What governments cannot provide
If the world community had an effective mechanism for world-governance then it would at least be possible to try steering the world economy directly. Examples of Competitive Overuse, such as oil, fish and water, would still be tough to handle, but by managing the depletions from a global perspective it would be far easier to avoid chaotic collapse. And addressing worldwide issues such as the ultimately-unsustainable exponential growth of High-Tech, progressive destabilization of Religions, and the growing need for optimized regulation of banking and multinationals would, again, at least be possible.
But even the UN does not provide an effective mechanism for world-governance. At the global level the international community is in many ways engaged in a rather polite form of civil war, collectively pulling itself down despite countries’ shared individual long-term interests. And realistically the UN is not going to be able to reform itself fast enough to fill the world-governance gap within those very few years left for action.
Yet, from everything I have uncovered, even individual governments are not capable of succeeding either. Their infrastructures are enormous. Their reach is extensive. And even today, their budgets are huge. What is more, many political and military leaders and civil servants really do care passionately about fulfilling their duty of due-care and making a difference. And some of them have formidable intellects and leadership skills. They simply do not have an effective means of addressing globally-defined threats to economic security and social stability. Nor do they have any shared solutions to any of the specific threats. Nor even do they have an effective way of coming up with potential global solutions, let alone ones with a good chance of success.
The overriding problem that any government faces is not so much that the hugely-sophisticated diplomatic, political, economic and military processes that it typically uses day-to-day are not already geared to handle these sorts of issues at the national level. They usually are. It is just that, as things stand, when issues interconnect at the global level, those processes become far too slow and unreliable to be effective. Everything degrades into little more than a bloated diplomatic debate in search of a consensus that rarely emerges. It is a system that never even begins to tap the full potential of the people and institutions that constitute it. But the fact remains that despite all the rhetoric and good intentions and motivated individuals, the systemic-failures within national and supranational bodies make it impossible for them alone to rise to the challenge of avoiding global crises.
Instead, they need the support of Big Business. It is corporate executives, not politicians, that are set to be the Trim Tabs that will help steer the fleets of oil tankers safely through the shifting icebergs. But not Big Business in its current incoherent form. Not the existing groups of self-interested multinationals and conglomerates. Governments desperately need the help of broadly-aligned groups of industries striving for common goals that suit not just businesses themselves but also to a large extent the international community at large. Governments – individually and collectively – need an alliance with the as-yet-unformed ‘Global Guilds’.