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Are the governments of the world becoming less significant?





chasbeen
I used to believe that elected leaderships were the people that governed us. I'm mainly thinking of democracies. However I am seeing a fall off on people voting almost as if the people feel this is a futile exercise.

Also the action of our leaders seem to be synchronised in some way and new organisations (unelected organisations seem to be calling the shots)

I used to live in a heavily populated small island and felt very claustrophobic there.

People keep asking me why I moved to a lightly populated large area. I guess I felt that it would be best for my family.

What do you think? I put this in History because people use to believe in their government but I don't believe that governments represent our interests like they used to (or ,at least, appeared to do so)

Question
Soltair
The world is changing quickly. Just like in Europe right now, the countries can not live on their own anymore; they need to open their borders to the world and cooperate. Actual governements are not obsolete, they just have to change. I would well see a growing importance of multi-etatic governements. To stick with the example of the European Union, there would be a kind of federal governement made of representatives of every country and caring for external relationships and trading, while each member of the EU would keep its internal governement for internal matters.

The actual tendancy is to globalization, as opposed to the isolation that has been everywhere for centuries before. The pendulum movement will lead us back to a desire of regional or national identity. This is why I think that internal matters will still be very important. But with the actual world, over-etatic governements will also be of the utmost importance.

So just wait for the shift! Wink
rshanthakumar
Two major points on the topic you brought out. One, yes; governments will slowly fall out of reckoning. Not because people are losing faith in them but because people want to and continue to have more faith in them. Let me explain. 'Governments' in their earliest avatars were nothing but the king or the leader. The all powerful person. But over a period of time, this king, all powerful who was not liked even by 10% of the population in many cases, yielded place to democracy after a lineage of other governing methods. The power of the government has been coming down gradually and steadily. Originally, the governing head was also the judicial head. Meaning if the king wanted, he can kill anyone. Today there is no such power as a matter of fact, the government has lost most of its teeth.

Secondly, people have been coming together all their lifetime. Man is a social creature. he lives by living together. You might like isolation to certain degree. you might not like to runaway to the wild.
Moonspider
Soltair wrote:
The world is changing quickly. Just like in Europe right now, the countries can not live on their own anymore; they need to open their borders to the world and cooperate. Actual governements are not obsolete, they just have to change. I would well see a growing importance of multi-etatic governements. To stick with the example of the European Union, there would be a kind of federal governement made of representatives of every country and caring for external relationships and trading, while each member of the EU would keep its internal governement for internal matters.


What do you mean by "multi-etatic?" I've never heard that term before.

Your EU example sounds like the United States. Wink Hopefully as the EU evolves they can avoid a civil war over where the true power rests, with the individual states or the federal authority.

Respectfully,
M
bassman
What a great insight about the EU and the American Civil War. The details of the real motivations of the struggle (especially in the South's mind) are often lost on the modern understanding of the struggle. As for the question of governements fading, I think it is directly related to globalization and standardization. As we all become more directly connected and similar, the uniqueness of each sovereign state becomes less important. And as governments (at least here in the US) become more bloated and unwieldy, people rightly get more and mroe fed up.
Vrythramax
I don't think Governments are loosing power, quite the opposite here in the US. During our presidential elections it the Electorial College votes tat determine who becomes president, not the common vote. A candidate could win millions millions more votes than his opponant, and still lose the election if his opponant had even 1 more electorial vote than he did.
Soltair
Multi-etatic is just a term that got out of my mind... You know that English is not my first language, and I also like to make up words sometimes. Just like "provincism" to describe a new phenomenon I'm currently noticing here in Canada.

I believe the US do work a bit along these lines, yet it is a particular case. Most of people living in your country will feel American before quite anything else, while people in Europe will still be very tied to their own country before pleding alliance to the whole Europe. Call it international cooperation if you wish...

Anyway, the human societies will always need to be leaded somehow. Governement is just a word to describe this state of fact. Whether democratic or not, it'll always be the same. Anarchy is not a long-term option for anyone.
Moonspider
Soltair wrote:
Multi-etatic is just a term that got out of my mind... You know that English is not my first language, and I also like to make up words sometimes. Just like "provincism" to describe a new phenomenon I'm currently noticing here in Canada.

I believe the US do work a bit along these lines, yet it is a particular case. Most of people living in your country will feel American before quite anything else, while people in Europe will still be very tied to their own country before pleding alliance to the whole Europe. Call it international cooperation if you wish...


During the antebellum period of the United States, people very much saw themselsves as "Tennesseans" or "Virginians" etc. rather than simply Americans. Southerners (obviously) felt their duty to state to be higher than their duty to the nation.

This is still a common sentiment in the South, I would argue, having grown up in Tennessee and descending from original settlers in the region.

Nonetheless I seem to have digressed off topic. Sorry for the late reply.

Respectfully,
M
rshanthakumar
Moonspider wrote:
Soltair wrote:
Multi-etatic is just a term that got out of my mind... You know that English is not my first language, and I also like to make up words sometimes. Just like "provincism" to describe a new phenomenon I'm currently noticing here in Canada.

I believe the US do work a bit along these lines, yet it is a particular case. Most of people living in your country will feel American before quite anything else, while people in Europe will still be very tied to their own country before pleding alliance to the whole Europe. Call it international cooperation if you wish...


During the antebellum period of the United States, people very much saw themselsves as "Tennesseans" or "Virginians" etc. rather than simply Americans. Southerners (obviously) felt their duty to state to be higher than their duty to the nation.

This is still a common sentiment in the South, I would argue, having grown up in Tennessee and descending from original settlers in the region.

Nonetheless I seem to have digressed off topic. Sorry for the late reply.

Respectfully,
M


Such a feeling is not a mistake. As a matter of fact it is inane in human behavior. And that I think describes the crux of the political change that is sweeping underneath the existing exterior.

There are two things that are happening. One, the borders are losing significance (globalization as you said earlier). Two, there is lots of importance for the individual (human rights, individual growth, etc.) Both are fully supported by the growth in technology. You and I are able to express ourselves at a public place. Ten years back no body would have even dreamt of something like this.

It is like saying there is an expanding universe at the same time also if you zoom inwards you will go down to atoms and then to photons and then too... may be there is an infinity internally too. Well that is what is happening in politics.

Individualism increases. Countries will be broken down to individuals when as you see the governments might lose their significance. At the same time, globalization will also grow to link every one of us with one another.
scrub
I think we've seen a trend in the last several hundred years where local governments have become less and less important, with regional then national governments becoming more and more important. With the onset of globalization, non-governmental organizations have increased in importance. Keeping in mind that the purpose of governments has always been to facilitate the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, it's still significant that corporations and world trade bodies often exert more power and influence now than many national governments.

However, as cheap, abundant energy gives way to scarce and expensive fuels, this process is likely to reverse. The complexity of international coordination and top-down control is only made possible because of the vast amounts of energy which can be used in this otherwise inefficient hierarchical system. As energy decline forces increased efficiency, we'll see a devolution of power back to more local forms of government.

It's worth checking out anthropik.com's analysis at http://anthropik.com/thirty Especially see theses #13, #14, #15, and #19.

Enjoy!
Scrub
Jinx
Is it really the politicians who are in charge, or is it the multi-national corporations and special interest groups who are rich enough to buy the politicians?

Sorry, just feeling very cynical today...
scrub
Jinx wrote:
Is it really the politicians who are in charge, or is it the multi-national corporations and special interest groups who are rich enough to buy the politicians?

Sorry, just feeling very cynical today...


Hey, that's not cynicism, that's realism! And again, as I mentioned in my last post, it's important to remember that governments have always existed to ensure a social order in which the many can be exploited for the benefit of the few. Various attempts at reform (such as democracy) have tried to get around that, but the fundamental organizing principles of civilization and agriculture ensure that hierarchy will remain, and those with power will find ways to make the governmental structures continue to work for them.

Happy Saturday! :)

Scrub
rshanthakumar
Very true! it would continue to exist that way and as the saying goes 'all men are equal but some are more equal than others' will be the case. But then the continuing evolution will ensure this gets diluted so that there is lesser and lesser differences between men.

Things that are against this tendency will slowly get removed. This social structure should over a time become stronger and more purposeful. Equality will happen but to what extent will be the question always. All men and women can never be 100% equal.
scrub
rshanthakumar wrote:
Equality will happen but to what extent will be the question always. All men and women can never be 100% equal.


I find it interesting to read about hunter-gatherer cultures and how they organize their social structures. As far as I know, no hunter-gatherer groups have hierarchies with anyone "above" anyone else, or able to tell anyone else what to do. Obviously, no two people are "equal"...different people have different skills. In our culture of civilization, people who excel at certain things (such as accumulating money) wind up dominating those who don't.

But in hunter-gatherer societies, everyone has some level of proficiency at just about every skill the culture requires. Everyone knows how to identify and gather edible plants, everyone knows how to hunt and/or trap animals, everyone knows how to make cordage, everyone knows how to start fires, everyone knows how to make baskets or tools or weapons. So one person may be the most charasmatic and "leader-like", someone our culture would elevate to a dominant position...but in a hunter-gatherer society that person's skills in convincing people to do something will yield to the best hunter's skills when it comes time to look for meat, or the skills of an elder who knows the landscape at large when it comes time to migrate to a new area for fresh hunting & gathering grounds. So no one person winds up being "the leader" of the group, and hierarchy and domination and government don't develop.

(One exception to what I wrote above: there may be some skills which are more gender-based...like men may know how to hunt and women know all the edible and medicinal plants around...but even then the skills the different genders bring to the group are all vital enough that neither gender "dominates".)

Scrub
poly
I don't really think so, although I m definitely happy that governments don't take as much influence on our private lives as many did in the past..
georgekalathil
Actually governments are of no use these days are they are not interested in the welfare of the people........
Vrythramax
georgekalathil wrote:
Actually governments are of no use these days are they are not interested in the welfare of the people........


Do you have a better plan or simply anarchy?
{name here}
In a way, they are becoming less significant - the financial backers of candidates are sockpuppeting the officials so the opinions of the actual senators are not as voiced as they are in many issues, specifically telecom.
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