Saturday, July 28, 2007

Unified Earth

I have been lazy for too long, and I am still lazy.

I think it's a long post and I typed it in a hurry.

I’ve had this vision since early teen. And no, I am not a maniac that wants to rule over the world.

History has told us it has been attempted before. Some almost succeeded it, like Alexander the Great and the Mongolians. (At that time, the civilized “world only included Northern Africa, most Europe and Asia). However, their empires crumbled shortly: often divided and eventually disappeared. I believe that the true reason, other than some possible ignorant tyrant, is lack of communication between central government and local territories. Thus, it led to weakening of central government and rise of local power.

It is not the same today. Communication and transportation are no longer problems. Perhaps, a United Earth would be viable.

Many nationalists would disagree. We would lose our sovereignty and our identity. I too once had strong nationalism feeling in me. I was proud in being who I was: a member of a great country that built the Great Wall, had 5000 years of history, and defended its freedom against western capitalists. Now, all of it seemed childish, even ignorant. What exactly is a “nation”?

Nation: a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own.

Okay, key words: people, territory, government. Territory isn’t what divides us because I don’t see a great invisible wall between Canada and US. People are who they were born to be. In the pure sense, all people have the same needs. The same needs might come in different forms, but nevertheless they are same needs: physical, security, social, etc. That leaves government. I believe a government should represent its people and act in their needs. Since all people’s needs are basically the same, shouldn’t all government be the same? Then if all 3 elements are the same, shouldn’t all nations be the same? Why not just one nation then?

Economically: economics are all about equilibrium, stability, and efficiency. International trading is unstable; its equilibrium is often manipulated by politics between countries. A loss of efficiency occurs when nations impose tariffs, change its own interest/exchange rate, and implement trading quotas. It’s called deadweight loss, a loss in trading efficiency internationally that simply does not benefit either trading side in the long run.

Politically: political problems only exist because we have nations.

Technologically: Nations naturally protect their new inventions to gain advantages over other countries. Sharing of information and improving on each other’s creation were the driving force behind our civilization’s advancement. A multi-nation earth ultimately slows down our technological progress.

Socially: my experience in Canada has led me to believe that different cultures and societies can well blend in together. If Earth is united, our world would be bigger and smaller. It’s bigger in the sense that we are free to go anywhere and we are given more options. It’s smaller because of the easier access of all places. We are actually given more social freedom because we are not isolated in our own societies or to be forced into our society because there are only a few societies in our nation.

Environmentally: more decisive and final instead of trying to have multiple nations to sign something such as Kyoto Protocol. The financial gain from more efficient economy, faster technological advancement, little political conflicts, and some massive shrinking of military should more than cover the cost of preserving the environment. (I doubt any country spends more on preserving environment than military).

Finally, cooperation > competition

This isn’t just some arguments behind a theory. I believe will happen unless Earth gets destroyed by some meteor or nuclear war. It may not happen for another hundreds of years, but it eventually will. It is the most efficient way to go and the best for everyone. Humans have a history to be lazy and efficient. I also believe it will happen peacefully. In fact it may be already happening.

Canada and US will naturally merge into one because of same language, same people, same structure of society. All Western Europe are almost united under Europe Union despite thousands of years of wars and hatred. (Just another example that makes me believe any conflict in the world can be solved eventually). There are also African Union, the Commonwealth… The world nations are slowing merging into bigger “bodies” of people.

And of course the United Nation, perhaps the foundation for the future “United Earth”
As the Security Council power weakens, and General Council becomes more popular, UN is gradually becoming more democratic and more representative of the world population. I have even heard of debates to give UN more power that enables the UN to command a military of its own uninfluenced by any particular nation.

When it comes it may come at the cost of time and human lives. because it takes time for people to learn through mistakes, but they’ll learn the value of peace through blood and iron. (That’s why I argued with Robert during a lunch that Iraqi war may eventually be beneficial to is people)
War is peace.

Comment by Devil From Russia:
It was a very good post Yunjun. I felt kind of weird when you closed it with a 1984 quote though... does not seem like the best choice of closing.

I think, however, there are a couple of issues with your simplification of the ideal. There exists a large political and social divide between a lot of people. Various groups of people within nations and between nations have grown acustom to living in a certain set of social laws that differ fundamentally from the social laws of other groups. The United States can not accept communism and socialism. Communist can not accept capitalism (as the most trivial example). There is a certain set of groups that are not willing to join each other, and as long as those sets hold disproportionate amount of money/power they will not join.

The most clear example is the United States. If the United States joined with the rest of the world in a Union, the standard of living for the 300 million Americans would go down a bit (and most of the rest of the 6 billion people in the world would see an increase in their standard of living). From a global community point of view, this is good... from the point of view of 300 million selfish Americans... this is bad. Since they happen to hold a lot of power with their lofty monetary posetions, they can resist this integration. This is the paradox that forms.... the more a country has to loose by joining a Union (aka, the higher the standard of living in the country relative to the rest of the world), the more power it has to avoid joining such a Union. In this, a small fraction of people, who call themselves a democracy or anything else can hinder the creation of a world-wide democracy. We see this all the time with the way the United States deals with the UN.

The only reason things like the EU where possible.... is because all of the EU had a relatively similar standard of living, and thus countries did not loose much. Same with Africa. But you can see resistance. for instance, the EU does not want to take lower countries (countries with a lower standard of living) such as Turkey into its Union, because that will cost them and they can resist it.

But I find this VERY interesting. I will try to form a more clear idea and blog about it (I think you should too).

Me reply:
First of all, I see unification as a slow process. Very slow, in fact, it may take over hundreds of years. I believe, because of this slow process, human society will evolve into something more efficient. An unified earth is simply more efficient.

Now the question of different values and beliefs: how does one even know communist exist in a few hundreds of years? In the last 20 years or so, two largest communist countries collapsed/changed. The rest of communist world is almost negligible. Capitalism might not even exist. Things have changed far too much in the last a few hundreds of years, we can't base a future predicament solely based on the situations today. The fact is there, an unified earth is more efficient, therefore things will tend to go that way.

Speaking of merging, it's also a slow process. Not all countries will merge at the same time, and they will merge slowly. First free trade agreement, then open border, then union, then common currency... Now resistance will occur, either the union refuses to accept another country, or a country refuses to accept the union.

In the first case, the one country left out has lower standard of living, therefore it's cheaper there. Investors are therefore more likely to invest in that country because it has the potential for higher future-capital-value gain. The manufacturing production will move to this country because it has lower cost. In the long run, as foreign ownership increases in this country, its economy will become more similar to the union. It's also politically incorrect to leave one country out, say African Union. Tongue

In the second case, the one country's economy cannot compete with the combined economy of the union. The production in the union will be stronger and cheaper. The people in this country will import more and export less, and in theory become poorer until they balance with the union.

This is of course based on the assumption of free trade between the country and the union of countries. Political issues and policies will hinder or delay the process, but will not affect long term results.

I didn't know it was a 1984 quote. It's a post in the forum, not like I actually prepared it and proofread it to make things consistent. My thinking towards the end of the post changed, and I was thinking about wars.