Global Goals

Napoleon Hill is considered to have written the most important book in explaining success in the economic and social world. His book, titled “Think and Grow Rich,” has a basic argument, which states that anything that is conceived in the mind as an idea or a thought can also be conceived in reality. Hill adds that all which is required to actualize an idea or a thought in reality is a desire and love for that idea and thought to come into being. Also, it has been said that persistence leads to success. Ray Dalio outlines five steps in the way of achieving goals in a book titled “Principles”:

  1. Have clear goals
  2. Identify and don’t tolerate the problems that stand in the way of your achieving those goals
  3. Accurately diagnose the problems to get at their root causes
  4. Design plans that will get you around them
  5. Do what’s necessary to push these designs through to results

In recent times, however, the can-do spirit that was once a hallmark characteristic of the American identity has been adopted by others and implemented in a way that is perhaps far more advanced than the American way in the present moment. According to the World Economic Forum, China is set to become the world’s largest economy by the year 2024, thus surpassing the United States. This is clear evidence to suggest that the United States is undergoing relative decline vis-à-vis its peer competitor, namely, China. Much of what is happening is a result of the “chickens coming home to roost” in the sense that misguided policies and strategies stemming from a broader policy of global hegemony has led to American relative decline. The adverse effects of colonial and hegemonic discourse are now surfacing.

However, to suggest that a critique of one’s own government is an endorsement of a foreign power is what logicians call a “false dilemma.” Because one is in favor of better relations with a peer competitor does not mean one is anti-American, despite the fact that in today’s political climate, an endorsement of a policy other than global hegemony is viewed with suspicion. One can and should propose a policy and a strategy that diverges from a policy of global hegemony. For one, the policy itself should be a global policy in nature and should take into account the new realities of a global age, namely, interconnection and interdependence on a global scale. As shown by the recent coronavirus pandemic, a single event in Wuhan can have consequences for the entire globe. Furthermore, the policy should address four major existential issues: conflict, poverty, mental health, and overpopulation.

The strategy to address these issues should consist of three elements:

  1. Development of socioeconomic cooperative organizations at a regional level in critical regions of the world such as the Americas, Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia
  2. Dialogue and sharing of information to shape a global reality through investments in education, vocational training, and public health; considering the futuristic nature of the economy, the key industries of which will be real estate development, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, marijuana, and oil and gas exploration, it will be necessary to invest in education, vocational training, and information-sharing
  3. Development of a shared meaning of existence based on science in order to mitigate the adverse effects of overpopulation and infantile sexuality in light of climate change and the “#MeToo” Movement

Coronavirus was the catalyst for the reversal of the upward trend in all four predicaments, namely, violent conflict, poverty, decline in mental health, and overpopulation. As reported by the BBC, anxiety was on the rise before the coronavirus pandemic, but has significantly decreased as a result of the pandemic. Also, the health of the environment has also improved since the coronavirus outbreak due to reduced carbon emissions. Population growth was already on the decline in the Western world. What is needed is merely a policy pronunciation and a strategy that acknowledges these novel trends.

Policy is the summation of all political and social experience of a nation, according to Hannah Arendt. But due to the nature of today’s world that is based on interconnection and interdependence, a national policy will not suffice. What is needed is a global policy and a “common strategy” that all nations can agree on. To preserve the status quo amidst a state of economic and social evolution as well as novel economic and social experiences would mean that government is out of touch with reality and is fixated on a bygone era.

It has been said by certain behavioral scientists that it only takes twenty-one days for habits to change, and as a result one can argue that the coronavirus pandemic has permanently altered economic and social behavior. In the interim, there will be a contraction of the global economy. For one, consumer spending makes up approximately 2/3rds of the American economy. With these new economic and social habits, the economy is bound to decline. Thus, in the long run, there will be more of a focus on what is needed rather than what is preferred.

As a supplement to the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals of 2030,” there should be a global policy and a strategy that concentrates on the utmost of priorities. At the current trajectory by which the United States was going, hyper-militarization would have undermined not only the American way of life based on liberalism, but also global order and stability. Coexisting with peer competitors while preserving one’s own way of life based on the principle of liberty has been the basis of American policy and strategy since the conception of the American republic.

Militaristic hegemony will only undermine the American way of life based on liberty. This was the argument of the late Samuel Huntington, the author of the most famous book of the post-Cold War era, “The Clash of Civilizations.” Liberty, as defined by James Madison, is the preservation of a fine balance between freedom and the upholding of moral and religious responsibilities. The entire American system is based on this view of liberty. As Patrick Henry said during the American Revolution: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

All the basic tenets of liberalism, namely, capitalism, constitutionalism, and individualism are under threat due to militaristic global hegemony, which is a futile policy and strategy. This is perhaps the basic argument and thesis of this entire blog. One should add that the American way of life based on liberty and liberalism is under assault from within, not from the outside.

As Edmund Fawcett has argued, there are four guiding ideas behind liberalism. For one, the adversarial system that is characteristic of the broader political system within liberalism is necessary to bring out the greater good. Second, resistance to power is necessary to preserve a very fragile system based on liberty. Third, economic and social progress is inevitable through time in a liberal system. Fourth is the idea that individuals should be respected for who they are. What is key, however, is that any amount of energy and resources diverted towards militaristic hegemony and a constant war footing is a net loss for liberalism. Nonetheless, America does face a dilemma as the policy of global hegemony is rolled back. As Michael Lind wrote:

“In the early decades of the twenty-first century, it is clear that the attempt by the United States to establish its own global hegemony cannot be sustained. It is unclear, however, what American strategy will succeed it, and whether this strategy will be compatible with the American way of life.”  

What might result from a global policy and strategy outlined in this essay which is cognizant of global trends is perhaps a “global state” that is managed by a global leader or leaders representing the various regional organizations forged as a result of such a policy and strategy. The template for such a global policy and strategy is of course the United Nations, but the aim of a global policy and strategy is to create the impetus for a more enhanced social dimension to preexisting institutions which result from regional cooperative schemes. Considering that economic and social progress is an ongoing phenomenon, it is vital that we all contribute our personal share towards the rendering of such an outcome not only locally, but also on a global scale.

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