A possibility: Business to push for world government?
Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-11-20
I’ve noted before that free-marketeers, for so long religiously opposed to central planning internationally, are bleating "Four legs good, two legs better" (2008-11-20).
If businesses want a halfway-decent regulatory environment to protect them from the shysters that will always parasitize markets, then the international economic governance agencies need real teeth.
The clamor for a reasonable business environment could well end up being the push for a reasonable world government – something that most capitalists have dreaded, but I would welcome (see "Get rid of Australia" 2007-05-22).
Lets go through the thought experiment of how this might happen.
Nation states to reluctantly cede some regulatory powers:.
- >Real-economy businesses have been predated upon by the finance industry (which got 10% of US corporate profits in the mid 1980’s, but 40% in 2007), and needs to get financial services from a leaner and more transparent set of providers.
- The finance industry itself needs international action, including protection from shenanigans by other finance players.
- Any governance by bodies hostage to particular nation states will be suboptimal, and possibly dangerous. This will be recognized by businesses (especially transnationals depending on activity in many nations.
- The push for improved international governance will be for a body more closely tied to the UN than any particular club of nation states.
International trade, tax, and funny money trails:
- The nations (particularly Switzerland) best by commercial liabilities far exceeding the national GDP (see parts of this 2008-11-07 post for details), will need financial aid, but this aid will be conditional upon hitherto hidden bank details opened up to international law and tax enforcement.
- This will expose lots of "funny money" that will be claimed as tax revenue of nation states, along with counterclaims of other states, and the businesses allegedly subject to those taxes.
- Again, the UN is the natural home of any court to determine international tax matters: a lot of smaller states will be completely unhappy if such decisions are made and enforced by bodies hostage to a particular nation state.
- Further, any UN bodies will not be tied to the flawed UN security council: as finance is traditionally out-of-scope of that body.
Climate gets entwined with economy internationally
- One problem with economies is the developing understand that there are limits to growth, competition for resources are globalised, and "externalities" (apart from solar power) do not exist.
- This is coupled with climate change mitigation, and the understanding that increased resource use can compound the issue.
- The "tragedy of the commons", well demonstrated for the fishing industry with collapse of stocks in the North Atlantic, will become recognized by business as affecting everything in ways that are uncontrollable by nation states.
- Nation states will require climate change mitigation disagreements are managed to account for the difference between which country gets benefits from "exporting carbon" (with Australia’s filthy brown coal a glaring example).
Of the above issues, tax is perhaps the most critical: with the "no taxation without representation" call to democratize the UN perhaps having more weight than the agenda driven by human rights concerns.
The push for universal suffrage to gain some control may come from shareholders with diverse assets via managed funds.
I’m not saying this scenario will play out (it’s probably between 3 and 7 decades away): it is just that I have a suspicion that commerce might be a more effective and earlier driver of world government than advocates arguing for it from a moral and philosophical position.
- The United Nations Environment Program has just announced that military forces (US/Oz/Holland) will be assisting in environmental efforts. It’s not quite climate change but Ozone depletion, with the military to help manage the disposal of dangerous ozone-producing stockpiles. Who’d-a-thunk-it? Maybe the militaries, responsible for so much environmental degradation (Agent Orange and Radioactive shells are notable but minor incidents) will start being useful! Naaaaaa… probably just a publicity stunt, unless they start pitching in to things like the UNEP Climate Neutral Network as a meaure to minimize climate-related conflict that would otherwise cost a packet!