisions in later articles) under organically grown legitimacy.

I have covered the growing tendency within global industrial development to create competition between 2-3 regional super clusters. This phenomenon is based solely on growing physical continental links in energy and transport that will eventually merge into a unified standardized global energy grid and high speed rail grid. Large amounts of engineers, scientists, and various supporting technical personnel will be required to service these grids. It is in the best interests of regional actors to support financing and creation of this transnational personnel. World passport and citizenship is one great way to do so. Many of the "world citizen" cadres will still find themselves serving the home countries due to inertia.

The process mentioned above does not truly threaten great powers within each regional cluster since they will acquire leadership role within them. Thus we see US in North America, Brazil in SA, Germany in EU (and whatever EU evolves into following the crisis), Russian Federation in Eurasian Union, China in east Asia, etc. Some short term and often desperate intraregional struggles are inevitable as currently seen between secular Arab nations (Egypt, Syria) and traditionalist Arab monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar) for control over who leads in providing the political culture and ideological substance to a regional block. Eventually, each region will have settled with a center of force guiding it, most likely the most industrialized country. Hopefully that industrialized power will engage in empirically proven methods of reducing poverty and inequality (Venezuela for instance has made serious progress in reaching all its UN development goals: Venezuelan strategy infecting Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, and India will do wonders). The Schengen area equivalents in each continent and region will do preparatory work to further enable global citizenship.

"I bet Brangelina will get to have a world passport?" says the jaded reader? Ok that's actually a great idea to reward it to a few celebrities as marketing. In the 21st century, the developmental and nuclear war preventing integration should be aggressively sold by whichever means are effective. Obviously rewarding a certain number of various athletes, entertainment personalities, and heroes creates necessary buzz for the passport (primarily given for achieving relatively dull technical expertise). Besides the benefits the citizenship may start with, eventually additional benefits can be added to get people around the world to get into fields they may overlook. The number of passports given at first may number in just a few million but be expanded depending on how the merger of public services into transgovernmental services continues.

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