On behalf of all

Global Advocates

Global Guilds must act like GLOBAL ADVOCATES so organizations can better justify unpalatable measures needed to avoid collective (and so also individual) crises


THE THIRD DISTINCT role for a Global Guild is to act as a ‘Global Advocate’ – that is, an advocate for the global community in its entirety (as, for example, the UN Secretary-General is typically expected to be) not an advocate for a given multinational, or even a given industry, let alone any of the roughly-200 individual countries that make up the world economy. That is a crucially important distinction when system-dynamics such as Competitive Overuse bring benefits to individual territories at the same time as threatening the collective performance of all. Under such circumstances, a shared advocate for each of the component nations or industries tends to come at the problem from the point of view of defending individual rights of exploitation, whereas an advocate for all the nations and industries taken as one will approach the same issue from the perspective of defending the rights of the whole international community to collective stability within a mutually-dependent world economy.

Inevitably, given the current pre-eminence of national governance over global governance, individual states can always choose to disregard the diplomatic lobbying of a Global Advocate. From that point of view it is like the oil-tankers’ Sat Nav advising all captains on the optimal avoidance courses for the whole fleet – but then automatically recalculating if some captains do something else. Nevertheless, that is a far better situation for the international community than the current one in which the perspective of The Whole as opposed to the sum of The Parts is never even heard. Diplomats and commercial lobbyists have, in practice, no interests to disregard other than those of other nations and different corporate interests.

Up until now, there has been no one at Ambassadorial level responsible for pointing out what would work best for the international community if it were (in effect) just one country. Whereas national governments are often expert at managing medium-term trade-offs between one part of their country and another for the long-term good of their nation as a whole, there is no formal international equivalent. Informally, trade-deals and military aid tends to be given to regimes that provide oil and other resources (or that claim to offer regional stability, for instance by keeping extremist groups in check). It is given rather less to the leaders of countries that have little that richer countries want. In that sense the international community already prioritizes the development, or at least funding, of some countries over others. But formally, and in the more-general international arena, there has been no counter-balance to collective national self-interest at all.

Exactly the same is true for multinationals. Yet if individual corporations do not even know which of their corporately-optimized decisions run contrary to what would be globally-optimized collective decisions of innumerable organizations, then how can they possibly be expected to contemplate any potential trade-offs that might improve things for others? By the very nature of globally-defined crises, global interests ultimately cycle back to affect industry and corporate interests as well. Under those circumstances, even long-term sacrifices at the corporate level may still be justified by a Board if as a result it gains important long-term benefits in the form of lessening the likelihood of potentially debilitating backlashes.

To increase the likelihood of these sorts of crucial trade-offs between medium-term corporate interests and long-term global (and as a result also corporate) interests, the Global Advocate role needs to build some constructive tension into the proceedings of the international community linked to a Global Guild.