Nations and supernations

An extract from Chapter 11 of the book Transcending Politics:

11. Nations and supernations

I started this book by covering two reasons why politics urgently needs to be improved:

  1. Bad politics is obstructing the development and application of important solutions to human problems; via both incompetence and malice, it hinders or forbids what actually deserves to be enabled and encouraged; conversely, it accelerates what actually deserves to be restricted
  2. Bad politics is creating problems of its own; via misguided overzealous pursuits of half-truths, it increases the likelihood of social alienation, group conflict, and national catastrophe.

As I’ll argue in this chapter, the problems and opportunities of local politics are mirrored and magnified by the problems and opportunities of international politics:

  1. Bad international politics, via both incompetence and malice, is preventing the adoption of optimal regulatory policies which, in order to be fully effective, would need worldwide endorsement
  2. Bad international politics is creating problems of its own; via misguided overzealous cross-border pursuits of half-truths, it increases the likelihood of global schism, military conflict, and planetary catastrophe.

In each case – the local and the international – the basic solution is the same: harness technology more wisely and more profoundly than before. To improve politics, what’s needed is a compelling integrative vision setting out the progressive application of enhanced technologies of abundance and enhanced technologies of collaboration.

Improving local politics is an important start, but will ultimately be fruitless unless we can also improve international politics. Even if a country is at peace with itself, it will face numerous risks if the countries around it are plunging deeper into chaos. Borders provide no respite from radioactive fallout, no shelter from extreme weather, and are of little use against determined cyber-intruders.

So let me rephrase the sentence with which I opened this book. There’s no escape: the journey to a healthier society inevitably involves international politics. More precisely, that journey involves the positive technoprogressive transformation of international politics.

If successful, this vision will slow down and then stop those existing political initiatives that are pulling humanity in separate, fractious directions; instead, it will enable a renewed focus on building a comprehensively better future in which everyone benefits.

Assessing international politics

As a prelude to discussing international politics, let’s briefly remind ourselves of the constructive role that politics can play in society. Politics is the process of collectively agreeing which constraints we put on each other’s freedom…

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Recent Posts

Q2 sprint: Political responses to technological unemployment

Technological Unemployment v2

Q1 recap

Before sharing some details about Transpolitica focus during Q2 2018, here’s a quick update on Transpolitica activities during Q1 2018.

Transpolitica has made good progress during Q1 with goals identified at the start of this period:

Priority project for Q2

As Q2 approaches, it’s now time to put into motion the first of a series of time-limited projects to dive more deeply into some of the specific key themes of a better politics.

Each such project will involve gathering, developing, reviewing, and then disseminating the best technoprogressive thinking on a given topic.

The first project in the series is “Political responses to technological unemployment”, carried out over three phases:

  1. Up to end of April 2018: mainly writing and collecting submissions – framing analyses, thought pieces, policy recommendations, etc
  2. Up to end of May 2018: more focus on group deliberation – where are the weak points and the strong points of our collective understanding, and how can we improve our understanding
  3. Up to end of June 2018: more focus on communicating our findings and recommendations, via publications, memes, slogans, videos, etc

Note that I am using the phrase “technological unemployment” to also include “technological under-employment” and “precarious employment”. (A better choice of words could be one outcome from the project.)

Starting points for this project (to avoid people re-inventing the wheel) include:

Depending on progress, possible outcomes of the project might include a PDF research pamphlet, a video, an improved set of pages on H+Pedia, a press release, a set of slides, and/or a public event (such as a meeting of London Futurists in June and the Humanity+ Beijing event in July).

Questions that need addressing

Key to the success of the project will be the identification of the areas most in need of better understanding. These are the “major uncertainties” where we should prioritise our focus.

For the moment, it seems to me that these areas include:

  1. Potential transition mechanisms from where society is today, to a new social contract in which a citizen’s income (to give one example) is in place
  2. Possible alternatives to a citizen’s income
  3. Strengths and weaknesses of various forecasts of scenarios for the development of technological unemployment
  4. The pros and cons of various ways of raising money to pay for a citizen’s income
  5. The possible role of decentralised technologies such as blockchain in the administration of a citizen’s income
  6. The possibility of an “Apollo scale” project to drive down the costs of all goods and services needed for a prosperous lifestyle
  7. International and trans-border considerations

If you think you know at least part of the answers to the above questions – or if you think there are more important questions to be addressing – please do become involved.

To become more involved in this project

The mailing group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/transpolitica exists to to coordinate planning and execution of Transpolitica projects. To join the group, visit this page, and send a subscription request.

(There’s also a Transpolitica group on Facebook, but with a potential impending mass exodus from Facebook, it’s more important than before to use other means for project coordination.)

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