I’m currently reading Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World”, which is an excellent book about the future of international relations. It does focus on the US, China, and India most, perhaps overlooking Russia which is of course rivaling China in the news right now.
But what strikes me about the future is the opening up of connections between organizations worldwide. Apparently Google and Estonia are relocating Georgia’s web sites to keep them online while denial-of-service attacks are being levied against Georgia. At the Achievement Summit I attended, the three mayors Willie Brown, Richard Daley, and Antonio Villaraigosa seemed to be saying that the federal government was not working with them, so they’ve had to take matters into their own hands on international trade and education — their megaregions are becoming entities to themselves.
PirateBay is circumventing local copyright laws by spreading itself out over the Internet. Organizations are blending themselves with international coalitions and Clay Shirky talks of American churches aligning with Nigerian ones.
What seems to be coming closer is the Metaverse as Neal Stephenson envisions it. Nation-states have lost the organizing role for most people, and instead there are city-states with walled communities within them that are quite tough to enter without permission (which resembles the walling off of Baghdad and the Palestine). But there’s a robust online world which can be dangerous but remains amorphous — a world which will probably be truly enabled by the efforts to create an online cloud currently. This large web of servers capable of massive processing power will enable us to create a real-time, highly detailed and intricate virtual world. Second Life is a fucking disaster if you ask me, and the cloud will put it out of its disgusting misery.
It remains to be seen how national governments will fit into this mix, but I guess they could still maintain their role by crushing the interoperability and accessibility of the Internet now. But it’s clear to me that people even now are becoming far less loyal to specific countries and more to organizations, ideas, and theories. For Americans, it is getting almost to the point where they will seriously consider moving to a great city in another country…but that point has not arrived yet. There are still a few regions that are still innovating and modernizing.
Anyway. Random thoughts. I don’t have anything to tie it all together with.