Experts differ in their opinions regarding the future of rapidly changing world. An international event dedicated to this topic was held in the capital of the United Arab Emirates in November. Experts deliberated on the subject of the best practice in running the global affairs. Diversity of opinions was the noteworthy aspect of the event.
Geopolitics of the information age
As mentioned above on November 18-20, 2013 Abu Dhabi hosted the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda that addressed three possible scenarios of future governance model in the world. Interestingly, there are connected globally with the issue of strategic administration. Debate is about a model to prevail by the 2050. And it is not incidental that the issue is raised from this particular angle.
Intensified globalization and rapid development of information-communication increased the urgency of this issue. It must also be taken into account that contradictions of various natures arise in the modern world and their impact upon the fate of the humanity is one fascinating subject.
One crucial aspect has to be highlighted here. According to world’s leading scholars, the world is experiencing a third information revolution. Content and new concept is what matters the most. It underscores the significance of managing the world affairs through information. The task is to develop a model of such management. This was the center subject during the event in Abu Dhabi.
The first scenario that participants considered is a world ruled by so-called “megacities”, where governance is administered largely by major urban agglomerations. The second possibility is a world in which strong central governments use “big data” to fortify their control. And, in the third scenario, central governments are fundamentally weak, with markets – and the enterprises that dominate them – providing almost all services (see Joseph S. Nye, Governance in the Information Age / “Project-Syndicate”, 5 December 2013).
Each of the methods suggested above embodies serious novelties in governance. First two methods are based on the concept of further strengthening of the central government. Governance by the large cities (“polices” in ancient Greek terminology) implies leadership of the limited number of states. This scenario is deemed dangerous for the mankind by some Western researchers (Canadian sociologist M. Mcluhan, for example). The world then, may become a “global village” while many nations may turn into slaves ruled from one center by information means. In this sense, the idea of “megacities” contains uncertainty and political subtext. Apparently, proponents of this scenario are envisaging ruling the world entirely even in the 2050.
Essentially, the second scenario is not much different from the first. It only explicitly expresses the method of using a common center to ensure world governance by the handful of states. And its scientific substantiation is aimed at creating an impression that it is only natural. For example, a thesis is suggested that information revolution has changed the nature of politics and power. Improvement of education, collection of taxes, creating more favorable healthcare system, job creation and application of modern technologies creates qualitatively new social and cultural environment and provides bigger profits at a lower costs.
New governance, leadership and justice principle
This scenario is based on bolstering greater inclusion of the citizens in the political processes. Growth of social media is seen as a primary means. Namely, belief in more efficient governance through application of new technologies underlies this approach. It offers new avenues for transformation of the state-level processes and increases productivity. Therefore, the corporative governance is offered as more optimal scenario. In a nutshell, “big data” in the governance information age serves a one of methods of supremacy.
Finally, the third scenario is centered on the idea of developing the civil society. Accordingly, non-governmental sector of the society prospers the most. Social strata are actively involved in the country’s political, economic and cultural life. Impact of the social media and the networks increases and so does the role of the youth. In a sense, it implies weakening of the government and “dissemination” of power in the society. “Stratfor” founder George Friedman believes this scenario is more promising. In any event, the third option leads to more open and democratic society.
Nevertheless, there are some sensitive aspects from the perspective of external interference. The point is that quarters armed with comprehensive information gain a capability of extensive informational interference. It enables them to shape geopolitical, economic and cultural dynamics of the world in general, potentially leading to global-scale discrimination between the societies. And it is beyond doubt that double standards would only flourish in such an environment.
What do deliberations in Abu Dhabi symbolize? At first glance, there is no uncertainty because it is about modern governance models. Still, more in depth analysis reveals that information factor is crucial in all the options. It conditions leadership role of a certain quarter, since source, dissemination, and updating of information provides for existence of a common center.
Therefore, suggestion of particular three options of the world governance by 2050 is thought-provoking. Some questions from the geopolitical aspect arise here. How would the global leadership issue be resolved? Is a multipolar world model viable? If we are talking about traditional leadership of some states under the new framework, then would the boundaries for the “regional leaders” be?
Questions may continue to be asked. Still, approaches conducive to the establishment of the new world order pursuant to the principle of justice are yet to be developed. Apparently, the big powers are in the search of the best practices for exercising greater influence upon others through utilization of political, scientific, technological and governance advantages. Hardly can this method be effective in tackling the global problems. Nevertheless, the humanity undoubtedly needs new governance methods. And that is why the Abu Dhabi Summit was so important.
The extent of effectiveness of such scenarios, in terms of addressing existing strife around the world, remains unclear. Without tackling these problems the prospects of introduction of new political guidelines on the global scale appear vague. The mankind obviously is yet to come up with a solution to a very complex situation. The above said only confirm that fierce struggle among the big powers is set to continue. Therefore, the conflict resolution on the regional scale becomes a pressing issue because is very risky to predict systematic and consistent growth in the environment of contradictions.