The two most important things for Americans – and perhaps everyone else – are the economy and health. Much of the discussion surrounding the economy in the United States as of late pertains to the minimum wage and student debt relief. Based on certain statistics, an increase in the minimum wage may lead to 1.4 million jobs being cut, but it would also bring close to a million people out of poverty. But according to America’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin, there is no tradeoff to be made. Increasing the minimum wage would protect jobs and bring people out of poverty at the same time. It all depends on one’s perspective. In terms of student debt relief, it is becoming difficult to deny that public education and universities are perhaps the biggest scams in modern history. Schools and universities essentially rob students of their time and money, all while leaving them high and dry without equipping them with the skills needed in a global economy that is defined by three major global trends, namely, corporate expansionism, hyper-militarization, and technological evolution.
Consolidating profits and power are at the heart of the roadblocks being imposed in the way of economic reforms by the top 1 percent and special interests. These economic reforms would benefit virtually 99 percent of people, but the challenges put forth by special interests in the way of economic reforms are immense. There are basically five major industries in the world, all of which exercise monopolistic powers to a certain degree. Drugs, weapons, oil and natural gas, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology are the industries which wield the most clout over governments and societies.
Given that the global trends which shape governance and society are now obvious, the question pertains to how one should tailor a lifestyle that enables people to cope with these trends. As Jean-Paul Sartre once said, the only question left is the question of how one should live. There are essentially six primary sources of happiness, along with four secondary sources of happiness. The primary sources of happiness are meditation, prayer, a balanced diet, exercise, outdoor activity and leisure, and sleep. On the other hand, the secondary sources of happiness are education, money, socializing, and sex. In order to obtain and utilize the secondary sources, one should perhaps master the primary sources.
This does not mean that we should forego an assessment of global affairs and the management and ordering thereof. There are certain things which can be done both on the domestic and foreign policy fronts which would enable the sound management and ordering of global affairs. On the domestic front, one should consider the following:
- Improvement of Obamacare
- Establishment of a “social safety net” for small businesses and workers in the event of another external shock to the economy
- Legalization and regulation of common vices such as gambling, marijuana, and prostitution as part of an overall effort towards criminal justice reform
- Intertwinement of immigration policy with foreign policy
- Enactment of tax cuts across the board with a focus on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States
On the other hand, an evolution of foreign policy would include:
- Orienting the Trans-Atlantic Partnership towards solving transnational challenges and dilemmas
- Setting the groundwork for eventual Russian and Turkish integration into the European Union (EU)
- Peace agreement between Israel and Iran
- Balancing the approach towards the Pakistan-India conflict, which in turn would have an impact on the Afghan conflict
- Economic competition with China in conjunction with solving transnational challenges and dilemmas alongside China
What is hard to calibrate and determine is the optimal role of government in society. In recent decades, the debate between the Chicago School and Keynesian School of economics centered on whether the government’s role should be reduced or optimized. Nowadays, it is clear that someone has to manage global trends from a global governance perspective, which is why it appears as though the Keynesian School is winning out.
In a matter of time – and as Margaret Thatcher once foreboded – there will be three core administrative and managerial power centers in the international system due to the three major global trends which are shaping up, namely, corporate expansionism, hyper-militarization, and technological evolution. One should also ask whether these global trends and the exorbitant profits, the array of weapons and gadgets, and the social media outlets that come with them have led to a spike in greed, social strife, and cognitive dissonance.
These three power centers are Beijing, Brussels, and Washington. The first will eventually manage Asia. The second will manage Europe. And the third will have to manage itself. But collectively, these three power centers can collaborate on solving transnational challenges and dilemmas such as climate change, disease and pandemics, mental health, poverty and ignorance, and violence and war. Furthermore, these three power centers can collaborate on global governance, the three dimensions of which are economics, law, and security. In short, America failed to manage and order global affairs singlehandedly during its unipolar moment. One reason as to why America failed is because America was never designed to be a global empire. At its roots, America is a repudiation of the British Empire. Capitalism, democracy, and freedom are great things. But these things have to be managed properly, and it is difficult enough to manage these things within the United States given its population and size, let alone managing these things in places like Afghanistan and the Middle East.
There is now an immensely complex global situation whereby global governance and its three basic dimensions – namely, economics, law, and security – are complicated by novel global trends such as corporate expansionism, hyper-militarization, and technological evolution. No government can singlehandedly manage this global situation. In sum, the international system is being shaped by a tricky situation whereby the three dimensions of global governance are being impacted by three novel global trends, which in turn have to be managed by three global power centers. And in the end, all of this has to be managed and brought to order by a highly competent group of individuals and wise leaders through a diplomatic social paradigm that is underpinned by a sound political strategy. Unfortunately, the “Baby Boomer” and “Gen-X” generations failed to manage and bring everything to order. Aside from an obvious age difference, the main difference between Baby Boomers/Gen-X on one hand and Millennials/Gen-Z on the other hand is that the latter group sincerely espouses cultural diversity and multiculturalism for the most part, whereas the former group is either farcical in its espousal of cultural diversity and multiculturalism or totally against these things.
There is also the question of whether we should define global politics and social dynamics based on class or culture. But ultimately, reality is shaped by human nature, which in turn is shaped by a combination of interests and values. Both interests and values are then shaped by one’s education and richness of life experience. Education and life experience enrich and refine one’s interests and values. As citizens of a truly global society in a highly globalized world that is defined by interconnection and interdependence, it is our duty and responsibility to enable opportunities for both education and enrichment of life experience for as many people as possible. Progress is ultimately defined by the level of our commitment towards fulfilling this duty and responsibility. Although progress is inevitable, it will require energy and effort to overcome the obvious challenges and obstacles which stand in the way of economic and social progress.