On February 17th Mark Zuckerberg published a 6000 word manifesto of his vision for the future. He starts with, “History is the story of how we’ve learned to come together in ever greater numbers — from tribes to cities to nations. At each step, we built social infrastructure like communities, media and governments to empower us to achieve things we couldn’t on our own. Today we are close to taking our next step.”
That next step seems to be for us to go from a scattered collection of nations to a single organizing body. He clearly advocates for the creation of a global community, with Facebook playing a pivotal role in it. He also seems to be well on his way to taking another step in that direction as he has been spending a lot of time touring America in what is starting to look a lot like a political campaign. Candidates must be 35 to be president, already Facebook, with 1.86 billion users, has arguably given him more power over the minds of others than anyone in history, and by 2020 he’ll be 36.
A number of organizations have been putting forward a similar message. One of the most prominent is the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a think tank on global governance, supported by a wide range of groups from the government of Canada, to companies like Google and Mckinsey. “CIGI believes that better international governance can improve the lives of people everywhere”.
There is also, The World Government Summit , The World Government Research Network, The Emergence Project, the Bahai faith, the Humanity Party, World Parliament Now, Campaign For A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, the UN itself, all have aligned themselves around the need for deeper and more powerful systems of global governance. Swedish billionaire Laszlo Szombatfalvy has even put up 5 million dollars for anyone who can come up with, “a new model of global governance that is effective, rational and equitable and can manage the great global risks humanity is facing.”
We have been experimenting with this idea since the end of World War 2. The IMF, The World Bank, The International Criminal Court, even the feckless UN, all can be seen as our first attempts to figure this out. They each had their fair share of problems, but those problems are lessons to be learned from and along the way they have helped lay the foundation for global communication, transnational trade, and international rules and regulations that have allowed us to coexist in the most peaceful period in human history.
This movement towards global political convergence will be humanities most trying time yet. But if we can figure out how to live together, it may be a change for the better, after all, most of the big problems that we face are global problems that will need global solutions and global cooperation.
The era of the nation-state, and a world segmented into countries separated by borders and walls is at the beginning of the end. It will take time, probably a few more generations, but it certainly seems to be the direction we are heading in.
And it could happen sooner than we think thanks to the recent rise of Silicon Valley which has brought with it many of the tools needed to set up a global system of governance including the internet, the blockchain, universal translators and a smart phone in every pocket. Their power and influence will only grow as technology continues to take over every part of the economy.