Chapter Five: Political Globalization

I. Introduction

After economic globalization, the political variety is probably that most feared by anti-globalizers. They are right to fear that a world government modelled on the nation state would be terrifying; but it is the message of this book that such an outcome is highly improbable. Previous chapters have shown how many of the key features of society – a healthy economy, cultural goods, welfare and the law among them – will be delivered by people-friendly, globalized mechanisms that will bypass the nation state rather than reinforcing it.

It is reassuring to remember that during the heyday of the Roman Empire, with the Pax Romana extending to almost all of the known world, people in local communities were able to get on with their day-to-day lives with little or no interference from the 'global' power of Rome. The Roman Empire delivered a rule-based global order which encompassed freedom of religion and custom for member peoples. The comparison should not be pushed too far, of course, but in time the day of the nation state will come to be seen as an interregnum during which human freedoms were severely compromised. It will be replaced by a globalized governance structure in which technology and the Internet will allow greater freedom of cultural expression and freedom of association, as well as a degree of personal political involvement more closely approaching democracy than has ever before been possible. These ideas are more fully developed in Books Two and Three.

Most science fiction writers, and many others, take it as inevitable that one day there will be a world government; but globalization so far has had far more traction in the economic and cultural spheres than in politics.