Monday, August 20, 2007

The Need for a Global Society

The need for a global society is in large part due to the fact that, due to technology, individuals and their favored groups can have a significant impact on the future of our entire species. If, instead, smaller groups could act without destroying just themselves when something goes wrong, these groups could function as more or less independent societies of their own. When individuals or groups gain too much power over the rest of the population, as for too many are inclined to do (such as leaders of “superpower” nations and multinational corporations), then they better be flawless or we are all eventually doomed.

I believe that many of us intuitively grasp these facts, which is why there is a persistent resistance to the fact of our individual power: We don’t want the responsibility that goes along with it.

Global warming is an excellent example of this. Many people’s power is tied up in the world’s dependence on carbon-based energy and materials, the principle source of the single greatest threat to the longevity of our species (as well as others). That power will go away when the vast majority of people grasp the consequences of this dependence on a personal level. As a result, groups with the most power to lose (such as oil companies and certain corrupt government leaders) have been engaged in a vast campaign of misinformation with the goal of seeding doubt about the fact of our impact on the environment. Because many of us share this dependence, we are loath to radically change our lifestyles unless the evidence is practically incontrovertible (or we are forced to by our governments). Unfortunately, by the time there is 100 percent certainty, it may be too late to influence the outcome.

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