In this seven-part blog series, we are exploring the transformative worldview and its many complexities. For an introduction to the transformative worldview, please refer to Part 1 of this series. Last week, we explored the cultural patterns of the transformative worldview, and today we take a look at its political patterns.
The transformative worldview advocates for a decrease in the dominance of the nation-state arrangement. Other political configurations are emerging to challenge or complement the sovereignty of the nation-state. The organization, structure, and services that governments provide for their citizenry are changing markedly because of the shift by many nations from managed capitalism and socialism to neoliberalism and state capitalism. With more wealth concentrated in the hands of the elite, politicians have increasingly supported policies that favor the wealthy. Although the political organization in the U.S. is a republic with democratically elected representatives, increasingly we see that democracy is divided into two contending segments, which I call elite democracy and participatory democracy.
Many in the transformative movement favor involvement in participatory democracy for the benefit of all, not elite democracy in which a few wealthy oligarchs dominate the political agenda. For example, a movement for what are called Clean Elections strives to make elections publicly funded from government sources and small constituent donations, instead of from wealthy corporations and individuals who expect favorable responses to their agendas from “their” elected politicians. My hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for instance, passed Clean Election regulations for local elections in 2005 and elected a Clean Election mayor in late 2017.
Peace and justice movements have had renewed vigor since the invention of the internet and social media communication. There are many local peace and justice chapters that encourage local engagement. (For example, I am a member of the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice.) Because millions of people can now be connected instantly, the issues of peace and social and economic justice are garnering attention and action. Among some of the many causes advocated by this diverse movement are democratic reforms, peace efforts, nuclear disarmament, population control, human rights, animal rights, gay rights, equality for non-elites, indigenous people’s rights, women’s and children’s issues, racial equality, and protection from hate crimes. These causes are moral and ethical standards that guide nations’ policies and action. For instance, advocacy groups in the United States are lobbying for a Department of Peace to balance the Department of Defense’s enormous financial outlays and influence.
World institutions and organizations are gaining more authority and legitimacy as they try to complement the authority of the nation-state. During the 20th century, world political institutions evolved that reflected a more interdependent world. One of the first such institutions, the League of Nations, established after World War I in 1920, failed to prevent the outbreak of World War II, although its successor, the United Nations (UN), has proven to be a more successful organization. The UN has a peacekeeping wing to enforce its objectives. International political entities today include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and world, regional, and citizen-diplomat groups. International organizations, such as the already mentioned UN and the International Court, are charged with the overwhelming task of helping to stamp out terrorism, regulate arms, monitor human rights, prevent disease and hunger, and protect the environment. The WTO, World Bank, and IMF are global institutions charged with governing the global economy.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are privately created organizations with an international scope, unaffiliated with a particular nation. NGOs transcend narrow national interests in dealing with issues affecting the world and include such well-known world organizations as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders, and the Human Rights Watch. Many of these organizations have local and state chapters for easy engagement by ordinary citizens.
Regional political organizations complement national governments. Regional organizations include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has taken on new objectives, along with its primary Cold War goal of protecting Western Europe. The Organization of American States (OAS), established in 1948 with 21 members, is the oldest regional organization of states. The European Union (EU), a regional organization of currently 28 member nations, has achieved a cooperative economy, established its own currency, the euro, and removed tariff barriers for easier trade.
Formed in 2001, the African Union has 54 members on the African continent. One of its objectives is the promotion and protection of human rights, such as the right of a group to freely dispose of its natural resources in the exclusive interest of its members. In 1945, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia signed the Pact of the Arab League States and created the League of Arab States, with 22 members in 2017. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has 10 members and was formed in 1967.
Questions to Consider
- Do you think there is a role for the nation-state in a more globalized world? If so, what would its role be?
Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator and president of the nonprofit Center for Global Awareness. The Center for Global Awareness develops books and materials with a holistic, global focus for adult learners and educators. In January 2018, the CGA will launch the Global Awareness Adult Conversation and Study Program, or Gather. In this unique program, adult learners form small study groups to launch conversations about pressing global issues, seeing different perspectives, transcending deep political and cultural divides, and engaging with others to create positive change. Please email email@example.com or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.