Major obstacles

Good-enough to get started

Governments are unlikely to take the initiative – although they should – so it is more effective for a pioneering organization to sponsor a prototype Global Guild than attempt much the same alone


FROM MY ANALYSIS of the UN and other supranational bodies, it is completely impractical to rely on suitable reform of political institutions occurring in time. They will not address the global-governance shortfalls that currently confound attempts to counter the growing threat of uncontrollable crises. Unfortunately, it is also unreasonable even to expect government organizations to be able to set up a political equivalent to the Global Guilds. In many ways, it ought to be expected of them. After all, what appear as Major Backlashes for businesses and institutions are Globally-Defined Threats to National Security as far as a state government is concerned. Any government’s citizens have the right to expect that the politicians they elected (or even the autocratic dictators they cannot unelect) will fulfill their primary duty to protect them. And that includes protection from global crises. It is possible. Some governments might show the leadership to do something more than they currently are. But it is not very likely.

There are currently major obstacles to the UN being able even to agree the design of a supplementary body that could fulfill an equivalent role to the Global Guilds – say, some form of ‘World Embassy’ that spoke for the whole of humanity. It is even less likely that the UN could implement and then operate that design effectively. As with so many other considered reforms within the UN, the design-process would inevitably become dominated by political gamesmanship and the design-goals would be severely compromised in pursuit of diplomatic trade-offs. Any resultant outcome, if implementation ever got that far, would be unfit for purpose. Far more likely is that the initiative would stall.

Nor should we expect that in due course the extreme global threats that cumulative crises represent will prove sufficient to cause UN member-states to pull together in an unprecedented way. If the crises were allowed to develop sufficiently to cause such extreme backlashes then, in addition to their immediate impact, they would necessarily also cause wide-reaching and unknowable further crises. Consequently, despite any pulling-together that the initial slew of global crises encouraged within the international community, it would on balance be hugely destabilizing to the global economy. It is certainly not a scenario worth ‘engineering’ in order to bounce the UN into reform. And any attempt to exaggerate the imminence and danger of existing threats of global crises would rapidly be found out and result in an even-less-cooperative global community than before.

Yet, despite the infeasibility of such forced-cooperation, there is nevertheless also totally insufficient time to pursue the more-conventional diplomatic routes to founding a World Embassy. Not only would the concept risk being seen as sufficiently Important that it warranted far-reaching and long-drawn-out international debate (with all the national self-interests that implies), but there appear to be insufficient mechanisms to enroll and align every country anyway – at least, without the cost of their participation being a design blurred to the lowest common denominator and a World Embassy compromised into total inadequacy.