Peace Through Mutual Benefit
In modern capitalist economies, foreign trade and investments have become all-important. Peace therefore brings unique dividends. As long as China and the USA are at peace, the Chinese can prosper by selling products to the USA, trading in Wall Street and receiving US investments.
Trade is the ultimate peacemaker. When two people–or peoples–benefit from one another, they only hurt themselves by hurting the other.
In Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari delves into how the world is integrating, and what this means for peace and prosperity.
Greed now leads to peace, where it once lead to war.
[W]hile the price of war soared, its profits declined. For most of history, polities could enrich themselves by looting or annexing enemy territories. Most wealth consisted of fields, cattle, slaves and gold, so it was easy to loot it or occupy it. Today, wealth consists mainly of human capital, technical know-how and complex socio-economic structures such as banks. Consequently it is difficult to carry it off or incorporate it into one’s territory.
42% of wealth is the rule of law. And you can’t plunder that.
International business on all scales creates a more peaceful planet. It isn’t just the multinational corporations which integrate the world. The ease with which individuals can now communicate, travel, live, and run small businesses abroad creates obstacles to war and conflict.
The internet was the main catalyst for this integration. It is this decentralized, voluntary, spontaneous network which is creating a new world order.
One World Marketplace
Over time, this feedback loop creates another obstacle to war, which may ultimately prove the most important of all. The tightening web of international connections erodes the independence of most countries, lessening the chance that any one of them might single-handedly let slip the dogs of war. Most countries no longer engage in full-scale war for the simple reason that they are no longer independent. Though citizens in Israel, Italy, Mexico or Thailand may harbour illusions of independence, the fact is that their governments cannot conduct independent economic or foreign policies, and they are certainly incapable of initiating and conducting full-scale war on their own…
[W]e are witnessing the formation of a global empire. Like previous empires, this one, too, enforces peace within its borders. And since its borders cover the entire globe, the World Empire effectively enforces world peace.
This sounds scary if you think the global empire is a government. But the true global empire is the interconnectedness which makes violence unprofitable.
Think about it. The more connected the world becomes economically, the more we all share the same interests. It isn’t the United Nations or European Union keeping war at bay. It is the fact that people have homes in the UK and Italy. It is the fact that businesses operate across continents, in various markets.
We can share video, organize people, and broadcast ideas and warnings easier than ever. That is why people are so effectively questioning the events in Syria–we have access to information. It flows easily.
But even as recently as 9/11/2001, this was not the case. The news was still curated for us by large companies who fell under the control of large governments. Much less could be effectively questioned, and the mainstream narrative easily prevailed.
Now, individuals and “unapproved” groups can share and discuss what is truly going on. Individuals can participate instead of just spectating.
The new world order is one of individual action and grassroots organization. The internet has helped to decentralize this power. And this globally interconnected marketplace can take the role that governments once played in keeping the peace within their borders.
The Age of Personal Empowerment
[S]ince the end of World War Two… humankind has for the first time faced the possibility of complete self-annihilation and has experienced a fair number of actual wars and genocides. Yet these decades were also the most peaceful era in human history – and by a wide margin. This is surprising because these very same decades experienced more economic, social and political change than any previous era. The tectonic plates of history are moving at a frantic pace, but the volcanoes are mostly silent. The new elastic order seems to be able to contain and even initiate radical structural changes without collapsing into violent conflict.
So what changed? Were the governments themselves fundamentally different than governments of the past?
A couple of governments by this time had implemented some pretty serious reforms.
England started the trend with the Magna Carta. Colonial America was a further push along these same lines.
It was Roger Williams who started the colony in Rhode Island which set the tone for individual rights in North America. He kept peace with the Native Americans through trade. And he made his settlement prosperous by rejecting power as a right of kings or coming from God. It is the people that should control a government, not the other way around.
And when England failed to move the concept forward, the colonists separated and formed the United States of America, another experiment which moved the concept of individual liberty forward.
This freedom promoted even more prosperity, which gave people the means to direct their own destiny. And of course, people are drawn to prosperity. Freedom spreads because people see how much it has to offer. As trade increases, it creates more peace, more prosperity, and the cycle continues.
The concept of indivudal liberty was and still is, relatively new. Governments which tried a little bit of freedom ended up with very prosperous citizens. These citizens then had more freedom to move around the globe, and conduct more trade, inadvertently spreading the benefits of liberty.
The major change was that the global economy became more and more integrated.
People had more power to control governments with economic demand. And as a result, governments shifted.
The main promise of premodern rulers was to safeguard the traditional order or even to go back to some lost golden age. In the last two centuries, the currency of politics is that it promises to destroy the old world and build a better one in its place. Not even the most conservative of political parties vows merely to keep things as they are. Everybody promises social reform, educational reform, economic reform…
It is the people that changed–they became wealthy. No longer was wealth concentrated in the hands of the elite who also controlled the government. Now in order to stay in power, governments had to appeal to a different sentiment.
But it was the people that always had to change before the government changed. Since the Magna Carta in 1215, political change has lagged behind social change.
Some people already want to be freer than current governments allow. The New World Order will not be a one world government, it will be a one world marketplace.
Throughout history, most violence resulted from local feuds between families and communities. (Even today, as the above figures indicate, local crime is a far deadlier threat than international wars.) As we have seen, early farmers, who knew no political organisations larger than the local community, suffered rampant violence.6 As kingdoms and empires became stronger, they reined in communities and the level of violence decreased. In the decentralised kingdoms of medieval Europe, about twenty to forty people were murdered each year for every 100,000 inhabitants. In recent decades, when states and markets have become all-powerful and communities have vanished, violence rates have dropped even further. Today the global average is only nine murders a year per 100,000 people, and most of these murders take place in weak states such as Somalia and Colombia. In the centralised states of Europe, the average is one murder a year per 100,000 people.
So just as centralized states in the past have taken out the local strongman, so will this “global empire” take out the violent governments.
Since this global empire of free trade arose for the purpose of profits, and since violence and war threaten profits, we can assume that this one world marketplace will enforce peace in order to protect profits.
Anyone wishing to open up the Venezuelan market will need to make sure the people of Venezuela are free enough to be rich enough to buy their products.
How do you access the 40% of the wealth that the US government steals from the people? Currently, defense contractors get it by scaring people into supporting bloated military budgets.
But remember that we are trending towards open flow of information, people, and products. States will have two options:
But the new world order–the worldwide market built on the interconnected foundation of the internet–will not allow for such strife within its “borders.”
The trend is that global trade will continue to lead to more peace and individual liberty. Any governments or groups which oppose this will have to reckon with the Empire. Not one single government, but the marketplace–thousands or millions of organizations working together to form a spontaneous order.
The New World Order is coming. But it is being built on the foundation of individual liberty, freedom to prosper and trade. The Empire of the Internet will enforce peace on all of earth, within the borders of the One World Marketplace.
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